NHRA Carolinas Nationals
Rivas inspired, confident approaching start of Countdown
And Rivas is among those competing in the Countdown to 1 five-race segment that launches Friday, Sept. 12 at Bruton Smith’s “Bellagio” of drag racing facilities, the new zMax Dragway, where the top 10 survivors from the Countdown to 10 begin their title fight in the new Carolinas Nationals.
Rivas, who was fifth in the regular season aboard the G2 Motorsports Drag Specialties S&S Cycle V-Twin Pro Stock Buell, said he let “a big sigh of relief when the Countdown to 10 was over. Now here comes the real season . . . the one we’ve been waiting for. This is our chance to make a run for the championship.”
It is his first playoff and he appreciates the revision of points for this final segment. He now has 2030, 60 behind the leader. That is much better than his 283-point deficit to No. 1 Matt Smith he had before the reset.
“We are within three rounds of being in the lead,” said Rivas. “That’s as close as we’ve been in a long time. I feel real good about going into
“We’ve really accomplished all our short-term goals. We have an event win (
Rivas, in his first season riding for the G2 team, says he’s learned a lot this year from veterans George Smith (crew chief) and Ken Johnson (chief mechanic). “Through it all we were still able to stay in contention for the point lead. Now we’ll just concentrate on things race-to-race and not try to get too far ahead of it by looking at the championship.
“Our bike has been running well. I think we have the ability to make another No. 1 qualifying pass again,” Rivas continued. “At Indy, we really hadn’t found our tune-up when we had one of our best qualifying sessions in terms of conditions. But we were able to run three 6.97-second times in the hot-weather sessions. If we’d had that tune-up in the good session, I think we could’ve been the No. 1 qualifier.
“Now that the playing field has been leveled, maybe we can make a move in the standings.”
Rivas, a touring rider since 2005, already is guaranteed his highest finish. His best was 11th. He is, however, no different than his nine rivals. All of them see themselves as history’s final POWERade Series titleholder. Only one will be holding the trophy on Sunday, Nov. 16, at
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