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Keeping Pace

Fri., Sept. 11, 2009, 12:15 a.m.


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

Much of the points earned by a late model driver at Montana Raceway Park are awarded in the region’s biggest events.

Courtesy: Montana Raceway Park Media Relations

KALISPELL, Mont. (September 10, 2009)-Alex Lessor has the hot hand in Montana Raceway Park’s late model division. When someone other then the driver of the Army-Navy Chevrolet is atop the points standings the former Legends division star has answered with strong runs to regain the position.

Bodie Morton took advantage of Lessor’s misfortune in the Montana 200 back in July to grab the top spot in the points chase. Lessor came back with a top-5 finish in August to put a 10-point cushion between himself and Morton’s Cattlemen’s Chevrolet heading into Saturday night’s Twisted Tea 100 season championship event.

Points have not been Lessor’s concern during each race this season, he admitted.

“I haven’t really looked at the points all year but the crew tells me it’s close. I didn’t want to race this season for points but instead concentrate on getting wins each time out. I hope we can be competitive each race and be there at the end but this weekend I know that Bodie will be tough to beat.”

Morton and Lessor have battled for race wins and titles in the past on the high-banked quarter-mile Kalispell facility and this weekend’s finale will be no different, Lessor noted.

“I’ve raced Bodie for a few years and I am not surprised that he’s in the thick of things this season. I think this (championship race) is going to be a lot of fun for the fans and for us out there.”

With Raceway Park legend, Bob Schweigert, heading up the No. 53 crew Lessor knows how important it would be to the past Montana 200 champion to get the championship, he added.

“It’d be pretty cool to win the championship this weekend for Bob that’s for sure since he has me driving one of his cars. (Schweigert) isn’t wrapped up in the points anymore then I am. He wants us to go out there and run 100 laps and see what happens. That approach has taken the pressure off and allowed me to go out each week and compete and not focus on the goal of a championship.”

Much of the points earned by a late model driver at Montana Raceway Park are awarded in the region’s biggest events. From the Battle of the Borders (won by Morton) to the Napa 100 (won by Lessor) to earning points against Gary Lewis, Mark Owens, David Garber and other regional stars-the format brings out the best in a driver in every race, Lessor said.

“I think the format of how Raceway Park gives out points for the late model season is really cool. If you win this championship you’ve had to run well against the best competition there is in our region which makes ours more than just a local class because the competition comes in here to race so often.”

Lessor has been behind the wheel of his late model twice since mid-July based on the schedule but he has kept himself busy running a Thunder Roadster and Legends car. The fill-in races have been relaxing, he explained.

“It has been a lot of fun and a way to go out and relax and just run the track after we’d had a few bad weekends earlier in the summer.”

Having been successful in Legends car prior to moving up to late models has been great preparation for the run towards a potential late model championship, Lessor added.

“Our Legends class here at Montana Raceway Park is a good stepping stone for someone wanting to run in the late models so when you think about it I am not surprised that guys like Micah Sampson (a past Raceway Park champion) and Wrango West (who sits in third place for the chase to the 2009 late model championship) have done so well in this division since coming out of the (Legends) class.”

Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. on Saturday night with qualifying at 6 and opening ceremonies set for 7. Also racing this weekend will be the Hobby Stocks, Compacts and Westward Bound Construction/Keller Williams Legends.

For tickets and other information log onto or call (406) 257-RACE (7223).

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Keeping Pace

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