Tuesday, July 06, 2010

SPORTS>>Points standings making classes close at Beebe

Leader sportswriter

With less than three months to go on the Beebe Speedway racing schedule, some interesting battles in the season points standings are taking shape.

Many drivers do not run for season championships and opt to simply take their programs week-to-week, but the drivers who do compete for track titles are also contenders for weekly race victories in most cases.

Consistency is as important as winning when it comes to points, and Danny Garringer’s sizeable lead in the factory-stock points is proof.

Garringer has not won a race all year, but his string of finishes in the top five has him in the factory-standings lead with 1,000 points, 84 ahead of Beebe’s Jacob Kurtz, who has three victories.

In fact, Beebe drivers have dominated the class.

Larry Wise has won a division-leading four races, while Kurtz and fellow Beebe racer Ricky Wilhite each have three. Wise sits third in the standings with 795 points while Wilhite, who missed a month of competition, is fourth with 716 points.

Blake Jones was leading the E-mod points before the weekend, but sat out last week to compete in the modified event in Randy Weaver’s backup F1 car.

Jones entered the weekend with 1,030 points, while Cabot’s Todd Joslin had 999 and Augusta driver Robert Woodard had 994.

Woodard, the defending E-mod champion at Beebe, led for the first part of the season after he won four of the first five races.

But since May 7, Woodard has not been able to return to victory lane and has failed to finish three times.

That has allowed Jones and Joslin to move past Woodard, but Joslin was a no-show last weekend, and with Jones competing in another class, Woodard was in a position to retake the points lead.

Woodard had just five points to make up on Joslin, which he did simply by starting the race. But he struggled to an 11th-place finish to make his points battle with Jones very close.

Woodard and Jones are also tied for most race victories in the economy class with four each. Lane Cullum is the only other multiple-race winner with two victories in the economies.

Joslin, Kevin Conway and Tommy Burkhead are the other winners in the class.

Little Rock’s Paul Shackleford holds a commanding 1,168 points in the mini-stock season standings after winning the last two feature events. Cabot’s Doyle Blankenship is second with 1,090 points, but Shackleford’s toughest competition of late has been Mike Millwood, also of Cabot.

Millwood reeled off three straight victories beginning in June, which moved him up to third in points with 1,050.

The street-stock division has competed five times at Beebe this season, with Hensley driver Willy Gillam winning three of those races to take the points lead with 597. Scotty Misenheimer is close behind with 588 points and one race victory, while late model and modified veteran Chuck McGinty of Conway won the first street race of the year.

More proof consistency is as effective as winning can be found in the hobby-stock class, where Searcy driver Gage Raines holds a lead of more than 150 points over Benton’s Jeff Porterfield. Raines has a feature victory under his belt, but Porterfield has dominated the class with seven victories in 13 nights of racing.

In fact, Porterfield is the only driver with more than one victory this season. Derek Goshein, Danny Campbell, Greg Carlin, Jeremy Kester, Brody Welcher and Raines each have one victory.

A couple of no-shows and a couple of nights of bad luck have Porterfield second in the standings with 944 points to Raines’ 1,117. Cody Kierre sits third with 894 points.

Randy Weaver’s bid to win three straight modified championships and become the division’s first five-time track champion at Beebe is a go. The Little Rock driver holds a 116-point lead over Curtis Cook.

Weaver has won six features and has a string of consistent top-five finishes that has given him 1,014 points to Cook’s 898.

Romance’s Todd Greer is third in points with 875 despite missing a couple of weeks.

Weaver’s six victories put him three ahead of Cook, who has three, while Mike Bowers has two. The only other driver to win in modifieds this season is Patrick Linn of Little Rock.