For most of his racing career, Steve Jones from Meridian, Idaho has raced in his home state winning countless races and championships, but over the last couple of years he has mastered Rocky Mountain Raceways located West of Salt Lake City, UT. Saturday night he showed his prowess at RMR earning his sixth Sharp Powder Coating Fast Time Award and scoring his fifth career CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series victory at the high-banked ultra-fast 3/8-mile paved oval.
“The RMCS inverts up to the top 20 from qualifying putting the fast qualifiers at the back to start each race. “
With temperatures during the day soaring over 100 degrees, drivers and teams were tested with what set up to run as the evening set in. The Jones team had no such questions returning to not only familiar surroundings, but familiar notes that have proven to be successful in the past.
Jones set the top qualifying mark for the race with a quick lap of 15.114 seconds to earn his fourth quick time award at RMR and sixth of his career. He was followed in qualifying by series point leader Bruce Quale who has stepped up his game in 2012 which has added to his point total this season. Lynn Hardy, John Nesmith, and Zan Sharp rounded out the top five qualifiers.
The RMCS awards points for qualifying and heat races giving drivers additional incentive to perform. Quale and rookie leader Tyler Bailey scored heat race wins worth 20-points each.
By virtue of the standard RMCS invert, Bobby Hirschbock started on the pole for the 75-lap event and led the first 19 circuits before being overtaken by previous RMR winner Lynn Hardy. Hardy led the next 21-laps.
Three-time series champion Zan Sharp made his way to the front by the mid-way point of the race and took the lead on lap 42. At this point in most RMCS races, the back of the field has worked through traffic and asserted itself in the top five and this was the case at RMR. Sharp led Jones, Quale, Nesmith, Hardy, and Thane Alderman with 25-laps to go.
Tyler Bailey served notice that he has learned from the veterans and made his way by Sharp on lap 56 leading the next 14-laps keeping Sharp, Jones, Alderman, and Hardy at bay.
With five laps to go, tempers flared in the evening heat and consecutive incidents set up a wild finish. First Jones and Sharp tangled dropping them in the running order then Bailey and Hardy got together closing up the field for the final restart on lap 71.
Alderman led lap 71 but Jones blasted by on the top side taking the lead on lap 72 and would hold off a strong challenge from Alderman at the finish. John Nesmith quietly crossed the line in third place followed by point leader Bruce Quale who notched his sixth consecutive top five performance of the season to maintain his point lead. Sharp rallied for fifth place.
Tyler Bailey led the next five at the finish followed by Lynn Hardy, Rick Fowble, Eric Rhead, and Jeff Wade.
The victory for Jones was his fifth career series triumph and all coming at Rocky Mountain Raceways.The win also moved Jones back into second place in the standings narrowing the gap on Quale to 77-points with five races left on the schedule. Nesmith drops to third place 31-points behind Jones. Bailey and Rick Fowble round out the top five.
The next race on the schedule is July 27-28 at Meridian (ID) Speedway for a special two-day event featuring complete race programs and main events each night. Interest in the race has been high and a large field of competitors are expected including former two-time RMCS champion Dave Minegar, 2009 RMCS champion John Dillon, and former series winner and northwest racing legend Garrett Evans.
CarbonX, the world leader in fire protective clothing, is in its fifth season as title sponsor of the RMCS. Along with Century Boatland based in Twin Falls, the two companies provide significant event and series support. Since 1985, Century Boatland has been the Magic Valley headquarters for new and used recreational, pleasure, and fishing boats.
The RMCS utilizes a racing format not found in ANY other regional touring series around the country. The RMCS inverts up to the top 20 from qualifying putting the fast qualifiers at the back to start each race. This format ensures race fans see what they paid for and that is passing. Each driver is awarded three points per position gained in the event. Points are also awarded for qualifying and heat race finishes. Through the history of the series, the winning driver has averaged a 12th place starting position. To ensure competition, the RMCS pays it purse based on total point accumulation for the event and provides several special performance awards at each race.
The series is supported by a great family of sponsors including: CarbonX, Century Boatland, Project Filter, ESI, A-1 Heating & Air Conditioning, Sharp Powder Coating, Five Star Racing Bodies, Hoosier Racing Tires, Frank’s Radios, Performance Solutions, Kidd’s Performance and Dyno, Joes Racing Products, PPG Paint, Circle Racing Wheels, and Mike Minegar’s Auto Body.
About The CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series
The CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series is a regional touring series that allows all competitors to race and gain experience on different types of racetracks. It is a high-quality professional racing series that offers maximum opportunity at an affordable price serving the intermountain West. The motto of the series is to “Race Hard and Have Fun!” For all the latest news and information regarding the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series log on to our website at http://www.rmcsracing.com.
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