Monday, June 28, 2010

Take a breath, the busy season is upon us

A lot of racing events are about ready to sneak up on all of us. As July approaches and (hopefully) summer weather is here to stay, be sure to stay up-to-date on all of the upcoming racing specials in the coming weeks by checking out the calendar of events at

The excitement starts this week as the American Stock Car Series for IMCA Stock Cars is actually underway tonight at Marshalltown Speedway. That series travels to Buena Vista Raceway in Alta tomorrow before hitting Independence Motor Speedway on Wednesday. The Indee date includes the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models as that tour makes its 23rd stop in series history at Independence. Those two divisions alone brought in 100 cars at Independence last season. All of the information is included in the poster below. A larger version is located near the very bottom of this page. A press release concerning Wednesday's event is located here.

The Stock Car Series concludes on Thursday night at Lee County Speedway in Donnellson. Also a part of the action during Thursday's Liberty Cup will be the fourth race of the inaugural JR Motorsports Hawkeye Dirt Tour for IMCA Modifieds.

The busy season just keeps getting busier next month at Independence Motor Speedway as the 2010 Buchanan County Fair is scheduled for July 14-19 in Independence. A full schedule of grandstand entertainment is on tap, along with a slew of other fair entertainment. The entire fair schedule may be found on the "Fair Events Schedule" tab on the home page menu of or by clicking here.

The Indee Race Night of Champions is nearing the completion of all heat race qualifying on the Independence Motor Speedway facebook page. If you haven't already added us, be sure to do so and get in on the action as last chance qualifying will fill out the month of July before the four all-time fantasy features take center stage in August. A great success, nearly 250 submit their fantasy results on a regular basis as a new lineup is posted every Friday. The front six rows of three of the four features have already been determined and they are loaded. Be sure to find those lineups and current fantasy race information on the "Notes" tab of the IMS facebook page.

Also on our facebook page, a weekly Fast Track Trivia question is asked, giving fans the chance to win a prize at the races each week. This week, Bryan McCombs won for a record third time in 11 weeks. This time around, he won an Independence Motor Speedway T-shirt autographed by Ray Evernham. A new trivia question is asked every Monday evening.

That's all for now. Another blog will be posted following Wednesday night's race at Independence.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Indee Stats Blitz! (for events through June)

Welcome to the second installment of the 2010 Stats Blitz! The statistics included here are through six weeks of weekly racing (the end of June) at Independence Motor Speedway. All photos are courtesy of Scott Tjabring of Action Track Photography, the official track photograpther of the speedway.

There are some all-time statistics included at the end, dating back to 1967. While the track opened in 1965, my records date back to the beginning of the 1967 season. All of the “all-time” statistics include races from only the five divisions that currently compete today. For those wondering, Modifieds started competing in 1983, Hobby Stocks in 1989, Stock Cars in 1993 and SportMods in 2008. The information included for the Late Models dates back to 1967.

Not counting the storm-delayed 2008 season, June 2010 nearly matched a dubious mark in track history. While only two race nights were successful this year, 2010 still managed to fall one shy of the all-time record. In 2006, only one race night was completed during the month of June. The two races in June this year matched 1969 and 1986 as the only years with just two successful events (weekly programs) for the month of June at the speedway. Yes, even the very wet 1993 season managed to get three weekly shows in the books during the month of June!

Here are the numbers from 2010, through June 26. Let's hope for a much drier July!

Car Count
Division - Average - High - Low
Late Model - 24.7 - 27 - 21
Modified – 27.5 - 35 - 19
Stock Car – 19.7 - 27 - 14
SportMod – 34.2 - 42 - 27
Hobby Stock – 24.7 - 27 - 22
TOTAL – 130.7 - 152 - 106

* 201 drivers have earned points so far this season.
* Among those 201 drivers, 82 different hometowns are represented.
* Only two of five points leaders have won features: Sean Johnson (Stock Car) and Jamie Whitaker (Hobby Stock). Points leaders without victories include Tyler Bruening (Late Model), Troy Cordes (Modified) and Joel Rust (SportMod). Bruening, Cordes and Rust led the points at the end of May and maintained their leads through June despite earning no wins.
* No driver has held the points lead all six weeks. Troy Cordes has been atop the standings for the last five weeks, Tyler Bruening and Joel Rust for the past four weeks and Jamie Whitaker for the last three weeks.
Joel Rust has held the lead in the IMCA SportMod divison standings during the last four weeks despite having no feature wins this year. His consistency, five top-5 finishes in six weeks, has allowed him to lead the way.

* 22 drivers have remained in the top-10 in the points every week this season. Those drivers include:
Late Model (4): Tyler Bruening, Dale Hackwell Jr., Greg Kastli, Curt Martin;
Modified (5): Troy Cordes, Max Corporon, Darin Duffy, Jerry Luloff, Clint Wendel;
Stock Car (5): Norman Chesmore, Brian Irvine, Sean Johnson, Dan Trimble, Jarod Weepie;
SportMod (3): Danny Dvorak, Joel Rust, Duane Van Deest;
Hobby Stock (5): August Bach, Vince Buchholz, Josh Irvine, Justin Lichty, Wes Stanek Jr.
Tyler Bruening is the only driver at the speedway who has remained in the top two of his division's standings throughout the entire 2010 season. He currently leads Darren Ackerman by a single point in the IMCA Late Model division.

Feature Winners
* There have been 23 different feature winners in 30 feature events this season.
* There have been no repeat winners in the Hobby Stock division. Read below for more information on that potentially history-making streak.
* Five drivers have multiple wins: Jeff Aikey (Late Model), Max Corporon (Modified), Brian Irvine (Stock Car) and Austin Kaplan, Josh Sherbon (SportMod).

History in the making?
Hobby Stock: There have been six different Hobby Stock feature winners through the first six weeks of the season. This matches the 2002 season in having the most number of different winners to start a season in that division. The Hobby Stocks are in their 22nd season of competition at Independence.

* 121 drivers have earned at least one top-10 finish this season.
* 3 drivers have earned top-10 finishes in all sixfeatures:
Late Model: None;
Modified: Troy Cordes;
Stock Car: Dan Trimble, Norman Chesmore;
SportMod: None;
Hobby Stock: None.

* 76 drivers have earned at least one top-5 finish this season.
* Troy Cordes (Modified) is the only driver to earn top-5 finishes in all six features. In fact, Cordes has not finished outside the top four all season.
Troy Cordes has finished in the top four of every IMCA Modified feature this season. He is the only driver who can boast that honor.

* 53 drivers have earned at least one top-3 finish this season.

Feature Lap Leaders
* 52 drivers have led at least one lap of feature competition.
* Division lap leaders include:
Late Model (11 total different lap leaders): Jeff Aikey (39 laps led), Jason Rauen (35), Dale Hackwell Jr. (25), Travis Smock (20), Darren Ackerman (10);
Modified (12): Justin O’Brien (20 laps led), Richie Gustin (19), Adam Johnson (17), Darin Duffy (16), Max Corporon and Brett Ladehoff (13 each);
Stock Car (8): Dave Stricker (44 laps led), Brian Irvine (32), Justin Temeyer (20), Dan Trimble (14);
SportMod (9): Austin Kaplan (24 laps led); Josh Sherbon (19); Austin Lucas (9); Rod McDonald, Jeramia Boynton and Scott Thomas (6 each);
Hobby Stock (12): Justin Lichty and Max Leonard (each led 15 laps); Jim Ball (13); Chris Wiltse and Quinton Miller (12 each), Josh Irvine (11).
IMCA Stock Car driver Dave Stricker tops the list when it comes to leading races. He leads all drivers at the speedway with his 44 feature laps led.

