2015 marked the 50th anniversary season for Colorado National Speedway and after some rough weather in May, the action on the track, perfect summer nights, and fantastic crowds, highlighted another phenomenal summer at CNS. 2015 will be remembered as the year that Bruce Yackey’s won an amazing 14th track championship (9th in the Super Late Models). It will also be remembered as the year long time favorite “Big” Al Duran in the Figure 8s retired from racing. 2015 was also the year featuring the incredible battle to the finish in the Late Model division between Mark Neff and Jeff Walbaum.
Gillet Vet Clinic Super Late Models When 2015 started it didn’t look like it would be Bruce “the Moose” Yackey’s 9th Super Late Model championship as Dominic Ursetta started off strong winning 2 of the first 3 feature events. Dan Savage returned to winner circle on April 25th winning his first feature a couple years. But with Ursetta taking a break to run in the ARCA Series, Yackey’s consistent performance began to shine through. In late May and early June Yackey grabbed a couple feature events and began to build the points lead that he would never relinquish.
A jubilent Bruce Yackey enjoys the roar of the massive crowd after winning the June 20th feature at CNS (Starr photo)
By the time Ursetta had returned to regular action at the track Yackey’s lead had become too large for anyone to overcome. Incredibly, Ursetta went on to win 10 feature events in 2015 including his second consecutive Challenge Cup victory. Yet all of that success wasn’t enough to catch Yackey who won the points race by 36 points over Ursetta. Matt Zwingleberg had a solid season finishing an impressive 3rd in points with Jack Nugent grabbing the 4th spot. Darren Robertson seemed to be always in contention up-front but rough luck on a few nights relegated the #11 car to a 5th place finish in points.
A daring 3-wide pass in turn one was the key to Dominic Ursetta’s 7th win of the season (Starr photo)
Bruce Yackey demonstrated once again that it takes great patience and diligence to win a championship at CNS. With his two feature event wins he finished every single main event in the top 5. It stands as a testament to Yackey and his entire team’s preparation to have that many top 5 finishes in a single season. With the championship Yackey has now won an amazing 9 Super Late Model championships and 14 track championships overall.
Bruce Yackey won his 9th Super Late Model championship on Gillett Vet Clinic Night at CNS (Starr photo)
Matt Brunker grabbed the Gillet Vet Clinic Rookie of the Year honors with an impressive 12th place finish in points.
Snap-On Tools Pro Trucks No other division at CNS provides more drama, action, and raw emotion from the drivers than the Snap-On Tools Pro Trucks. 2015 was no different as the first half of the season was filled with action on the track and in the pits.
Snap-On Tools Pro Truck action at CNS (Starr photo)
But as the season began to settle down it became a two truck battle for the championship between Rudy Vanderwal and Adam Deines. Vanderwal picked up just 3 feature wins in 2015 but his consistent top 3 finishes gave him the narrow 7 point edge on Deines for the championship. Deines had a marvelous season as well picking up 5 feature wins and just barely missing the top spot. The championship was Vanderwal’s second consecutive in the Pro Trucks. Rudy also finished in the top 10 in the Super Late Model division capping off a fantastic 2015.
#7 Adam Deines and #34 Rudy Vanderwal battled to the very end of the 2015 season (Starr photo)
Matt Burton had another strong season in the Pro Trucks grabbing the 3rd spot in points while Troy Witthar took an impressive 4th place in the final standings. The final spot in the top 5 went to Michael Scott. Jesse Seigal narrowly beat George Green for Rookie of the Year honors finishing 6th and 7th respectively.
South Philly Cheese Steaks Late Models No other division had a closer points race than than did the South Philly Cheese Steaks Late Models. On the final night of competition Jeff Walbaum and Mark Neff entered the race separated by a single point! Neff did what he had to do by winning the 5 final points races of the season to sneak by Walbaum by a mere 3 points to take the championship. The exciting points race highlighted the resurgence of the Late Models making them one of the most exciting divisions in 2015 and the most anticipated in 2016.
2015 Champion Mark Neff battles Jeff Walbaum and Brett Yackey (Starr photo)
Brett “the Maverick” Yackey was also a factor in the division winning his first feature in the series, taking third in points, and easily winning the Rookie of the Year honors. Jace Hansen had a strong 2015 campaign and took 4th place in points, while the final spot in the top 5 went to Wade Grove.
Mark Neff celebrates in winner’s circle at CNS (Starr photo)
SUNOCO Fuels Grand American Modifieds In 2012 Jeff Hansen was the SUNOCO Fuels Grand American Modified champion but hadn’t raced much since that time. In 2015 Hansen returned to regular action at CNS and it paid off big-time with his second track championship. Hansen won 2 feature events in 2015 but it was his consistent top 3 finishes that allowed him to secure the 18 point win over Cris Muhler. Muhler also had consistent finishes in every feature yet never grabbed a feature win. Last year’s champion Justin Case won 3 feature events in 2015 but a couple of rough nights relegated him to a third place finish.
Jeff Hansen celebrates his feature win and his 2015 championship (Starr photo)
The 2015 Rookie of the Year honors went to Jeremey Barclay who finished an impressive 4th place in points and also grabbed a feature win in the division. Ron O’Neil was the final top 5 finisher in the 2015 points chase.
Great Scotts Eatery Super Stocks Bruce Yackey wasn’t the only Yackey to take home a championship in 2015. Bruce’s son Brett not only finished strong in the Late Models he earned the 2015 Super Stock Championship. Incredibly the young Yackey won all but one Super Stock feature in 2015. You would think winning 8 of 9 feature events would give Yackey a massive points victory however second place finisher Michael Cox seemed to always on Brett’s tail finishing just 23 points back at the end of the season. The year long duel between Yackey and Cox thrilled the crowd as they witnessed the birth of a new rivalry.
