Jon mitchell wins 2012 comp cams super dirt series title in thrilling fashion

Memphis, TN – The 2012 COMP Cams Super Dirt Series (CCSDS) Super Late Model champion was not determined until the final corner of the final lap of the final event, and when the dust settled it was Texarkana, TX, driver Jon Mitchell who had claimed the first series title of his career.

The 2012 campaign marked the sixth season of action for the COMP Cams Super Dirt Series. While drivers and officials with the tour knew that the most exciting slate of events ever scheduled for the Arkansas-based organization awaited them, little did they know that the most thrilling championship race in the history of the sanction was also on the docket.  With approximately 25 races on the initial schedule the CCSDS competitors and staff opened the 2012 season in March with events in Louisiana and Arkansas.  Rookie contender Larry Campbell upset the tour veterans in the opener to score the win at USA Speedway (Sterlington, Louisiana) before the veterans fought back in the second round with Billy Moyer claiming a convincing win at I-30 Speedway (Little Rock, Arkansas).

The second weekend of action for the tour, taking place in early April, saw another rookie and veteran tangle as Billy Moyer again was triumphant with a victory at Batesville Motor Speedway (Locust Grove, Arkansas), while rookie contender Robert Baker drew blood at Diamond Park Speedway (Nashville, Arkansas) with his first career victory. Along with the win Baker took over the top spot in the series standings as the tour looked ahead to May.

Morgan Bagley turned back the advances of the tour regulars in early May at an event at Ark-La-Tex Speedway (Vivian, Louisiana) before Jesse Stovall and Billy Moyer Jr. each claimed wins at Thunderbird Speedway (Muskogee, Oklahoma) and Crawford County Speedway (Van Buren, Arkansas), respectively, to end the month. Baker meanwhile closed out May still leading the standings over Jon Mitchell by a narrow margin.

The month of June began at Riverside International Speedway (West Memphis, Arkansas), and while Johnny Virden emerged victorious in the event, Mitchell cut Baker's advantage in the standings to just 14 markers. One week later, on the heels of a pair of strong performances at Malden Speedway (Malden, Missouri) and Northeast Arkansas Speedway (Harrisburg, Arkansas), Mitchell jumped into the top spot in the series standings by just two points, while Wendell Wallace and Billy Moyer Jr. accounted for the weekend wins. The following weekend found the tour ending the schedule for the month of June as Curtis Cook scored his first win of the year with a victory at Beebe Speedway (Beebe, Arkansas), and Mitchell also found victory lane for the first time with a triumph at 67 Speedway (Texarkana, Arkansas).  With the victory Mitchell remained atop the standings, but quickly found Curtis Cook nipping at his heels in the second spot just two markers removed from the top.

Intense drought and heat conditions would hamper the tour during much of July, forcing events to be rescheduled. As a result a single event was held for the CCSDS competitors in late July. Billy Moyer Jr. recorded his third win of the 2012 campaign on the series with a victory at Northeast Arkansas Speedway. The event was marred by a horrific accident which included many of the points contenders on the tour. Luckily no one was severely injured. The incident allowed Mitchell to extend his advantage to 30 points in the standings as Robert Baker reassumed the runner-up spot.

A hot and steamy August opened at I-30 Speedway, where Wendell Wallace again found victory lane, while Jon Mitchell battled mechanical woes.  His struggles allowed Baker and defending champion, Brandon Smith, who had been quietly lurking in the standings, to cut his advantage to just a few points.

The final race of August was held at Diamond Park Speedway, and Jack Sullivan set fire to what would soon become a three race win streak with the tour. More issues for Mitchell in the event further opened the door to Baker, who drew within two points of the leader.

A three week hiatus brought the series to Northeast Arkansas Speedway in early September for the Rock-A-Billy 45.  The two-day event was condensed to a single program by Mother Nature, and as Sullivan enjoyed the spoils of victory lane, Baker and Mitchell would have an on-track altercation while battling for the lead. The incident led to Baker’s suspension from the tour for the remainder of the season. With Baker's championship hopes dashed, Brandon Smith filled the void as a challenger to Mitchell.  Just two points separated the top two, and the final four events would prove to be nip and tuck for the title.

After Jack Sullivan collected another win at I-30 Speedway, the month of October opened with a doubleheader at Thunderbird Speedway that had been delayed by rain for one week from its original dates. Jesse Stovall and Terry Phillips split wins in the doubleheader, while Mitchell and Smith each had ups and downs during the course of the weekend's festivities on the 1/2 mile oval. Departing Oklahoma with just one event remaining on the calendar, Mitchell led Smith by a mere eight markers.

The showdown for the championship was held on October 20th during the 6th Annual COMP Cams® Mid-South Dirt Track Championship presented by Driven Racing Oil™ at Riverside International Speedway. While Smith won his heat race to lock into a starting spot near the front of the pack in the event, Mitchell struggled throughout the night and had to come from a B-Main to qualify for the feature. He would then be involved in a lap 11 tangle, which sent him to the tail of the field. With Smith battling in the top five for the duration of the race, Mitchell mounted a charge through the pack, and in the final corner of the final lap used a daring slide job to steal the seventh position from Keith Lawson. The slide job would prove to be crucial in determining the champion as it tied Mitchell with Smith in the final points. With the tiebreaker being number of feature wins, Mitchell was awarded the championship after claiming one win on the tour in 2012 to none for Smith.

"I'm not going to lie, when we struggled in time trials, and then had the incident early in the feature, I thought we were toast," Mitchell said. "Luckily I was able to get myself calmed down and was able to make a charge back through the field to get to where I needed to be.  Hats off to Brandon (Smith) because he sure made me work for it over the last several events. I can't thank my crew and sponsors enough for their support this season. This really means a lot."

With the championship Mitchell becomes the fifth different champion of the tour and joins a list that includes Joey Mack (2007-2008), Billy Moyer Jr. (2009), Bill Frye (2010), and Brandon Smith (2011).

 “You just can't script a season-long championship battle like this coming down to the final lap of the final race,” said COMP Cams VP of Marketing, Chris Douglas. “It's a testament to these great drivers and this great series. We would not only like to congratulate Jon Mitchell on his COMP Cams Super Dirt Series Championship, but we also want to congratulate all of the great drivers and teams who made the 2012 season such a success. We at COMP Cams are just honored to be a part of such a great tour.”

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