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Points Battles to Conclude at Needmore

Points Battles to Conclude at Needmore

EASTABOGA, Ala. — During a 21-event season on the Newsome Raceway Parts-sponsored Crate Racin’ USA Dirt Late Model Series, four determined drivers have battled fiercely for the $10,000 series championship, and especially during the final half of a long and arduous campaign.

Rarely separated by many points in their back-and-forth, nip-and-tuck battle for the prestigious crown, Jason Welshan, Jimmy Thomas, Jake Knowles and Rookie of the Year candidate Tanner Collins have become friends, traded sheet metal, partied together after the races, borrowed and loaned each other equipment, stood laughing in the rain, frequently parked together in the pits, and have participated in what has likely been the touring circuit’s closest and most interesting points chase in the 17-year history of the organization.

It’ll all be settled Nov. 18-20, 2021, during the annual Early Bird weekend at Needmore Speedway in Norman Park, Ga. The track’s biggest and most anticipated weekend event of the year has gained additional attention from one of the hottest season-long points battles in the industry, and will feature two races during a single weekend.

That’s all that remains on the regular touring series schedule, and the season-ending weekend at the Kelly and Mandy Walker-owned facility will lead off with a practice session on Thursday, Nov. 18, followed by a $2,000-to-win feature on Friday night, and a $10,000-to-win contest on Saturday night that will also count points toward the first-year E-Z-GO $100,000+ Challenge title. That championship will also be decided, and Mark Whitener currently holds a 52-point edge over Welshan in the quest to claim a $5,000 crown that is separate from the regular touring series.

When it’s all over, the Adam Stewart-managed organization will finally declare its two champions.

“It’s been a close points race all season for our touring series titles, and it’s all coming down to Needmore,” said Stewart. “We’ve had some truly great racing all year, and to watch this points battle among four different drivers has been something really special. We’ll only have one champion for each series when it’s all decided, but in reality I feel that our organization will have a whole lot of champions at the end of our season. It’s been a memorable year, and one that I hope our competitors and fans remember for a long time.”

Welshan, after watching a comfortable early-season points advantage drift away near mid-season, then kept pace while Jimmy Thomas led the points parade until a spate of late-season bad luck cost his Phenix City, Ala-based team, and Welshan surged back to the top of the standings.

He’ll enter the season-ending, two-race weekend with an extremely slim 22-point edge [1,606-1,584] over Thomas in the Crate Racin’ USA Dirt Late Model Series championship battle, and trails Whitener by 52 points [560-508] in the E-Z-GO Challenge Series standings.

Open practice is scheduled from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Thurs., Nov. 18. Pit gates open at 4 p.m. Pit gates open at 3 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 19, and will swing wide at noon on Saturday, Nov. 20.

Previous winners in the Late Model division during the Early Bird weekend at the facility include Stacey Roberts (2012), Steven Roberts (2013), Travis Carter (2014), Kyle Bronson (2015), Rhett Carter (2016), Jason Fitzgerald (2017) and Joseph Brown, the latter of whom has claimed victory in the past three versions of the event (2018, 2019, 2020).

Additional information can be accessed on the world wide web at www.raceneedmorespeedway.com, or on Crate Racin’ USA’s website at www.crateracinusa.com, plus the various social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for both the organization and the racetrack.