Cummins closing in on another title
SPRING VALLEY — It's difficult to believe that Jason Cummins entered Saturday's races at Deer Creek Speedway without a victory in a points race this season.
It may be more difficult to fathom that Cummins, the defending USRA Modifieds track champion, was just one point out of first place in possibly the strongest class at the track, without a points-night victory this season. (He did win a preliminary feature during the World Modified Dirt Track Championship last month, though.)
Cummins wiped out that goose egg in the victory column on Saturday night. He charged from his sixth starting position to take the lead in a strong 25-car field on lap 11. He led the final 14 laps of the A Main to earn his first points win of the season, and put himself in good position to win his second consecutive track title.
"Better late than never," Cummins said in Victory Lane, where his daughter, Grace, presented him with the feature winner's trophy. "I'm just very proud to be up here."
After a slow start to the season, Cummins takes a 15-point lead over Medford's Brandon Davis into next Saturday's track championship night. Cummins finished outside of the top five in five of the first seven points races of the season. Since that team, he has three runner-up finishes and a victory.
"We won't change anything we're doing," Cummins said of his approach to championship night. "We'll just come and have fun, do some racing."
Davis entered Saturday's races in first place in the points standings, with a slim one-point advantage over Cummins. Davis started on the pole, but another former track champion, Rochester's Tim Donlinger, rocketed around him on the opening lap.
Donlinger, who entered the night just nine points out of first, built a half-straightaway lead by lap seven. But when Cummins worked his way into second place, he quickly cut into Donlinger's lead. Cummins cut seven-tenths of a second off his deficit in a two-lap span, then went high around Donlinger on a restart on lap 12 to take the lead for good.
Rochester's Nate Wasmund had the best chance to overtake Cummins in the second half of the race. After a caution on lap 13, Wasmund made a hard charge in an attempt to split Cummins and Donlinger, but Cummins had just enough to fight him off. Cummins pulled away from there, leading by as much as half a straightaway in the final laps.
"It was interesting to say the least," Cummins said of Wasmund's attempt to take the lead. "It was good racing, no contact. How do you beat that?"
Wasmund finished second, followed by Donlinger, Dan Bohr and Davis. Wasmund now has 936 points this season, followed by Davis (921), Donlinger (919) and Bob Timm (880).