Season Championship night provided lots of drama as three drivers had a shot at winning the Oakshade Raceway Late Model Points. Kris Patterson carried a mere seven point advantage over Brian Ruhlman into the evening’s events. Aaron Scott also carried a slim shot at the championship starting off 50 points back from Patterson.
Brian Ruhlman was the first to drop out of contention in the points race after failing to finish his heat event. That relegated him to a terrible starting position in his consolation race. Ruhlman started at the tail and ran out of laps finishing fifth, two spots behind the last car to transfer into the feature. Not making the feature ended his chances of winning championship and was a tough way to end a great year.
Kris Patterson had his share of bad luck as well. He missed transferring into the feature by one position in his heat and had to try to make it in through the same consolation race Ruhlman was in. Patterson ended up winning that event to make it in to the feature.
Aaron Scott was the only driver in the top five in points to make it in to the feature in the extremely competitive late model division by finishing second in his heat race.
Scott entered the 30-lap Season Championship feature clinging to a long shot at winning the points championship.
Scott’s chances of the improbable looked to improve before a single lap was completed in the feature. A massive pile up in turn two just after taking the green flag brought out the red flag as the track was totally blocked. At least 10 of the 21 cars in the event were involved in the accident. Among them was the O car of Kris Patterson.
A few drivers were eliminated from the race due to the crash, some went to the pits and came back out after repairs before the restart and others continued on with their damaged cars, as was the case with Patterson. Patterson did stop on the track while still under the red flag and the damage was surveyed, but no one could work on the car, otherwise Patterson would have been relegated to the tail of the field for the restart.
Two laps after the restart, Steve Miller spun and collected Aaron Scott. Scott took his car back to the pits and Patterson seemed to have things in the bag, but just as the field was taking the green flag on the restart, Scott rejoined the race at the back of the pack.
Wayne Miller was the early leader in the race with Brian Koebbe running a close second.
Ron Miller slowed on the backstretch and looked to be headed to the pits. Aaron Scott tried to squeeze between Miller and another car and ran out of room. Scott made contact with Miller. That would end any of Scott’s chances of catching Patterson. Scott took his car to the pits again and came back out to only run one more lap before parking his car for good.
With the points championship seemingly settled, the focus was back on the race in which Koebbe had taken the lead from Wayne Miller, but Todd Schroyer snatched the lead from Koebbe on lap 11 and began to drive away.
Schroyer went on to open up a huge lead on the rest of the field and looked like he was going to pick up his first win of the year until he spun all by himself with just two laps to go and brought out the yellow flag.
Schroyer was sent to the back for the restart, which set up a shootout between Brian Koebbe and Kris Patterson in the final laps.
Patterson made a move to get inside of Koebbe for the lead as they entered the final corner. Koebbe barely held off Patterson to win the exciting Late Model Season Championship feature.
Patterson finished second, but as the unofficial Oakshade Raceway Late Model Points Champion, he will receive $10,000, a Rayburn chassis and a Bert transmission.
Scott Fisk was the third place finisher in the race with Rick Green and Ken Hahn rounding out the top five.
Tim Fisher took the lead early in the sportsman feature event with Jeremy Grover right behind.
After a caution for a spin by Steve Kester on lap four, Grover would get by Fisher to take the lead on lap five. That lead was short-lived as Fisher regained the lead by lap eight and then began to put some distance between himself and Grover.
Grover had more trouble on lap 15 after slipping up high in turns three and four and falling from second back to sixth in the running order.
Fisher went on to win his third consecutive sportsman feature and added to his overall point lead over Ray Klawitter who did not finish because he was involved in a crash with Amy Bernard back on lap 13.
Rob Liaeff posted a second place finish ahead of Dale Cole, Brian Fisher and John Bailey.
Kris Patterson made repairs to his car during the sportsman feature and was the only driver to be in his own car for the Race of Champions featuring previous late model points champions.
Bill Hahn, Ron Miller, Rod Schroyer and George Lindsey were all in borrowed cars for the event and were all non-factors as Patterson, the 1992, 2000 and unofficially 2004 champion, dominated the race.
Jake Rendel, Josh Steinacker and Bill Couts were the top three for much of the bomber A Main. Couts would relinquish third after pulling off the track on a late caution.
BJ Gregory got sideways coming off turn four on the following restart and Jody Burton drilled the 56 car of Gregory after his car came down in front of him. Both drivers were done for the night.
Jake Rendel went on to hold off Josh Steinacker in the closing laps to win the bomber A Main. Brian Stricklin finished third and Bob Rendel was fourth.
Jim Chapman took command of the bomber B Main early on leading a three-car breakaway with Ron Tolles and Jeff Foks.
Tolles took the lead midway through the race and held off a late charge from Brad Blonde to win. Chapman ended up third followed by Jeff Foks and Curt Lancaster.
Rain began falling as the final race of the night took to the track. Kevin Hanford took the lead and never looked back in the rain-shortened bomber C Main.
Dan Drummond, Terry Rump, Ian Lewis and Jeff Potridge were the rest of the top five finishers.
Saturday, September 4, will be the final night of competition for the late models in 2004 at Oakshade Raceway (with the exception of the topless late model show on September, 25). It will be the fourth and final American Late Model Series presented by Sunoco event paying $2,000 to the winner of the feature. Sportsmen and bombers will also be in action.