Jack Croaker & Michael Bischoff lead the fight for the '15 Rookie of the Year.
By Mike Spieker
GRAND FORKS, ND (September 4) - The 2015 season has presented one of the best and most diverse rookie classes in NOSA history. From 75-year-old Lawrence Veralrud, 16-year-old Brayden Pengilly, and veteran driver, Murray Temple, all graduating from the lightning sprint ranks to Jackson Moffett trading in his WISSOTA Midwest Modified for a winged Sprint Car.
As the season winds down and comes to a close, however, only two drivers have a shot at this year’s NOSA Rookie of the Year title; Jack Croaker & Michael Bischoff.
With five races remaining on the NOSA schedule, Croaker holds a slim 21 point lead over Bischoff entering a double-header weekend at River Cities Speedway and Buffalo River Race Park. While the Rookie of the Year award is definitely a goal for both drivers, it may not necessarily be their main focus yet.
“I'm hoping to get Rookie of the Year, but if I can prove myself to a lot of the big drivers and earn their respect, that almost seems more important right now,” said Croaker, who moved up to Outlaw Sprint Cars after a successful go-karting career. “I think I’ll be alright if I can finish races and keep the car in one piece.”
After struggling early on in the year to make the A-main at River Cities Speedway, Croaker has now figured out how to transfer out of his heat and put his Dakota Metal #8 in the show week after week. However, Croaker is ready to pick up his first checkered flag. When asked what goal he would like to accomplish before 2015 concludes he replied, “Maybe a B-main win. I just want to be first across the checkers, even if it’s a B-main. It would be something good to cross off your list and get your toes wet a little.”
Trailing Croaker in the standings is Bischoff, who has also quickly learned the ropes of Sprint Car racing at one of the country's toughest tracks. Bischoff, who is last year’s Devils Lake Speedway Hornet champion, has been improving both his lap times and A-main finishes night after night.
“Right now my main goal is to finish every race and whatever happens, happens,” said Bischoff. “We’re here to have fun and if we get it (Rookie of the Year), that would be sweet, but even if (Croaker) gets it he’s deserving too. We’ve already surpassed our expectations this year so as long as we make every race for the rest of the season we’ll be happy.”
“We’re really trying to get a top 10 still this year. That’s my main goal right now rather than Rookie of the Year to be honest,” concluded Bischoff.
Jackson Moffett, Murray Temple, Brayden Pengilly, and Lawrence Veralrud round out the rookie standings.
The battle doesn't stop in the NOSA standings. Entering Friday night's racing at River Cities Speedway, presented by Stamart, Bischoff leads Croaker by just one point in the RCS standings. It's safe to say that these two young guns will be racing hard for the rest of 2015 and for years to come.
Racing Friday night kicks off at 7pm and will also feature WISSOTA-sanctioned Late Models, Midwest Modifieds, and Street Stocks.
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