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Wed, 29 Dec 2010, 11:02 PM

Changing Of The Guard
By Kelly Wade
Photo copyright 2010 Robert Grice

Bryan Chaney
The South Central Division's defending champions in the Super classes, as well as the Stock Eliminator and Sportsman Motorcycle leaders, each relinquished their respective crowns at the end of last year, and new division champs will reign for the 2011 season of Lucas Oil Drag Racing: Bryan Chaney (Super Stock), Jody Simoneaux (Stock), Jeff Lopez (Super Comp), Craig Anderson (Super Gas), Clint Parker (Super Street), and James McCullah (Motorcycle) each earned the right to wear the No. 1 on their race machines.

Chaney improved upon his second-place effort of 2008 (he was 17th in the category in 2009) with a scorecard that was highlighted by a pair of wins and a trip to the semifinals. His season began at the division opener in Dallas, but a first-round loss was less than the Claremore, Okla., racer had aimed for, and the victory at Texas Motorplex went to Allen, Texas, driver Bill Devine.

While other competitors in the South Central made their way to Houston Raceway Park for the meet schedule the second weekend in June - including Tim Hebert, who would win the event and go on to finish third in the division - Chaney pointed his hauler north and traveled to Route 66 Raceway near Chicago for the Division 3 meet. He went to the quarterfinals, picking up steam in Chicagoland, and trucked on back to his home state where he drove his GT/HA '92 Camaro to victory at Tulsa Raceway Park over Allan Patterson. Killing time before the Belle Rose match at No Problem Raceway, Chaney went back out on the road and scored another victory at the West Central contest at Cordova Dragway Park. Though he also competed in Topeka and at the division closer in Noble, Okla., Chaney's semifinals performance in Belle Rose would be the final race necessary to count towards his final tally.

Bayou Boyz Racing's Slate Cummings, of Ponchatoula, La., was second in the division with a runner-up at Noble's Thunder Valley Raceway Park and a trip to the semifinals in Dallas helping his cause.

Chaney is the first Division 4 Super Stock champion outside of the Emmons brothers since the title went to Larry Stewart in 2004; Jerry Emmons was the titlist in 2005, 2006, and 2008, and Gary Emmons earned the honors in 2007 and 2009 - with brothers Terry and Harvey III also posting Top 5 finishes over the course of the past decade.

Jody Simoneaux
Stock champion Simoneaux was 11th in the division standings last season but broke into the top 10 and careened into the lead in 2010, building a solid collection of points from the start. In Dallas the Napoleonville, La., racer was the runner-up to multi-time division and national champion Kevin Helms, and in Houston, he scored a pair of round wins. The race in Tulsa he continued to ascend, driving his F/SA '67 Chevy II to the semifinals.

Just short of three months later, Simoneaux made major headway when he raced at the out-of-division event in Atlanta and won before moseying over to Belle Rose the next week to earn points for a semifinals effort. Cummings was pushing hard all season, claiming the crown in Tulsa and posting points for a runner-up in Noble. With one shot left in the barrel, Cummings went west to Las Vegas, where his quest was stopped in the second round; he was 76 points back from Simoneaux and would be the No. 2 man in Stock.

Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. was third in the region, and David Latino, who saw the inside of the Belle Rose winner's circle, was No. 4. Jimmie Hutto Jr. scored in Houston and rounded out the top 5.

Jeff Lopez
Bedford, Texas-based multi-class racer Lopez earned the South Central trophy in the Super Comp category, driving his Tommy Phillips-built rail to the quarterfinals in his first outing of the year, Dallas, and then finishing up the season with a double-up win in Noble (he also brought home the Noble Super Gas gold).

A strong season should have been expected when Lopez raked in four rounds in Super Comp and won Super Gas at the division's opening meet, where Burleson, Texas, racer Austin Williams took top honors in Super Comp. As often is the case in Super Comp, the year produced a mixed bag of winners, but Williams would go on to finish second, just 20 points behind Lopez at season's end.

Mike Pevey, of Friendswood, Texas, raced to the Houston final and ran a smidge closer to the index to oust Westley Scott, and in Tulsa, Richard Pierson drove his rail to a final-round meeting with Todd Piper, who broke out. Pevey and Pierson would be, respectively, sixth and fifth in the region's standings at the conclusion of the year based on their triumphs, and Shawn Carter, though winless, steadily collected rounds to be No. 4 in the final count. Ross Laris, hailing from Raceland, La., held the No. 3 spot in the South Central competition after scoring big down south in Belle Rose.

Craig Anderson
Lopez was third in his Super Gas entry, and Anderson, of Waxahachie, Texas, was 41 points ahead and in the No. 1 spot as the curtain dropped with Bart Nelson sandwiched between the two and Jimmy Lewis not far behind in the No. 4 spot. The battle for that glittery No. 1 trophy lasted all year, finally concluding in Las Vegas where it could have been anyone's, but the chips fell in favor of Anderson, who wheeled his '05 Corvette to the semifinals and was stopped by event winner Mike Ferderer.

Nelson, Lopez, and Lewis were all in attendance looking for those dwindling available markers, but they each exited early.

Nelson, Lopez, and Tommy Phillips, who was the No. 5 best points-earner in the Super Gas race in the division, each saw final-round win lights at South Central meets. Anderson was a semifinalist in Dallas, but the victory that brought home the most critical points was recorded outside of the region at the meet in Earlville, Iowa.

