(09-28-2019 Dacono, CO) On a gorgeous Fall evening at Colorado National Speedway the Sunbelt Rentals Championship night featured one of the most dramatic finishes to a season ever witnessed at the speedway. Dan Alamaa and Derek Smith battled to the finish in the final main event in the Galitz Transportaion Late Models deadlocked in a tie for the season title. In other divisions Ed Vecchiarelli completed his dream season in the SUNOCO Race Fuels Grand American Modifieds as did Ryan Raley Jr. in the Lincoln Tech Pure Stocks.
The Late Models prepare to take the green in the final race of 2019 (Starr photo)
Galitz Transportation Late Models
It’s very rare treat when fans get to see a championship shootout like they witnessed on the final night of racing in the Galitz Transportaion Late Models. #8 Dan Alamaa and #31 Derek Smith entered the final night separated by a single point in the final season standings. Smith flexed his muscle early by setting quick time with a 16.948 and winning the first 20 lap feature event. But Alamaa was right behind him and therefore the two drivers were all knotted up entering the final race and they would start side by side on the front row for the final 40 lapper.
The two did not disappoint in the final race trading the lead over and over as well as racing door-handle to door-handle thrilling the CNS crowd. There were several double-file restarts in the race and both drivers took turns taking advantage getting the jump on the other.
On the restarts Alamaa preferred the inside lane while Smith would consistently choose the outside lane. Alamaa was clearly faster in the corners but Smith was quicker down the straights creating a thrilling back and forth race. It was literally a battle to win it all as whoever crossed the line first would take the win and the championship.
As the race neared completion it appeared that Alamaa’s tires may have been going away as he was getting a little loose coming out of turn four and that was just enough to allow Smith to cross the line first taking the win, the sweep, and most importantly the season championship.
The great thing about this epic battle was that both drivers gave it their all but also raced with great respect for one another never once making very much contact with the other driver. It was truly one of the most exciting and dramatic feature events and seasons finale’s in the last 10 years of racing at CNS.
#24 Eric Bowers had a marvelous season taking home the 3rd place spot as well as 3rd and 6th place in the two final main events.
Wade Grove in the #3 car had a quiet but consistent 2019 season taking 4th place in the final standings and the final spot in the top 5 went to David Hondel who missed the final night of racing but entered the night only 10 points behind Smith and Alamaa.
40 Lap Feature: #31 Derek Smith 20 Lap Feature: #31 Derek Smith Quick Time: #31 Derek Smith 16.948
Champion: #31 Derek Smith Rookie of the Year: #43 Chris Donnelson
SUNOCO Race Fuel Grand American Modifieds
Clint Schubert had a frustrating 2019 season in the SUNOCO Race Fuels Grand American Modifieds missing most of it after crashing early in the season. But Clint finished strong after getting his car back together winning 2 of the last 3 feature events one of which came on the final night in the first 20 lap main event.
Schubert takes feature one (Starr photo)
But the season belonged to Ed Vecchiarelli in the gorgeous #18 car taking 5 feature events in 2019 and another six top three finishes. Ed had locked up the championship before the final 40 lap feature began but there is no complacency with the Vecchiarelli’s as he went on to win the final feature of the season with relative ease.
Ed has now won an incredible 4 track championships in the Grand American Modifieds 1992, 1993, 2017 and now 2019.
Charlie Wilson had yet another strong season taking home the runner-up spot in the final season standings in the #59 car.
Possibly the most dramatic part of the season was the race for Rookie of the Year between #4 Marcus Kelly and #37 Landon Birney. It appeared that Birney had it all wrapped up in the final feature event until bad luck struck the #37 as his car broke and he had to leave the track handing the ROTY title over to Kelly. Kelly finished 3rd in points and Birney 4th.
John Seely in the bright orange #66 had a solid season taking home the 5th place spot in the final season standings which is even more impressive considering he didn’t run a full season in 2019.
40 Lap Feature: #18 Ed Vecchiarelli 20 Lap Feature: 44s Clint Schubert Quick Time: #48 Eddie Vecchiarelli 16.347
Champion: #18 Ed Vecchiarelli Rookie of the Year: #4 Marcus Kelly
Lincoln Tech Pure Stocks
It was a dream season for Ryan Raley Jr who took the Lincoln Tech Pure Stock Championship. Not only did Ryan claim the title but he also swept the final night setting quick time and winning both feature events. Raley won four feature events in 2019 but also had four 2nd place finishes that was more than enough to catapult him 55 points over his next closest competitor Justin Karroll in the #82 machine.
Karroll also had a great season taking 2nd in the points and not even running a full schedule at the track. Matt Hill took 3rd in points on the strength of his consistency and his first ever feature win on September 7th.
It will be interesting to see which division Raley moves up to in 2020.
30 Lap Feature: 99JR Ryan Raley Jr. 20 Lap Feature: 99JR Ryan Raley Jr. Quick Time: 99JR Ryan Raley Jr. 19.603
Champion: 99JR Ryan Raley Jr.
Witthar Racing Trains
If there is one thing you can count on in the Witthar Racing Trains is you will see a Wall as track champion which has happened the prior 5 years with Jared Wall. This season it was Jereme Wall and Chad Sutherland in the 151 “Crazy Train” that not only took the championship but also the final feature event of the season.
