BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
A year ago, Bakersfield's Shannon McQueen concentrated on Bay Cities Racing Association events and it paid off with her first-ever dirt Midget championship.
This season, McQueen went all in on the USAC Western States Midget series -- running all the pavement and dirt races -- and is closing in on the overall championship in that series.
McQueen holds a commanding 150-point advantage over David Prickett heading into Saturday night's 30-lap feature at Bakersfield Speedway. Prickett, however, leads McQueen by 30 points in the dirt point standings.
Counting Saturday, just four races remain to decide the championship, including the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Perris Auto Speedway on Thanksgiving Night.
McQueen has yet to win this season, but Michelle Decker drove one of McQueen's car to victory in the April 7 race at Bakersfield Speedway, becoming just the second woman to drive to a USAC Western States Midget victory. McQueen is the other woman to do so, winning at Madera in 2006.
"We would have liked to have gotten some wins, we have four more races to do it," said McQueen, whose best finish this year is second. "We've been really consistent running up front."
McQueen was running up front in that April 7 race at Bakersfield Speedway, battling for second late in the feature, when she was pushed down into a tire boardering the inside of the track and ended up 16th.
"The place you want to run the best -- at home -- you don't have the luck, at least we haven't," she said. "We had an incredible season last year. But we were far more lucky last year. How's that saying go -- I'd rather be lucky than good any day. This year we've been good but we haven't had the luck."
Also in action Saturday night will be American Stocks, Mini Stocks, Ford Focus and Junior Focus as well Hard Tops.
Racing starts at 6.
Bakersfield's David Mayhew will be making his second start for Brad Keselowski Racing tonight in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway (Speed Channel, 4 p.m.). Mayhew qualified 11th at Iowa last Saturday night and finished 16th in his first sart for BKR.
"We worked on our Steak and Grape/MMI Services RAM a lot," Mayhew said afterward. "Unfortunately, I don't know that we ever really got better; we just kind of went in circles. We'd get one part of the corner better, and the next time we'd get a different part better, but right in the center, the thing would just not turn. All night it was just tight no matter what we did."
Dallas Montes of Bakersfield is in a tight championship race heading into the penultimate Coors Light Open Late Model Series race Saturday night at Madera Speedway. Montes, one of four different winners this season, holds a seven-point lead. "We led the majority of the last race until we got a flat tire, so I feel good about the performance of the car but anything can happen," Montes said.
The Friday Night Street Legal and Test and Tune takes place tonight at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Gates open at 7 p.m.