Heat Races
* There have been 63 different heat race winners in 99 heat races.
* 24 drivers have won multiple heat races this season.
* Josh Sherbon (SportMod) leads all drivers with five heat wins through six weeks. Greg Kastli (Late Model) and Dave Stricker (Stock Car) are the only four-time heat winners.

Efficiency Stats
* A total of 143 races have been run this season.
* A total of 1,430 laps have been completed.
* A total of 151 caution flags have been thrown.
* The Hobby Stock division (22 cautions in 26 total events) has had the best caution per race ratio by averaging .85 cautions for every race.
* The Late Models (25 cautions in 294 total laps) have had the best caution per race lap ratio by averaging .085 cautions per lap completed.
* The SportMods are the worst in both categories. They have had 49 caution flags through 38 total events for an average of 1.29 caution flags every race. They have completed 322 green flag laps, leaving them with .152 cautions for every lap, or one caution for approximately every 6.5 green flag laps.

Since the year 1967...
* 636 Late Model feature events have been completed in weekly competition with 95 different winners. On average, a new Late Model winner visits victory lane every 6.7 events.
* 406 Modified feature events have been completed in weekly competition with 77 different winners. On average, a new Modified winner visits victory lane every 5.3 events.
* 254 Stock Car feature events have been completed in weekly competition with 39 different winners. On average, a new Stock Car winner visits victory lane every 6.5 events.
* 29 SportMod feature events have been completed in weekly competition with 11 different winners. On average, a new SportMod winner visits victory lane every 2.6 events.
* 315 Hobby Stock feature events have been completed in weekly competition with 82 different winners. On average, a new Hobby Stock winner visits victory lane every 3.8 events.
* Overall, in the last 43-plus seasons, there have been 1,640 features completed in the five divisions that currently compete at the speedway.

On June 26, Jason Rauen became the 95th different Late Model driver to win a feature at Independence since 1967. He is the 51st winner in the Late Model division in the years the division has been IMCA-sanctioned at Independence.

Qualifying Streaks
* The longest currently active feature qualifying streaks for weekly competition in each division include:
Late Model: Darren Ackerman has qualified for 51 consecutive features. His last miss was June 3, 2006.
Modified: Jerry Luloff has qualified for 189 consecutive features. His last miss was July 5, 1997.
Stock Car: Jarod Weepie has qualified for 128 consecutive features. His last miss was June 9, 2001.
Hobby Stock: Wes Stanek Jr. has qualified for 27 consecutive features. His last miss was July 12, 2008.
SportMod: Kaleb Bentley and Jim Buhlman have qualified for all 29 features dating back to the first one at the speedway on June 21, 2008.

With Josh Irvine's absence on June 26, Wes Stanek Jr. has now qualified for the most consecutive IMCA Hobby Stock features at the speedway.

Stuff Nobody Should Know…
* All six Modified feature winners have come from different starting positions (2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9)
* All six Stock Car feature winners have come from different starting positions (1, 4, 10, 11, 12, 17)
* All six Hobby Stock feature winners have come from different starting positions (1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10)
* Five different starting positions have produced the six Late Model feature winners (1, 3, 4, 6, 7 – The “1” spot is the only position to produce two winners)
* Five different starting positions have produced the six SportMod feature winners (3, 6, 7, 8, 11) – The “7” spot is the only position to produce two winners)
* A car with a letter in its number has won every Modified feature – 19G, 3C, 24R, 19D, 12J
* Through six weeks, Norman Chesmore has finished fourth in the Stock Car feature four times.
* Troy Cordes has two second, two third and two fourth place finishes in six Modified features.
* With his win on June 26, Vince Buchholz extended his record of having the longest span between first and most recent feature wins in that division. His first win came on May 29, 1993 – 6,237 days between his first and most recent win, or 17 years and 28 days. Second on htat list for the Hobby Stocks? Todd Temeyer, who went 2,191 days between his first and last wins from 1990-1996.

Vince Buchholz earned the Hobby Stock win at Independence on June 26. In doing so, his feature wins now span 17 years in the division at Independence.

* Dave Stricker has held the lead in four of the six Stock Car features. In fact, he has led every lap number at least twice except for lap 20, which he has led just once… during his feature win on June 26.
* Only six drivers have placed in the top 3 of all six of their heat races this season – Darin Duffy (Modifieds); Sean Johnson and Dave Stricker (Stock Cars); Joel Rust and Josh Sherbon (SportMods); and Justin Lichty (Hobby Stocks).
* Heat races have not been kind to SportMod driver Kaleb Bentley. He has qualified for the feature only one time (opening night). The other five nights he has started 24, 21, 21, 23 and 18, respectively. Bentley has earned top-10 finishes each of those nights, including finishes of 5, 6, 9, 8 and 7. Ironically, the only night he qualified out of his heat resulted in his only non-top-10 finish. He finished 15th on opening night after starting third.
Not letting his lack of success in heat race action deter him, IMCA SportMod driver Kaleb Bentley has driven to five straight top-10 finishes at Independence after failing to make the invert through qualifying. Currently fourth in the overall SportMod standings (20 points out of the lead), Bentley leads the hard charger points for the division. His 72 hard charger points (that's +12 positions per week, on average) are 10 better than his closest competitor in that category.

* Of the 30 features run so far this season, 18 winners started on the inside and 12 on the outside. Against the odds, four of the five June 26 winners had outside starting positions.
* 81 different drivers have cracked the top-10 in his or her division’s points for at least one week this season.
* Freak Stat of the Month? If your first name starts with J, you're more likely to win a feature than a driver with any other initial. Of the 30 features so far this season, 10 of them (that's 33%, or 1/3) have been won by drivers with the first name starting with "J" - Justin Temeyer, Jeff Aikey (2) , Josh Sherbon (2) , Josh Irvine, Justin Lichty, Jamie Whitaker, Jason Rauen, Justin O'Brien. The letter "A" is second best by winning six features - Austin Kaplan (3), Austin Lucas, August Bach, Adam Johnson. Yeah, so the odds are better than 50/50... if your name starts with a J or an A, start polishing your victory lane speech...

That's it for this month, check back after July for the next Blitz!

Rauen redeems himself, takes Late Model checkers at Independence

One week after he was involved in a caution while leading the IMCA Late Model feature, Jason Rauen put those demons to rest as he sailed to victory on Saturday night at Independence Motor Speedway.

Front row starters Blake Anderson and Joel Brasch swapped the lead over the course of the first four laps while Rauen worked from a third row starting spot. He motored into second after three circuits, then passed Brasch for the lead two laps later. Rauen started to pull away until the race's first caution waved on lap nine.

On the restart, Rauen again started to pull away while Jeff Aikey and Jeremiah Hurst, who started 10th, passed Brasch for second and third, respectively, on lap 10. Running the low groove, Hurst slid beneath Aikey just one lap later into second. The yellow flag was displayed one lap later, putting Hurst on Rauen's rear bumper for the restart.

When racing resumed Rauen again took charge and, despite another stoppage late in the event, held on for the victory. Hurst ran second followed by Aikey, Curt Martin and Dean Wagner.

Jeremiah Hurst (29) battles to the inside of Jeff Aikey (77A) during the IMCA Late Model feature. Hurst made his way past Aikey, but could not reel in Jason Rauen as Rauen drove to the win. Hurst finished second. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Pole-sitter Jim Ball held the early lead in the 15-lap IMCA Hobby Stock feature, but not without heavy, consistent pressure from a variety of competitors. Chris Wiltse, Mark Butler and Vince Buchholz each applied pressure at various points in the first half of the race.