#32 Brett Yackey and #3 Michael Cox battle for the championship (Starr photo)
Curtis Heldenbrand had some rough luck in 2015 but that didn’t stop him from finishing a very impressive 3rd place in points. The Rookie of the year battle was also a close one as Jax Hughes nipped Levi Greenly by just 5 points as the two drivers finished 4th and 5th respectively. Greenly also grabbed a feature win which certainly places him on the “driver’s to watch” list in 2016.
Brett Yackey celebrates the win and the 2015 championship in winner’s circle at CNS (Starr photo)
Art’s Septic Figure 8s Jereme Wall couldn’t have started the 2015 season any better as he won the first 4 feature events setting the stage for his first track championship. “Big” Al Duran got hot during the mid-season as he snagged 2 main events and put the pressure on Wall for the championship. Yet Wall finished where he started (in winner’s circle) grabbing the final points race to win the championship. The 2013 champ Justin Mckeachie finished just 2 points back of Duran to take the 3rd position in points. Jared “Wally” Wall and rookie of the year Bill Farris finished 4th and 5th in points respectively.
Jereme Wall celebrates winning the 2015 Figure 8 Championship (Starr photo)
The loyal Figure 8 fans said goodbye to long-time favorite Duran who retired at the end of the season but did so in style as he just barely missed winning the season championship.
Big Al Duran waves one last goodbye to the CNS fans (Starr photo)
Galitz Trucking Mod Coupes Jamie Bubak (now Jamie Trengove) was the repeat champion in the Galitz Trucking Mod Coupe division but only by a single point over second place Randy Whitman. Both Bubak and Whitman stormed back from missing the first feature in 2015 to finish one and two in the final point standings. Bubak took 3 feature events in 2015 while Whitman scored the final two main events of the season to narrowly miss the top spot in points.
#12 Jamie Trengrove on route to winning her 2nd consecutive Mod Coupe championship at CNS (Starr photo)
Rick Duckworth snagged third place in points and also secured Rookie of the Year honors in the division. Former champion Gary Land returned to action in 2015 and took home an impressive 4th place in points while multi-time champion Frank Denning III also made his return to grab the 5th spot in the final standings.
Lincoln Tech Pure Stocks It’s only the 3rd year for the Lincoln Tech Pure Stock division yet it’s already proved to be one of the more popular divisions at the speedway. The division, designed for beginning drivers, thrills the fans with door to door racing and 3-wide action. In 2015 it was all Will Alvarado as he won 7 of 9 feature events and easily cruised to the championship. Joe Mares took 2nd place in the division and also won his first feature event on the last race in 2015.
Will Alvarado had a dominating season in the Pure Stocks winning the championship by a large margin (Starr photo)
Young Kody Vanderwal (Son of Rudy Vanderwal) made his racing debut at CNS in 2015. Kody had a fantastic season winning 2 feature events and taking 3rd place in the final point standings. Jamie Ward was a perennial top 5 finisher and was able to bring home 4th place while Sean Smith took home the final spot in the top 5 in points.
Legends Division No other division at CNS brings more race cars to the track than the Legends division. It’s not uncommon to see 30 Legend cars unload off of their trailers on any given night. And the competition on the track couldn’t be more exciting as the small cars buzz all around the race surface. Danny Medina grabbed his third CNS track championship in 2015 holding off Kyle Clegg who finished 22 points back. Clegg made a great run to the finish after missing a race early in the season while away on honeymoon.
#15 Danny Medina and #66 Kyle Clegg battle for the 2015 championship (Starr photo)
Medina, Clegg, Scotty Scott, Adam Pechman, and others, as well as Chris Eggleston (when he had free nights from his NASCAR Pro Series West ride) thrilled the fans night in and night out proving that the Legend division is one of the most exciting groups of cars at the speedway.
Yet in the end it was the skill and experience of Medina who took home top honors in the class with Clegg settling for second place. Scotty Scott finished an impressive 3rd while Adam Pechman and Darrell Stewart took 4th and 5th.
Danny Medina is the 2015 Legend division track champion at CNS (Starr photo)
Austin Radosta won rookie of the year honors in the Legends division with a 10th place finish in points.
Other divisions Richie Castor Jr. won his third CNS track championship in 2015 in the Supermodified division at CNS by just 17 points of Judge Harry Stone and 20 points of Roger “the ice-man” Avants. The Supermodifieds appear to be on the up-swing with solid car counts and competitive fields which is a great sign for the division heading into 2016. In the Witthar Racing Trains it was Jared Wall and his brakeman Kelly Villers who outlasted the competition to win the 2015 track championship. Wall and Villers won two of the four features while Taylor Bellomy and Stephanie Brown won the other two features only losing the championship by just 6 points.
Looking ahead With 2015 in the books we turn our attention to next year and prepare for another fantastic season at the 50 year old race track in Dacono Colorado. One thing will be different in 2016 as Graden Blvd. (the road that leads to CNS) has officially been changed to Speedway Blvd. While the track has an incredible history, the future has never looked so bright knowing that from this point forward Colorado National Speedway’s official address is 4281 Speedway Blvd Dacono, Colorado 80514.
Track owner Jim Nordhougen is presented the new street sign renaming Graden Blvd to Speedway Blvd from the Dacono City Mayor.
See ya in 2016!!