(Photo by Dennis Krumpelman) Sprint Car Insider – Driver Exclusive. FRESNO, Calif. (September 4, 2018) —>Raio Salmon now finds herself 16 points out of the lead in the Delta Speedway standings after last weekend’s doubleheader.
Although her season long points lead has dissipated, according to Salmon, it’s been a career year. She’s captured a career high five victories, with three coming at Delta. Aside from a lone DNF midway through the year, she has been the hallmark of consistency. With just two point races remaining Salmon now finds herself just 16 points out of the lead in the Delta Speedway, Super 600 Championship standings. Title rival, Nikko Panella, picked up his first career super 600 victory Sunday night at Delta. Although he had yet to find victory lane before the Dual at Delta, he been breathing down her neck all season keeping him within striking distance all year long before seizing the lead last weekend.
“He hasn’t had a bad night yet,” said Salmon. “He’s been consistently finishing a few spots ahead of me and ticking away at the points lead I had and we have to turn it around. He’s having an awesome year and we just have to be better here when it counts.”
Night one of the Dual at Delta Raio Salmon rolled off from 9th in the feature. She quickly marched her way toward the front of the pack and into the top 5 but watched as her title rival was in contention for victory. Although another solid top 5, Salmon still watched more vital points slip out of her hands and into the grasp of Panella. Panella wound up capturing the runner-up spot and Salmon brought it home 4th. With only two positions between them, Salmon minimized the potential damage that could have been done.
On to Sunday Night, night two of the Dual at Delta, as well as points race number 11 of 13 on the season, things would appear a bit rockier for Salmon, as Panella looked to be at the top of his game. Panella laid down the gauntlet by capturing quick time and kept the momentum rolling. He was able to capture his first career win while Salmon had a fierce back and forth battle with Jake Andreotti and ended up coming home 4th for the second night in a row.
With just two point races remaining at Delta Speedway in 2018 Salmon finds herself behind in the standings to Panella by just 16 points in a deadlocked title fight. After several battles over the course of the season, Panella has been slowly chipping away at the points lead week by week. After capturing the victory for the first time Salmon has her work cut out for her as it would appear as if Panella has found his stride.
According to Salmon, Panella has displayed everything it takes to win a title. After a DNF midway through the season that cost 20 points, the momentum seems to have shifted and the weight of the title became heavier. On the heels of closing out, the 2018 campaign pressure is mounting and it will play a pivotal role in the impending outcome. In the case of Salmon, it may have already crept into the back of her mind.
“I seem to put way too much pressure on myself,” said Salmon. “I didn’t realize I was leading the points until halfway through and that when I feel like I lost a little.”
From here on out the focus for Salmon is to just go out and win races and the chips will fall as they should. With a career-best five wins on the year, she is proud of her year no matter what. Her goal is adding more to that total. In doing so, she may just come out with her first career super 600 championships.
Beyond her title fight going down to the wire up next for Raio Salmon will be Round 13 and 14 of the King of California Series on Friday, September 7, at Keller Auto Raceway and Saturday, September 8, at Lemoore Raceway. The following weekend marks a return to Delta, and on the Horizon sits the $5000 to win, 2nd annual Mark Hagopian Memorial at Keller Auto Raceway.
Raio Salmon would personally like to thank all of her sponsors,: Salmon Motorsports, Pace Chassis, Harry Boudakian Engines, UHL Rubber, Visalia Window Company, Fresno Window Company, C&K Towing, Best Weigh Scale, and his entire family for their continued support.
Delta Speedway “Dual, at Delta” Night One, Delta Points Race 10, Saturday,September 1, 2018
- Heat Race:
- Main Event:
Delta Speedway “Dual at Delta” Night Two, Delta Points Race 11, Sunday, September 2, 2018
- Heat Race:
- Main Event:
Current Delta SpeedwayPoint’s Standings: Super 600
- Nikko Panella
- Raio Salmon (-16)
On The Radar: You Can See Raio Salmon next at –
KELLER AUTO RACEWAY PLAZA PARK – Friday, September 8, 2018: King of California Rd. 13
LEMOORE RACEWAY – Saturday, September 9, 2018: King of California Rd. 14
DELTA SPEEDWAY – Saturday, September 15, 2018: Delta Points Race 12
KELLER AUTO RACEWAY PLAZA PARK – Friday and Saturday, September 21-22, 2018
*2nd Annual Mark Hagopian Memorial*
SEASON STATISTICS: 2018
Races Completed 32
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