Dustin Day; Jr Fast Champion
In the NAPA Auto Parts Jr Fast race of the year drivers featured are ages 13-17. Carson Wheeler, like Russell Wilson, showed that there will be no sophomore slump for him, as he marched through the rounds taking out Pedro and Dustin Day on his way to the final. On the other side of the ladder, Jerold Mix downed Champion Sparkplugs sponsored Taylor Toftemark and then sister Emily Mix before lining up against Wheeler. In the finals, Wheeler was off to a .045 advantage on the start and never looked back, winning on a double breakout by 12 thousandths of a second, giving Wheeler the early lead in Jr Fast.
At the following event on April 27th, everybody was wanting to advance to the final round after incoming points leader Carson Wheeler lost in the first round by a miniscule 5 thousandths of a second. However, bracket-style eliminations only allow for two drivers: Jerold Mix and Cheyanne Helvey. Mix took down Kaylen Pedro, Spencer David, and sister Emily Mix in the semi-final round. Meanwhile, Helvey was everybody’s best friend after taking out Carson Wheeler in the first round and Haley Jackson in the second before earning the single pass in the semis. In the final round, Mix lost three hundredths of a second to Helvey, but made it up by running a 7.933 on his 7.91 dial in to take the win, and the points lead.
Next on May 4th, the final round battle was between Dustin Day and Hayley Jackson, daughter of famed Sportsman racer Derrick Jackson. Day took out Jerold Mix, Cheyanne Helvey and Kacee Pitts before advancing to the finals, while Jackson marched past last year’s Jr Lightning champion Carson Wheeler before earning a bye in the semis. In the final round, Day ran an 8.153 on his 8.15 to take the win over Jackson, who broke out running an 8.791 on her 8.83 dial-in. After three races, Day and J. Mix were in a tie for first with 160 points, while Wheeler sat third with 140.
The following day, May 5th, it was a battle of the ladies as five of the six quarterfinalists were all of the female variety. In earlier competition, Cheyanne Helvey defeated Dustin Day and Emily Mix before earning a single pass into the finals. Kacee Pitts meanwhile, defeated Jerold Mix, Carson Wheeler, and Hayley Jackson to make it into the final round. In the final, Kacee Pitts gained almost six hundredths of a second advantage on the starting line before breaking out by seven thousandths of a second at the finish line, giving the win to Helvey who was the number two qualifier.
Next, on May 25th, the final round fight was again a pair of ladies, as Kacee Pitts and Taylor Toftemark did battle. For Pitts, getting to her second straight final meant a competition breakage, Cheyanne Helvey, and a competition single. For Toftemark, first round she downed defending Jr Lightning Champion Carson Wheeler, Jerold Mix, and Hayley Jackson to make it into the final round. With what was set up to be a great matchup in the final, it ended prematurely when Toftemark turned on the red light start by -.018.
Everyone was anxious to go rounds after the category saw incoming point’s leader Kacee Pitts defeated in the first round, but the final two cars in competition were Kaylen Pedro and Carson Wheeler. Pedro defeated Pitts and Cheyanne Helvey before earning a single in the semi-final round. For Wheeler, who was last year’s Jr Lightning Champion; Emily Mix, Dustin Day and Taylor Toftemark were the eliminated enemies. In the final round, Kaylen Pedro uncorked a .012 reaction time and ran a 7.928 on her 7.90 to put together a .040 package (Elapsed time – dial in + reaction time) to defeat Wheeler. Jerold Mix was the number one qualifier with a .001 reaction time. As it stood, Pitts was still the points leader with 360, while Cheyanne was sitting second, down by just one round of competition (350 points), and Wheeler in third with 320 points.
On June 30th, Emily Mix claimed her first victory of the season to put her back into contention for her first Jr Fast Championship. On her way, she defeated Carson Wheeler and Hayley Jackson before earning a single in the semi’s. The other half of the ladder brought Dustin Day , who eliminated tough competitors the likes of Taylor Toftemark, Kacee Pitts and Jerold Mix to visit Emily in the final round. In the finals, Mix used a stellar .033 reaction time to defeat Day, and make her way towards the Quality Concrete/Salem Concrete Paving Winner’s Circle.
The first of back-to-back points races on the big July 4th weekend had Carson Wheeler and Dustin Day facing off to see who would get the event win and, more importantly, the valuable points. Wheeler drove to the final by taking down Taylor Toftemark, and Ashley Thompson, before having a single. For Day: Emily Mix, Kacee Pitts, and Hayley Jackson were the defeated racers. In the final, the race was over before it even began when Day turned on the red light by just .011. Hayley Jackson was the number one qualifier with a .005.
The next day, Dustin Day and Taylor Toftemark were in the final round showdown. Day, competing in his third straight final round, defeated Kacee Pitts and Jerold Mix to enter the final round. For Toftemark the opponents defeated were Spencer David and Hayley Jackson. In the final round, Day had almost a .07 advantage on the starting line to secure his win. With the third-to-last race completed, the points were as follows: Day blasting into first with 490 points, Pitts second with 470, and Cheyanne Helvey sitting third, still within reach at 440 points.
With just two races remaining to determine which drivers would be competing for team Woodburn and who would be the season champion, incoming points leader Dustin Day made it into the final round by defeating Carson Wheeler, Cheyanne Helvey and a very tough battle with number two in points Kacee Pitts. For Taylor Toftemark: Shelby Meikle, a single and Hayley Jackson were the downed racers. In the final round, Day enjoyed a starting line advantage of .02 and running closer to his number to take the win, meaning that he has claimed two straight wins out of FOUR straight final round appearances. Heading into the final race, Day’s lead of 50 points was almost uncatchable for second place Pitts, who at this point was trying to hold onto her spot
At the final point’s event of the season, a pair of ladies faced off in the final round to see who would earn the winner’s award. Kaylen Pedro made it into the final round by defeating incoming point’s leader Dustin Day, John Burke Jr, and Kacee Pitts, who locked up second place with her late finish, to reach the final round. On the other side of the ladder was Taylor Toftemark, who downed Hayley Jackson and Cheyanne Helvey before earning a single. In the final round, the race was over before it began when Toftemark turned on the red light start, meaning that Pedro secured the victory. Dustin Day, thanks to his string of four-consecutive final rounds (along with two wins) came from behind to earn the season championship in a dominating fashion.
Following are the final points standings, in order of driver name, total points, and round wins.
1. Dustin Day, 540 Points, 21 Round Wins
2. Kacee Pitts, 520 Points, 19 Round Wins
3. Cheyanne Helvey, 480 Points, 16 Round Wins
Here is a head-to-head matrix of competition for the top five point’s finishers.