Buchholz eventually broke free from Wiltse and Butler midway through the event and settled into the second position. He took a handful of laps to run down the race leader and put the nose of his #55 to the inside of Ball as the white flag waved. Buchholz took charge and led the final lap to score the win. Ball ran second ahead of Butler and a hard-charging Rod Gorther, who started 11th. Justin Lichty completed the top five.

Vince Buchholz (55) races to the inside of Jim Ball (7) for the lead of the IMCA Hobby Stock feature. Buchholz took the lead as the white flag waved to drive to the victory. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Outside row two starter Dave Stricker assumed the early lead of the 20-lap IMCA Stock Car feature. After just one lap, Stricker made his way to the front as Norman Chesmore was working his way through traffic from a fourth row start.

Much like Stricker, Chesmore made a quick run to the front, taking only four laps to drive into a challenge for the lead. Chesmore swept past the leader on the back stretch of the 10th lap, however contact between the two drivers sent Chesmore spinning to the infield. Stricker kept going, as did Chesmore, who rejoined the field running seventh.

Stricker then pulled away from the field to take the win by a straightaway over Jarod Weepie. Phil Holtz came home third ahead of Chesmore and Tim Helle.

Norman Chesmore's (15) run out front of the IMCA Stock Car feature was short-lived as contact between him and Dave Stricker (89B) left Chesmore spinning to the infield. Stricker drove to the win while Chesmore regrouped to finish fourth. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Justin O'Brien moved into the lead on the first lap of the IMCA Modified feature and held on to lead all 20 laps to score his first win of the year.

From his second row start, O'Brien quickly worked to the front and dodged a pair of early cautions that sidelined a handful of drivers. Following a lap three caution, O'Brien continued to pace the field while J.D. Auringer was making his way to the front from his fifth row starting spot. Running the high groove, Auringer entered a side-by-side battle for the lead with O'Brien when the race's final caution waved on lap 17.

On the restart, O'Brien once again held the point and denied all challenges from Auringer to score the win. Mark Schulte made a terrific run on the high side from a 17th starting spot to come home third. Points leader Troy Cordes joined Schulte on the high side late in the race to drive to a fourth place finish, his sixth straight top-four finish this year. Patrick Flannagan ran fifth.

J.D. Auringer (00) challenged late, but Justin O'Brien (12J) held on to lead all 20 laps of the IMCA Modified feature to score the win. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Austin Kaplan took over the lead on lap seven of the scheduled 15-lap IMCA SportMod main event. A plethora of cautions led to that feature being cut to 12 laps after it timed out on the sixth yellow flag. Duane Van Deest ran second ahead of Joel Rust, who took over the points lead. Jason Doyle and Cory Evans rounded out the top five.

Austin Kaplan (1) works the high side around Scott Thomas (20T) for the lead of the IMCA SportMod feature. Kaplan drove to victory lane for a division-leading third time this season. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Up next at Independence will be the annual visit from the Deery Brothers Summer Seires for IMCA Late Models this Wednesday night. Along with the Late Models, the American Stock Car Series for IMCA Stock Cars will hold night three of its four night series at Independence. Those two classes of cars brought in 100+ race cars last year for the same event, so it's bound to be another great night of racing. Gates open at 4 p.m, with hot laps scheduled for 6:45 and racing to follow.

Next Saturday night, July 3, weekly racing resumes at Independence, however everything will get started an hour earlier than normal. The city of Independence will be having fireworks at 10 p.m. that evening so the racing program has been pushed up an hour in attempt to get race fans downtown to take in the fireworks. Gates will open at 3 p.m. next Saturday with hot laps set for 5 and racing to follow.

If you scroll to the very bottom of this page, you'll see the flyer for the annual Hogan Memorial at Benton County Speedway in Vinton. The biggest night of the season in Vinton, this event has really grown in the past few seasons. Sunday, July 11, Benton County Speedway will be the place to be. All details regarding that event are outlined below.

Also, the Independence Motor Speedway track web site,, will have the entire 2010 Buchanan County Fair schedule listed on it in the next day or so. Be sure to check back (both there and here), for complete details on this year's fair.

With weekly racing done for the month of June at Independence, the next edition of the Indee Stats Blitz will also be posted in the next day or so. Be sure to check back to see all the latest numbers through six weeks of weekly points racing at Independence!

A few have asked how announcing went at CJ Speedway on Friday night. Unfortunately, heavy rain the past few days have resulted in rising water down in Columbus Junction. Due to the problematic weather, officials were forced to cancel the racing program this past Friday night. While I was unable to make the trip this past Friday, I do plan to be back at CJ in July when the Corn Belt Clash Late Model Series makes a visit during the county fair.

It's time to get to work on Buchanan County Fair info and the Stats Blitz... check back frequently this week as the blog will be updated on a very regular basis! 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Waterman wins Hawkeye Dirt Tour stop at Cresco Speedway

Jeff Waterman took advantage of a mid-race caution to help him make a late-race pass for victory in the JR Motorsports Hawkeye Dirt Tour for IMCA Modifieds. The event, the third in the inaugural season for the series, was part of the Mighty Howard County Fair at Cresco Speedway on Thursday night.

Pole-sitter Dan Chapman held the early lead of the 30-lap event as fellow front row starter Rich Smith quickly went to work on the high side of the 4/10-mile oval. Smith worked around the race leader after just four laps and quickly started to pull away from the field.

As Smith put distance between his #8 and the rest of the 25-car field, Chapman worked low as second row starter Waterman started to close the gap in third. Waterman swept around the outside of Chapman on lap 10, but found himself over half of a straightaway behind the leader. As Waterman worked to cut into the lead, Richie Gustin was working the low line and motored into third while Mark Elliott, who started 11th, went to work on the top side and made his way into the top five just prior to a lap 14 caution.

Waterman, who had slowly started to close the gap prior to the lap 14 yellow, restarted the event on Smith's rear bumper and alongside Gustin. Chapman and Elliott comprised row three when the green flag waved once more. That green flag run was short-lived, however, as Gustin dropped a drive shaft to bring out the race's final stoppage just two laps later. Gustin's run ended right after Elliott inched past Waterman on the top side for second and series opener winner Josh Foster worked his way into the top five.

When racing resumed for the final time, Smith once again went to work up high as Elliott also worked the top side and Waterman ran down low. The leaders broke away from the field and engaged in a thrilling three-car battle at the front of the pack.

