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Keeping Pace

Thu., July 2, 2009, 4:30 a.m.

Dillon Leads Championship Heading into Double Header Weekend

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

John Dillon, a former NASCAR NW Tour champion, has been on a hot streak as of late winning two of the series last three races along with a runner-up finish last month at Magic Valley.

Distributed by RMCS Public Relations

For the first time in series history, the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series will stage a doubleheader weekend. Friday night the popular Late Model Stock Car touring series will visit Magic Valley Speedway located outside Twin Falls, Idaho for a 125-lap Pepsi sponsored event then head west to Meridian (ID) Speedway for the NAPA Auto Parts Bottle Rocket “150” Saturday July 4th  led by championship leader John Dillon of Eagle.

Dillon, a former NASCAR NW Tour champion, has been on a hot streak as of late winning two of the series last three races along with a runner-up finish last month at Magic Valley. “This weekend is going to be tough,” Dillon said. “But at the same time this is going to be one of the most exciting racing weekends of the year. I can’t wait to get back on track and hopefully go two for two this weekend." 

Dillon has started 25 RMCS events since 2004 with three wins, three Sharp Powder Coating Fast Time Awards, ten top five and 15 top ten finishes during that span. Friday night at Magic Valley is a pivotal race in this year’s championship chase not only for Dillon but for all the series teams as racing on back-to-back nights may make or break each driver’s title hopes. “The race at Magic Valley will be great as they always are and I just hope to be there at the end with no issues,” Dillon stated. “The race at Meridian on the other hand is going to be a big challenge. The 150-lap distance helps but with a full field of cars you are going to be constantly running in traffic. You have to be aggressive enough not to get lapped but no so aggressive that you tear the nose off the car.” 

“Everyone from this area wants to win in this series,” Dillon said. “I now the racing this weekend is going to be great because you add in all the local drivers joining the series this weekend and then having Garrett Evans competing along with the series regulars, it is going to be great. I just hope we are there at the end of both races." 

There have been 21 RMCS races at Magic Valley Speedway since 2004 with 13 different winners. Bobby Latham has the most series wins (4) at the facility with four other drivers with at least two wins. There have been six different winners in the last eight CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series events at Magic Valley. On the other hand, there have been five different winners in five series races staged at Meridian Speedway with Tom Hill of Eagle picking up the win in the series last visit to the quarter mile paved oval in 2006.  

Dave Minegar of Boise is the track record holder at Meridian Speedway with a quick lap of 13.520 seconds around the tight and tricky quarter-mile oval set back in June of 2006. Minegar is the career leader in Sharp Powder Coating Fast Time Awards for the series with 21 and is excited to see the series return to Meridian Speedway. “We have a great series and lot of the drivers started their racing careers at Meridian Speedway so it will be great to get back in front of our fans,” Minegar said. 

Returning to Meridian Speedway is important to the series. “Getting back on the schedule at Meridian is a big deal for the series,” stated Mike Minegar, president of the RMCS. “From a sponsorship perspective, this is a very important market. From a driver’s perspective, it is great to showcase the series in front of great race fans in the Treasure Valley.

Don Newman, Al Russell, Adam (Nelson) and his team have worked real hard to bring the series back to Meridian and we are thrilled to be part of what will be the biggest night of racing this season.” “We are excited about the weekend ahead,” Minegar said. “Racing on consecutive nights is going to be tough but it will also give the drivers, teams, and fans a great weekend of racing to celebrate our Independence. I know it will be standing room only at both venues and the fireworks shows will cap two great nights of racing action.” 

Looking to get his season back on track is Jeff Jefferson of Naches, WA. Jefferson, a former three-time NASCAR champion, has taken over driving duties in Tom Hill’s winning racecar this season and is searching for his first series victory. “You really do not know how tough this series is until you come race with these guys,” Jefferson said. “We have struggled a bit but we feel we have a great car for both races and it would be great to put Tom Hill back in victory lane this weekend.” 

John Dillon stands atop the point standings by one point over two-time series champion Dave Minegar with Craig Bell of Kuna in third just 22-points out of first. Former series champion John Newhouse of Twin Falls is fourth with rookie Jonathon Gomez rounding out the top five. Jefferson holds down the sixth position followed Steve Jones of Meridian, two-time series champion Zan Sharp, Dylan Caldwell of Meridian, and Travis Monett rounding out the top ten in the point standings. 

Local Meridian standouts joining the RMCS this weekend are John Nesmith, Craig Doehling, Dan Lowther, and Dan Buckley. Add in the rest of the series regulars and you have an all-star field of competitors slated for one of the most exciting race weekends of the year. 

The RMCS utilizes a racing format not found in ANY other regional touring series around the country. The top 20 qualifiers are inverted for every race putting fast time in the 20th starting position. This format ensures race fans see what they paid for and that is passing. Each driver is awarded three points per position gained in the event. Points are also awarded for qualifying and heat race finishes. Through the history of the series, the winning driver has averaged a 15th place starting position. To ensure competition, the RMCS pays it purse based on total point accumulation for the event and provides several special performance awards for the event.  

The CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series is a regional touring series that allows all competitors to race and gain experience on different types of racetracks. It is a high-quality professional racing series that offers maximum opportunity at an affordable price serving the intermountain West. The motto of the series is to “Race Hard and Have Fun!” For all the latest news and information regarding the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series log on to our website at

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.