By Dick Jordan
Saturday night’s AMSOIL USAC Western Sprint race at Shasta Raceway Park in Anderson, Calif. could prove pivotal in the battle for 2011 USAC championships in the Western Sprints and the new Western Classic Sprints.
The penultimate event in each series (the finale is November 24 at Irwindale, Calif.) finds Tony Hunt with a tenuous five-point lead over female driver Audra Sasselli (Western) and a nine-point deficit to Geoff Ensign (Western Classic).
Championships in both series would propel Hunt to fifth in USAC’s all-time champions list with a total of seven series titles. Only A.J. Foyt (13), Rich Vogler and Sleepy Tripp (9) and Mel Kenyon (8) have more.
Sasselli is not Hunt’s only challenger in the Western standings. Cody Gerhardt is just 31 points behind her, while Tim Skoglund in only one point behind Gerhardt.
JoJo Helberg won last year’s Shasta Sprint race, a race in which Hunt finished third. Gerhardt is a series rookie and Skoglund did not compete at Shasta last year.
USAC AMSOIL WESTERN SPRINT CAR SERIES POINT STANDINGS
1-Tony Hunt-585; 2-Audra Sasselli-580; 3-Cody Gerhardt-549; 4-Tim Skoglund-548; 5-Luis Ramos III-468; 6-Scott Pierovich-388; 7-Geoff Ensign-311; 8-Johnny Geisler-271; 9-Tim Barber-258; 10-Shaunna Hogg-228.
USAC AMSOIL WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT CAR SERIES POINT STANDINGS
1-Geoff Ensign-806; 2-Tony Hunt-797; 3-Scott Pierovich-700; 4-Shauna Hogg-579; 5-Tim Barber-566; 6-Jerry Kobza-211.