Short-track championships at Salem Speedway Aug. 17

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Salem Speedway

 SALEM, Ind. – Championships and final season standings will be on the line when racing returns to the Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery infield short-track on Sunday afternoon, August 17th.  The Short-Track Championship event marks the final points race of the year for both the O’Reilly Auto Parts Pure Stocks and the Portland Recycling Front Wheel Drive Stocks.

“Our short-track events have produced some great racing action this season,” said Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery general manager Richard Deaton.  “With championships up for grabs we expect more of the same on Sunday. 

Mike Kestler of Louisville and Dillon Kaelin, also from Louisville, find themselves in the catbird seat heading into the championship event.

Kestler sits atop the O’Reilly Auto Parts Pure Stock standings and Kaelin currently leads the Portland Recycling Front Wheel Drive standings.

Kestler, who finished seventh in the 2014 season opening race, has battled back to forge a slim eight point advantage (596-588) over defending O’Reilly Auto Parts Pure Stock champion Travis Rogers.  Kestler, a two-time Salem Pure Stock champion (2012-2011), moved to the top of the current standings on the strength of three wins and two second place finishes in the last five races.

Rogers, who is still very much in contention for the 2014 championship, had a string of 21 consecutive top five race finishes snapped on July 26th when he finished sixth in the ACE Hardware of Salem 30.  The Charlestown, Ind., driver has visited victory lane on two occasions this season.   

This marks the third time in the last four years that the Pure Stock championship will be decided on the final weekend of the season.

Justin Davis (569) of Louisville, Jeremy Hopper (566) of Memphis, Ind., and Todd Whitfield (550) of Sellersburg, Ind., are locked in a tight battle for third place in the final standings.

Kaelin, who is competing at Salem for the first time in 2014, holds a comfortable 45 point lead (493-448) over Carl Higgins Jr. of Louisville, who holds down the second position in the standings.

Consistency has been the hallmark of Kaelin’s rookie year at Salem, as he is yet to finish out of the top five in any Front Wheel Drive race on the quarter-mile oval.  He has topped the point standings since winning the season-opening ICA Dumpsters 25 on April 6.

Merlin Stroud (430) of Marengo, Ind., holds down third place in the standings, with Jesse Allen (385) of New Albany fourth and James Allen (347) of Milltown, Ind., fifth.  

Spectator gates open at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday with practice getting underway at 11:45 a.m., qualifications at 12:45 and the first race at 1:30 p.m. 

Advance 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.  Tickets are available on-line at www.salemspeedway.com or by calling 883-6504 or toll free 1-888-246-7223.