When Marco Abruzzi traveled to Houston in March – the furthest West he had ever raced – to commit to a full season in the ADRL Top Sportsman class, this the type of situation he envisioned
Of course, it’s also pretty close to the scenarios both William Brown and Ronnie Davis had in mind as well.
Only one will win a heated ADRL Top Sportsman world championship chase at next week’s ADRL World Finals at the Texas Motorplex, but all three have a strong chance.
Abruzzi has the best shot as the current points leader and he knows exactly what is at stake in Dallas.
“It’s going to be pretty exciting. There’s a lot of pressure on everybody,” Abruzzi said. “I figured it would be close all year. I’d rather be in my position than anyone else’s, but there is pressure.
“I’ve got my car working well and this is exciting, so I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m in a good place, too. I may have the most pressure because I don’t want to screw it up, but I’m in a good place and I’m confident in my car.”
Abruzzi started the year in Houston with a win, which he said gave him the indicator to run the full season.
Brown, who trails Abruzzi by 278 points or a little less than three rounds (each round win in the ADRL is worth 100 points), was also in new territory by showing up in Houston.
But even before the season-opening race he had committed to the full season, and back-to-back finals appearances over the summer put him in the points race.
He’s journeyed to several tracks for the first time in an adventurous 2012 season and Brown will also make his debut appearance at Texas Motorplex next week.
That it also happens to be the site of one of the biggest races in Brown’s career means he will be extra focused to perform.
“There’s a strategy I’m going to have to take down to Dallas and hopefully it works for me. But if it doesn’t work, that’s just drag racing,” Brown said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking, but I’ve been getting a lot of support and I’m going to take a winning state of mind to Dallas.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of this season. Being bunched in between two world champions like Marco and Ronnie, I’m just excited to be in the running and just to be mentioned in the running for this.”
Davis, meanwhile, trails Abruzzi by 340 points thanks to a late-season surge that includes two wins in the last three events.
The latest win came after he beat Abruzzi in the Ohio Drags finals to end September, putting him within striking distance of the points leader.
Davis has put together quite the rally after an early-season filled with mayhem and plenty of early exits. By the time the summer rolled around, Davis debated not running the full season, but a win at Charlotte recharged him and now one more tremendous performance could make him the Top Sportsman champion.
“I have a shot at the championship and that’s very exciting,” Davis said. “I’m pretty thrilled and pumped up about it.”
Abruzzi is just as excited to see how it unfolds next week in Dallas, especially after his own summer slump nearly wiped away his chances.
But after not qualifying in August at zMAX Dragway, Abruzzi responded with a spectacular September, winning in Memphis and going to the finals at the Ohio Drags.
All that is left now is finishing the job in what has been a standout championship race in an incredible first full year for Top Sportsman in the ADRL.
“I fell on my face all summer and was terrible. Every year I’ve raced points, I’ve started out well, sucked in the middle and finished pretty good,” Abruzzi said. “I’m just going to approach this like any other race. There’s the added element of pressure, but that’s what makes it fun.”
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