The Showdown

Series leader after Round 10

So, it all comes down to this.  In time honoured fashion, the Shoot Out has reached its showdown, and tonight there will be a brand new winner of the silver roof in BriSCA F2 Stock Car racing.  Unlike the previous two years, when there was a clear leader of the National Series heading into the final round, it is all very close and very tight at the top of the points chart.

Former Ben Fund and Gala Champion 560 Luke Wrench leads double World Champion 968 Micky Brennan by just six points.  By comparison, Gordon Moodie was 44 points clear of Dave Polley heading into the final round in 2017 and last year Gordon Moodie was 76 points in front of Chris Burgoyne.  The conclusion of the BriSCA F2 National Series has never been as dramatic or as close fought.

In 2017, six drivers had a mathematical chance of winning the silver roof, before the final round was staged.  In 2018, only two drivers had a mathematical chance of winning the silver roof before the final round was staged.  This year, with the final round still to be raced, it is possible for eight of the fourteen drivers to still land the title.

Closer examination of the points scored in the National Series reveals that Wrench has outscored Brennan by eighteen points in the shale segment of the competition, whereas Brennan amassed twelve more points than Wrench at the tarmac rounds.  Is that an indication that Wrench will clinch the title because of his greater scoring power on the shale circuits, or will Brennan turn home ground to his advantage?

The approach of the two drivers has been starkly contrasting, for whilst Wrench has looked more towards racing his way to the gathering of points, Brennan has resorted to some rugged ‘old school’ tactics – the sort of Stock Car racing he was brought up watching as a youngster.  Which approach will win out?  Will there be a change of style by either driver for the final round?  So many questions to be answered at Belle Vue.

If Wrench and Brennan become embroiled in their own head-to-head duel, the next two drivers in line to look to capitalise are 24 Jon Palmer and 183 Charlie Guinchard.  Since the start of the National Series, Palmer has been in the top four on the points chart and last weekend he maintained his hopes of the title when he was the top scorer across the rounds at Cowdenbeath and Skegness.  Palmer is 45 points shy of Wrench, but when factoring in Belle Vue is a double points round, Palmer will be looking to outscore Wrench by 23 points to overhaul him.  Last weekend, Palmer scored more than 23 points at each round.  For teenager Guinchard, 2019 has been a remarkable first full season; one which has seen him capture the Novice of the Year title.  With a deficit of 61 points to National Series leader Wrench, it is a tall order to expect Guinchard to outscore him by the 31 points he needs to double up to a winning position, but in 2017, very few expected Andrew Palmer would make up 75 points, but he so very nearly did.

Ahead of the final round, 127 Matt Stoneman, 618 Ben Lockwood, 801 Jack Cave and 995 Michael Lund sit in the remaining top eight places, which are very important in terms of overall prize money.  Mention must certainly be made of Lockwood, who will be contesting a 31st consecutive National Series round – he is the only driver with an ever-present record since the competition began in 2017.  Behind them, 184 Aaron Vaight, 606 Andrew Palmer, 101 Kelvyn Marshall and 788 Stephen Mallinson will be looking for one last hurrah, to potentially advance their claims for a top eight finish.  905 Rob Mitchell has already confirmed his withdrawal from the National Series, whilst the F2 community will be hoping that 298 Jake Walker will be able to make his first racing appearance since a family bereavement curtailed his involvement in the contest.

There is no other place to be for Stock Car fans than at Belle Vue for the climax to an outstanding and thrilling National Series.

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