Smith continued to lead and Elliott held Waterman at bay until lap 21 when Waterman shot to the inside of Elliott for second. One lap later, Waterman continued his surge to the front and blasted beneath Smith exiting turn four to assume command. Waterman led the final seven circuits to score the victory. Elliott switched things up on the final lap and worked the low side past Smith for second at the line. Foster ran fourth and Jay Noteboom, who started 12th, came home fifth.
Jeff Waterman of Quincy, Ill., drove to victory in the JR Motorsports Hawkeye Dirt Tour at Cresco Speedway on June 24. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

HDT notes: Waterman made a five-hour pull from Quincy, Ill., to earn the win, only the second of his career in the IMCA Modified division. His first victory came during weekly competition at 34 Raceway in West Burlington last season. When I asked him if it was the biggest win of his career, he paused for a moment, then said, "Yeah, pretty much!" As humble in victory as he was excited, Waterman definitely stole the show. He became the second different winner in three series events who competes regularly at Lee County Speedway in Donnellson and 34 Raceway... Following heat race qualifying, Darin Duffy of Hazleton appeared to be the man to beat. He started last in his eight-car heat and made his way into the lead in just three laps among the likes of series points leader Richie Gustin, Troy Cordes, Waterman and defending IMCA Super Nationals champion Randy Havlik. Not only did he win the third heat, Duffy literally annihilated the field. Unfortunately, Duffy's run in the feature was short-lived as he was pinched low in turn two on the first lap and damage from contact with a tractor tire ended his run far too early... Nate Caruth was the event's hard-charger. Although he won his heat, Caruth was forced to qualify through a last chance race after being DQ'd for a laundry list of violations in post-race tech. He started the feature 19th and finished eighth... If my quick unofficial math is correct, Foster will return to the top of the points, taking a three point margin over Noteboom into next Friday's Liberty Cup event at Foster's "hometown" Lee County Speedway... For those drivers who think all touring series are just feathers to add to the caps of the "big name" drivers, three races into the HDT's inaugural season I believe has proven otherwise. When you consider how many folks outside of southeast Iowa and western Illinois may not be familiar with Foster or Waterman, this series set out to cater to the weekly racer and, thus far, it has done just that. On top of it, it has provided some excellent racing. I'm looking forward to next week's Liberty Cup at Donnellson... Also, if you haven't already checked it out, in this month's issue of Dirt Modified Magazine I wrote a story on the Hawkeye Dirt Tour. It includes a behind-the-scenes look at how the series came to be, along with post-race thoughts on the series opener at Independence in May.

Cresco Crusader - Waterman celebrates his HDT feature win with a fist pump in victory lane. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action track Photography)

Hawkeye Dirt Tour IMCA Modifieds
1. 71W Jeff Waterman
2. 12 Mark Elliott
3. 8 Rich Smith
4. 77 Josh Foster
5. 7N Jay Noteboom
6. 37X Mike Jergens
7. 91 Shawn Ryan
8. 7C Nate Caruth
9. 71 Troy Cordes
10. 12J Justin O'Brien
11. 45 Ron Pope
12. 22 Jeff Ignaszewski
13. 64 Vern Jackson
14. 3C Max Corporon
15. 27M Mark Schulte
16. 98 Jason Snyder
17. 62 Greg Cox
18. 3Z Randy Havlik
19. 57B Dennis Betzer
20. 01 Ed Thomas
21. 10K Ronn Lauritzen
22. 75 Clint Wendel
23. 1X Dan Chapman
24. 19G Richie Gustin
25. 19D Darin Duffy

86 Jeff Morris
60 Kurt Krauskopf
32 Rick Speck
12C Kent Croskey
58 Andy Krieger
68 J.J. Wise
15 Matt Stagman
23W Robert Whalen

In other action on the night, Chris Hovden won a thriller in the Hobby Stock division, taking the lead with only one lap to go as a five-car battle thrilled the packed grandstands. At the start of the 12-lapper, pole-sitter Steve Holthaus took charge until the race was quickly stopped for a wild wreck in turn four. I didn't happen to see it and still can't imagine how it happened, but the #41 of Jason Hovey unded up backwards, over the cement wall and on the fence in the corner. Also collected in the melee was the #21 of Joel Anderson. Both drivers walked away uninjured.
Jason Hovey (#41) took a wild ride over the turn four wall on the first lap of the Hobby Stock feature. While also involved, Joel Anderson narrowly missed the brunt of the incident. Both drivers walked away uninjured. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

After a 17-minute delay to remove the carnage, Holthaus again paced the field as Dan Hovden, Danny Sacquinte, Scott Spilde and Chris Hovden closely followed. The lead pack of five quickly broke away from the field and engaged in the most exciting battle I've seen in the 25 events I've attended this year. The leaders swapped grooves and positions constantly over the remainder of the event as the top five literally never remained the same for consecutive laps over the final seven circuits.

Holthaus remained committed to the low groove, but Chris Hovden surged ahead on the high side as the white flag waved. He held on by less than a car-length to score the exciting victory. Holthaus ran second ahead of Sacquinte, who used the high side to beat Spilde at the line for third. Dan Hovden came home a very close fifth.

Chris Hovden won a thriller in the Hobby Stock division, charging past Steve Holthaus late for the win. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Hobby Stocks
1. 70C Chris Hovden
2. 70 Steve Holthaus
3. 6 Danny Sacquinte
4. 18 Scott Spilde
5. 16 Dan Hovden
6. 71 Adam Cline
7. 44 Dillon Anderson
8. 98 Kyle Anderson
9. 24 Randy Banks
10. 7K Andy Stinson
11. 19 August Bach
12. 32 Casey Colsch
13. 21 Joel Anderson
14. 64 Eric Reicks
15. 28 Tim Brunkhorst
16. 41 Jason Hovey
DNS 37 Carl Colsch
DNS 8 Justin Kupka

Bryan Webb started on the pole, led throughout the event, then held on at the end to take the victory in the Stock Car feature. Early on, Webb fended off challenges from Kevin Donlan out front as Lynn Panos worked the high groove. After starting sixth, Panos battled with his competitors before moving to higher ground and advancing through the field. He entered the top three six laps into the 18-lapper as Webb continued to lead Donlan.

Panos worked past Donlan with seven laps to go and attempted to run down the leader. Webb, however, ran the low groove to perfection to score his first win of the season. Panos came home second ahead of Donlan.

Stock Cars
1. 10 Bryan Webb
2. 97 Lynn Panos
3. 33X Kevin Donlan
4. 15 Mitch Hovden
5. 67 Kyle Falck
6. 27 Shawn Peter
7. 40 Austin Curtin
8. 5 Mike Bergan
9. 11X Shay Curtin
10. 42 Dan Christopher
11. 121G Arlen Hoy
12. 03 Tory Reicks
13. 20 Brent Tweten
14. 23 Brian Gjere

Bryan Webb led the distance in the Stock Car feature. He held off late pressure from Lynn Panos to steal the win. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action track Photography)

In the final event of the night, Cayden Carter worked the low side of the speedway and into the lead on lap two of the 20-lap B Mod feature to drive to the win. Carter survived numerous cautions to take the victory in convincing fashion ahead of Troy Hovey and Jason Schlangen.

Cayden Carter made it look easy as he dominated the B Mod feature to end the night in victory lane. I(photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)
B Mod
1. 10 Cayden Carter
2. 76J Troy Hovey
3. 27 Jason Schlangen
4. 56H Brandon Hare
5. 16 Kip Siems
6. 85 Ben Moudry
7. 64 Brandon Leeman
8. 14 Brian Schrage
9. 88X Jimmy Broszeit
10. 23B Brett Bumgardner
11. 20 Greg Mitchell
12. 28 Parker Hale
13. 21 Jacob Blaess
14. 63 Matt McCahen
15. 35C Cole Konkel
16. 9 Christopher Holstrom
17. 82 Em Fretheim
18. 17C Chad Halverson
19. 21W Chris Weigert
20. 14M Brian Mahlstedt
21. 27K Andrew Kelly

It was another great night of racing at Cresco tonight. On the drive home, I was thinking back to the events I've seen this season. This was my 25th night of racing and approximately 115th feature. The Hobby Stock feature was probably the best race I've seen all season and the Modified feature was near the top of the list, as well. Thanks again to Tom Barnes and crew for a great racing program!

