SOMERTON, Ariz. – All the miles, all the laps, all the strategy comes down to a single weekend as the stage is set for the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by MAVTV American Real season finale on Friday and Saturday at Cocopah Speedway.
Presented by the Cocopah Resort and Casino, A first day purse of $3,000 to win on Friday will give way to a staggering $20,000 to win on Saturday night with a possible $5,000 bonus on the line for series points leader Jason Johnson.
These races are also the final two rounds of the Cocopah Cup Challenge. The opening rounds in March saw the three-time series champion sweep the weekend’s $3,000 and $10,000 to win features. If Johnson can repeat that success, his total bank from the three-eighths mile Arizona oval in 2013 will be $41,000.
Following a weekend of ups and down in the fight for the season ending $60,000 champions check, challenger Johnny Herrera nearly saw all hopes at the title dashed when the MVT No. 45x was involved in a three car melee on the start of Friday’s Protect the Harvest A-Feature at the El Paso Speedway Park. Retreating to the work area, several teams jumped in to complete repairs on Herrera’s mangled machine as track crews went to work patching the catch fence that lines the front straight-a-way. Axles, Wings, Shocks, and a myriad of bolt on parts were exchanged and Herrera was able to come from the tail to tenth while Johnson placed sixth.
Saturday night at the Southern New Mexico Speedway was Jason Johnson’s turn it seemed. Tipping over in his Heat Race trying to avoid the spinning No. 17w of Cole Wood, crews were able to get Johnson back to the track with time to spare. Transferring to the A-Feature, the start sent to the Waco Metals No. 41 back to the work area after colliding with the flipping No. 41x of Cody Mansfield. Wings and a handful of bolt on parts saw the No. 41 returning to the racing surface with Johnson rallying to ninth with Herrera placing third.
With a 66 point advantage over Herrera going into last weekend, the difference now stands at 56 between the top two point earners going into the season finale.
Third sitting Jeff Swindell placed the Heartland Catfish No. 94 second Friday night. Running in the top five in the closing laps Saturday night, mechanical issues in the final rounds relegated Swindell to tenth to bring his advantage over Brad Loyet to 67 points who suffered a DNF Saturday.
A difference of 67 from third to fifth going into the weekend’s events in El Paso and Las Cruces, the advantage stands now at 97 as Tony Bruce, Jr. was forced to utilize his final two Bonus Point Provisionals of the season. Climbing to tenth in El Paso, Bruce was forced out of the race when the fuel cell ruptured in the closing laps resulting in a sixteenth place finish. Despite the use of his provisional on Saturday, the TBJ Promotions No. 18 clawed from twenty-third to sixth to remain within striking distance of a run on Loyet for fourth 30 points behind.
Logan Forler has all but secured sixth in tour standings. His season to date includes a personal best at two wins, 10 top fives’, and 26 to ten finishes. Seth Bergman, comfortably seventh, has also posted a season best record at one win, 9 top fives’, and 25 top tens’.
Dustin Morgan, with 7 top fives’, and 22 top tens’ will end his season eighth with rookies Cole Wood and Brandon Hahn taking the final spots in the top ten.