SCHEFFEL REPEATS AS PENNZOIL CUP CHAMP BLOOMINGTON, IN (August 21, 1999) - Many champions maintain that repeating a title is as difficult as winning the first time. The last time it had been done at Bloomington, Randy Kinser claimed the '93 ...
SCHEFFEL REPEATS AS PENNZOIL CUP CHAMP
BLOOMINGTON, IN (August 21, 1999) - Many champions maintain that repeating a title is as difficult as winning the first time. The last time it had been done at Bloomington, Randy Kinser claimed the '93 and '94 crowns. Columbus, Indiana's Derek Scheffel found that winning his second Pennzoil Cup sprint car championship at Bloomington Speedway a daunting challenge. On Friday night, Scheffel struggled against a difficult field, but in the end, he accomplished what he needed to hold off challenger Kenny Carmichael by a slim 8-point margin.
Coming into Friday's Indiana 5 Crown sprint car and NAMARS midget double feature holding a 20-point advantage, everything seemed to go against Scheffel from the start. But without the use of qualifying points, Carmichael would have to make up the difference in the heat races and main event. When Scheffel and Carmichael drew numbers in succession for heat race starting positions, it could mean one of two things. Either they would start together and race wheel-to-wheel for the title, or Derek would start on the tail of one heat and Kenny on the front of the next one. Carmichael got a huge break when it worked out that he would start first in the second heat race, while Scheffel would start last in the first heat.
The veteran Terre Haute driver made the most of his opportunity by winning his heat. Scheffel battled past Kevin Thomas, Roger Chaudion and Eric Burns to finish fourth. This gave Carmichael the third starting spot for the feature, while Scheffel was back in the eighth row. When the green flag flew, their fortunes continued to differ. Carmichael raced a strong second to Tony Elliott in the opening laps, but Derek slammed the cushion coming off turn four for the start, and began a series of gyrations that saw the car up on two wheels as it passed the flagstand. When he brought it back under control, he had lost several more positions. The Scheffel Brothers Racing Cunningham Engineering/Saran Industries/Quickprint car didn't get much better, and he finished a lap down, in twentieth.
Carmichael would have had to finish first or second to claim the title. But the J&W Transport car slipped back as Kevin Doty took second, and on lap 10, Dave Darland got past for third. At the end of the 25-lap event, Carmichael had dropped to ninth.
With a combination of non-winged and winged sprint car events, against competition ranging from USAC to the World of Outlaws, Bloomington's Pennzoil Cup series is designed to reward performance and consistency in demanding Hoosier-style sprint car competition. All of the top teams have had strong seasons at Bloomington. Scheffel scored his first feature race victory on July 16, and Carmichael's third place finish in the same race was his best result against the Bloomington competition.
While Scheffel was the division champion last year, Carmichael only ran once at Bloomington during 1998, and finished 80th in points. At the beginning of this season, he stated his intention to run for the Pennzoil Cup crown. In the end, Scheffel and Carmichael were the only teams to compete in every sprint car event at Bloomington this season.
Brownsburg's Justin Marvel held on to third position in the final Pennzoil Cup standings, moving up from eighth a year ago. Eric Burns nailed down fourth and Lennie Waltz fifth. The next four in points, Levi Jones, Jonathan Vennard, Chris LaFollette and Jake (the Snake) Knoke, demonstrate the strength of the young drivers coming into non-winged sprint car racing the last two seasons. Knoke picked up a feature victory on Memorial Day weekend. Bloomington's 1991 sprint car division champion, Kevin Briscoe, returned home and joined the battle late, but surged to a tenth in points with two top four finishes in the last three events.
The 1999 Pennzoil Cup awards will be presented during next Friday's USAC sanctioned Sheldon Kinser Memorial.
Pennzoil Cup Sprint Cars
1. Derek Scheffel 572, 2. Kenny Carmichael 564, 3. Justin Marvel 442, 4. Eric Burns 439, 5. Lennie Waltz 418, 6. Levi Jones 400, 7. Jonathan Vennard 376, 8. Chris LaFollette 369, 9. Jason Knoke 334, 10. Kevin Briscoe 326, 11. Brad Fox 318, 12. Kevin Miller 303, 13. Troy Link 285, 14. Pete Abel 277, 15. Dave Peperak 268, 16. Kevin Thomas 263, 17. Tyler Waltz 256, 18. Glenn Scott 239, 19. Joey Saldana 233, 20. Nick Adams 222