Steve Carlin will be chasing all sorts of history in 2011 at Quincy Raceways, but the three most intriguing accomplishments to me could be these:
— The Hannibal hotshoe could become the first driver to win three straight hobby stock/bomber championships. His back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2009 have not only placed him No. 1 in our countdown of most dominant drivers over the past two seasons, but also means he has finished no lower than third in points since 2007.
— Carlin could also become the No. 1 driver in our all-time hobby stock/bomber rankings, finally surpassing the legendary Eddie Dieker. A first- or second-place in the final points standings would elevate Carlin past Dieker.
— And finally, only four other drivers in track history (for any series) have won three or more consecutive class championships: Mark Burgtorf, Steve Fraise and Hank DeLonjay. That, my friends, is some pretty exclusive company. (And in case you’re interested, only two other hobby stock/bomber drivers have won back-to-back championships: Dieker and Jim Gillenwater.)
Carlin’s would-be historical accomplishments will not come easy. The hobby stock class should again be a big-time struggle between Carlin, Bobby Anders and Jimbo Powell. Both Anders and Powell are seeking their first titles and both are more than capable. Anders and Powell each have the equipment to run up front — Anders had a new ride in 2010 and Powell will have one this season — so Carlin’s hoped-for journey to history will be no Sunday drive in the park.
Hats off, however, to Carlin, who has been a picture of consistency in recent years. Rarely is there a week he does not finish somewhere near the front. More so than any other current driver at the track, No. 9 has learned to finish first in the points — everyone say it all together … — first you have to finish.
CARLIN AT A GLANCE
2010: 1st in points
2009: 1st in points
1st in career hobby stock/bomber track points
1st in career hobby stock points (since the series became known by that name in 2007)
No. 2 in all-time hobby stock/bomber series rankings.
No. 1 hobby stock series rankings (since the series became known by that name in 2007)
Ranks 1st in average points finish (1.8) since 2007, when the series became known as hobby stocks
2nd in career total victories, trailing Eddie Dieker 91-85
1st in career total victories since series became known as hobby stocks in 2007
2nd in career feature victories to Dieker 39-30
1st in career feature victories since series became known as hobby stocks in 2007
1st in career heat victories, both all-time and since 2007
Has finished in the top five in points 8 straight years, tying Dieker’s series record
Has finished in top 10 in points 8 straight years, one shy of Dieker’s track record