By Lonnie Wheatley
PEORIA, Ariz. – The dirt will be flying at Canyon Speedway Park over the course of two nights this weekend as the 1/3-mile clay oval hosts the inaugural running of the Mr. Excitement 40, a tribute to Terry Belcher.
The track’s hotly-contested IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modifieds, along with the West Coast Late Models will headline the action on both Friday and Saturday night. The Viper Smart Start Pure Stocks and Renegades are in action both nights as well with the dwarf cars filling out Saturday night’s Mr. Excitement 40 finale.
Both nights of racing action get under way at 7 p.m.
A host of drivers will be looking to capture the inaugural rendition of the Mr. Excitement 40, the event named for Terry Belcher who ranked as the all-time winningest driver at Manzanita Speedway during a career that produced at least 10 championships and more than 250 overall feature wins at tracks throughout Arizona.
With the IMCA Modified championship hanging in the balance over the weekend, only six points separate the top three of Ricky Thornton Jr., Jason Noll and Anthony Madrid with Jay Foster just 13 points off Thornton’s lead pace in fourth.
While Noll tops the Modified win charts at Canyon with four victories this year, Thornton holds a five-point advantage over Noll with a pair of wins to his credit including the most recent event on Aug. 17.
Madrid, just one point behind Noll in third in Modified points, has also topped four of the five most recent Viper Smart Start Pure Stock features as Chris McCurdy Jr. holds a 23 point advantage over Joe Vlasity in the title chase.
Fresh off first career West Coat Late Model series win at the beginning of the month, Tony Toste leads the way into the weekend for the Late Model ranks with a 24-point advantage over Steve Drake with Nick Bartels, Jason Papich and Clay Daly rounding out the current top five.
The Dwarf Cars have offered up four different winners in as many CSP outings with Ryan Hennessey the most recent victor on Aug. 17.
Tickets for this weekend’s Mr. Excitement 40 are $15 on both Friday and Saturday, with a $2 discount for Military, Seniors and Students. Children ages 7-12 are $6, with children six and under admitted free. VIP passes are available for $20.
Hotel Information can be found at http://www.canyonspeedwaypark.com/fan-info/lodging/ or by calling the Holiday Inn Express at 623-853-1313.