Story By: BEN SHELTON / HUNT THE FRONT SUPER DIRT SERIES – MILTON, FL – With just four races remaining for the inaugural season of the Hunt the Front Super Dirt Series presented by Sweet Victory Apparel, a new driver is atop the series standings heading into the tour’s final two weekends of racing Sept. 29-30 at Talladega Short Track and Oct. 6-7 at Swainsboro Raceway.
With an average finish of third in the tour’s past six races, Joseph Joiner of Milton, Fla., has climbed from a distant third in the points standings at midseason, all the way to the top of the chase for the $20,000 championship. Joiner took the points lead outright for the first time this season following his runner-up finish at Rome Speedway on Sept. 2 and now holds a four-point advantage over second-place Josh Putnam of Florence, Ala., and a 42-point lead over third-place Wil Herrington of Hawkinsville, Ga.
While Putnam may have lost the points lead at Rome, don’t count him out. With three different stints at the top of the standings already this season, he’s shown that he’s in the battle for the long haul and that he’s capable of bouncing back quickly.
Meanwhile Herrington has his work cut out for him after hitting a slump in the second half of the season. After logging an average finish of fourth on his way to claiming the tour’s $5,000 Midseason Points Championship, a string of bad luck has led to an average finish of 11th in the last six races. Herrington still has a shot at claiming the series title, but he’ll need help in the form of poor finishes for both Joiner and Putnam to get it done.
Beyond the three title contenders, leading series rookie Trey Mills of St. Augustine, Fla., remains fourth in the standings. While he has the $5,000 Aces Renovation Rookie of the Year Award all but locked up, his hold on fourth in the overall standings isn’t as strong as it once was. A resurgent Dalton Cook of Salem, Ala., is just 16 points back in fifth.
John Henderson of Aiken, S.C., has a solid hold on the sixth spot, while behind him rookie contenders Bo Slay of Milton, Fla., and Ryan Crane of Panama City, Fla., are separated by just 24 points in the battle for seventh in the standings and, more importantly, second in rookie points, which is worth an extra $2,000 at season’s end.
The series wraps up with huge back-to-back doubleheaders at Talladega and Swainsboro. Talladega hosts the tour during its traditional big fall race weekend that corresponds with NASCAR events at nearby Talladega Superspeedway. The Jerry Goodwin Challenge pays $5,038 to the winner on Sept. 29 and the $9,700-to-win Red Farmer Tribute is set for Sept. 30.
The third annual Hunt the Front Southern Showcase weekend will serve as the tour’s final event of 2023, with Swainsboro hosting a $5,000-to-win show on Oct. 6 and the $23,000-to-win finale on Oct. 7.