CRA: Winchester III: Penultimate round preview

Hantz Looks To Claim Second CRA Super Series Championship At The 35th Annual Ed Martin Auto Group Winchester 400 Salem, IN (October 8, 2006) -- Angola, Indiana's Scott Hantz will be looking to claim his second CRA Super Series Championship in...

Hantz Looks To Claim Second CRA Super Series Championship At The 35th Annual Ed Martin Auto Group Winchester 400

Salem, IN (October 8, 2006) -- Angola, Indiana's Scott Hantz will be looking to claim his second CRA Super Series Championship in next Sunday's 35th Annual Ed Martin Auto Group Winchester 400. Brian Ross currently holds the distinction of being the only two-time series champion, claiming championships in 1999 and in 2001. Hantz currently holds a 54 point lead heading into next Sunday's event over second place Tommy St. John and an 80 point lead over third place JR Roahrig, those are the only two with a chance at catching Hantz.

Hantz first raced with the series in limited starts in the 1998 and 1999 seasons, and even competed in the first Winchester 400 the series sanctioned in 1999 finishing 16th, when Ross got the victory. Hantz decided to compete full-time with the series in 2000 and made history by becoming the first and only driver to date to win the Rookie Of The Year Award and the Season Championship in the same season, and what a season, in 15 events Hantz got 3 wins, 11 top fives and 13 top tens for the Dick Poe Motorsports team. All those stats in 2000 are still records for a rookie season with the series.

Hantz would return to battle Ross for the series point's championship in 2001, finishing second to Ross in points, but had another great season with 4 wins, 10 top fives and 11 top tens. Hantz would finish third in series points in 2002, and second again in 2003 and 2004. Last season Hantz finished 7th in series points after missing some races late in the season to race some Outlaw Late Model events when he knew he didn't have a shot at winning a second championship.

Hantz came into the 2006 season determined he was going to give it his best to get that elusive second championship, but it was a rough start. Hantz was involved in a wreck at the season opener in Nashville, finished 24th in the season's second event at Anderson Speedway with handling problems and finished 16th in the season's third event at Winchester Speedway after a cut tire put him in the wall. Going into the series fourth event of the season at Baer Field Speedway Hantz had yet to finish a race and was 12th in points.

The Baer Field Speedway event was a turning point, Hantz would finish second in that event and the following week at Berlin Raceway, and would get his third consecutive second place finish in as many events at Columbus Motor Speedway on June 3. Those finishes combined with some bad luck for others put Hantz into the points lead for the first time in 2006. His luck would go back to bad at the following event at O.R.P. when he was caught up in a first lap incident regulating him to a 28th place finish and moving him back to fourth in points.

Hantz's bad luck did not last long, at Illiana Motor Speedway the following week, Hantz would finish second for the fourth time in 2006 and would move to third in a very tight points battle. Hantz got a third place finish in the Anderson 250 which moved him to second in points and a fourth place finish at Angola Motor Speedway, a finish that would move him into first place in points, were he has stayed since. Hantz got another second at Kalamazoo Speedway and a sixth at New Paris Speedway were it was apparent it was going to be a three way battle for the points championship between Hantz, St. John and Roahrig, with Roahrig getting his first series points victory in several seasons at the New Paris Speedway event.

Hantz would finally get his first series win of the 2006 season in the rescheduled Toledo Speedway event on August 11th, which pushed his points, lead to 33 points. Tommy St. John would get his first series victory at Winchester Speedway on Labor Day, but Hantz would get a fifth place finish giving him seven top six finishes in a row and still leading by 31 points. The series would head to Rockford Speedway for the Chicago International Truck 200 next on September 23rd were Hantz would get his sixth 2nd place finish of the season. That finish, combined with JR Roahrig's DNF and St. John's ninth place finish, gives Hantz his 54 point lead going into the season finale over St. John.

Hantz has gained a reputation as a tough consistent clean racer who keeps his car out of trouble and is usually around the front at the end. Hantz will need to do all that in next Sunday's 35th Annual Ed Martin Auto Group Winchester 400 if he wants a chance to get the victory and more importantly his second CRA Super Series Championship.

-credit: cra

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Series Stock car
Drivers Brian Ross