Up next for me is a trip to Columbus Junction tomorrow. Regular CJ Speedway announcer Gene Arnold has other obligations and he's asked me to fill in for mid-season championships tomorrow night. Then, on Saturday, it's back closer to home for the sixth night of weekly racing at Independence.

The weather is looking more racer friendly so get out and support your local track this weekend!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mid-season champions crowned at Benton County Speedway

Mid-season championships were held Sunday night at Benton County Speedway as 103 cars signed in to compete in front of a packed house. Straying from its usual format of running only features lined straight-up by total points, this year's program offered a regular night of heat races with qualifiers lined up for features based on inverted season-long point averages. One other switch to the show at Vinton this year was the move of the Dick Hogan Memorial from the mid-season date to later this summer in July. As that special event has grown over the years, many one-time visitors vie for the Memorial honors, so moving the date to its "own" night allows the weekly warriors at Vinton the chance to race for mid-season accolades.

With regular scorer Kevin Kemp on vacation, I filled in to score for the first time in a couple of years. Due to that, I'll recap the event as best I can since I didn't actually get to "watch" much of the racing. It is possible (probable?) that some of the details aren't perfectly accurate, however the finishing orders listed below are official.

First up were the Hobby Stocks as 19 drivers signed in to compete in that 15-lapper. August Bach led early until a flat tire sidelined him, allowing Matt Brown to take over the lead. Brown led throughout the second half of the event to score the victory. Michael Peterson made his first-ever visit to Vinton and came home with runner-up honors ahead of division points leader Scott Pippert, who started deep in the field. Russell Damme Jr., who is running in the top 20 in the Northern Region for the IMCA Hobby Stocks, came home fourth ahead of Brad Forbes.

Matt Brown scored the mid-season IMCA Hobby Stock win at Benton County Speedway on June 20. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Eighteen IMCA Sport Compacts were on-hand to do battle in that 12-lap event. Bill Whalen Jr. took over midway through the event from his second row start and survived a pair of late cautions to drive to the win. Points leader Merv Chandler crossed the line in second ahead of Gary Peiffer, the mid-season event sponsor on the night. Dallas Chandler and Bryce Bailey completed the top five.

Riverside's Bill Whalen Jr. took top honors in the IMCA Sport Compacts. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Since 32 IMCA SportMods signed in, two 16-car features were run in that division. In the first 15-lapper, Kent Kositzky blistered the field on his way to victory. Although his machine was puffing smoke throughout that event, Kositzky withstood one caution period to drive to the win by a straightaway ahead of Dave Schulze. Danny Dvorak came home third, a couple of car-lengths behind Schulze. Kurt Hogan battled Dvorak throughout much of the event and settled for fourth at the line. Jason Doyle finished fifth.

Kent Kositzky and team celebrate in IMCA SportMod victory lane. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

In the second SportMod feature, a handful of cautions throughout the first four laps held the event to a snail's pace. When the dust cleared, division points leader Austin Kaplan held off a hard-charging Joel Rust to take an exciting victory. Jared Van Deest finished third ahead of Drew Fish and Tim Swope.

Division points leader Austin Kaplan (#1) drove to victory in the second SportMod feature of the evening. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Fourteen IMCA Stock Cars were on-hand to do battle in a thrilling 15-lap feature. John Schaefer held the early lead until Jason Deshaw was able to work under him a few laps into the event. Meanwhile, points leader Justin Temeyer went to work on the high side to take over the lead later on in the race. Temeyer then raced to victory ahead of Deshaw. Damon Murty battled high and low throughout the event to come home third ahead of Dave Stricker. After being involved in an early altercation, Scooter Dulin made an impressive run to inch ahead of Schaefer at the line for fifth.

Justin Temeyer (#56T) battles Jason Deshaw for the lead in the IMCA Stock Car feature. Temeyer extended his points lead in the division with a trip to the winner's circle. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Max Corporon topped a field of 20 IMCA Modifieds in the nightcap. Early in the event, pole-sitter Johnathan Thimmesch engaged in a three-car battle for the lead with Richie Gustin and Jerry Luloff. That trio battled two and even three-wide out front throughout the first half of the event. All three of those drivers exited to the pits with flat tires during a mid-race yellow. All of them returned prior to the next green flag run.

On the restart, Corporon battled J.D. Auringer out front as that pair briefly swapped the lead until Corporon settled into the top spot. Auringer and Scott Hogan eventually started to reel in the race leader, however both came up short at the line allowing Corporon to take the win. Auringer slid in front of Hogan at the line for second. Tony Olson and Mark Schulte completed the top five.

Max Corporon (#3C) works the low side past J.D. Auringer (#00) in the IMCA Modified feature. Corporon held off Auringer and Scott Hogan to take the mid-season win. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

The track did get rough as the night progressed, however after the substantial rainfall the area received late in the week, it's amazing the track held up for as long as it did. Over three inches of precipitation fell within a 24 hour period late last week and that moisture made it's presence felt late in Sunday's program. Great job by Mick, Dana and crew for getting the show in. Amazingly, despite all of the wet weather throughout the Midwest this season, Sunday's races marked the ninth successful show on the Vinton oval in 11 scheduled nights.

Three new dads deliver Father's Day weekend wins at Independence

A trio of drivers who became new fathers within the past few months took advantage of the Father's Day weekend to celebrate in victory lane at Independence Motor Speedway on Saturday. Proud papas Sean Johnson (IMCA Stock Cars), Darin Duffy (IMCA Modifeds) and Quinton Miller (IMCA Hobby Stocks) each earned their first victories of the season during mid-season championship action at Independence Motor Speedway.

Although it was mid-season, the 135 drivers on-hand competed under the regular format of heat race qualifying and average point inverts to lineup the five features on the night. In the end, all five divisions provided the packed grandstand with a fantastic night of racing.

Perhaps the best race of the night was the first on the track as Johnson not only scored his first win of the season in the Stock Cars, he did so by ending the hot streak of Brian Irvine. Entering the night, dating back to last season, Irvine had won 10 of the last 13 features in the division and 12 of the last 18, including three straight. He was looking to become the first driver in track history to possess three separate four-race winning streaks in a career.

At the start of the 20-lapper, pole-sitter Tim Helle shot into the lead as he quickly put a few car-lengths on the field while second row starter Phil Holtz gave chase. Holtz, driving the #56T of Justin Temeyer, settled into the second spot on the first lap and started to chase down the leader. While the leaders started to pull away, Johnson and Irvine were working through the field from their sixth row starting spots.

By the time Holtz and Dave Stricker worked past Helle on the fifth circuit, Irvine worked his way into the top five with Johnson close behind. Stricker took over the top spot as Irvine and Johnson each advanced another position before the race's only yellow flag waved on lap eight.

When racing resumed, Stricker held the point while Irvine and Johnson pressured Holtz and Helle. They made their way around that pair one lap later as the top three remained unchanged until late in the event. With only two laps to go, Johnson powered beneath Irvine's #26, then set his sights on Stricker. Johnson used a last lap pass on the low side of Stricker's #89B to drive to the exciting victory. Stricker held on for second while Irvine ran third. Helle and Holtz completed the top five.

Sean Johnson drove his #8R to IMCA Stock Car victory lane on June 19 at Independence to break Brian Irvine's three-race winning streak. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Vern Jackson made quick work of his second row starting spot to burst into the lead in the 20-lap Modified main event. Pole-sitter Todd Conrad settled into the second spot with Jason Seegmiller in third. Duffy took little time making his way through the field from his fifth row start as he worked into the top three in just three laps.

