That said, let’s dissect the first quarter of the season, class by class:
Driver of the Year — so far: In a season that seems to be shaping up to be won by the most consistent driver, Denny Woodworth has filled that mold.
Best bet to bust out: It looks like Mark Burgtorf has the car problems all ironed out. That’s not good for the other late model drivers in the pits.
Nicest surprise: Robby Warner, who is sitting sixth points and has a chance to climb higher.
What happened?: To the Black Car Superstar. We’ve only seen Dustin Griffin once — and he finished second in the feature. Dustin, come back!
Driver of the Year — so far: Steven DeLonjay. No explanation needed.
Best bet to bust out: Shawn Deering. The winless streak will end.
Nicest surprise: Russ Coultas, who is proving 2012 was not a fluke.
What happened?: To some of the cars. The largest modified count to date has been 18. The mods are averaging 15.6 a week, which would be the lowest weekly average for a modified series since the “B” mods averaged 13 per week in their final season in 2005.
Driver of the Year — so far: Tony Dunker. (See Steven DeLonjay comment.)
Best bet to bust out: Tanner Klingele. It’s just a matter of time.
Nicest surprise: Charles Van Zandt’s improvement. He struggled much of last season, but is currently tied for fourth in points. Runner-up: Jeff DeLonjay.
What happened?: To someone actually challenging Dunker. He’s still on his own planet in this series.
Driver of the Year — so far: This is really a tough call, but I’m leaning toward Terry Houston. But Jake Powers and Abe Huls are in the rear-view mirror.
Best bet to bust out: Beau Taylor. He could be Beau-dacious by season’s end.
Nicest surprise: The return of The Cap’n, Steve Carlin.
What happened?: To those title aspirations of Taco Larsen. Don’t worry, the little guy is regrouping and can make a run for the second-half points championship. (Remember, we track track of crazy stuff like that.)
Driver of the Year — so far: Pat Dunker, who has the strongest car when he keeps it on the track.
Best bet to bust out: Austen Becerra. We haven’t seen the Austen of 2012 yet, but don’t forget — he wasn’t the reincarnation of Richard Petty until the second half of last season.
Nicest surprise(s): The emergence of Laine Van Zandt in recent weeks. And let’s not forget the return of Craig Bangert to contender status.
What happened?: To Seith Woodruff, the two-time defending series champ. He had some horrible luck in April, then drove a modified for a week. Seith, come back!