By Rich Vleck
TULSA, Okla. (August 30, 2010)- A great summer of racing is now quickly nearing the end for yet another year. Before the weather gets cold though, there are two more big shows this weekend for the ASCS Patriots with plenty on the line.
For the second year in a row, the ASCS Patriots return to Sharon and Eriez Speedways for a pair of $2,000-to-win Labor Day Weekend Races. These are the final two full point shows of the year, putting an end to the regular season before the many post-season events get going in the fall. The Saturday and Sunday events will also serve as the final shows in the Mike Emhof Motorsports King of Ohio and Pennsylvania Series.
Bryan Howland, from Auburn, NY, has turned up the intensity in the later part of the season, winning two of the last three Patriot shows. Howland has already claimed the King of Upstate NY and the King of the Southern Tier. This weekend, the 23-year-old can capture his fourth series championship and pick up the King of OH/PA as well.
Howland holds a 72 point advantage over Jared Zimbardi, of Little Valley, NY heading into the final two full point races of 2010. This means that the No. 51 needs to average an eighth place finish in each race to claim the championship.
Coming off a win this past Saturday at Stateline, Howland leads the tour with four wins this season. A winner at Sharon in May and at Eriez last September, the second-winningest driver in Patriot history leads the King of OH/PA by 21 points and will have to work hard to hold off a number of competitors for the crown he captured last year.
Jared Zimbardi won his first career Patriot feature at Eriez back in 2007. “The Juice” has always performed well at Sharon and Eriez and even though his championship aspirations have all but faded, he still has a very real chance to capture the King of OH/PA title, as he is in a tie for second place.
Zimbardi is also leading the Gater Racing News Hard Charger of the Season Standings heading into the final two shows that count towards that honor. The 23-year-old won the first Hard Charger of the Season in 2005.
Bubba Broderick, from Brookfield, CT, is tied with Zimbardi for second in King of OH/PA Standings. Broderick won his first of two features this season at Eriez and has always been a fan thriller using the top of the track. The 20-year-old has never won a crown and has his best opportunity this weekend.
Tim Kelly, of Rock Stream, NY, comes off a fine runner-up showing at Stateline Saturday and is looking to hold off Broderick for third in the championship standings. Kelly is still looking for his first Patriot win and will return to Eriez, another venue where he has success, including a win in 1999. The veteran also has a good chance to capture the King of OH/PA crown.
Don Adamczyk, of Williamsville, NY, has been struck by a string of bad luck with mechanical parts over the last month and hopes he can turn it around this weekend. Adamczyk was within a foot of his long-awaited win at Erirez in May of 2008 and led a good portion of the September 2009 show at Sharon. He is looking to complete the 2010 regular season with a top-10 finish in every full-point race he started.
Vern Wasson, of Jersey Shore, PA, and Kyle Moffit, of South Dayton, NY will battle for their final spot in the top-10 of the King of OH/PA. Wasson captured his first sprint car checkered flag at Eriez back in May, winning the dash. Moffit finished in the top-five at each of these tracks on Memorial Weekend and should be amongst the favorites at Sharon, where he ran weekly in 2007.
The Breen Boys, Blake and Bobby, of Savannah, NY, make their return to the tour this weekend. Both brothers have won at Sharon but have struggled at Eriez.
Veterans Gary Troutman, Brad Knab and Dave Wickham are expected to venture west for this weekend, along with rookies Dylan Swiernik, Bob Reis, Jay Groves and Ross Vleck, who will compete at these venues for the first time.
Other potential invaders include Shayne Ely, who could claim the Insinger Race Fuels Rookie of the Year if he has success. Veteran Judi Bates had a solid Memorial Weekend swing and could look to rekindle the success this weekend. Keep an eye out for Tommy Wickham, Vern Wasson, Derek Jonathan, Jared Fink, Bruce DeWick, Travis Cunningham, Doug Bowman and T.J. Newton.
A slew of locals will also be in appearance, including Gary Edwards, Robert VanTassel and Brian Steinman. Chris Shuttleworth, of Wellsville, NY, will also be in attendance at Sharon where he frequents on Saturday Nights.
Caleb Griffith is also expected to travel in from Western Ohio to race in the Ken Meggitt No. 01. The list of others unconfirmed invaders is impressive to say the very least.
While he will not be in competition, Scott Bonnell may also be in appearance at Eriez on Sunday. Scott has not been to a Patriot event since his career-ending event at Little Valley in July.
For more information, visit www.ASCSpatriotsprints.com or www.ASCSracing.com.
ASCS Patriot History at Sharon
6/17/2008 Donny Schatz (Non-Points)
9/20/2008 Bobby Breen
9/21/2008 Trevor Lewis
5/23/2009 Blake Breen
9/5/2009 Trevor Lewis
5/29/2010 Bryan Howland
ASCS Patriot History at Eriez
5/25/2003 Scott Bonnell
6/17/2007 Jared Zimbardi
5/25/2008 John Schuyler
6/22/2008 Chuck Hebing
5/24/2009 Trevor Lewis
9/6/2009 Bryan Howland
5/30/2010 Bubba Broderick
Mike Emhof Motorsports King of OH/PA Standings
1. Bryan Howland
2. Jared Zimbardi
3. Bubba Broderick
4. Tim Kelly
5. Kyle Moffit
6. Don Adamczyk
7. Vern Wasson
8. Gary Troutman
9. Judi Bates
10. Bobby Breen
11. Blake Breen
12. Scott Bonnell
13. Jeremy Barnard
14. Gary Kriess
15. Ryan Smith
16. Shayne Ely
17. Gary Edwards
18. Chris Shuttleworth
19. Austin Ely
20. T.J. Newton
21. Bob Reis
22. Brian Steinman
23. Robert VanTassel