Passing Conrad on lap four, then Jackson one lap later, Duffy found himself at the front of the pack just a handful of laps into the event. While Duffy led, J.D. Auringer and Max Corporon were also trying to make their way to the front as they battled for fourth. Contact between those two drivers brought out the caution flag on lap 14.

On the restart, Duffy held the point with Jackson and points leader Troy Cordes right behind him. Duffy quickly distanced himself from the field once more to drive to the victory ahead of Jackson and Cordes. Jerry Luloff ran fourth and Adam Johnson, who started the event 17th after winning a B feature, came home fifth. For Duffy, it was his first win of the season and the 34th of his career at Independence as he sits atop the all-time wins list for the division at Independence.

No stranger to victory lane, Darin Duffy scored his 34th career IMCA Modified win at Independence. Buchanan County Fair Queen Sara Morine presents the hardware. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Pole-sitter Don Arnold held the early lead in the 15-lap Hobby Stock feature. He paced the field for three laps before Quinton Miller worked his way into a challenge for the lead. Miller motored around Arnold just prior to a lap four caution. He pulled away from the pack when racing resumed to score his first win of the season. Miller's win marked four straight seasons with a win for his #73. Justin Hanson raced through the field from a fifth row start to come home second while Vince Buchholz ran third. Rod Grother and Jamie Whitaker, the points leader entering the night, ran fourth and fifth. By virtue of their finishes, Whitaker and Hanson ended the night tied atop the division's standings.

Quinton Miller raced to his first IMCA Hobby Stock win of the season. He became the fifth different winner in the division in as many nights in 2010, one shy of the all-time record to start a season in the division. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

In the IMCA Late Models, Jeff Aikey was looking to join a short list of drivers to earn three consecutive feature wins in that division. Entering the night with two straight wins, Aikey hoped to join Ed Sanger, Gary Crawford, Curt Martin and Rick Wendling on that exclusive list.

At the start of the 25-lapper, Dean Wagner took charge. His stay out front was short-lived, however, as Jason Rauen rocketed to the front on lap two after starting in the fourth row. A pair of early cautions slowed the event and kept the field bunched up with Aikey only a couple of spots out of the lead.

A long green flag run began when racing resumed following a lap three yellow. During that time, Rauen continued to lead and pulled away from his competitors while Aikey did battle with Wagner for second. By the time Aikey made his way around Wagner on lap 10, Rauen built a straightaway lead. Fourth-running Darren Ackerman also gained ground on Aikey and Wagner during the time that duo battled.

Rauen's lead slowly started to evaporate by the time he entered lapped traffic midway through the event. While Rauen navigated the backmarkers, Aikey ran the low groove to perfection, closing the gap and eventually pulling onto the leader's rear bumper in just a handful of laps.

As the leaders encountered heavy lapped traffic in turn four on lap 16, Rauen got sideways and, with contact from Aikey, spun in the low side of four to bring out the yellow. Since the leaders made contact and were both involved in the incident, both were sent to the rear of the pack for the ensuing restart.

With the leader now gone, Ackerman and Wagner started side-by-side on the front row for the restart. When the green flag waved, Ackerman shot into the lead and pulled away from the field to score the victory, his first of the year. Points leader Tyler Bruening made a late charge to come home second while Andy Eckrich, making his first visit to the speedway for weekly racing, finished third. Wagner and Curt Martin completed the top five. The win capped off a busy weekend for newlywed Ackerman as he got married the day before.

Newlyweds Darren and Jennifer Ackerman celebrate in IMCA Late Model victory lane. It was Ackerman's 15th career Late Model win at Independence. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

Josh Sherbon became just the second driver in the three-year history of the IMCA SportMods at Independence to earn back-to-back wins in the division. From the fourth row, Sherbon worked into the lead after just three laps to drive to the win, the sixth of his career at Independence. Tyler Droste came from a fifth row start to finish second and Austin Kaplan, who started alongside Droste, finished third. Nathaniel Smith and Jason Doyle completed the top five. By virtue of his second place finish, Droste caught Joel Rust in the standings. Those two drivers enter next week tied for the points lead in the SportMods.
Josh Sherbon earned his second straight IMCA SportMod win at Independence and the sixth of his career at the speedway. (photo courtesy of Scott Tjabring/Action Track Photography)

It was another great night at Indee. What appeared to be the biggest crowd of the season witnessed 135 cars compete in 25 events, the last of which ended at 10:26. Up next for me, assuming the 70% chance of rain for tomorrow doesn't hold true, is a return trip to Benton County Speedway in Vinton for more mid-season championship racing. I plan to dust off my scoring pen for the first time in a couple years and crunch some numbers at BCS. Like Independence, that mid-season event will feature a normal race night format as qualifying events and features are slated for all five divisions.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mother Nature rears her ugly head again

At around the same time this afternoon, both 34 Raceway and Independence Motor Speedway canceled their weekly racing programs. For 34, I believe it has only seen two completed weekly points races after starting the season with three straight rain-free specials in April. I understand that many other area tracks have also canceled. Be sure to check your favorite track's web site for confirmation before leaving the house today as things are looking wet all over the region.

For Independence, this makes four cancellations in eight weeks; right at a 50% success/non-success rate. It also marks only the fourth time in track history that two straight weekly races in June have been rained out. Prior to this season, that had only happened in 1984, 1986 and 2006. It also leaves us with, at most, two race nights for the entire month of June this season. Only in 1969, 1986 and 2006 has Independence seen as few as two weekly points nights for June. Even in the shortest "full" season in track history, the 11-week 1993 season, three shows managed to dodge the rain in the month of June. Now, we have to avoid the elements each of the next two weeks or 2010 will have the "wettest" June in track history.

Not counting the storm-delayed 2008 season, the last time Independence had only four shows in the books through the second Saturday in June was in 1995.

In history, there are five seasons when there were fewer than four race nights in the books by this date. Granted, the season started a week or two later in the early years, however, even when racing has been scheduled for April at Indee, the season requently hasn't seen its first race until May.

The fewest number of races to be run at Indee by June 12 in track history is three. Those "wet" springs included 1969, 1973, 1974, 1976 and 1990.

Seasons matching 2010's dismal mark of only four race nights through the second Saturday in June include 1968, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1984 and 1995.

The June 12 rainout marks only the second time in track history (through seven scheduled June 12 events) that weekly racing on this date has been canceled. The only other June 12 rainout was in 1971.

Indee has averaged right at 15 race nights per season since 1968. When you consider this year's 19-week schedule and the four races we've already lost, we'll have to go without a single rainout over the next 11 weeks to match the average. Here's hoping for much drier summer months.

Kirkpatrick, Mather, Robinson among winners at Bloomfield Speedway

I visited my 11th different track of 2010 on Friday night and crossed Bloomfield Speedway off my list of tracks I'd never visited. A wildly entertaining night unfolded on a great night of racing at the Davis County Fairgrounds.

The first event of the evening was the make-up B Mod feature from last week's show that was cut short due to rain. Tyler Groenendyk started from the pole and quickly pulled away from his pursuers as Paul Underwood settled into second.

Having built up nearly a straightaway advantage by the time the race hit the fifth lap, Groenendyk entered lapped traffic while Mike Shelton used the low groove to work past Underwood. Groenendyk navigated the backmarkers with ease as he drove to the win by half of a straightaway ahead of a charging Shelton. Jason McDaniel used the high line around Underwood midway through the race to come home third.

In regular action, Devin Stills took the early lead in the Mini Stock 4-Cylinder feature. From the pole position, Stills led the field as second row starter Cassidy Kirkpatrick followed him into second. The leaders pulled to a half of a straightaway lead on the field with Kirkpatrick running low and Stills up high.

