‘Big Al’ Goss stays out front in Sportsman division at Champion
Appeal Sports Writer
Ed Goss was all smiles as he walked over and held up his hand for a high-five.
“Was that a quick 50?,” Ed asked his brother. Al Goss laughed as he returned the high-five and replied, “I seen Lap 10, 32 and 50. That was it. That wasn’t fun. That was work.”
Goss, well known at Champion Speedway as “Big Al,” also saw the checker flag at the end of the Late Model Sportsman 50-lap main event on Saturday night as he held off rival Vince Malone to secure a victory that showed he is still the man to beat in the division.
By winning the double points race, Goss maintained his narrow lead over Malone and Joel Worley in a heated battle for the division’s season points championship. Goss, who is bidding for his third straight title and fourth in five years, leads Malone by 10 points and Worley by 11 in the standings.
Even though he won three of four main events to start the season, Goss hadn’t won since June 11.
“This was big,” he said. “I’ve been on a downhill slide the last three weeks, so I needed a win. We’re playing the points game and you’ve got to go out there and get every point you can, and you have to do it every night. If you don’t, you won’t be there at the end.
“Consistency is the key. You don’t have to win every race. You just have to get those seconds and thirds and you have to do it night-in and night-out.”
Chris Betz led from the pole and Ed Goss moved out front on the third lap. But “Big Al,” who started seventh in the 12-car field, moved up and took over the lead on the ninth lap, with Malone and Worley right behind.
The positions never changed the rest of the way, though Malone applied pressure throughout the final 41 laps. He took the high line and pulled even on the homestretch with two laps to go, but Goss held his position. Malone finished second, ahead of Worley and Dean Heller.
“It was an exciting race. I can’t wait to get on the camera and watch it,” Goss said.
Two races remain before the track closes its season – and closes its doors for good.
“We’ve had a lot of fun out here,” Goss said, adding a word of thanks to his sponsor, Ceramic Tire Center. “It’s great to be here. And if it wasn’t for Chet (Danburg, four-time track champion and Quick Silver teammate), we wouldn’t be where we are right now.
“There’s two races to go and I’ll come out to win, just like I did tonight,” Goss said. “And whoever works the hardest and puts their heart into it the most will win.”
Todd Thompson outlasted a close pack in the 50-lap Legends main event to post his first victory at Champion, while Terry Madjeski edged Mackena Bell for fifth-place in the race to maintain his slim lead in the division’s season standings.
Thompson went to the pits during the trophy dash when he broke a rear end support hinge, but the Reno driver returned for the main event and won a race that saw the top 10 cars finish on the lead lap. The division was close even in qualifying, with a mere seven-hundredths of a second separating the top five drivers – Bell turned the fast time of 14.74 and Thompson was fifth at 14.81.
Lester Mitchell started from the pole position and led through 14 leaps before Gary Handley passed on the homestretch to start the 15th lap. Nine cars were still involved in the lead pack before Denny Hadler and Derek Copeland came together on the 20th lap, bringing out the only yellow flag of the race.
On the restart, Thompson moved up to challenge Handley and then went inside to take the lead at the start of Lap 22. The Reno driver never trailed again.
“I was saving tires the whole race,” Thompson said. “John Burritt has been giving me some tutelage and he always tells me to save my tires – I listen because he knows his stuff – so the first 40 laps I was running about 90 percent. Then, the last 10 laps, I put my fastest laps down.”
All the way to the finish, as he took the checker flag ahead of Handley, Mitchell and Jack Randall.
Meanwhile, Madjeski and Bell started side-by-side and waged a nip-and-tuck race of their own for for extra points in the season standings on a night when all points were doubled.
Both worked their way up in the pack and finally settled in with Madjeski in fifth and Bell sixth on the 20th lap. Bell mounted numerous challenges, both inside and outside, as the 15-year-old stayed right behind Madjeski throughout the final 30 laps. Madjeski held on to pick up four points on Bell – he held a 10-point lead in the standings coming into the night (the final point totals in the Legends division will be determined after drivers throw out their two worst results).
There will be no season title for Thompson, but he was more than happy with the main event triumph on this night. Not bad considering he didn’t get started at Champion until June, and even then, his debut was little to write home about.
“I had motor problems that kept us from running at the beginning of the year. My first two races out here, both of them were really, really bad,” Thompson said. “Part of it, I come from shifter cars and these cars are a total different animal. I had to learn to not use the brakes and things like that. But, not bad for a go-cart guy.”
Jason Flores of Carson City blew through the field and into the lead on the third lap en route to his second main event victory this season.
There was only one yellow flag in the race – a competition yellow called for on the 25th lap in order to pull the field closer together. It didn’t matter, as Flores went the rest of the way without ever facing a serious challenge.
Chris Walton finished second, ahead of Stephanie Crawford in third and Kim Robbins in fourth. Earlier in the evening, Crawford picked up her first win of the season in the trophy dash.
n Contact Dave Price at email@example.com or call 881-1220.
Late Model Sportsmen
Main event: (50 laps) 1, Al Goss; 2, Vince Malone; 3, Joel Worley; 4, Dean Heller; 5, Chet Danburg; 6, Matt Collier; 7, Kris Keller (49 laps); 8, Ed Goss (49); 9, Allen Hunter (35); 10, Chris Betz (23); 11, Frank Sanfilippo (9); 12, Christina Davis (2). Yellow: 2.
Trophy dash: 1, Danburg; 2, Worley; 3, A. Goss; 4, Davis.
First heat race: 1, Hunter; 2, Betz; 3, Betz; 3, E. Goss; 4, Keller.
Second heat race: 1, Malone; 2, Worley; 3, Goss; 4, Heller.
Fast time: Worley 14.28.
Main event: (50 laps) 1, Todd Thompson; 2, Fred Handley; 3, Lester Mitchell; 4, Jack Randall; 5, Terry Madjeski; 6, Mackena Bell; 7, Chris Handley; 8, Bob Cos; 9, Jason Anderline; 10, Michelle Argetsinger; 11, Derek Copeland (49 laps); 12, Charlene Baron (49); 13, Denny Hadler (20). Yellow: 1.
Trophy dash: 1, Copeland; 2, C. Handley; 3, Madjeski; 4, Bell.
First heat race: 1, Mitchell; 2, Cos; 3, F. Handley; 4, Argetsinger.
Second heat race: 1, Thompson; 2, C. Handley; 3, Copeland; 4, Madjeski.
Fast time: Bell 14.74.
Main event: (50 laps) 1, Jason Flores; 2, Chris Walton; 3, Stephanie Crawford; 4, Kim Robbins; 5, Mark Turner (49 laps); 6, Bill Bernard (48); 7, Shawn Chaufty (48); 8, Tiffany Mans (48); 9, Gregg Salaices (48); 10, Matt Collier (47); 11, Bill Holbert (24). Yellow: 1.
Trophy dash: 1, Crawford; 2, Robbins; 3, Flores; 4, Walton.
First heat race: 1, Turner; 2, Salaices; 3, Holbert; 4, Mans.
Second heat race: 1, Flores; 2, Robbins; 3, Walton; 4, Crawford.
Fast time: Flores 16.85.