Are there two drivers in any other class as close as stock car aces Abe Huls and Terry Houston when it comes to how they have see-sawed back and forth in terms of dominating a series? Each has won two championships and each has finished second twice over the past five years.
The summer of 2014 should be no different. This is one class I’m keeping my top three choices the same as they were in November:
Champion: Abe Huls. I think Abe deserves a slight nod heading into the upcoming season. The way he controlled the points race a year ago was impressive. But if the wheelman from Carthage stumbles …
Runner-up: Terry Houston. … No. 97 will be right there to take control.
Third place: Brandon Savage. If the new Scurryin’ Missourian is on hand every week, he is probably the only other driver in the series who could wrestle the title away from Honest Abe or the Mayor of Mount Sterling.
I’m convinced we’ll see a much closeer points chase in the stock car division, the kind we became accustomed to the first four years of the series. Savage, if no one else, should be able to filter away some of the points from Huls and Houston to keep those two from running away and hiding.
STOCK CAR CHAMPIONS, MARGIN OF CHAMPIONSHIP
2013: Abe Huls, 24 points over Terry Houston
2012: Terry Houston, 21 points over Abe Huls
2011: Aaron Brocksieck, 1 point over Terry Houston
2010: Terry Houston, 12 points over Abe Huls
2009: Abe Huls, 4 points over Kevin Tomlinson
2008: Jeff Mueller, 0* points over Chris Wibbell (Mueller won tiebreaker on features won)
Here’s some food for thought: If Huls can win the championship he will be the new No. 1-ranked stock car driver. Assuming Houston would finish second, the two would be tied in ranking points and Huls would win the tiebreaker on the strength of championships won.
STOCK CARS ALL-TIME RANKINGS (2008-13)
Drivers receive ranking points on a 15-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale for their position in the final top 10 points standing each season. Ties are broken by number of championships, second-place points finishes, top five points finishes, top 10 points finishes, etc.
1. Terry Houston, 58 points (2 titles)
2. Abe Huls, 53 (2)
3. Jerry Jansen, 33
4. Aaron Brocksieck, 28 (1)
5. Andrew Griffin, 24
6. Kevin Tomlinson, 18
7. Steve Steinkuhler, 17
8. Jeff Mueller, 15 (1)
9. Chris Wibbell, 14
10. Michael Larsen, 12
Active drivers, minimum 6 points
Gabe Harrison, 11
Jake Powers, 8
Brandon Savage, 6
Jim Powell, 6