The final Tribute to America 100-lap race for the late model drivers will take place tonight at Champion Speedway. With less than 40 points separating the top 11 drivers, the championship is far from decided. Mathematically, any of the top-14 drivers could win. Realistically, any of the top-14 drivers could win.
The points race for the Tribute to America series has been kept separate from those of the late model division. Leading the hungry pack of skilled drivers is Rich Lawlor with 291 points, followed by Chet Danburg with 285, Brian Colodny with 272, Jeff Tillman with 270 and Melissa Davis with 269 round out the top-5.
The next five drivers are Jim Courage Jr. at 268, Jim Bawden at 267, Al Goss at 264, Craig Paulsen at 257 and Dean Heller at 253. Dave Sciarroni is right behind with 252.
Close racing in terms of talent and points doesn't get any better than this.
"This is going to be a great race," Kris Martin, general manager at Champion Speedway said.
"Drivers from California are coming in for the final race and they're real excited about it because the points are so close.
"We're looking forward to lots of race fans coming out. With good weather and a full moon, it should be a very interesting night. We welcome families, everyone, to come out and have a great time with us."
Lawlor won the first race, Colodny the second and Danburg the third.
"Certainly I'm excited for tomorrow's race," Colodny said. "I'll try to run a race similar to the last one. Try to be patient and be up front."
Colodny said the race will be tough and considering the five positions behind him in points are within seven points of each other, anyone could drive away a winner.
"Whoever gets it (championship) is going to deserve it," Colodny said. "They're all good drivers. I just hope everyone keeps their heads together."
"I'm going to race this race like any other 100-lapper," Lawlor said.
"Stay out of trouble the first half then get myself in position to win. Just go out and race like we've been racing, that's what got us to where we are now. And I'll be looking out for Chet. I need to be right there with him. My goal is to finish in the top-3 of the race, that's been my goal all year long."
Chet Danburg is looking forward to Saturday's race and says his strategy for racing 100 laps will not change.
"We've just got to go as fast as we can and try to win," Danburg said. "That's the way to win it, unless I have trouble or Rich has trouble.
"And, you have to qualify as fast as you can to get that one or two extra points. Rich is a good competitor. I'm looking forward to the race. I've just got to go out and go for the win. When it's this close, you have to go for the win."
Also on the schedule are the hobby stocks and sportsmen divisions.
IF YOU GO
What: Finale Tribute to America 100-lap late model race
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22
Where: Champion Speedway, 1210 Race Track Road (off Bigelow via Snyder)
Cost: $10 adults; seniors/juniors (13-17) $7; ages 6-12 $5; 5-younger free
Info: 267-0505 or visit ChampionSpeedway.com
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