Wednesday, January 17, 2007

2006 Mini Stock Season: A Look Back

2006 Mini Stock Season: A Look Back

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 2006 season for the mini stock division proved to be the most competitive season in the past few years. 15 different drivers got behind the wheel of one car or another, and nearly half (seven to be exact) of those who raced earned at least one victory. Craig Baker proved to be the driver with the most main event wins in the class as well as the most wins of all the divisions at the Acres with a total of five wins. Unfortunately, Baker missed several races due to on track incidents which kept him from making a run at the track championship.

The championship battle turned out to be a tight one between Glenn Bernald, Chad Grammer, Brian McIntosh, Stacy Minnick and Brian Murrell, however as the season wound down, the duel was between Grammer and Murrell. Brian Murrell was never quiet able to make it to victory lane in main event action, but he consistently put himself in the top five race after race. Grammer’s season was full of highs and lows. Grammer won three main events but several times found himself finishing out of the top five. At season’s end, Grammer was able to narrowly defeat Murrell for the title, 805 points to Murrell’s 797.

Brian McIntosh and Glenn Bernald had a spirited duel for the third points position. McIntosh won one main event while Bernald wasn’t able to get a main win. However, the final points showed McIntosh only one point ahead of Bernald, 777-776. One of the most improved drivers was fifth place points finisher Stacy Minnick. Stacy became the second female to win in the mini stock class joining Sandra Woodhurst in that distinction. She made it a point to finish in the top five in nearly all of the races.

Scott Baker was one of the faster cars all season, but like his brother Craig, Scott has on track misfortune that caused him to miss a few races. Scott was able to take home two wins during the season. Denzel Barrett was another driver who greatly improved in the 2006 season. Denzel actually tied Scott Baker in points, but because Baker scored more wins he took the sixth place points finish while Barrett took seventh. Byron McIntosh made a good impression in his first season behind the wheel of a mini stock and finished eighth place in points while Craig Baker took the ninth spot. Nick Karanopoulos was only able to get out for a few races, but earned enough points to take the tenth place points position.

Two of the drivers who finished outside of the top ten in points won one race, those drivers being Jerry Peterson and Jaison Chand. Max Capp drove Peterson’s truck in a handful of races as well. Robbie Robinson brought his truck out near season’s end and he was able to get more comfortable in the new vehicle with each race. The racing judge John Morrison also made a few appearances, while Mac Collado brought his car out to race on one occasion, however he wasn’t scored points.

The 2007 season appears to be wide open with Chad Grammer departing. The obvious favorite has to be Craig Baker who proved to be the class of the field when he was out, along with his brother Scott who was able to hold his own. But Murrell, McIntosh, Bernald and Minnick will be in the fight too, along with several others.

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