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Titles still up for grabs as final races approach

With just nine weeks left in the season, drivers at Citrus County Speedway are trying to lock down as many points as possible before time runs out.

For the top dogs in the Late Model, Mini Stock and Figure 8 divisions, the path to the division crowns appears to have few stones ahead.

Most have run consistently well all season, and only the most disastrous of circumstances would threaten their titles.

However, the remaining divisions, Street Stock, Sportsman and Hobby Stock, still offer hope for many drivers still in the title hunt.

Here's a look at how things are panning out:

LATE MODEL: Mike Bresnahan looks to be well on his way to his first championship in this division. He enjoys a 124-point advantage over his nearest rival, Danny Johnson.

Johnson, the defending champion, has regrouped from a dismal start but has been unable to gain significant ground in recent weeks. However, his runner-up spot appears secure as he holds an 85-point edge over Al Lawrence.

Behind Lawrence are Herb Neumann Jr. and Fred Stoner, neither of whom are threats.

MINI STOCK: George Neumann is close to clinching his fourth title, topping second-place driver Kevin Harrod by 115 points. Harrod has provided Neumann with formidable challenges all season. However, he more likely is to be focused on staying ahead of Frank Coleman, who trails him by just 40 points. Just below Coleman _ by a single point _ is Mark Sowell, who earlier had rivaled Neumann in the championship chase.

FIGURE 8: It is no surprise to anyone to find four-time defending champion Robert Aaron in cruise control.

He leads Gary Swing by 84 points, and with just four races left, the edge appears to ride with Aaron's remarkable consistency.

Further back, Charlie Meyer and Ken Crews are battling for third, with just four points separating the two.

STREET STOCK: Perhaps the most tightly contested division this season, the top three spots are separated by just 50 points.

Wes Wilson has a 25-point lead over Ernie Reed Jr., who is just 25 points in front of Wes's brother, Sport.

Wes, who has seven victories this season, has seen his share of struggles lately. Car troubles and bad finishes helped erase his once large lead over Reed, who is noted for his consistency.

Meanwhile, Sport Wilson, who led the division early, has weathered his bad luck streak that brought four consecutive DNFs.

He will be gunning for his third win in a row Saturday.

SPORTSMAN: Leading the division by 65 points, the smart money probably would put defending champion Mike Veltman atop the standings nine weeks from now. Indeed, Veltman, with an impressive eight wins so far, has at times seemed every bit as invincible as he did last season.

However, the difference has been the competition, which is considerably more formidable than what Veltman faced last season. Johnny Gann, the dark horse veteran, has dogged Veltman all season.

Third-place driver Travis Nichols, who jumped over from Street Stocks, probably doesn't have enough to mount a challenge to the crown.

HOBBY STOCK: The rough-and- tumble division often has brought late-season shootouts. This season could see more of the same.

Sixteen-year-old Chris Hooker quickly emerged as the dominant driver, posting many of his six wins early. But Hooker has shown inconsistency recently.

Despite some good finishes, DNFs, plus a recent two-week hiatus so that the Citrus High junior could attend to falling grades, have allowed eight-race winner J.D. Goff to creep within 44 points.

Further back in the standings, Richie Smith leads defending champion Roy Perkins in the race for third.