Coming into last Saturday night’s event on the America First Credit Union Super Oval at Rocky Mountain Raceways, both Jimmy Waters (No. 24) and Ryan Burdett (No. 36) were tied for the championship points lead. This week Waters finds himself atop the point standings alone by just a mere 14-points over Burdett.
They got to this stage after Burdett blew an engine while leading during the main event, which caused a long red flag period.
While sitting on the front-stretch waiting for the track to be cleared, the No. 24 machine began leaking onto the racing surface. As a result, Waters’ car was pushed to the attention of his crew to make the repairs necessary to allow him to continue.
And what his team did was clutch in a situation where they needed to capitalize on the misfortune of Burdett and his team.
The 24 team surrounded the car and began thrashing to patch-up the problem before the race went green. Amazingly, they did that and then some.
Not only did Waters return to the feature-without going a single lap down-but the car appeared to be on rails when the race went green.
The former Young Automotive Group USAC/SLVRA Sprint Car Series champion then set his sights on Kenny Hamilton (No. 80) who was leading the feature. Waters then got around the Meridian, Idaho native and never looked back as he scored the most clutch win of the 2011 season.
The work that his team did on this night is what trying to win a championship is all about. It is a team like that places confidence in a driver when the stakes are high.
Now, I do want to emphasize that a 14-point lead is certainly not a comfortable position to be in. However, this does put Waters in a position where in many ways he controls his own destiny.
But, as this championship chase has proven between these two teams, anything can happen entering this final night of the season.
(Note: For those who were at RMR last Monday night (09/05,) please bring your ticket stub to the ticket booth for free admission into this Saturday night’s event (09/10.)
Trust me, with other championships on the line, this will be a great night of racing.
Russ Sala Jr.