The Challenge Cup Series extended it’s traditional geographic boundaries a bit and moved into the southlands to Summit Point Raceway for the fourth weekend of the 2018 season.
A strong field of twenty-eight entries contended for championship points and trophies.
The weather was more moderate than usual for August in the area, with no rain and temperatures in the high seventies all weekend providing perfect racing conditions.
In the late Friday afternoon qualifying, Matt Clark topped the field with a time of 1:28:565 while Dean Curtis took the outside position on the front row with a time of 1:28:814.
Saturday’s race was the first session of the day and after a clean start the battle for overall honors eventually turned into a duel between pole-sitter Clark, Barrett Kingsborough and Challenge Cup novice Luke Testerman. On the final lap Kingsborough and Clark were side-by side through turns three and four, but going into turn five Clark out-braked Kingsborough and from that point on managed to eke out a small lead, which he held to the finish line.
At the checkered flag it was Clark victorious, Testerman second and Kingsborough taking the final spot. All the top three drivers were competing in the Regular Division so they also secured that categories’ trophies and points. In Masters Division Sherman Engler prevailed overall, Curt Bennett grabbed second place on the podium while Ray Qualls took home the third-place trophy.
Qualifying for Sunday’s race was held late in the afternoon on Saturday. Trevor Carmody and Sam Ryan hooked up together on track and between the two of them secured the front row, with Trevor taking the pole.
The Saturday evening awards and prize giveaway party was well attended, with great food and beverages for all the drivers, crew members and friends. Trina Carmody was once again instrumental in setting up the sumptuous banquet. Dean Curtis took home the $400 main prize, while the rest of the Challenge Cup drivers present benefitted from the various monetary and product prize giveaways provided by generous Challenge Cup Series sponsors.
At the fall of the green for Sunday’s race, Dean Curtis led going into the first turn, but pole-sitter Carmody passed him going through turn four. The race then turned into a now-typical Challenge Cup barn burner for the lead between Carmody, Curtis and Sherman Engler leading a nine-car group. At the checker, Carmody just pipped Curtis with a winning margin of just .029 seconds, with fifth-place qualifier Mark Farnham taking third overall.
Broken down by Divisions, it was Carmody first in Regular, followed by Matt Clark and then Barrett Kingsborough taking the third-place hardware. In Masters, Curtis took the top spot, with Farnham taking home the second-place trophy while Sam Ryan completed the podium with his third-place finish.
As the season winds down to the final weekend at Watkins Glen the championships in both the Masters and Regular Divisions are still up for grabs. Among the Regular drivers, Canada’s Barrett Kingsborough currently holds the top spot, but if he were to have a poor showing at the Glen, Matt Clark could prevail for the championship. The same holds true for the Masters Division, with Georgia’s Sherman Engler needing an overall win, fastest lap and pole position at the Glen to unseat Curtis and take the crown.
That is a tall order, but not outside the realm of possibility and this storied race track will once again play a pivotal role – this time deciding the 2018 Challenge Cup Series Divisional championships.