Austin Varner; Jr Lightning Champion
In the NAPA Auto Parts sponsored Jr Lightning category, which is reserved for children ages 10-14, it was a family affair at the first point’s event as Austin Varner took down younger sister Liz in the final. A. Varner had a single pass in the first round before having his opponent break against him in the second round, sending him into the final. Meanwhile, sister Liz eliminated Shawn Cranford in the first round with nearly identical reaction times, and then Chad Tallan in the second round to face off against her brother. In the final, reaction times were separated by a mere .05, and after another double-breakout, this time separated by .025, the win went to Austin Varner.
The next event on April 27th had a repeat face in the Quality Concrete/Salem Concrete Paving Winner’s circle. Austin Varner beat Clay Saches, Paige Costagno, and earned the single in the semi-finals to reach the final round. Meanwhile, Adam Lint had a single in the first round as he was your number 1 qualifier with a .010 reaction time, and then took down Katie Day in the 2nd round and Anthony Friesen in the semi’s with another stellar .012 reaction time. In the final, Varner used a reaction time advantage of .022 to put space between himself and Lint before running an 8.981 on his 8.94 dial in to take the win.
With the turn of a new month, Jr Lightning racers hoped that on May 4th somebody else would be able to win in the point’s series…and it was true! Pitted in the finals were Anthony Friesen against Katie Day. Friesen went through Liz Varner, Austin Varner and a single pass to advance to the finals. Meanwhile, Day took out Josh McMyne, Adam Lint, and Chad Tallan to meet with Friesen. In the final round, Friesen used a .032 to .065 advantage over Day to win on the holeshot, as Friesen was off by .035 and Day only .017.
Day two of the double header meant a storyline developing that is becoming scarily popular for the rest of the field, as Austin Varner scored his third victory is four races. To get there, Varner defeated sister Liz Varner and Anthony Friesen before earning the single in the semi-final round. Blake Johnson defeated Kyler Pitts, a single, and Katie Day to make it to the final round in his first year of racing. In the final, Johnson had a starting line advantage of almost .06, but was unable to capitalize at the finish when he broke out by .069, meaning that Varner now has a commanding seven round lead over second place Friesen, with Katie Day sitting third in points, nine rounds behind.
As May 25th rolled around, everybody was gunning for a victory as the very first pair in first round showed point’s leader Austin Varner getting beaten by Katie Day. Katie then had a single into the final to match up with Kyler Pitts, who earlier defeated Josh McMyne and Liz Varner. In the final round, Kyler Pitts turned on the red light start, instantly ending his chances at defeating Katie Day for the victory.
June 16th’s category’s final round was just as it should be: number one qualifier versus number two. The number one qualifier, Kyler Pitts, advanced to the final by defeating Austin Varner, then a single. Katie Day took out Josh McMyne and Adam Lint to make it into the final. In the final, Day and Pitts had almost identical reaction times before Katie Day ran just 13 thousandths off her number to score the win. Pitts’ .011 reaction time earned him the number one qualifying spot.
Next, it was another case of ‘same ol’ song and dance’ when Austin Varner and Katie Day faced off in the final round. Varner defeated Cole Rose and Josh McMyne, while Day downed a laddered single and Anthony Friesen to reach the last round of eliminations. In the final, Day’s car was closer to her preset dial-in, but Varner had the reaction time advantage needed to bolster his points lead. After the June 30th event, the point’s positions were as follows: A. Varner with 450, Day with 410, and Friesen in third with 330. Unless things were to drastically change, it appeared to be a two-person race.
July 6th put together an exciting final round in the NAPA Auto Parts sponsored category. It was a battle of the ‘K’s with Katie Day and Kyler Pitts. Day’s journey to the final was through Anthony Friesen and Josh McMyne, where Pitts defeated Austin Varner and Adam Lint. In the final round, Day had almost a .04 advantage on the starting line to get the ‘holeshot’ win.
The next day, Austin Varner and Anthony Friesen competed in the final round. For Varner, who had won the Wally on Saturday, today defeated Josh McMyne and Katie Day. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ladder, Friesen downed Adam Lint and Kyler Pitts to travel into the final. In the final round, Varner had a significant starting line advantage which he parlayed into a victory. With another win, A. Varner now held a lead of 4 rounds (550 points) over Day (510 Points) and Friesen (410).
Incoming point’s leader and ‘class bully’ Austin Varner was into another final round, this time by defeating Cole Rose and Anthony Friesen. On the other side of the ladder, Josh McMyne made it into the final by showcasing his driving talents to Clay Saches and Katie Day. In the final round, McMyne used a massive starting line advantage of almost .1 to get the win, despite Varner running closer to his dial-in. Rose was the number one qualifier with a .040.
The final event featured a final round between two Motivational chassis cars. Katie Day made it to her sixth final round appearance by downing Anthony Friesen and Josh McMyne. On the other side of the ladder was Levi Burke, who in his first race of the season at Woodburn qualified number one, earning the single, and then defeating last year’s Division 6 Jr Thunder Champion Kyler Pitts in the semis. In the final round, the race was over before it even began when Burke turned on the red light by just .006, ending his chances and meaning that Katie Day would win her fourth event of the year. Burke’s .009 from qualifying earned him the number one position. Unfortunately for Day, even with a win she could finish a best of second place, meaning that Austin Varner claimed the 2013 NAPA Auto Parts Jr Lightning Series Championship.
Following is a list of the top three point’s earners, in order of name, total point’s and round wins.
1. Austin Varner, 570 Points, 22 Round Wins
2. Katie Day, 560 Points, 23 Round Wins
3. Anthony Friesen, 420 Points, 11 Round Wins
Here is the matrix for head-to-head comparisons of the top five point’s earners.