CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – Chase Washington is the 2012 NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series Champion.
Washington and Mickey Trosclair finished the 27-week season tied in points with 798 apiece, but Washington won the tie-breaker with 14 50-point wins to 12 50-point wins for Trosclair.
Washington and Trosclair battled for the point lead back and forth for most of the second half of the season, and both drivers hit the road traveling to the majority of the NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series tracks looking to net points on their best 14-week totals. Going into the final week of the season, the two drivers were tied for the point lead.
The top two point drivers traveled to 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, TN last night, with Trosclair needing a win to take over the point lead. Neither driver was able to net any points, as Washington finished sixth, and Trosclair finished eighth.
The final race of the season scheduled for tonight at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, MS has been rained out, and that gives Washington the $10,000 Championship driving the Jerry Inmon Racing Special.
“I’m glad it’s finally over because even though it’s been fun, it’s also been very nerve racking,” Washington said. “I haven’t had much sleep for the last couple of weeks, but now I can relax. It’s been an exciting season and I want to congratulate Mickey Trosclair for a great season and really making us step up our game right down to the end of the season.”
Trosclair didn’t make this title easy for Washington, as he forced Washington to win two straight critical races last week at West Plains Motor Speedway in West Plains, MO. Trosclair also turned in a no-quit performance last night at 411 Motor Speedway driving the J. Dunning Sandblasting and Painting Special.
Going into Week 26 on September 21, Washington and Trosclair traveled to West Plains Motor Speedway for a Week 23 make-up race with Trosclair holding a one point lead in the standings. Both drivers were trying to net on 49s in the closing weeks of the season, and needed wins to net any points on their best 14-week totals.
Trosclair could not net any points for the make-up race, as he really had a Week 23 50-point win, but if he could win the race, he could keep Washington from netting a point. Washington started second and won the race to tie up the top of the standings.
On Sept. 22, Washington stayed at West Plains Motor Speedway for the Week 26 race, and Trosclair traveled to Hattiesburg Motorsports Park in Hattiesburg, MS. Trosclair drew first blood by winning the Hattiesburg race, netting one point, and taking over the point lead.
Washington was sitting in the staging lane at West Plains Motor Speedway getting ready for the feature race when he got the news that Trosclair had won in Hattiesburg. He then knew he had to win that race to tie up the point lead again. Washington started second and won the race to set up the final week of the season.
NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series Week 27 races were scheduled on Saturday night for 411 Motor Speedway, Hattiesburg Motorsports Park, double features at Whynot Motorsports Park in Meridian, Miss., with a Week 16 Make-Up race, and a Sunday night race Magnolia Motor Speedway. Hattiesburg and Whynot rained out early, setting up the showdown at 411.
There were 12 cars last night at 411 Motor Speedway, a track that neither Washington nor Trosclair had seen before. Many drivers, especially those on the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Tour, consider 411 Motor Speedway to be one of the toughest tracks in the series. Washington and Trosclair drew the first two spots in the qualifying line.
Washington was the first car out and timed in at 14.918. Trosclair was the second car out and timed in at 14.907. They would start the feature race 12th and 11th respectively. Trevor Sise was the fast qualifier at 14.181 seconds.
Trosclair had to win the race to take over the point lead, and had a long row to hoe starting 11th in the 20-lap main event on a tough race track with some tough competition that not only included Washington, but four local drivers that were in the Top 20 of the NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series point standings.
For the first half of the race, Washington ran 10th and Trosclair 12th, and both drivers were still learning the track. By the time the race approached the halfway point, school was out and the two championship combatants got up on the wheel.
Trosclair sent Washington a message on lap nine that he was going for all of the marbles when he threw a spectacular slide job pass in turn three on Washington to take over the ninth spot. Trosclair got a run on Washington going down the backstretch, dove to the bottom of the track in turn three under Washington, and then slid up in front of him in turn four.
A lap 12 caution flag moved Trosclair up to eighth and Washington ninth with eight laps to go. The restart saw Trosclair move up to the fifth spot, but a caution flag with two laps to go, negated the pass for fifth, and restarted sixth with Washington in eighth.
Trosclair tried to make some moves in the last two laps of the race, but cut down a tire on the final lap. Jason McCall picked up his first win of the season in the Steve Ritchey Racing GRT. Washington finished sixth, and Trosclair was eighth in the final finishing order.
Leaving 411 Motor Speedway last night, Trosclair still had one more opportunity to win the championship with a win the next night at Magnolia Motor Speedway, but Mother Nature closed that door, ending the season, and sealing the fate of the two championship contenders.
“411 Motor Speedway is a tough place to come to for the first time and try to win because it’s a tough track to learn and the drivers here are also tough,” Washington said. “Mickey made us work for it, and I’m a better racer today because of the battle he gave me all season long. I want to also congratulate all of the drivers in the Top 10 because this is one of the toughest and most competitive racing series in the country.”
The final stats show Washington with 798 points, 15 wins (including one 40-point win), 33 top five finishes, and 42 top ten finishes in 43 races. Trosclair also had 798 points with 23 wins (including 11 40-point wins), 23 top five finishes, and 34 top ten finishes in 41 races. Series races with eight or more entrants awarded 50 points to win, and races with less than eight entrants awarded 40 points to win.
While Washington and Trosclair raced at most of the NeSmith Weekly Racing Series tracks in five different states during the 27-week season, sometimes racing two and three nights a week, 411 Motor Speedway regular Ryan King finished third in the standings with 793 points driving the Brian King Roofing Stinger.
“Ryan King had a great season because he pretty much stayed close to home racing here one night a week at 411 Motor Speedway or Smoky Mountain Speedway (in Maryville, Tenn.) and wasn’t that far behind me and Mickey in the points,” Washington said. “If Mickey and I hadn’t made the choice to travel, Ryan could have very well been the NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series Champion.”
Duke Palasini will finish fourth in the 2012 NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series point standings with 792 points in the Palasini Farm Special, and Jeremy Shaw takes the fifth spot with 790 points in the Summit Resource Development Trak-Star.
Shannon Lee will finish sixth in the 2012 NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series standings with 789 points driving the Billy Riels Racing Trak-Star, and Michael Arnold will be seventh with 787 points in the Billy Riels Racing/Reynolds Motorsports GRT.
Robby Moore drove the D&K Truck Repair Special to the eighth spot with 783 points, and Brent Barrett will finish ninth in the Custom Spraying GRT. Kyle Berry rounds out the Top 10 in the 2012 NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series standings with 772 points in the Berry Roofing Special.
Washington will pick up a trophy and a $10,000 check for winning the 2012 NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series Championship and the Top 10 drivers will also be honored with trophies and point fund checks at the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Annual Awards Banquet in January at the Thunder Road Museum and Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville, Ga.