"I’m pushing him up, he is pushing me down, wheels are rubbing, smoke is flying, just another day of racing." Matt Bentley, September 15th 2012
When it came to September, the competition on track would be intense for all of the fans to watch from both seeing who would win the final two features of 2012, along with who would win the championship.
It all started on September 1st with a four-way battle for the win between Randy Rusnell, Nick Roth, Matt Bentley and Lane Zardo. The final three laps would see the four drivers stay in a tight, tucked together battle that had all the fans on their feet. In the end, it’d be Rusnell beating Zardo at the line by inches to take the victory, while Bentley got third with Roth fourth. Paul Maltese rounded out the top five. Heat wins went to Bentley, Maltese, Zardo and Roth.
Then heading into the final night on September 15th, right away everyone knew it’d be intense as Rusnell came into the night leading Roth by four points. Through the heats, they stayed even. So going into the feature, Roth had to beat Rusnell by two positions to take the championship.
At the start of the feature, the pair would stay close with Roth making the holes and passes, and Rusnell staying on his tail, following him through the traffic. They’d be up to seventh and eighth by lap 11 and then sixth and seventh by halfway. On lap 17, Roth was able to clear Rob Morrison and Rusnell looked to be able to do the same on lap 18. However, that’s when trouble struck for Rusnell as Morrison would make contact with Rusnell, sending him for a spin. As a result, Rusnell would have to restart the race at the back with 12 laps to go.
In one of the most dramatic features of the season, Rusnell began to make his way through the field, up to 10th with seven laps to go, and then ran eighth under a yellow with five laps to go while Roth ran fourth. In the final five laps, Roth moved up to third, though Rusnell would come from eighth to fourth. As a result, the season ended with Roth and Rusnell tied for the points lead. Due to Rusnell winning six features while Roth won one, it’d be Rusnell taking the championship.
On the flip side, the race for the lead would have its dramatic conclusion as Bentley took Zardo and Maltese three-wide and then battled with Zardo throughout the second half of the feature, barely beating Zardo at the line for the win. It marked Bentley’s first feature win of the season.
When it comes to the statistics and the heats, it’d be Rusnell scoring the best average finish at a second after a win, a pair of seconds and a third. Roth would have the second best average finish at 2.25 following two wins, a third and a fourth. Bentley also finished the month with an average finish of 2.25 in his heats, following a win, two seconds and a fourth. The fourth best average with a tie between Herb Walters and Maltese as they both scored an average finish of 2.75.
In the features, Bentley and Zardo topped the list with an average finish of second for both of them. Zardo had a pair of second place finishes while Bentley had a win and a third. Rusnell had the third best average finish at 2.5 following a win and a fourth. The fourth best average belonged to Roth with a 3.5 following a fourth and a third.
If I told you that Dan Archibald had a good month, that’d be lying. So in good mention, Dan Archibald found himself in hot water again, this time spinning Cayden Lapcevich around during the September 1st feature. Though, there was some fun with it this month. Archibald ran a black flag on his car to, in a way, black flag himself since it seems that everyone always want to give him the black flag and paint the bad hat on him. However, with every track, you need the drivers to cheer for and those to not like as that’s what makes it interesting.
KUDOS to both Stephen Wilson and Jay Cutting as they both scored their first heat top fives of the season on the final night. Good way to end the season off and look to carry the momentum to 2013.