Battle for short-track championships heat up as racing returns to Salem Aug. 5

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 SALEM, IN, July 30 – The quest for 2012 Salem Speedway short-track championships continues on Sunday afternoon, August 5th, as the O’Reilly Auto Parts Pure Stocks and Portland Recycling Front Wheel Drive Stocks return to the quarter-mile infield oval for the Short-Track Sun Fun Festival.

Championships are still up for grabs in both Salem divisions, as just 15 points separate the top two drivers in the Pure Stock division and a mere four point differential exists between first and third place in the Front Wheel Drive standings.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Salem Speedway general manager Richard Deaton, as he discussed the close championship battles.  “With just two point races remaining we have five drivers in the hunt for track championships.  Plus, some great battles are also taking place for other positions throughout the standings.” 

Mike Kestler of Louisville and Travis Rogers of Jeffersonville find themselves in the familiar position of fighting it out for the top spot in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Pure Stock standings.  Kestler, the defending division champion, leads Rogers by 15 points (507-492).  Rogers finished second in the 2011 final season standings by just 12 points.

Eric Hester of New Salisbury, Ind., who captured his first Salem victory on July 15th, (461), Greg Smith (452) and Ken Sumner (452) round out the top five in the current Pure Stock standings.

Austin Baum of Shepherdsville, Ky., Dallas Bowman of Clarksville and Bill Grant of Jeffersonville, are set to continue their season-long battle for the top spot in the Portland Recycling Front Wheel Drive standings.  The 16-year-old Baum (489) currently holds a three point advantage over Bowman (486) and four point lead over Grant (485), the defending FWD champion.

Bill Growe (434), and Baum’s older brother, Cody Baum (402) round out the top five in the standings.

The afternoon of racing, the final short-track tune-up before the championship race on Sept. 9th, also features the inaugural Salem Speedway visit by the Hoosier Flatheads.

The Hoosier Flatheads are not racecar replicas, but actual vintage cars, like those that competed in the early years of stockcar racing.

The racing program on Sunday will consist of heat races and feature events for all three divisions.

Spectator gates open and practice begins at 11 a.m., with qualifications at 12:30 p.m. and the first race at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets are priced at just $8 for adults and $3 for children, age 7-12.  Kids, age 6 and under, are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.