Jerry Durant Jr; Pickup Series Champion
After a season-opening rainout, the first completed race in the Pickup Series showcased 16 competitors, proving it to be a series that will last. Of the two drivers in the final, there was one who had never won a race, Steve Canton, and one who had never been to a final, Tony Bombara. Canton went through veteran racers Rene Crunelle, Dell King and Tim McDaniel before earning a single in the final. For Bombara, the defeated list included the names of Bill Allen, Derek Shoepe, a single and number one qualifier Pat James, after the Break the Chain sponsored machine of James broke out by .019. In the final round, Canton was off first with a .041 light, but the race ended shortly afterwards when Bombara turned on the red light, ending his day.
At the third Pickup series race, final round opponents came down Jerry Durant Jr and Dell King as the ’05 Dodge and ’63 Chevy lined up to do battle. Durant Jr took out Mike Powell, Derek Shoepe, and Mike Grady in order to reach the final, whereas King downed Mike Warnock, Rene Crunelle, and Tim McDaniel to make the journey into the final. Durant Jr was off first with a .027 reaction time, and that was all she wrote as he had an advantage of over .2 of a second. After this race, Canton was still in first with 120 Points, Durant Jr now sitting second with 110, and tie for third between McDaniel and King with 100.
The fourth event of the Pickup series came down to Jerry Durant Jr and Tim McDaniel as the ’05 Dodge and ’57 Studebaker lined up to do battle. Durant Jr took out Steve Sherman, Jim Rasmussen and Pat James to get into the final, whereas McDaniel downed points leader Steve Canton, Tony Bombara, and Jim Fields to make the journey into the final. Durant Jr was off first with a green light start, but the race ended shortly afterwards when McDaniel turned on the red light start. A special congratulations went out at this point to Jerry Durant Jr, as doubling up is a rare feat, winning in the Sunoco Race Fuels ET Sportsman Series as well.
At the next Pickup series race, held at the 35th Annual Lucas Oil Thunder Truck Drags, the final round was between Jerry Durant Jr and Jamy Bland. Durant Jr, the incoming point’s leader, defeated Josh Patterson, Paul Wattenbarger, and Martha Brett to reach the final round. Bland won his way into the final by downing David Trivelpiece, Dell King, and Greg Brault. In the final round, Durant Jr used a starting line advantage and running closer to his number to get the win, and further increase his points lead. At this event, racers were allowed to compete in any of the different pickup categories, and score points in whichever they chose. In the Hot Truck category, selected for pickups that run faster than 12.99, the final round showdown was between Pat James and John Poublon. James’ trip into the final round was through a single for being number one qualifier, George Churilla and Jeff Poleski. For Poublon: Dennis George Jr, Steve Sherman and Mike Powell were the opposing racers. In the final round the race was over before it even began when Poublon turned on the red light start, sending the Break the Chain ’84 S-10 of James into the Winner:’s Circle.
Little did these racers know, but with the last race of the series being rained out the season would be complete at this time. Jerry Durant Jr came alive when he needed to after a first round loss at the season opening event, turning on three straight event wins to stand tall in the Championship spotlight.
Following are final point’s standings in order of name, points total, and round wins.
1. Jerry Durant Jr, 300 Points, 12 Round Wins
2. Pat James, 250 Points, 9 Round Wins
3. Tim McDaniel, 220 Points, 7 Round Wins