Midway through the 10 lapper, Kirkpatrick worked below the leader and quickly settled into the top spot, although Stills remained within striking distance. Charging hard on the final lap, Stills slid to the high side of turn four with a flat tire, allowing Kirkpatrick to escape with the win. Stills held on for second. For Kirkpatrick, it was his first career win in just his second night of racing. Last week he reportedly had the feature win in his sights, as well, but mistook the white flag for yellow costing him the win.

After starting in the third row of the Modified feature, Colt Mather quickly worked his way into third by the time the yellow flag waved after just one lap. He then worked past Ron Ver Beek and Bo Taylor when racing resumed to pull away from the field and score the impressive win. Ver Beek came home second, a straightaway behind Mather, while Dennis Elliott and Scott Dickey completed the top four.

A great three-car battle highlighted the early stages of the Stock Car feature as Chris Hawkins, Ben Jones and Mike Robinson made it a three-car breakaway at the drop of the green. Those three cars ran side-by-side and nose-to-tail swapping positions throughout the first handful of laps.

Running the low side, Hawkins held the early advantage while Robinson ran high with Jones right behind them in the middle groove. Robinson motored around Hawkins a few laps in as the three continued to battle until the yellow flag waved on lap seven of the 12-lapper.

When racing resumed, Robinson held onto the top spot as Jones worked the high line around Hawkins for second. Those two drivers battled for position over the final five laps while Robinson drove to victory. Jones nipped Hawkins at the line for runner-up honors.

A scary accident brought the Hobby Stock feature to an early stop. While battling for position on the first lap, veteran Kris Walker got sideways and barrel-rolled down the back straightaway. His car became airborn and never touched the ground during the horrific display until it went up and over the guardrail and into the catch fence before finally coming to a rest with the tail of his car on the track and the front end hung up on the guardrail. Miraculously, not only was Walker okay, his crew went to work on repairing the car while the track crew was working on the fence as he hoped to rejoin the race. Unfortunately for him, after returning for one pace lap, Walker pulled off with a possibly bent axle.

When the green flag came out once again, Derek Kirkland ran the high side and into the lead on lap three from his third row start. With his ride smoking throughout the race, an oil fire ignited under the hood of his #2K with only a few laps to go.

Having built up a lead of over half of a straightaway, Kirkland amazingly kept the hammer down and drove his fireball across the line for the victory. Donovan Nunnikhoven drove from a fourth row start to finish second.

In the regularly scheduled B Mod main, Jason McDaniel made quick work of the field. From his pole position start, McDaniel took charge early and withstood three cautions throughout the first half of the race to take the victory ahead of a charging Eric Fullenkamp and Mike Shelton.

It was a great night of racing at Bloomfield and, as time allows, I hope to make it back down there. I heard many names and saw quite a few drivers I hadn't seen since my days at HRN. It was a nice trip back in time for me.

There were a number of delays throughout the evening that were out of anyone's control, including Walker's handiwork on the back stretch fence and an unexpected blown fuse on the Musco lights, but the track crew worked diligently to work through them as the final checkered flag waved at 10:45. Thanks to Ron and Jerry Potts, along with scorer Norm Gegner, for their hospitality; also to track announcer Tony Paris who did a great job of entertaining the crowd during the "down" times. Thanks for the plug, Tony!

As I write this, I'm sitting in Middletown since 34 Raceway Facilities Director Jason Goble made the trip to Bloomfield with me last night. Word from up north is that the rains are heavy, leaving much doubt to tonight's program at Independence. The skies just opened up here a few minutes ago so the folks at 34 may also be in jeopardy. Be sure to check out those track web sites before leaving the house today if you plan to attend races at either of those facilities tonight, or any track in the region for that matter. Mother Nature has been a fickle, bitter gal this spring...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Matthees masters Fayette County, stops Simpson's Corn Belt streak

Chad Simpson's bid for a sixth straight Corn Belt Clash Late Model Series win came up two spots short at Fayette County Speedway. Instead, it was Winona, Minn., veteran Lance Matthees making his way to the winner's circle after a hard fought duel with Adam Hensel in the 35-lapper.

Early on, Matthees established himself as the man to beat as he shot into the lead from his outside front row start. He put a few car-lengths on the field while Hensel settled into third place behind pole-sitter Jake Meier.

Running the high groove, Hensel made his way around Meier following the race's only yellow flag on lap nine. Also taking to the high groove was Simpson. After starting 11th, he worked his way around traffic and into the top five by the time the yellow flag waved.

When racing resumed, Hensel worked both high and low to run down the race leader while Simpson went back up top to battle Jeff Aikey and Scott Riechers for position. Hensel pulled onto the rear bumper of the #90 of Matthees a couple of laps after he got by Meier, then worked the low groove in turns one and two and the high side of turns three and four to gain the advantage.

Following the completion of the 16th circuit, Hensel shot to the inside of Matthees in turn one and emerged from the corner with the lead. He continued to hold the edge as the top two drivers started to drive away from the field.

As the top pair pulled away in lapped traffic, Hensel continued to run a groove higher than Matthees, who worked the low side and returned to battle for the top spot. Matthees dropped to the low side of Hensel exiting turn four on lap 24 and held the advantage at the stripe.

The leaders ran nose-to-tail until Matthees swept beneath a pair of backmarkers with only six laps to go. At that time, Matthees appeared to be well on his way to victory, however Hensel closed the gap two laps later as the leaders navigated heavy lapped traffic.

Matthees snuck past another slower car and drove to the victory just a couple of car-lengths ahead of Hensel in a thrilling finish. Simpson worked past Reichers and Aikey to take third.

Corn Belt Clash Results
1. 90 Lance Matthees
2. 44 Adam Hensel
3. 25 Chad Simpson
4. 61R Scott Riechers
5. 77 Jeff Aikey
6. 98 Jason Rauen
7. 45 Curt Martin
8. 3 Kevin Sather
9. 32 Chris Simpson
10. 28C Terry Neal
11. 50 Denny Eckrich
12. 20 Jake Meier
13. 40 Joel Callahan
14. 22 Jill George
15. 16 Tyler Bruening
16. 85 John Kaanta
17. 21A Kelly Meyer
18. 15K Justin Kay
19. 27 Darin Burco
20. 7 Dennis Hillson
21. 88 Kevin Kile
22. 58 Dave Eckrich
23. 28X Justin Mitchell
24. 45K Kurt Kile
DNS 25S Chris Smyser

Corn Belt Clash Points (includes best 4 of 6 finishes)
1. 25 Chad Simpson, 240 points
2. 32 Chris Simpson, 214
3. 58 Dave Eckrich, 208
4. 20 Jake Meier, 198
5. 50 Denny Eckrich, 194
6. 98 Jason Rauen, 192
7. 77 Jeff Aikey, 154
8. 45K Kurt Kile, 152
9. 3 Kevin Sather, 148
10. 90- Lance Matthees, 144
11. 44 Adam Hensel, 138
12. 15K Justin Kay, 138
13. 31 Jason Utter, 136
14. 95 Keith Foss, 130
15. 27 Jake Redetzke, 130
16. 45 Curt Martin, 128
17. 88 Kevin Kile, 110
18. 90X Eric Pember, 106
19. 21A Kelly Meyer, 102
20. 28C Terry Neal, 98

In other action, the Stock Cars and B Mods filled out the racing card. While a draw/redraw format was used, competitors were competing for track points in both divisions.

