Brian O’Brien (41) and Don Zoll Jr. (22) are tied for the points lead in the Pro Stock division at Tucson Speedway. The final race of the season will be Saturday.
May the best man (or woman) win
By Kristi O’Brien
Tucson Speedway News
TUCSON —With 19 races in the books at Tucson Speedway in the 2017 season, it all comes down to one night for the Super Late Models, Pro Stocks, Late Models, Pro Trucks and Hobby Stocks this Saturday.
The closest battle for the championship is in the Pro Stock division with Don Zoll Jr. and defending champion Brian O’Brien tied for the title with 621 points.
Ray Mros sits in third with a 16-point advantage over Dylan Jones.
The first to qualify and the last to run the main event, the Pro Stock division is expected to bring the season to a climactic end.
Only 40 points separate points leader Brandon Farrington from Paul Banghart in the Super Late Model division. Banghart closed up the points battle with his main event win on Oct. 14.
Should Farrington be able to hold on to the points lead throughout the night, he will celebrate two moments of triumph.
“It’s amazing to think that we’ve been so fortunate in our rookie season to have a chance at winning a championship and rookie of the year. I owe it all to my crew… those are the guys that make it possible for me. They just let me go have the fun and hold the steering wheel,” Farrington said.
Last year’s champion Brandon Schilling sits comfortably in third, but rookie Sean Bray is within striking distance, just 38 points behind him.
In the Late Model division, it’s the rookie versus the veteran as Shelby Frye and Harry Ram take the green with 17 points between them.
“So many people have played a part this season with our car, that it wouldn’t be a win for me, but my entire team. I am blessed to be surrounded by such hard-working people who believe in me,” Frye said.
With only 36 points separating the top four, David Blackwell and Jason Davis are also championship contenders going into the final race.
“My strategy is to have fun and race hard, just like I do every night. A champion will be crowned, and I hope it can be me,” Frye added.
If Frye takes the title, she will join 2017 Bandolero Champion Anika O’Brien as the first female champions in a decade at the track.
Don Zoll Jr. has the points lead in the Pro Truck division with Jeremy Smith and rookie Daniel Doherty behind him by 36 and 38 points, respectively.
Double main events for this division could be a major factor in the championship race.
With five wins between them, Smith and Doherty will put up a challenge for the title once the field takes the green flag.
Defending Hobby Stock champion Gene Preston has a tight grip on back-to-back titles with 44 points over Eddie Benson.
The battle will be for second between Benson and Rookie of the Year Tyler Pagano, who is only three points behind in third.
With qualifying, heat races and main events, the excitement will escalate as the night goes on.
Tucson Speedway Administration Manager Shelly McGriff will closely monitor the races, keeping track of the points as the divisions qualify and after each heat race and main event.
Not wanting the championship to be decided by a final main event, race director Tim Rominger said, “I want to give every driver fighting for the championship every chance to get points. I owe that to them.”