(Photo Courtesy of iRacing.com)
Gerald Campbell all but locked up the Grand National Series title with his win last week at Dover. John Weitendorf was unable to attend the race, costing him 170 points. Campbell holds a nearly insurmountable 134 point lead over second place Hank Steinmiller. Steinmiller gave a run to close the gap last week at Dover, grabbing the pole, leading a race high 75 laps, and ultimately getting caught up in a late race crash that saw him finish 4th. Campbell had quite the early scare getting a piece of the wall but was able to regroup and charge back for his 3rd win of the season.
This week the series wraps up with its 12th and final race of the season at the iconic North Wilkesboro. North Wilkesboro is a 5/8 mile oval with minimal banking and little grip to be had. Cutting turns 1-2 short will leave the car clipping the grass and disaster for anyone behind them. As the tires wear out, there is opportunity for side by side racing, with the bottom line proving harder to complete the pass trying to be made. You will see contact, cautions, and tempers all night long. Dover brought some fireworks between drivers. North Wilkesboro may be here to settle those battles. Expect carnage and heated debates over right and wrong.
The top 4 in points are pretty well settled with the biggest battle coming between Jake Hounshell and Weitendorf for 3rd place. The gap between the two is only 25 points. There is quite a bit back to 5th place, but 5th-7th is separated by just 49 points. The only way Campbell could see his points lead vanish is a field full of 43 cars and a terminal incident on lap 1. Even with that, Steinmiller would have to win the race and maximize bonus points.
Drivers to watch in this race will start with short track ace Blaine Akin. Akin has led over 400 laps on short tracks this season and is always the favorite when going to a track under a mile. Anthony Guarnieri has come on strong lately, showing winning speed the last 3-4 weeks. Seth Harrelson has also shown speed in practice and qualifying, if luck can strike the right way for him a strong finish will ensue. With the carnage expected tonight, nothing is off the table. Clean cars might be the ticket to a checkered flag tonight. Keep an eye on James Goshen, who has been knocking on the door of the top 10 for three weeks. He may not have top 5 speed but always keeps his car in tact for the end of races.
Single car qualifying will begin at 9 pm et with the race to follow right after on the Flatout Racing Network. The link can be found below.
Blaine Akin 2/1
Gerald Campbell 3/1
Chris Morse Jr 5/1
Jeff Green 7/1
John Weitendorf 8/1
Over/Under on Cautions 13.5