By Laura Kassik
The final two champions will be crowned, The Devastator Monster Truck will romp in the infield, and the Waterless Boat Race will put an exclamation point on another exciting racing season at Havasu 95 Speedway.
The track’s popular Night of Destruction caps the 2016-17 schedule on April 22. Spectator gates will open at 4 p.m.; racing, sponsored by Interstate Batteries and Get It In Gear Transmissions, will start at 7 p.m.
Running for championships that night will be The Office Cocktail Lounge Bandoleros and the Sam Nichols Factory Stocks.
Spectator gates will open an hour earlier than usual to accommodate the large crowd that typically attends this race. Arrive early for autographs and pictures of the Devastator Monster Truck and its driver Mark Schroeder.
“I think we’ll have a standing room only crowd,” said track promoter Bill Rozhon. “It will be our largest crowd.”
The Pro Collision Waterless Boat Race, which is a big reason why many people come to the season finale, averages eight to 10 entries. Rozhon said he’s expecting 15 boats.
“After talking to people, we are expecting the biggest boat race we’ve ever had,” said Rozhon.
During this race, which is the final of the night, cars with boats attached try to avoid - and outlast - the others, creating a lot of excitement for spectators.
Before the Waterless Boats line-up on the asphalt, Mark Schroeder will be behind the wheel of his Monster Truck to thrill spectators. He plans to destroy two motor homes, said Rozhon.
There are two totally different scenarios that set up the champions in the final two divisions.
Jeff Prieur needs to start the race to secure his first championship in the Factory Stocks, which has been averaging about eight cars an outing. Prieur, who has led the points since the second race of the season, has a 26-point cushion (540-514) over Chris Blackwell. Jose Guevara is third (505), Jeremy Orozco fourth (461) and Tom Gray rounds out the top five with 422 points.
This season, the track implemented the rule that limited Factory Stock drivers to two victories. Prieur collected his early, and was awarded a third because the winner was disqualified. He has used strategy - and some luck - to stay on top.
“Jeff has raced really smart all season,” Rozhon said. “He’s stayed out of harms way and continues to finish near the top.”
The Bandoleros champion is not as obvious. The battle between Madison Gay and Brock Rogers could come down to the final laps of the main event. The two have battled all season and Gay enters Saturday’s race with a four-point edge (434-430) over Rogers after each driver won a main on March 25.
“Those kids are really putting on a good battle,” Rozhon said of Madison and Brock.
What’s interesting is that both drivers have siblings who were past Havasu 95 Bandolero track champions. Last year, Brock finished runner-up to Madison’s sister, Allison, who now races Late Models. Brock’s brother, Blake, who runs the Lucas Oil Modified Series, won the Bandolero title in 2012-13, when Brock finished second.
Rounding out the top five in Bandolero points are: Alexis Beebe (386), Cody Kiemele (322), and Damyon Tix (197).
This season’s champions who were decided earlier are: Jeff Peterson (Late Models), Bobby Keirns (Street Stocks), Adam Hommerding (Animal Outlaw Karts), Taylor Whitefield (Stock Outlaw Karts), Take & Bake: Jose Guevara, William Guevara, and Matt Caley (Team Factory).