Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hackwell, Irvine, Lichty among Independence winners

A strong field of 149 cars were on-hand for the second night of weekly points racing at Independence Motor Speedway. While a plethora of cautions slowed the feature events, a number of close battles were waged on the smooth, fast, 3/8-mile oval.

In the I.M.C.A. Late Model division, Dale Hackwell Jr. came out on top of the 27-car field leading all 25 laps of that feature. Hackwell settled into the lead from his pole position start and quickly put a few car-lengths between himself and the rest of the field as he ran the bottom groove of the speedway.

Fellow front row starter Jason Rauen dropped into second as Greg Kastli, Rick Dralle and Darren Ackerman gave chase. Following a pair of early yellows, Dralle worked below Rauen and set his sights on Hackwell. Able to pull onto Hackwell's rear bumper, Dralle attempted to move beneath the #145, but could not complete the pass.

While Dralle challenged, Ackerman pressured Kastli, eventually making his way into third on the 11th lap. With Hackwell now out front by a few car-lengths, Ackerman shot beneath Dralle on lap 19 and into second. Ackerman remained committed to the low groove as he attempted to run down the race leader.

Ackerman stayed on Hackwell's bumper and opted to try the high groove since Hackwell remained glued to the low side of the speedway. Ackerman pulled to the outside of the leader with one lap remaining, however his efforts came up short at the line as Hackwell drove to the win. Ackerman, Kastli, Dralle and Tyler Bruening completed the top five.

Dave Stricker held the early lead in the I.M.C.A. Stock Car feature. From his pole position start, Stricker took command at the drop of the green while Steve Meyer applied pressure in second. Dan Trimble quickly entered the battle at the front of the pack as the three leaders ran bumper-to-bumper and door-to-door throughout the first half of the 20-lapper.

At the race's midway point, Stricker spun exiting turn four and collected Trimble in the process, bringing out the yellow flag. Both drivers restarted at the tail, allowing Meyer to inherit the point on the restart. Brian Irvine, who started in the ninth row, worked his way into the lead pack just prior to the caution and restarted second. When racing resumed, Irvine swept past Meyer to drive to his first win of the year. Meyer ran second at the line while Sean Johnson, Norman Chesmore and Tony Schimmels completed the top five.

From his second row start, Justin Lichty worked the low line and into the lead right away in the 15-lap I.M.C.A. Hobby Stock feature. Lichty withstood a pair of cautions and the late challenges of Jamie Whitaker to take the victory. Whitaker, Justin Hanson, August Bach and Josh Irvine rounded out the top five.

Joe Docekal held the early lead in the I.M.C.A. Modified main event. As he led, Max Corporon worked into a challenge for the lead a handful of laps into the race. Running the low groove, Corporon reeled in the leader and made the pass for the lead following a mid-race caution. Corporon held off a hard-charging Troy Cordes to claim the victory. Docekal, Jason Snyder and Clint Wendel ran third through fifth.

Austin Kaplan scored the win in the I.M.C.A. SportMod feature. From his second row starting spot, Kaplan worked his way into the lead by the end of the first lap. Despite numerous cautions in the time-shortened event, Kaplan held on to take the win ahead of Joel Rust and Kurt Hogan. Tyler Droste ran fourth and Kaleb Bentley, who started last in the 24-car field, came home fifth.

It was a long night at the speedway. While qualifying events went at a steady clip, the features saw plenty of stoppages. Although the track was heavy down low after excessive watering, the surface was smooth and fast throughout the night.

Due to the late hour, for those of you who visit the track's web site during the early Sunday morning hours, that update will not be posted until late in the morning. It's bedtime at my house. I planned to go back to Vinton tomorrow, but we'll see how Saturday's results and stats come along during the day Sunday.

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