Como Modified Series is going down to the wireThe third installment of the Como Oil & Propane Modified Series has been Superior — literally. Superior’s Al Uotinen sits atop the Como Mod Series point standings with only a single event remaining on the schedule.
The third installment of the Como Oil & Propane Modified Series has been Superior — literally. Superior’s Al Uotinen sits atop the Como Mod Series point standings with only a single event remaining on the schedule. Uotinen is a 28-year racing veteran with a healthy resume of winning races and track championships, but entering the final Como Mod Series event at the ABC Raceway in Ashland on the final weekend of September will undoubtedly be the biggest race the racer has ever been a part of.
Uotinen leads the 92 other drivers that have competed in at least one Como Mod Series event over the course of the 2008 season by a mere five points with inaugural series champion Darrell Nelson hot on his heels.
First year Mod man Ryan Aho only sits eight points behind Uotinen with 2007 series winner Kelly Estey just 16 back of the lead. Jeff Spacek sits fifth in the standings, 18 behind Uotinen with 2007 series runner-up Jayme Lautigar just 19 off the lead. Jason Miller sits seventh overall, 22 points behind the top spot and Duane Dale is eighth, 35 points back, still with a mathematical shot at the title.
The series has never seen this tight of a point battle with these many drivers still having a shot at the title coming into the final event of the season.
Como Mod Series Directors Joe and Jodi Stariha are excited about how the 2008 Mod Series championship is playing out.
“Our hope all year was that the points would be tight going into the final event on the schedule, but we could not have imagined that there would be eight drivers in the hunt for the title,” Jodi Stariha said. “We are very excited to see this outcome and can’t wait to get to the track on the 26th.”
The Como Mod Series has pitted the best of the best against each other in an eight-race series throughout the Northland tracks for the past three seasons, but never has the championship come down to the final event as it is this year.
Uotinen is a four-time ABC Raceway Modified track champion, but he knows that when the Red Clay Classic rolls around, the best in the business will be in attendance trying to stake claim to the $3,000 event winner’s paycheck and to see who hauls in the $7,500 Como Mod Series championship along the way.
The 2008 Como Modified Series has held six events with one event succumbing to rain and not being rescheduled and the series has seen six different winners so far along the way.
Estey claimed the top spot at the season opener at the Proctor Speedway back in May, while Dale raced from 14th to thrill the crowd en route to victory at the Hibbing Raceway in June. Joey Jensen then emerged in victory lane at the tour’s only other stop at the ABC Raceway, while Uotinen stunned the capacity crowd by storming from 14th to win the first of two events at the Superior Speedway at the end of July.
Labor Day weekend kicked off the final four races of the series, but event No. 5 was rained out in Proctor before Robbie Bunkleman raced to his only Como Mod Series win as part of the Labor Day Shootout at Hibbing.
Nelson then cut into the point lead by winning event No. 7 on the schedule in Superior just two weeks ago, setting up a never-seen-before scenario, where any of the top eight drivers at the top of the series point standings could emerge with the 2008 Como Mod Series Championship and the $7,500, 2009 Bare Chassis Modified J-car, a custom wrap from Elite Tinting & Graphics and other contingency awards that goes along with it, totally nearly $12,000.
Uotinen knows keeping his No. 98 at the top of the point standings is not going to be an easy feat.
“We’re going to go into the Red Clay Classic just as we have in the past and try to do our part to make sure we are there at the end,” Uotinen said. “If we’re fortunate enough to win the Como Mod Series it will mean a ton to me and my entire team. This is no doubt the biggest race I have ever been a part of and winning the Como Series would be the biggest accomplishment I have ever had in my 28-year career.
“The weekend is going to be very nerve wracking and already has been because I have been thinking about this race for the past couple of weeks. I try not to think about it because it just gets me nervous, but it is such a big event that it is hard not to think about the magnitude of it.”
Although Uotinen is attempting to win his first Como Mod Series, the driver that sits second in the points isn’t necessarily in the same boat, which makes him a bit less nervous going into the final race of the season. Darrell Nelson, the Series 2006 Champion, only sits five points behind Uotinen.
The Como Mod Series takes to the track for the final time in 2008 on Friday and Saturday.
For more information on the Como Mod Series, log on to www.comomodseries.com.
Como Modified Series
Race No. 7 Today in Ashland
Top 10 Points Standings
(With previous race results and total)
1. Al Uotinen 52-52-53-54-47-48—306
2. Darrell Nelson 48-53-39-50-54-57—301
3. Ryan Aho 55-54-39-54-45-51—298
4. Kelly Estey 56-49-54-42-47-42—290
5. Jeff Spacek 47-50-53-46-51-41—288
6. Jayme Lautigar 54-47-35-50-49-52—287
7. Jason Miller 34-46-50-47-55-52—284
8. Duane Dale 40-55-36-41-45-54—271
9. Dean Yrjanainen 31-50-35-39-53-41—249
10. (tie) Don Copp 47-46-46-43-34-29—245
Jeff Wood 46-31-42-40-41-45—245