2006 SRL Wild West Late Model Shootout Final Point Standings
Eric Schmidt Wins SRL Finale and Championship
Madera, Calif. (Oct. 8th)— Five drivers had a mathematical chance of winning the 2006 SRL Wild West Late Model Shootout Series Championship Saturday night at Madera Speedway. Eric Schmidt entered the 100 lap race with a five point lead over Jim Courage Jr. Schmidt knew if he finished in the top five and kept the fenders on his car he would win the 2006 Championship. Schmidt did exactly that and more as he jumped out to an early race lead and never looked back winning the race and the championship by 13 points over Courage Jr. Finishing second behind Schmidt in the race was Mike Mendenhall, Jeff Belletto, Ken Boyd as Jim Courage Jr. rounded out the top five.
Jeff Belletto was the fastest of 25 qualifiers. Belletto’s lap of 14.752 kept Joey Zampa was sweeping the fast time position at Madera Speedway in 2006. Zampa stopped the clock in 14.762 seconds. Steve Belletto qualified third, Ken Boyd fourth and Aaron Days fifth.
The 10 car invert placed Bryan Herzog and Mike Mendenhall on the front row for 100 laps of exciting racing. Mendenhall jumped out to an early race lead until lap four when Eric Schmidt took over the lead from his sixth starting position. The first caution flag flew on lap pole sitter Bryan Herzog who lost power and stopped in turn two. The field restarted on lap 25 with Schmidt still the leader but the yellow flag waived again on lap 26 as Jim Courage Jr. spun in turn four. Courage Jr. remained on the lead lap when the field restarted on lap 29.
Schmidt continued to lead at the halfway point as Mendenhall trailed. Jeff Belletto continued in third followed by Steve Belletto, Joey Zampa, Ken Boyd, Troy Ermish, Aaron Days, Angelo Queirolo, and John Gaalswyk. Rick Thompson brought spun on lap 56 bringing out another yellow flag. Thompson would end up finishing in the 18th position. Joey Zampa moved into the fourth position on lap 67 as Steve Belletto fell to fifth. Zampa and Belletto made contact on lap 69 as the two exited turn four. Zampa spun and restarted at the rear of the field. Steve Belletto was put to the rear of the field by the SRL officials for making contact with Zampa. Both drivers restarted at the rear of the field with 29 laps to go.
Meanwhile Jim Courage Jr. was charging his way thru the field after an early race spin. Courage Jr. moved into the fifth position on lap 85. With just 15 laps remaining Mendenhall continued to trail Schmidt and tried everything he could to pass the eventual race winner. Schmidt would go on to win his second race of the 2006 season and the series championship. Schmidt also became the first repeat winner in the 2006 season. "This is why we race, for the championship." Schmidt said. "We had some trouble yesterday during practice and had to repair the rear end, but we got it on the track and running well and we were able to get the win. I want to thank all my sponsors and my crew for all the hard work this year." Mendenhall crossed the finish-line second, Jeff Belletto third, Ken Boyd fourth and Jim Courage Jr. fifth. Troy Ermish recorded another top 10 finish as he finished sixth followed by Joey Zampa, Aaron Days, Angelo Queirolo, as Steve Belletto rounded out the top ten.
Kyle Gottula was awarded the Victory Circle Chassis and Parts Rookie title after a 12th place finish. Gottula beat fellow rookie Jason Gilbert by just 5 points. Previous winners of the Victory Circle Chassis and Parts Rookie of the year award: Jeremy Wood (2005), Mark Smith (2004), Ryan Foster (2003), Rick Ruzbarsky (2002), Tim Stratmeyer (2001).
Ken Boyd won the Performance Electrical Co. trophy dash. Steve Belletto crossed the finish-line second followed by Jeff Belletto and Joey Zampa.
Rick Thompson won the 15 lap non-qualifiers race with Tracy Bolin, Jon Wood, and Chris Straka transferring to the 100 lap feature event. Don Campbell, David Mantooth, Mike Lay, Dennis Schlundt and Scott Sanchez failed to transfer into the feature event.
The SRL Wild West Late Model Shootout will celebrate the 2006 season at the season-ending awards banquet on November 11th at the Holiday Inn Capital Plaza in Sacramento. Eric Schmidt will be crowned the 2006 Series Champion and Kyle Gottula will be awarded the 2006 Victory Circle Chassis and Parts Rookie of the Year title.
The SRL Wild West Shootout would like to thank their 2006 Sponsors, which include: Afco, Bassett Racing Wheels, Brodix Inc., Dynatech, DPI, Eibach Springs, FRE, Five Star Stock Car Bodies, Frank’s Radio Service, G. P. Fabrication, Hoosier Tire West, Impact Racing, Fensler Racing Inc., Madera Auto Center, MUD-Racing.net, Paul Oil Co., Performance Electrical, Peterson Fluid Systems, Pit Stop USA.Com, Sunoco, U.S. Brake, and Victory Circle Chassis and Parts.
SRL Banquet Information:
Interstate 5 and J Street
Block of rooms under SRL
Rate is $114.00