Hampton Roads series returns

Published 10:57 pm Friday, November 21, 2008

HAMPTON — Race fans’ battered entertainment budgets get a welcome boost this Saturday as Arena Racing USA’s Hampton Roads series returns to action at the Hampton Coliseum.

Saturday’s lineup includes A, B and C Mains — 50 laps apiece. The top six finishers from the A Main and the top four finishers from the B and C Mains advance to the 50-lap Top Dog feature, the evening’s grand finale.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and racing gets under way at 7. Drivers will be available to meet and greet fans before and after the program.

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Dubbed the “Arena Racing Economic Stimulus Package,” all adult and children’s tickets for this Saturday’s program are just $5 (plus applicable fees). Kids under 3 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available at the Coliseum Box Office, TicketMaster locations and online at ticketmaster.com.

After four events, only one point separates defending champion Scott Prillaman and three-time Top Dog winner Adam Florian in the current series standings, 122-121. Jordan Wood ranks third with 116, followed by Charlie Green with 112.

At the end of the 15-race schedule, officials will drop each driver’s two worst finishes (and/or missed events) to arrive at the final points rundown for the 2008-09 season.

If Adam Florian has won three of four Top Dog races, then why is he in second place in the standings? Well, let’s take a few moments for a quick primer on how the Arena Racing USA points system works.

Before doors open to the general public on race night, drivers participate in time trials. Based on the qualifying results, drivers are divided into the three fields for the A, B and C Mains. They, then, draw for their starting positions in those Mains.

The winner of the A Main receives 30 points and the points decrease by one per position (i.e. 29 for second, 28 for third, etc.). The same system is used to award points to the B and C Main participants, only with a lower starting point. The B Main winner gets 27 points (26 for second, 25 for third, etc.), while the C Main winner gets 25 points (24 for second, 23 for third, etc.).

The evening’s Top Dog winner picks up an additional five points. A runner-up finish is worth four points, three for third and two for fourth. All other Top Dog qualifiers receive a single point.

While the Top Dog race is always the glamour event at any Arena Racing USA gathering, championship-winning campaigns are built on a foundation of solid performances in the Mains — especially the A Main, where the maximum number of points can be earned.

Entering the last event, on Nov. 8, Florian trailed Prillaman by three points. A middle-of-the-pack qualifying run, however, landed him in the B Main, where he finished third (25 points). Paired with his Top Dog win, Florian posted 30 total points for the night.

Prillaman, meanwhile, finished fourth in the A Main (27 points). He was the first retiree from the Top Dog race, but still gained one more point, for a total of 28 on the evening, to hold onto the series lead.