Derek Wright came up one spot short of a National Championship last year at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. But 2014 was a different story.
Wright started from pole and led the entire race. He put some distance between himself and Kent Owens in No. 2 spot, and just kept pushing. However, toward the end of the race, that gap began to shrink and Owens began to gain ground on Wright, who took the checkered flag — and not a moment too soon.
“I’m pretty sure the rear end gear broke with a lap or two to go,”
Wright said. “The rest of the race was great. I worked out perfectly for me. Traffic was perfect. I got a little gap and I could let cars by whenever I needed to do without losing too much time, and I was just managing the race the best I could. It was really great till those last couple of laps when I was getting nervous.”
By then, Owens was breathing down his neck. Owens had a little of his own drama that weekend. During a qualifying race, he got collected by a spinning car, which mangled some cosmetics and took out his power steering cooler.
“I started fifth or sixth, and finished second,” Owens said. Derek was having some troubles. I don’t know that I had anything for him today, but it looked like on the last three or four laps he was having mechanical trouble. We went across at the flag and I was across his bumper, so if we’d have had another lap, I’d have had him for sure.”
Sammy McSpadden, who started from second on grid, finished third after Owens.
“Unfortunately, one of the guys in the other classes, when he was lapping us, hit me and knocked me off track going into Turn 6, which really messed up my race. It was a handful after that,” McSpadden said. “Kent Owens passed me for second. I had another guy on my tail the whole time, and he got up beside me several times on the back straightaway. The only thing that saved me was big brakes. I could out-brake him on the end of the straightaway, so I was glad to see the checkered flag.”