Sprint Car Insider – T-Zone Promotions Lemoore Raceway – October 1, 2018) – The 2018 Lemoore Raceway track Championship season is in the books and it’s time to announce the official champions.
In the Restricted class finishing the points season with three victories, and throwing away a total of 65 points, Caeden Steele edges out Gauge Garcia by just 19 markers. Garcia ends up throwing out a total of 53 points and that was the difference.
Without throw aways, Gauge Garcia would have won the championship on his season-ending performance of epic proportions. He did everything in his power to steal the crown. But Caeden Steele has been money all year racking up a higher win total and starting the year stronger. His three wins to Garcia’s two also gave a slight advantage.
Beyond the race for the title, the Restricted class provided some of the most memorable races in recent memory, if not in history. No one will soon forget Jake Smith and Bryson Bettencourt taking night two of the Tachi Palace Nationals to the flag stand.
There were also some emotional wins, such as when Katey Syra won a KofC race, or when Ryan Rocha won his second career race, and on the inverse side of that coin everyone will feel for Brandt Twitty and the agony of defeat he displayed after coming so close. This season the restricted class put on a show every single time they took to the track.
In the Jr Sprint class Dalton Parreira is officially crowned your 2018 champion. He ended up winning by a margin of 84 points. Had no throw outs been included his margin would have been 109. After picking up 9 wins on the season the Sherriff was the dominant force all year.
There is something to be said about Cash Lovenburg however who improved immensely over the course of the season. From the beginning where he was still taking laps and finding his rhythm to the end where he could flip down the backstretch and still win. He wound up with two wins on the season and is a heavy favorite coming into 2019. Jett Barnes claimed victory at other tracks this season but could never seal the deal at Lemoore and ended up third in points. He will certainly be a contender in 2019 as well. Only one other driver made it to the winner circle this season and that was Caleb Debem with two. He will also be moving up to the Restricted class.
In the non-wing class, Tyler Tj Smith picked up his third title in four years. The final margin of victory was only 137 points, after throwaways. It was a dominant season for Smith but he was beaten on occasion. Tristan Guardino, Ben Worth, Mitchel Moles, and James Ringo all found victory at Lemoore this year. But it would be none of those names claiming the runner-up spot in points. That accomplishment goes to Brody Fuson. The fast young driver out of Bakersfield keeps showing improvement and is sure to be one to keep our eyes on in the future.
Ben Worth claims third in points after starting the year brilliantly. He was always fast and posed a threat on any given night but 2018 would not be the year for him to take home the title. The blue collar man Andrew Tamiriz ended up fourth in the points after a string of solid podium finishes at the end of the year. Rounding out the top 5 was Mitchel Moles. He found victory lane, and found it convincingly during his full-time return to racing campaign this year, and looks to be a heavy favorite next season.
In the Super 600 class after suffering the hardest of heartbreaks in 2017 Joey Ancona closed the deal this year. At the conclusion of 2017, there was only one way Joey Ancona could lose the title. That was if Tucker Worth swept the double points night from qualifying to winning, and low and behold he did just that! The rocket lost by a mere single point.
In 2018 he made sure he was nowhere near the same position. He won the very first race of the season and proceeded to dominate the season. Ancona won six races, finished 2nd five times, qualified fastest another six times and only finished out of the top 10 twice to no doing of his own. Ancona came away with a 151 point margin over Raio Salmon in 2018, after throw-aways. Ancona was the dominant force all season long.
Salmon did have herself a career season, however. She scored the top spot three times en route to her runner-up points position. Ben Worth ended up third, Chris Martin fourth, and Garrett Twitty rounded out the top 5. Also worth noting was the triumphant return to victory lane back in May for Drake Galante and his family, that was a special moment.
That’s a wrap on the 2018 points championship at Lemoore Raceway. It was a stellar season and every driver who came through the gate displayed what it is that keeps everyone coming back to the race track. There were up and downs this season, some runaways and some highlights, but every race provided a storyline that someone in the pits will always remember. Lemoore also bred two of the closest finishes in recent memory, both in the Restricted class. We also closed out Speedweek and watched another driver write an entire chapter of his own legacy. The memories of the season will live on forever. But now we sit back, race for the trophies of off-season races, and prepare from now until March to do it all over again.
Thank you all for participating at Lemoore Raceway, none of this would happen without you. Your support of the track is what makes it possible to continue making these lasting memories. The desire and commitment you put in to give the fans who grace our facility a show is unparalleled. Racers, you are the show, and until we raise the curtain again, we thank you all for making 2018 yet another one of the best seasons we have ever had. To those moving to new endeavors, good luck, you have cemented your places In history. To those returning, we cannot wait to welcome you back.
With that, we say goodbye to the 2018 championship and we start counting down to 2019.
Who are the favorites? Who is winning what? Call your pockets now.
JJ Cox -
Lead Contributor of Sprint Car Insider.
Sole Proprietor of Prodigy Race Promotions.
Current Freelance Announcer with educated broadcast experience.
Media Relations Advisor.
Fresno State Bulldog - Broadcasting and Public Relations.
Grew up going to 50+ Sprint Car races a year and Raced Motocross for 10 years.
Die Hard Dirt Race Fan
Just a rolling stone.