What’s at Stake During Tonight’s Race

For complete series standings, click here.

Will another derailleur problem for Chris Ploch leave the door open for fellow Alpine Shop employee and DRJ teammate John Matthews to take the series lead in the final week? Only six points separate the two heading into the final Thursday of Alpine Shop’s Short Track Dirt Crit Series tonight. While Matthews, a Master’s Champion in his own right, hasn’t won on the series this year, he’s had the most consistent finishes week in and week out with two seconds and two thirds. Ploch’s performances these past two weeks, while not garnering victories, are impressive feats none the less. With his bike’s derailleurs leaving him with the equivalent of a malfunctioning single speed during the race, he’s managed to take fourth and third against the top racers in the St. Louis area.

Other questions for tonight’s race include: Can Eric Pirtle reel off a third straight victory on the Short Track Circuit? He’s taken advantage of Ploch’s mechanical problems the last two weeks to reel off the first two victories in the series by anyone other than Ploch since the 2008 races. Coming off of back surgery earlier this year, Pirtle has looked very strong these past two weeks. We can only wonder where he would be in the standings if he had raced in the first week. As it stands, he’s 51 points off the pace. A third place finish in week one would have left him tied for the lead.

Will DRJ take the top three places on the series podium? As it stands, this premier team has Ploch, Matthews and team director Bob Arnold sitting in the top three spots. Or will Pirtle, riding for Giant Bicycles (his employer) and the Hub, make the move into the top three? If that happens, you’ll have two current Alpine Shop employees (Ploch and Matthews) joined by a former Alpine Shop bike manager, Pirtle, on the podium.

Also keep an eye out on the women racers. Lorren Mattson from Mesa has a 31 point lead over Alpine Shop’s Carrie Sona. Mattson has three wins and a second place finish this year in the ladies division. Sona has finished fourth, third, second and third respectively. Stephanie McCreary (Big Shark/Pfoodman) sits in third.

For the kids, JD Peiffer (Ghisallo) has a 10 point lead over Mesa’s Casey Carter, 226 to 216. Peiffer has two victories this year. Carter has finished second three times this month. To make things even more interesting, Carter actually beat Peiffer to the finish line last week as both racers finished behind Nathaniel Cotton who has two victories in the past two races. Unfortunately for him, he missed the first two weeks of competition and sits outside the top point receivers.

Hope to see you out there tonight at Castlewood State Park. Should be a lot of fun!

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