By Laura Kassik
Track promoter Bill Rozhon had predicted a large crowd for the season finale at Havasu 95 Speedway.
What he didn’t expect was the overwhelming turnout on April 22.
“We had standing room only,” said Rozhon. “We actually had to shut the gate. We sent home about 500 people. I feel terrible about it.”
But those who did make it in were not disappointed in the annual Night of Destruction that featured 14 cars in the Waterless Boat Race, the Monster Truck Show, and the crowning of two track champions.
“It was crazy,” Rozhon said of the boat race.
Mark Schroeder, behind the wheel of his Monster Truck, The Devastator, destroyed six cars and two motorhomes to the excitement of the crowd. Rozhon and his crew were still cleaning up the mess days later.
Jeff Prieur held onto the top spot in the Factory Stocks to take home his first championship despite pulling off on lap 10 of 20 during the second main. He entered the night with a healthy 26-point cushion over Chris Blackwell in the standings, which Blackwell closed to 10 (624-614) after being awarded a pair of victories. Blackwell finished second to Matt Caley in both races, but was awarded the victory because Caley had already reached his track limit of two Factory Stock wins in a season.
“Jeff hung on (for the championship),” Rozhon said. “He broke on the last race.”
Madison Gay and Brock Rogers entered their twin races separated by just four points in the Bandoleros. The young drivers kept fans anticipating the outcome - as they have all season - as the two split the main events, ending with the same margin as they started. Madison won the championship, following her sister, Allison, who won it last season and now races Late Models.
Only three drivers repeated as champions including Bobby Keirns, who used three wins and four runner-up finishes to propel himself to the top of the Street Stocks standings.
Adam Hommerding strung together 12 consecutive victories to win the Animal Outlaw Karts championship. Last year, Adam won the title in the inaugural season of Outlaw Karts when there was only one division.
Take & Bake repeated as Team Factory champion, but only Jose Guevara was on the team last year. He was joined by son, William Guevara, and Matt Caley this season.
With another season in the books, Rozhon and his staff, the majority of which has been with the track since day one, turn their attention to season 12. Over the summer they will be busy making improvements to the speedway. Some of the work includes the track being resealed, installing more grandstands, and revamping the VIP section in preparation for the start of the 2017-18 season in October. The track will now be offering season tickets.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Rozhon said. “We’re going to be busy.”
Top 5 Points Finishers:
Street Stocks: 1. Bobby Keirns 476, 2. Garrett Reinoso 470, 3. Tyler Savage 467, 4. Gavin Bucy 456, 5.William Guevara 449.
Late Models: 1. Jeff Peterson 295, 2. Zack St. Onge 274, 3. Mark Allison 261, 4. Kayla Eshleman 232, 5. Ryan Vargas 226.
Factory Stocks: 1. Jeff Prieur 624, 2. Chris Blackwell 614, 3. Jose Guevara 601, 4. Jeremy Orozco 551, 5. Tom Gray 502.
Team Factory: 1. Take and Bake (Jose Guevara, William Guevara, and Matt Caley) 305, 2. Ewwwweeee Racing (Jeff Prieur, Dean Fleig, and Chris Blackwell) 292, 3. Vista Cruisers (Bobby Keirns, Jeremy Orozco, and Bailey Orozco) 284, 4. Asphalt Junkies 281, 5. Team 19 139.
Animal Outlaw Karts: 1. Adam Hommerding 696, 2. Brody Wake 658, 3. Taylor Whitefield 650, 4. Luke Silber 100, 5. Dillon Shot 88.
Stock Outlaw Karts: 1. Taylor Whitefield 676, 2. Korbin Mitchell 674, 3. Aiden McCorkle 638, 4. Luke Silber 98, 5. Grant Shot 96.
Bandoleros: 1. Madison Gay 532, 2. Brock Rogers 528, 3. Alexis Beebe 472, 4. Cody Kiemele 322, 5. Damyon Tix 197.