I have to give the first-year Wild Things some love. The four-cylinder series developed into quite an interesting division as the 2011 summer unfolded. From that first-night melee on the final lap of the feature to Kimberly Abbott’s fast September finish, those crazy little cars continually put on a decent show.
But there’s one problem with a series like this one. Gazing into any sort of crystal ball for any sort of developmental class is always difficult because there’s normally quite a bit of coming and going. For example, Austin Uppinghouse is moving on to sport mods for 2012 — which, by the way, is an excellent decision. If there’s one family in the area that understands a modified it’s the Uppinghouse clan. Austin’s dad, Randy, was an excellent driver, and there are plenty of other family members who have been behind the wheel of a mod who can help out.
If you followed the Wild Things at all in 2011, I’m sure you realize no fewer than five drivers took turns controlling the series — champ Seth Woodruff, Abbott, Casey Kendrick, Todd Nelson and Craig Bangert — and I would imagine we’ll see a similar script come next spring. This an incredibly balanced division and nothing should change in round two. Here’s my picks for the top con-ten-duhs:
1. Kimberly Abbott: I think we just might see our first-ever female track champ at 8000 Broadway. She was the dominant car in the class in September and should do nothing but get better as 2012 evolves.
THE FEMALE FIVE
Five times in track history a female driver has finished in the top 10 in points. Kimberly Abbott was the most recent, with a third-place finish in the Wild Things in 2011. Here’s a look at those top five female finishes:
2011: Kimberly Abbott, 3rd, Wild Things
2008: Sarah Woodhurst, 8th, Stock Cars
2007: Sarah Woodhurst, 5th, Hobby Stocks
2006: Sarah Woodhurst, 3rd, Hornets
1994: Mary Kay Allen, 5th, “A” modifieds
2. Seth Woodruff: You had love his second-half push to the championship. Will that momentum carry over to 2012?
3. Casey Kendrick: 2011 will always be the one that got away for Kendrick.
4. Craig Bangert: At one point last year, I thought he might run away with the championship.
5. Todd Nelson: If Todd could race every week, he would be the favorite. There’s also a good chance he might me moving on to another series.