Feature victory puts Elston in position for final drive to late model track championship
QUINCY — Tommy Elston has moved another step closer to his first late model track title at Adams County Speedway.
Elston rolled to his sixth feature win of the season Sunday night — his fourth in the last six shows — to take a five-point series lead over Denny Woodworth into the final night of points racing Sept. 24.
Woodworth will have to finish two or more spots ahead of Elston in next week’s season championship feature to win the title. That’s assuming both drivers finish among the top six, which both have in 14 of 15 points-paying features to date.
Each of the top six positions in a late model feature is a difference of five points, followed by a two-point break from position seven downward.
If the two drivers would wind up tied in points, Elston would earn the tiebreaker on the strength of number of features won. Woodworth has won two fewer features (4) than Elston.
“I’m kind of at a loss for words,” Elston said. “I guess it shows hard work pays off.”
Elston sits at 1,041 points and Woodworth 1,036. Third-place Jason Perry (1,010) is also mathematically in the hunt. Perry finished second Sunday night, Woodworth third.
Elston, a resident of Keokuk, Iowa, has raced in Quincy since the 1990s. His best late model points finish was second, back in 2017 when the track awarded its first late model championship to the more economical crate late class.
Woodworth is a six-time defending late model champ. Woodworth’s streak of late model titles includes two in 2017 when the track ran both open and crate lates.
Elston made a clean sweep of late model competition Sunday evening, also winning a special “King of the Crates” late model event, plus his heat race.
“The track was really racy tonight,” Elston said. “The top of the track was definitely faster. I just did my best to try and hit my marks.”
Elston pocketed a combined $1,100 for his efforts, boosting his series-best earnings to $9,050, a track record for the crate late model era.
Vance Wilson won the other late model heat race.
Other feature winners included Austen Becerra in modifieds, Patrick Phillips in sport mods. Robert Cottom in stock cars and Jeffrey DeLonjay in 4-Cylinders.
Becerra emerged from an entertaining three-driver scramble, edging out runner-up Kenny Wallace and third-place Trevor Neville for his modified-best ninth feature victory of the season. At times, the drivers were three-wide battling for position, but never touched.
“I’ll tell you what, that race was worth the price of admission and all three of us raced each other clean,” Becerra said. “It had to have been a helluva show for the fans.”
Becerra’s win also upped his season money won to a modified record and track-leading $10,625. He’s the first non-late model driver to surpass $10,000 in season earnings.
Becerra has wrapped up the modified track title. He holds a 936-824 points lead over Jacob Rexing.
Becerra and Neville were heat-race winners.
Cottom continued his late-season surge with his stock car-leading seventh feature win. He’s won five of the last seven main events after missing much of the early part of the season.
Cottom held off series points leader Jake Powers, Rexing and Rudy Zaragoza.
“I think this was probably the hardest-fought (stock car) race of the year,” Cottom said. “With (those drivers) behind me, there was no room to mess up. I found the high side was working the best.”
Powers holds a sizable points lead (560-527) over Zaragoza going into next Sunday. Cottom leads the series money list, thanks to his number of feature wins. Cottom ($3,550), Zaragoza ($3,350) and Powers ($3,325) are in a tight battle for the cash crown.
Stock heats were won by Cottom and Rexing.
Phillips went flag-to-flag to win his first sport mod feature over Tanner Klingele, Reed Wolfmeyer and Logan Cumby. Cumby, however, holds a two-point (475-473) lead over Wolfmeyer. Klingele (460) is third. None of the three have won a track championship, although Klingele has four runner-up finishes.
Heat wins went to Cumby and Wolfmeyer.
DeLonjay’s 4-Cylinder feature victory was his 13th of the season, the most in any division. Jimmy Dutlinger finished second and Spencer Coats third. DeLonjay and Dutlinger won heats.
DeLonjay, who upped his earnings to $4,255 (second most in 4-Cylinder history), has 23 total victories. That ties him for the 12th in overall track history. The track record is 36 in 2007 by modified driver Michael Long.
Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?
Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.