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NASCAR Advance Auto Parts State Championship Heats Up in Final Weekend

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

RALEIGH, N.C., Sept. 14, 2022 /Wake County Speedway/ — The battle for the NASCAR North Carolina State Championship will head to Wake County Speedway on Friday night September 16th.

Two weeks ago, it appeared the Bowman Gray Stadium Racing’s Open-Wheeled Modified driver Tim Brown would cruise to the state title, but after a couple of good finishes for Goldsboro’s Clay Jones at Wake County the last two races, the gap has narrowed.

Bowman Gray Stadium driver versus Wake County Speedway driver for the NASCAR N.C. Points Championship.

Jones the current WCS track points leader, who is currently 2nd to Brown, has 388 points to Brown’s 396 points. In a full field of 16 cars, Jones would need to finish 3rd to tie Brown or finish higher to take the outright points lead. If Jones and Brown were to tie, Jones would win the State Championship by virtue of his number of wins; 7 wins to Brown’s 0 wins in 2022.

Since Bowman Gray Stadium’s season is complete and no other tracks in North Carolina have the Open-Wheeled Modified division, Tim Brown’s only option to stave off Jones’ challenge would be for Brown to compete in a relatively unfamiliar Late Model division at another NASCAR-sanctioned track and would need to also finish 3rd or better.

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In related news, area race fans can watch the top drivers in all seven regular divisions at Wake County Speedway compete for the track points championship Friday, September 16th, including the battle between Late Model Series points leader Clay Jones (#15) and Ethan Johnson (#51) who is currently second in points.

Going into this Friday night's 60-lap Late Model feature, Johnson only trails Jones by 15 points. So far this season, Jones has won seven LMS races at Wake County while Johnson has won four. In fact, these two drivers have consistently finished in second place, an impressive 10 times out of 16 races this season, which is a testament to their consistency and the reason both are vying for the 2022 LMS Division Championship at Wake.

Outside of the Late Model division at Wake County Speedway, the Zaxby's Charger Division points race features four drivers who have a legitimate chance at taking the title. Michael O'Brian (#61) leads with 149 points and is followed closely by Shotgun Miller (#14), Chad Williams (#4w), and Austin Ferrell (#41).

While O'Brien leads Miller by 12 points currently, Miller is ahead of third-place Williams by 4 points while Williams has but a mere 1 point lead over 4th place Ferrell.

Other tight points battles to watch Friday night at America's Favorite Bullring include the Modified Four Cylinder contest between Kevin Jefferys (#21) and defending division champion Dennis Capps (#63). Capps won the first race of the season on April 1st and has six, second-place finishes through 11 races. Jefferys came on strong this season with nine Mod-4 wins in a row and a third-place result on September 9th.

In the Country Superstars Bandolero Series, Josh Lowe (#23) came from behind, late in the season to claim the top spot with 375 points so far, passing rival driver, Phoenyx Kimball (#88) who's in second-place with 361 points. The 2022 Bandolero Track Champion will be awarded a $500 Three Sixteen Motorsports Gift Card courtesy of division title sponsor, Country Superstars 102.3 (WKJO-FM).

Drivers with a slim shot at their division trophy Friday night during the Capital CJD 185 include Aaron Crumpler (#00) who trails INEX Legend driver Carson Haislip (#08) by 28 points. The 2022 INEX Legend Track Champion will be awarded a $500 Three Sixteen Motorsports Gift Card courtesy of track sponsor, Crippin' Ain't Easy Racing (Bennett Jewett).

Similarly, in the Regal Driving Academy Bomber Division, Sammy Pacitti (#22g) holds a 27-point lead over his second-place rival, Daniel Stephenson (#8d). Of note, Pacitti has won a whopping 12 races this season at Wake County Speedway along with a second finish. The only race where he either didn't win or come in second, was the race he didn't attend...on June 10th.


Since we've been talking about points and championships, let's try to answer a common question from race fans and sometimes drivers too...

You may have noticed after checking the weekly points standings for Wake County Speedway at that they don't match the "official standings" updates we post on social media that include what we call a "drop race."

"What is a drop race" is a question we usually hear later into each season as we draw nearer to the final race and begin auditing our points scoring in each division. Here's a (hopefully) simple but thorough explanation:

1) Each grassroots race track in the nation (even a NASCAR Sanctioned track like Wake County), has its own points scoring system. At WCS, the winning driver of a race is scored 30 points, with each subsequent position earning 1-point less. Second place earns 29 points, third place earns 28 points and so on.

2) Because we run between 15 to 18 races in a season (depending on the division), we can't expect every driver in every division to be able to attend every race on the schedule. We all have lives outside of the race track. It would not be fair to award points to the driver who "shows-up" to the most or "all" of the races on the schedule. It would be great if every participating driver could attend every race all season but that is just not realistic, so we have what is called a "drop race."

3) Every division at WCS gets one "drop" during the season. A drop is the driver's worst performance of the season (to date). Example, if a driver wins 3 races, earning 30 points per win, finishes in second a couple of races, earning 29 points each, but finishes in fifth place at some point during the season (earning 26 points), that driver's "drop race" would be the fifth-place finish.

So instead of having a total of 174 points, the driver in the example above would have 148 points because the worst result, (earning 26 points) would be dropped from the points total.

However, if the same driver missed a race completely, the "missed race" would be the driver's "drop race." A missed race on the WCS schedule is considered "0 points." Therefore, in the scenario just described, (0) would be subtracted from (174) resulting in a total of 174 points. The missed/drop race, if that is the driver's worst performance, will be calculated from the first scheduled race of the season, to the final scheduled race of the season, regardless of when a driver may have begun "their" season at WCS.

4) Wake County Speedway has been using the "drop race system" since at least 2012 and possibly longer. Every driver in every division is informed of the current drop race policy in the mandatory driver's meeting at the beginning of the season. At the start of the 2022 season at Wake County, all drivers were notified that the Late Model division would receive an additional "drop race" in tallying the points total. In other words, the other six divisions would continue with one drop race in 2022 but Late Models would use a "two-drop" points system.

5) Wake County Speedway uses for entering scoring info taken live from our race monitor software during each race. Our NASCAR / INEX Chief Timing & Scoring Official, Andrew Tyree, monitors and audits manually, all scoring before it posts on the My Laps website. (This is to ensure that a scoring error due to a software malfunction, is caught and corrected).

The My Laps system allows fans and drivers to see the current points standings and race results. The final, official points tally however, must include the "drop rule" as set forth by Wake County Speedway.


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