By: Dave Menefee




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A true night of champions at Old Dominion Speedway, letís start with the Winning Edge Performance & Graphics Speedway Sportsman Division.  First a tip of the hat to Winning Edge, the Gastonís have always been big supporters of ODS and as fans we appreciate their support.  Jamie DeMattio of Brookeville, MD owned this division all season long.  With 11 wins, Jamie had this title locked up early and now the question is what will he do next year.  This is a driver that Iíd really love to see in a Grand Stock.  I think Jamie has the ability to be a winner right out of the box.  Letís hope he can find the funding in the off-season to make the move.

Whatís on tap for these guys next year?  Many thought the division would soon be gone but that is NOT the case.  There will be some changes for next year; the Speedway Sportsman will run an 8 race season with the idea of bringing the total cost for a season down.  This should allow more drivers to race the full season and increase the size of the fields.  So who will be the guys to beat?  Mike Watson in the 46 didnít have a win this season but was consistently one of the fastest, if he chooses to come back next year, the wins will follow.  Joe Edwards showed great potential this year and should easily find victory lane next year.  David Smith and Mark Averi both got a win this season and if they return to the division, I imagine they would be the pre-season favorites to win it all.  Of course, if Jeff Sisak ran all of the races, he would be tough to beat as well.  The Speedway Sportsman division should be something special next year. 

The Kay Jennings Springfield Toyota Mini Modifieds belonged to Colt White this year with 11 wins and a championship.  Somebody get this guy into a Late Model, I think heís ready.  Ken Datesman picked up a win in the final race of the season and could dominate next year.  Scott Roux missed victory lane this season but should get there next season and if we handed out a Goodyís Headache Award in this division it would have to go to Sean Ballentine, if he can shake away the bad luck, he will win the championship next year.  If you look at the top ten in points, anyone of those guys could be the champ next year and if Bobby Able ran the entire season he could give Ďem all a run for their money. 

The Redman Fleet Services Grand Stocks provided more high drama this season than a whole year of The O. C.; the championship was decided by 2 points.  Willard Lawrence is a deserving champion.  Michael Hardin is the heir apparent, if he stays in Grand Stocks for next year.  Look for both of these guys to run a late model in the ODS Big One and if they can find the support, run a full season of Late Model next year.  This was a hard fought championship, this was competitive, this was fun to watch.  Both teams drove hard and at the end of the season they were the first to congratulate each other.  So if Willard and Michael go Late Model racing, what happens to the Grand Stocks?  I look for a ton of cars, and a wide open championship. 

Ron Jardine and Les Miranda would have to be early favorites.  Chris Donnelly announced that he would run selected races next year in Grand Stock so he should be a factor and Mark Miller should pick up some wins next year in the number nine.  There was a great field this past Saturday night and that bodes well for next year.  Donít forget, the Grand Stocks will be part of the ODS Big One in October.

The Legends still have one points race left (at the Big One) and Jason Miller and Ryan Ellis are within 6 points of each other.  Weíll re-cap their season after the Big One.

U-Cars will be a ton of fun next year, look for 20 U-Cars by the time the season starts.    

And that leaves the Late Models.  First of all congratulations to Brandon Butler the champion, it was not an easy season and surely didnít go as the Baileyís Team had planned but in the end the goal is reached.  Brandon:  as a fan of ODS I hope you are back next year with a goal of winning a regional or even a national title.

Danny Fair is Old Dominion Speedway.  Old Dominion Speedway without Danny Fair isnít Old Dominion Speedway.  My hope is to see the #1 Dodge back next year and see Danny racing for a championship.

Jack Bailey and Andreas Kestermann will be hard to beat in 2005; heck, they were hard to beat in 2004.  The last month of the season Jack Bailey was THE man to beat and will be next year as well.  Kestermann saw victory 4 times this year and will be back on the top of his game after a hard wreck a week ago.

Here are a few more things to consider for next year:  Will it be Boswellís break-out season?  How will Willard and Michael do?  If Collabucci drove the entire season in one car how good would he be?  Gunter, Carter, Southard and Lucas all finished in the top ten in points, can they move forward next year?  Will Bucher run the full season in his new Dodge?  How good can Jimmy Hardin be if he runs the full season?  Can Brandon repeat?  Can Danny return to form?  You can look at the top 20 in Late Model points this season and find 20 drivers who could win a race next season, thatís pretty good.

The ODS Big One on October 23rd should give us a little peek into what next season holds in store; Iíll see you there.


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