Mike Canon; Volkswagen Champion
In the Volkswagen Showdown Series, a class that showcased 25 drivers in the inaugural event, racing action was tight. Bernd Arndt battled through Mark Hunt, Ryan Jones, Mike Canon, and Travis Matney before reaching the final round. Brett Schroeder, on the other side of the ladder, took down crowd favorite Kelli Christensen, Burnout King Ricky ‘The Racer’ Elverud, Suzanne Wall, and defending Sunoco Race Fuels ET Series Super Pro Champion Devon Hilton, in which Schroeder ran on his number with a 9, en route to the final. In the finals, with the spotlight on high, cameras set to flash, and press ready to interview for the first ever Volkswagen Showdown Event Champion, Brent Schroeder turned on the red light by eight thousandths of a second, handing the victory to Bernd Arndt.
In the next event, Mike Canon battled his ’72 Beetle to Berndt Arndt’s 1993 Corrado to see who would be the victor. Canon’s roadmap to the final round went through the likes of Travis Matney, Aaron Coy (of which was won by .0052) and Tyler Tovar. For Arndt: the battles were won over Devon Hilton, Don Fritsche, and Ryan Jones. In the final round, the reaction times were separated by only nine thousandths of a second before mechanical issues set in for Arndt, giving the victory to Canon, who then went down to run a 14.613 on his posted 14.60 dial-in. The victory jumped Canon into second place in the point’s standings with 130, 2 rounds behind Arndt (150 Points) and 3 rounds ahead of third place Brett Schroeder (100 Points).
At the 28th Annual VW Bug Run, Volkswagen competition was split into two categories, with points awarded in both classes for the main Volkswagen series. In Volkswagen Pro, drivers fought through five brutal rounds of racing action to make it into the final round. For Ron Dubay, earlier victims were Don ‘The Repoman’ Fritsche, John Davidson, and Mark Hunt, before receiving the single in the semis. For the other final round contestant, James Schuchard, the road to the final took him through contestants Bret Matney, Bernd Arndt, Brad Roberts, and Ricky Elverud. In the final round, Dubay found himself lucky when Schuchard encountered mechanical problems and was unable to finish, handing the victory to Dubay. A special congratulation should go out to Mark Hunt, who in the first round of eliminations had a perfect reaction time, and earned himself a Perfect Light Club membership as well as a T-shirt and two decals, courtesy of Northwest Wholesale/Hilton Racing suppliers of Goodyear and Hoosier Race Tires. Hunt went three rounds before losing to eventual winner Dubay. Volkswagen Sportsman featured twenty four drivers battling it out for honors. Finalist Mike Bakers’ march into the final took him through Thomas Major, Bob Vancil, and Dave Bench before earning the semi-final round single. For Mike Canon, his competitors were that of Daniel Dees, Andy Nelson, Nic Sands, and Brett ‘The Red Baron’ Schroeder. In the final round, Baker gained over two tenths of a second advantage on the starting line but was unable to get his ’64 Beetle to run the number, and as a result received the loss. With that, Canon was able to take his ’72 Beetle into the Quality Concrete/Salem Concrete Paving Winner’s Circle for the second straight event.
At the fourth points event, final round competition came down to Mike Canon, going for his third consecutive win, and Devon Hilton. Canon’s trip to the final was accomplished by defeating Don Fritsche, Bernd Arndt, and Ricky Elverud. On the other side of the ladder, Hilton earned the E-Ticket ride by downing Jerry Caddell, an earned single, and Mark Hunt. In the final round, the race was over before it began when Hilton turned on the red light start by -.041, giving the automatic victory to Canon. After four of six points races scored, the points were as follows: Canon dominating with 300 earned points, Bernd Arndt in second with a cool 230 points, and Brett Schroeder in third with 190 points.
At the 8th Annual Double J Motorwerks Pacific Waterland event, again the field was split into two categories: giving the much needed chance for racers to try and catch up to Canon and Arndt in the points. In the Pro category, two racers fought through four rounds of competition to make it into the final. Mark Hunt defeated Michael Schwab, Arian Goodson, and Brad Roberts, while Bernd Arndt downed Jerry Caddell and Jeremiah Halsey before earning a single in the semis. In the final round, Hunt earned the reaction time advantage over Arndt and never looked back, running closer to his number to score the victory. Sportsman category eliminations pitted a regular competitor and a brand new rookie. The veteran, Mike Morrow, defeated Aaron Crosley, Brandon Bearsley and Thomas Major before earning the single in the semis. The rookie, Jose Martinez, downed Bryan Edwards, Danny Kassab, Kory Crosen, and Carissa Duhrkoop to reach the final round. In the finals, Morrow earned the starting line advantage over Martinez and took it to the bank, earning the victory.
Heading into the final event of what was a spectacular opening Volkswagen Showdown series, the points were as follows: Mike Canon with 340, Bernd Arndt with 290, and Mark Hunt with 240. Since there were 13 cars in attendance, the maximum number of points that could be earned was 80 for an event win, and 30 for a first round loss. Doing the math, it was clear to Arndt the only way he would win the championship was a first round loss for Canon, and an event win for himself. In the second pair of the first round, jaws dropped when the win light didn’t come on for Canon, opening the door wide open. Two pairs later, Don Fritsche and Arndt lined up, with Fritsche earning the starting line advantage and the win, seizing the championship for Canon. After that, the fun was all for points positioning, and what fun it was! The final round appearances by Mark Hunt and Ryan Cornelison became the last of the season. Hunt raced into the finals by defeating Jerry Caddell, Tyler Tovar, and Travis Matney. Cornelison passed through racers Tim Schmidt, a single, and Thomas Major. What was set up for a stellar final round was over before it began when Cornelison turned on the red light.
Listed are final points standings, in order of driver name, total points, and total round wins.
1. Mike Canon, 370 Points, 17 Round Wins
2. Bernd Arndt, 320 Points, 13 Round Wins
3. Mark Hunt, 320 Points, 12 Round Wins