Part Four in our coverage of the 2017 Chase for the Cup is unique in that it presents us with a tie between two drivers who potentially have a shot at winning the championship going into the last round. First up is Phil Oddo, from Londonderry, NH who pilots the 2003 LS6-powered ISC Suspension / KBD Bodykits Nissan 350Z and Ben Williams, from Fishersville, VA who pilots the 1990 2JZ-powered Fresh Roots Mazda RX7 featuring Achilles Radial tires. Both drivers currently have 228 points, putting them 48 points behind the leader, Kenric Meyer, with 276 points.
The current standings are as follows:
1. Kenric Meyer (276 points)
2. Noah Michaels (243 points)
T-3. Phil Oddo (228 points)
T-3. Ben Williams (228 points)
5. Mike Perez (184 points)
6. David Bellomo (178 points)
7. Kyle Wood (176 points)
Both Oddo and Williams are the first drivers with a relatively fair chance at the championship. They’re a good 44 points ahead of 5th place Perez and only 48 points behind first place. The best Oddo and Williams can do is 344 points, courtesy of qualifying first and winning the event (116 points). Both drivers will be statistically eliminated if first place Kenric Meyer qualifies and finishes in the Top 4 (350 points) or more realistically qualifies 1st (Meyer has qualified 1st twice and 2nd once this season so far) and finishes 7th or better (346 points). If Meyer fails to qualify, he would remain at 276 points and either Oddo or Williams would need to qualify and finish in the Top 8 (277 points).
Second place Noah Michaels would need to qualify 2nd and finish 2nd to earn 348 points in order to eliminate Oddo or Williams. If both the Meyer or Michaels scenarios don’t eliminate Oddo or Williams, they would then need to worry about finishing ahead of each other in order to take the championship.
Oddo is carrying some serious momentum heading into the last round. He has been improving his finish position at each subsequent round (8th, 5th, and 3rd). If this trend continues, that would mean that the only place left for Oddo to finish is in the Top 2. And to top it off, he recently picked up some new partners and support from ISC Suspension and KBD Bodykits.
Williams kicked off the season with a strong start at Round 1 by qualifying second and finishing second. However, he ran into a little slump at Round 2 with undesirable results that put him down several spots in the rankings. Not to be counted out, Williams rebounded and finished solid at Round 3 and landed back into the Top 3 in the standings. One thing to note, Williams’ slump was at his home track at Shenandoah Speedway; and all of his top performances this season were at other tracks, so if this trend holds true, Williams might easily be found on the podium in Ohio.
Summary: Oddo and Williams need Meyer to not finish in the Top 4, Michaels to not qualify higher than 2nd and not finish higher than 3rd, and make sure that one of them finishes ahead of the other, preferably in first.