Bosque Farms race car driver Jay Pape has a comfortable lead in the season-long race for points in the street stock division at Duke City Raceway. But the race doesn’t end until the checkered flag is dropped, and Pape knows it.
“I built a lot of that lead early on,” he said before his heat race at DCR last Saturday night. “These other guys are getting better and better and making it tougher and tougher.
“And that’s good for the fans. We all want to see real competitive races, and these guys have really stepped it up. So I’m going to need every point I’ve got.”
Pape entered the evening with 590 points, 86 points ahead of Belen’s Jim Willis, who was second in the standings with 504 points. Thomas Winters of Los Lunas, who has been coming on strong in recent weeks, was third with 494.
“I’m trying to chase him down, but I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not,” Winters said of running down Pape in the point standings. “He’s quite a way up there.”
Pape’s lead is the largest in any of the five divisions that race regularly at DCR. But he’s not letting up off the gas pedal. No lead is safe.
“It’s never enough, I can tell you that,” Pape said. “I’ve raced long enough to know that a couple of bad nights and that can go away real quick.”
Pape was leading the points standings last year too, but, after his grandmother suffered a stroke, he pulled out of the race.
So he’s racing to win, but with two months still to go in the season, he’s not thinking much about winning the points title.
“You just have to keep doing what you’re doing and keep you’re head down and not worry about the bad times, because they might be coming,” he said.
Pape extended his lead over all but one driver in the field after finishing in second place on Saturday.
Shawn Dutcher of Albuquerque, who was seventh in the standings, is still more than 200 points behind Pape after Dutcher won Saturday’s main event.
Pape put some more distance between himself and his closest pursuers, however. Willis finished 11th and Winters was 13th.
In other action at DCR Saturday night, the points race in the hobby stock division got even closer after Albuquerque’s Steve Bonesteel Jr. won the main event for the third week in a row.
Los Lunas drivers Ron Leathem Jr. and Ronnie Bell are embroiled in a tight battle for the points lead. Bell finished second to Bonesteel. Leathem was fourth, followed by two more Los Lunas drivers — Jeff Whyman and Phil York.
Yet another Los Lunas racer, Richard Johnson, maintained his lead in the modified division standings by placing second behind Edgewood’s Butch Reid. Bobby Bachechi of Los Lunas placed fourth.
In late model action, points leader Robert Schorr of Rio Rancho won the main event. Ronnie Frazier of Belen placed fifth.