Kentucky Racers Lead The Pack in The 2004 Sunoco Super Series Season Salem, IN (November 24, 2005) -- Two Kentucky Racers were at the top when the 2004 Sunoco Super Series ended. 22-year-old Louisville, Kentucky native Chuck Barnes Jr. came...
Kentucky Racers Lead The Pack in The 2004 Sunoco Super Series Season
Salem, IN (November 24, 2005) -- Two Kentucky Racers were at the top when the 2004 Sunoco Super Series ended. 22-year-old Louisville, Kentucky native Chuck Barnes Jr. came away with the 2004 Sunoco Super Series Championship just one year after taking Rookie Of The Year honors. Barnes had a very roller coaster season in 2003, but still was impressive in winning rookie honors and finishing 8th in points. Barnes was the second driver to win the Championship one year after winning the Rookie Of The Year Honors, the other driver was 2002 series champion Joel Kauffman.
Barnes started off leading the 2004 points after the series first event with a second place finish, and was never far from the top the rest of the season. Barnes lost the series lead twice during the season, once after a hard crash after being forced off the back-stretch at Berlin Raceway which resulted in a 21st place finish, his worst of the season. He also lost the lead in the tight battle after mechanical problems regulated him to a 13th place finish in the Anderson 400 in July.
Barnes's season took a good turn on the last day of July at Shadybowl Speedway. Barnes was running second in that event when leader Jim Crabtree Jr. suddenly spun handing the lead to Barnes. Barnes held off Junior Hanley, who came into the event as the series point's leader, to get his first series victory. The next day the series headed to Toledo Speedway were Barnes would post an impressive 2nd place finish, that coupled with Hanley's 19th place finish gave Barnes the points lead, which he would hold on to even though Hanley and 2000 series champion Scott Hantz were in hot pursuit the rest of the season. Barnes finished the series fifteen race points season with one win, nine top five finishes that included four second place finishes, twelve top ten finishes and led the series with four fast qualifier awards. Barnes ended his 2004 late model season in spectacular fashion by sitting on the pole and winning the prestigious All American 300 at the Music City Motorplex in Nashville, Tennessee.
Fellow Louisville, Kentucky native Chris Gabehart beat out Steve Moenck in a tight battle for the 2004 Sunoco Super Series Rookie Of The Year Honors. Gabehart, currently attending Purdue University working on an Engineering Degree, turned in a masterful first season even with some bad luck with parts breaking. In all Gabehart got four top five finishes including a season high of 2nd at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway, a 3rd at Anderson Speedway and a 4th at the season points championship race at Salem Speedway. Gabehart was also Fast Qualifier two times during the season. Gabehart did a nice job in two all star late model events, he got a 2nd place finish to Larry Raines at the World Cup 300 at I-70 Speedway in October and finished 7th at the All American 300, he had been in the top five until another broken part on the last lap dropped him to seventh. Gabehart also finished 5th in the overall Sunoco Super Series points.
Eddie Hoffman and Jeff Lane led the series in victories for the season with three a piece. Hoffman won the NAPA National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway, while Canadian Motorsports Hall Of Fame member Junior Hanley won the 38th Annual Anderson 400. In all the series had over 140 different drivers participate from 18 states and Canada.