Saturday night’s action at Route 66 Speedway showed the sense of urgency some local competitors are feeling with seven races remaining in the season.
In three of the five classes who ran, moves where made which impacted the top of the points standings, either directly or indirectly.
One class, the street stocks, has a new points leader, or more accurately, a co-leader. In what might be the most competitive and entertaining class at Route 66 this season, Michael Johnson scored his third win of the season to move into a tie for the season track points lead with Carson Spitler at 385 points each, one point ahead of Daniel Spitler in third place.
In limited late models, Garret Ratliff made a late charge in the final five laps for his second win of the season, which moved him into second place in the points standings with 372 points, 25 points behind season leader Braden Elliott.
A similar type of victory happened in the limited modifieds, where Kalvin King rallied late for a victory. King stayed in third in the points standings with 354 points, but moved three points closer to season leader Leland Cruz, trailing by 41 points.
“The top line was really where we wanted to be, but if I wanted to go for it I had to do some work on the bottom,” said King, who leads the class with three victories this season. “I just had to keep inching and inching, and I couldn’t hold the bottom coming off and I just kept sliding, but it worked out.”
King had to work past Cruz and Chad Lundegreen, among others, and held off Sammy McNabb for the victory.
While King is a two-time champion at the track, he hasn’t been active every weekend this season. He’s taken some time away from Route 66 to watch his son play baseball.
King hopes to ride some of the momentum from Saturday’s victory steadily for the rest of the season. Now is a good time to be hitting that stride.
“We’ve been struggling with the car a little bit,” King said. “We’ve made some changes this week and I think we’re going the right way with it.”
A.J. Sharpensteen won the modifieds for his second victory of the season. However, he hasn’t even been the most successful member of his family in that class this season, as his father Alan still holds the season points lead with 301 points, 29 points ahead of Dee Gossett.
The only driver who wasn’t from Amarillo who was in the winners circle on Saturday was Iowa Park’s Kollin Teaftiller, who won the tuners class.
Racing continues next week at Route 66 with six classes running. Sprint cars will return to action next Saturday, along with limited modifieds, limited late models, street stocks and tuners.