Clint Parker
The Super Street contest began in Belle Rose, but the Top 5 in the category weren't yet warmed up. Charlie Owens and Jason Owens each pocketed a couple of round wins but were done in the third round, and Parker, along with second place Super Street racer Ray Dew, each bowed out in the first round. But one month later, Dew was celebrating in the Texas Motorplex winner's circle and looking towards a bright season, and Parker's quarterfinals performance was a none-too-shabby start.

Parker and Dew each won a round in Houston, where Luling, Louisiana's Val Harmon topped Clint Ribgy in the final, and in Tulsa Parker inched up on Dew with runner-up marks to his quarterfinals points. The out-of-division meet in Topeka was a popular attraction for the Division 4 competitors and gave Jason Owens the opportunity to move up the ladder with his final-round performance.

Back home, the Belle Rose points meet brought Charlie Owens up to speed with a runner-up, but the big winner was Parker, who surged ahead of Dew with his first victory of the season. The final two events he contested - an out-of-division race in Reynolds, Ga., and the last one at home in Noble - produced nil for Parker, while Dew rallied for remaining marks with a round-win in Reynolds and a very close semifinals finish in Noble. Michael Britt, of Italy, Texas, finished strong by racing to victory in Noble, but the final tallies showed Parker as the division's best with 341 points to Dew's 320 and Britt's 319. Charlie Owens brought home a final count of 310 and Jason Owens was right behind with 309 marks.

James McCullah
The South Central's two-wheeled competition also began in Belle Rose, where Texarkana, Texas, rider Michael Nash reinstated his already notable presence with a win. In Dallas, Ben Brown answered back with a final-round defeat of Houston's McCullah.

Brenda Kay, of Humble, Texas, rode her '85 GSXR to victory in Houston, defeating local racer Paul W. Holman, and then in Tulsa, Coweta, Oklahoma's Ricky Martin - who would finish fourth at season's end - and Jerry Pomilla, the eventual final occupier of the division's Top 5, battled in the final round. Pomilla, aboard an '85 Suzuki, got the nod over Kawasaki-wielding Martin.

McCullah and Hayabusa-powered Brown went to the mattresses again in Topeka, this time with McCullah getting the win light aboard his Suzuki, but the tables turned again when they returned home to race at Belle Rose; Brown was the victor and McCullah was runner-up.

With the rest of the competition fading into the background but a few still within reach, the rivalry brewed. Brown bowed out in the first round in Noble and McCullah went a couple of rounds before sitting back to watch as his challenger hit the road for Sin City. Las Vegas was a bust, though, producing not a round win for Brown, and the title went to McCullah on the basis of 337 points to Brown's 326.

Division Four Super Stock Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   Bryan Chaney                364   7 
2   Slate Cummings              289   8 
2   Tim Hebert                  289   6 
4   Byron Latino                256   6 
5   Jared Swinehart             235   6 
6   David Latino                227   4 
7   John Clegg III              226   6 
8   Joe Teuton III              214   10 
9   Mike Trumble Jr.            184   4 
10  Lloyd Wofford Jr.           183   5 

Division Four Stock Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   Jody Simoneaux              386   7 
2   Slate Cummings              310   8 
3   Jimmy Hidalgo Jr.           288   5 
4   David Latino                287   7 
5   Jimmie Hutto Jr.            266   7 
6   Wes Neely                   245   6 
7   Jimmy Hidalgo               244   5 
8   Verne Buchanan              223   5 
9   Sammy Pizzolato             214   5 
9   Austin Ford                 214   5 

Division Four Super Comp Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   Jeff Lopez                  338   7 
2   Austin Williams             318   6 
3   Ross Laris                  297   7 
4   Shawn Carter                295   7 
5   Richard Pierson             277   5 
6   Mike Pevey                  275   6 
7   James Carter                274   7 
8   Tommy Phillips              264   7 
9   Lloyd Parfait               263   8 
10  Mike Fox Sr.                262   8 

Division Four Super Gas Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   Craig Anderson              351   8 
2   Bart Nelson                 320   6 
3   Jeff Lopez                  310   7 
4   Jimmy Lewis                 309   8 
5   Tommy Phillips              307   7 
6   Audie Wood                  256   6 
7   Jay Bunce                   255   6 
7   Wes Neely                   255   6 
9   Aaron Tatum                 224   5 
10  Joe Harper                  223   6 

Division Four Super Street Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   Clint Parker                341   8 
2   Ray Dew                     320   8 
3   Michael Britt               319   6 
4   Charlie Owens               310   8 
5   Jason Owens                 309   8 
6   Ray Todd                    266   8 
6   Tim Watson                  266   7 
8   Val Harmon                  256   7 
8   Larry Carter                256   6 
10  Regan Wilson                255   7 

Division Four Sportsman Motorcycle Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   James McCullah              337   7 
2   Ben Brown                   326   7 
3   Michael Nash                272   7 
4   Ricky Martin                251   5 
5   Jerry Pomilla               228   6 
6   Robert Sanders              207   7 
7   Brenda Kay                  190   2 
8   Mike Hudson                 185   5 
9   Raegan Gentili              184   6 
9   Rich Gentili                184   5 

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