Trains take the green flag! (Starr photo)
Kelly and Vinny in the #45 Trump Train also had a solid season finishing just 18 points back of the 151 Train.
As for Jared he and his brakeman took home the 3rd place trophy in the final points but always put on a great show for the fans.
Feature: #151 Crazy Train Jereme Wall & Chad Sutherland Champion: #151 Crazy Train Jereme Wall & Chad Sutherland
40 Lap Late Model feature Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 31 Derek Smith Mead 2. 8 Dan Alamaa Colorado Springs 3. 24 Eric Bowers Colorado Springs 4. 76 Chad Cowan 5. 3 Wade Grove Thornton 6. 10 Rick Fierro Cheyenne 7. 44 Thomas Powers Pine 8. 33B Christopher Buskirk Bayard NE 9. 50 Justin McKeachie 10. 9 Brent Cave Brighton 11. 58 Jeff Webb Erie 12. 21 Mike Hurst (R) Colorado Springs 13. 75 Emilio Abeyta Denver 14. 1 Dale Geist Colorado Springs 15. 11 Montie Paulsen Pueblo West 16. 16 Steve Mills Colorado Springs 17. 94 Kyle Morse Peyton 18. 98 Lee Kemmit Brighton
20 Lap Late Model feature Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 31 Derek Smith Mead 2. 8 Dan Alamaa Colorado Springs 3. 76 Chad Cowan 4. 44 Thomas Powers Pine 5. 10 Rick Fierro Cheyenne 6. 24 Eric Bowers Colorado Springs 7. 3 Wade Grove Thornton 8. 94 Kyle Morse Peyton 9. 9 Brent Cave Brighton 10. 33B Christopher Buskirk Bayard NE 11. 16 Steve Mills Colorado Springs 12. 50 Justin McKeachie 13. 75 Emilio Abeyta Denver 14. 1 Dale Geist Colorado Springs 15. 21 Mike Hurst (R) Colorado Springs 16. 58 Jeff Webb Erie 17. 11 Montie Paulsen Pueblo West 18. 98 Lee Kemmit Brighton
40 Lap Grand American Modified feature Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 18 Ed Vecchirelli 2. 48 Eddie Vecchiarelli 3. 59 Charles Wilson Penrose 4. 66 John Seely Parker 5. 32 Joseph Andrade (R) Colorado Springs 6. 22 Blane Lujan Jr Pueblo West 7. 4 Marcus Kelly (R) Cheyenne 8. 77 Brian McKeever 9. 44S Clint Schubert 10. 43B Lizzy Beierle Ft. Lupton 11. 37 Landon Birney (R) Cheyenne 12. 88 Brad Skufca Greeley
20 Lap Grand American Modified feature Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 44S Clint Schubert 2. 48 Eddie Vecchiarelli 3. 18 Ed Vecchirelli 4. 66 John Seely Parker 5. 59 Charles Wilson Penrose 6. 37 Landon Birney (R) Cheyenne 7. 32 Joseph Andrade (R) Colorado Springs 8. 22 Blane Lujan Jr Pueblo West 9. 4 Marcus Kelly (R) Cheyenne 10. 77 Brian McKeever 11. 43B Lizzy Beierle Ft. Lupton 12. 88 Brad Skufca Greeley
30 Lap Pure Stock Feature Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 99JR Ryan Raley Jr Bennett 2. 21W Jamie Ward Denver 3. 88 Jacob Poole Evans 4. 7 David Robinson Johnstown 5. 60PS Matt Hill Brighton 6. 82 Justin Karrol 7. 23G Mike Gallo Loveland 8. 34 Ronald Johnson (R) Wheatridge 9. 22PS Jay Hill 10. 13S Isaac Slinker Eaton 11. 99W Cole Whitford 12. 4 Brian Galvin Jr Byers 13. 02 Chan Raley Bennett 14. 38C Colton Green 15. 8A Austin Richards Arvada 16. 41G Topher Galvin Byers 17. 2 Neil Davis (R) Brighton DNS 23A Alyssa Salazar (R) Arvada DNS 11 Chandron Denman Commerce City
20 Lap Pure Stock Feature Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 99JR Ryan Raley Jr Bennett 2. 82 Justin Karrol 3. 60PS Matt Hill Brighton 4. 23G Mike Gallo Loveland 5. 21W Jamie Ward Denver 6. 88 Jacob Poole Evans 7. 7 David Robinson Johnstown 8. 22PS Jay Hill 9. 99W Cole Whitford 10. 13S Isaac Slinker Eaton 11. 41G Topher Galvin Byers 12. 4 Brian Galvin Jr Byers 13. 34 Ronald Johnson (R) Wheatridge 14. 02 Chan Raley Bennett 15. 23A Alyssa Salazar (R) Arvada 16. 38C Colton Green 17. 2 Neil Davis (R) Brighton DNS 11 Chandron Denman Commerce City
Trains Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 151 Crazy Train Jeremy & Chad 2. 311 Bipolar Express Cassandra Gonzales 3. 01 Dukes of Hazzards -Lonnie Skaiem 4. 86 Last Call 5. 45 The Trump Train Kelly & Vinny 6. 77 Slimers Revenge 7. 17 Salute to Serve Robert & Lonnie