With two-races-in-one on the docket for the World Finals weekend following a rainout of the Pittsburgh Nationals earlier in the year, additional points were on the line in Memphis as Mike Scott, Randal Andras, Mark Cox and Jay Turner contended for the championship.
Scott began the weekend in style with a runner-up finish in the Pittsburgh makeup race, propelling him to the top of the mountain with three rounds of work ahead. But his weekend was far from over. A loss in the semifinals of race two would put his fate in the hands of his teammates, something he had hoped to avoid.
“I really wanted to get to the final and not have to put the championship in the hands of someone else,” Scott said. “When the final came, I stood on the line and just hoped for the best. It was out of my hands at that point and all I could do was watch.”
Ironically, all four drivers in contention for the championship advanced to the semifinals in Memphis, with Andras and Turner escaping to the final round.
With Turner and Cox officially eliminated from the championship, the battle came down to Turner Racing teammates Andras and Scott for the 2014 Nitro Harley title. With Scott leading the standings, Andras would need a win in the final to secure the title, while a win by Turner would seal the championship for Scott.
Adding to the drama, Andras blew a motor in the semifinals, but all three riders pitched in to help him make the call – a double-edged sword with so much on the line, but a decision Scott said this team would make every time.
“Of course I had mixed feelings, it is a championship,” Scott said with a laugh. “We talked about it before. Jay could have gone out and ran the final by himself, but that is not how our team works. We win together and we lose together. Everybody was working on that bike, even I was in there working on it, so that was definitely a good deal.”
In the end Andras held his own fate in his hands, but he couldn’t get around Turner in the final race of the season. Turner ran a 6.295 at 220.48 mph in the final, sealing the championship for Scott, while Andras put together a 6.351 at 223.47 mph to finish second in the race and in the championship standings.
Scott’s runner-up and semifinal finish in Memphis helped him earn a final tally of 821 points on the season, nine points ahead of Andras in the final standings. Scott, hailing from Blind Bay, British Columbia, finished the year with three wins, taking the season opener at Southwestern International Raceway in Tucson in March followed by back-to-back wins at the Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway and President’s Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway midway through the year. All three of his victories came against his Turner Racing teammates, defeating Andras twice and Turner once.
“Jay is just the best. I am here because Jay put me here. He helped me win races all year long and gave me an unbelievable bike,” Scott said. “I didn’t ride well in Memphis and almost gave it away, but he went out there and got it back for me. What can I say, it was an amazing year and great to finish to cap the season.”
Championship runner-up Randal Andras, from Amelia, Louisiana, recorded two wins in five final rounds on the season. Mark Cox, the lone rider in the top four not hailing from the Turner Racing stable, rode his Bojangles-sponsored motorcycle to a third place finish in the standings with two wins. Jay Turner finished fourth with one win, while Alvin Kobernusz rounded out the top five.
The extremely competitive season also saw both ends of the Nitro Harley record reset in 2014. Joey Sternotti set the new elapsed time mark for the class at 6.250 seconds at Bradenton Motorsports Park in April, while Cox set the new speed record at 230.76 mph, also at Bradenton.
Scott and Andras led the championship standings wire-to-wire, with the pair trading the lead multiple times throughout the year. On the year, nine different riders visited a final round, with Scott leading the pack with three victories.
“It was a great year for the entire Turner Racing team. We had a lot of fun trading the lead with Randal and, even as nerve-racking as it was there at the end, it was a fitting way to end the year between us,” Scott said. “I want to thank Jay, Dorothy and the entire team for all they do for me. We look forward to seeing if we can add a few more of these trophies to our collection next year.”