Six races, six different winners.
That's indicative of the competitiveness seen in the first season of the WESTCAR Late Model series and fans quite likely can expect to see more of the same when the touring cars make their final stop at Champion Speedway for a 100-lap feature event tonight.
"It's going to be the biggest of the year," Champion general manager Les Kynett said. "We're expecting a high car count. This series absolutely incredible. It's so well organized, so well run, and the car count is definitely growing."
A season-high field of 28 cars showed up for the sixth stop of the series two weeks ago at All-American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., according to WESTCAR director Phil Perry.
This will be the fourth and final leg of Champion's own Desert Rose Series, which has seen different winners in each of the three previous races - Steve Gannon, Wes Miller and Gary Glenn. Mike Mansch led wire-to-wire en route to victory in the July 23 race in his hometown Roseville and also finished second at Champion on July 9. Byron Gonzales and Ted Bost own the other two wins in the series.
Gonzales finished second, ahead of Melissa Davis and 17-year-old Billy Butler on July 23.
Two local drivers will make their debut appearances in the series: Henry Hodges and Dave Sciarrone (who will drive Ken Crome's No. 24 car). Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller has his new No. 20 car on the entry list, though no official announcement has been made who will drive it in place of Shane Kline. Kline drove the car to third-place on July 9, but has since moved to North Carolina.
The list of entries includes two other local favorites: Carson City's Chet Danburg, who now stands fifth in the series points standings, and Reno's Craig Paulsen.
The Legends, Western Modified and Hornet divisions will also run as part of tonight's show. The Legends field looks especially strong, according to Kynett.
"We're going to have four Legends cars from Boise and four or five from Salt Lake City, so we're going to have a big show," Kynett said, adding that Michelle Argetsinger, 15, of Gridley, Calif., is also returning to the track with a new car after being involved in a multi-car collision on July 9.
Denny Hadler, who was taken from Champion by Care Flight after he crashed that same night, is now at home recovering from his injuries. He is unsure when he will race again.
"I want to get out and race again, but I'm not sure not when that will be," Hadler said. "I had optic nerve damage and my vision still isn't 100 percent, so it's going to depend on what my doctor says."
The 20-year-old Hadler spent a week at Washoe Medical Center recovering after the crash, the second within a span of one year that resulted in a Care Flight trip.
"Right now, I'm just happy to be at home," Hadler said on Friday. "I'm going to try and focus right now on my classes (at Truckee Meadows Community College). I went out today - this was the first time I've really been out - and signed up for my classes."
By the way, the former Galena High School football player has decided to take a new direction with his studies.
"I want to be an Emergency Medical Technician," he said. "I'm going to start with Level 1 Basic Training, and I'm looking forward to it."
Notes .... Perry said that WESTCAR would like to thank its series sponsors for the 2005 season: Peppermill, Scott Performance Wires, Xbox, Am soil, California Door and Frame, Sierra Racing Products, Circle Track Steering, Competition Carburetion, Jim Courage Pools, Fensler Racing, DPI, F.R.E., JME, John L. Sullivan, Perry Racing, and the Plaza Hotel.
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.