A multi-car battle at the front of the Stock Car feature kept fans on the edges of their seats throughout the first half of that 20-lap event. Kirk Fauser held the top spot after sneaking into the early lead from his second row start. While Fauser led, Mitch Hovden remained glued to his rear bumper as Lynn Panos worked low and Dan Trimble worked high to get in on the action out front. Bryan Webb joined the battle out front as the top five cars were wheel-to-wheel throughout much of the event.

Midway through the race, Fauser got sideways in turn two, collecting the field behind him and ending his run at the front. On the restart, Trimble inherited the point and continued to work the high side of the speedway with Hovden and Panos in tow. Committed to the low groove, Panos worked past Hovden shortly after the restart and set his sights on Trimble.

Trimble, who was running the extreme high groove of the speedway, dropped one groove lower when Panos started challenging on the low side. The leaders engaged in a thrilling two-car battle for the lead before Panos inched ahead in the waning laps to drive to the victory.

Stock Car
1. 97 Lynn Panos
2. 20 Dan Trimble
3. 15 Mitch Hovden
4. 33 Kevin Donlan
5. 10 Bryan Webb
6. 42 Dan Christopher
7. 62 Kevin Bidne
8. 37 Loren Kuennen
9. 40 Austin Curtin
10. 47 Mike Mauer
11. 44 Dave Gerner
12. 29 Cody Cook
13. 37C Casey Colsch
14. 29X Paul Fauser
15. 00 Jeffory Fels
16. 98 Jeff Roete
17. G1 Mike Padden
18. 00C Danny Cole Jr.
19. 77D Kirk Fauser
20. 12I Ken Irvine

A number of restarts slowed the scheduled 20-lap B Mod feature. Pole-sitter Brandon Hare survived the numerous cautions to take the victory in an event that was cut to 14 laps. Hare led the event in its entirety to score the win ahead of Matt Jones, who started outside of row five, and Jeff Johnson. Joshua Wedo made an impressive run through the field to cross the line in fourth after starting 20th.

B Mod
1. 56H Brandon Hare
2. 23 Matt Jones
3. 38 Jeff Johnson
4. 76J Joshua Wedo
5. 88X Jimmy Broszeit
6. 86 Rod McDonald
7. 14M Brian Mahlstedt
8. 12B Paul Brandenburg
9. 196 Ray Lundry
10. 10T Trevor Fecht
11. 25 Alan Wessels
12. 22B Taylor Bass
13. 4J Jeremy Geisler
14. 12A Curt Teeter
15. 96 LUcas Lundry
16. 16 Eric Verthein
17. 11 Shay Curtin
18. 20 Greg Mitchell
19. 23B Brett Bumgardner
20. 42 Junior Boyer
21. 85 Ben Moudry
22. 44 Brian Lund

If there's one thing that's a certainty in racing, it's that you'll always get your money's worth at Fayette County Speedway. The tidy program offered 67 cars in the three divisions, which resulted in three heats and a feature in each class. The show was completed right at the 10 o'clock hour.

The speedway, which runs weekly on Fridays, will not be in action this weekend. Along with tonight's Corn Belt special, the Hawkeye Dirt Tour makes a stop at the speedway on Tuesday so weekly racing was not scheduled for this Friday.

The Corn Belt Clash returns to action tomorrow (Thursday) night at Highway 3 Raceway in Allison. Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Corn Belt Clash update through June 4

A number of people have asked about results from the June 4 race at Farley. I received the results today and calculated points tonight. Those feature results are listed below, along with current points. The points include each driver's best three finishes through the first five series events. The final series points will include each driver's best 13 finishes in the 15-race schedule.

Farley results (June 4)
1. 25 Chad Simpson
2. 32 Chris Simpson
3. 40 Joel Callahan
4. 56 Andy Eckrich
5. 50 Denny Eckrich
6. 20 Jake Meier
7. 58 Dave Eckrich
8. 98 Jason Rauen
9. 18 Brian Beaudry
10. 5M Mike Fryer
11. 45K Kurt Kile
12. 45M Curt Martin
13. 1M Rob Moss
14. 16 Dan Shelliam
15. 31 Jason Utter
16. 90X Eric Pember
17. 21A Kelly Meyer
18. 15K Justin Kay
19. 61 Jon Rogers
20. 4 Joe Dirks
21. 12 Ron Klein
22. 77 Kevin Kile

Corn Belt Clash Points
1. 25 Chad Simpson, 180 points
2. 32 Chris SImpson, 168
3. 58 Dave Eckrich, 160
4. 50 Denny Eckrich, 154
5. 20 Jake Meier, 152
6. 98 Jason Rauen, 142
7. 31 Jason Utter, 136
8. 95 Keith Foss, 130
9. 27 Jake Redetzke, 130
10. 77 / 45K Kurt Kile, 122
11. 15K Justin Kay, 112
12. 90X Eric Pember, 106
13. 77 Jeff Aikey, 102
14. 3 Kevin Sather, 102
15. 56 Andy Eckrich, 90
16. 88 / 77 Kevin Kile, 90
17. 90 Lance Matthees, 84
18. 1M Rob Moss, 84
19. 44 Adam Hensel, 80
20. 45 Curt Martin, 80

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Close finishes highlight action at CJ Speedway

I made my first visit of the year to CJ Speedway in Columbus Junction and witnessed two thrilling photo finishes in feature action. Jason Hartman took one of those victories in the Hobby Stock division while Nathan Wood used a last lap pass in the Stock Cars to win in the same fashion.

While only four cars signed in to compete in the division on the night, the Hobby Stocks provided possibly the most exciting finish of the evening. Hartman led the way at the drop of the green flag from his front row start. Lane Kauffman gave chase while Alex Buffington ran third as the three cars ran nose-to-tail and wheel-to-wheel for all eight laps.

The trio remained unchanged until Buffington worked his way around Kauffman with only one lap to go, then went to work on Hartman. Buffington pulled even with the race leader over the course of the final lap as the two drag raced to the checkers. Hartman held on by half of a car-length at the line while Buffington ran second and Kauffman third. Brodie Dopler ran fourth.

In the Stock Car division, pole-sitter Billy Faler led the 16-car field to green. As Faler set the pace, Sky Griffith ran the low side and entered a battle for the lead. Faler continued to hold the point as Griffith settled into second. Then, Cole Simmons and David Hemstead challenged and worked into second and third, respectively.

The leaders were running in a tight pack until lap six when Faler got loose coming off of turn four. He got sideways and collected both Simmons and Hemstead, forcing the rest of the field to scatter. When the dust cleared, the trio drivers out front were in the pits with mechanical problems, leaving Griffith to inherit the point and Nathan Wood in second.

On the restart, Griffith continued to lead the field with Wood in tow. Kirk Kinsley, Travis Finke and Darrin Ealey joined the pack out front as the top five broke away from the field to set up an exciting finish. Griffith held on to the lead while his pursuers swapped position behind him as laps wound down.

On the final lap, Wood pulled to the inside of Griffith as the two ran wheel-to-wheel over the final lap for the lead. Wood inched ahead at the line by inches to take the close victory. Griffith ran second and Finke ran third at the stripe. Ealey, who restarted toward the tail of the field after the lap six incident, raced through the field to finish fourth ahead of Kinsley.

Adam Bell took command early in the Modified main event. From his outside front row start, Bell powered into the lead as Daniel Brockert and Steve Stewart gave chase. The leaders pulled away from the field in a three-car breakaway as Bell powered to the win by a few car-lengths ahead of Brockert in the caution-free event. Stewart ran third, nearly a full lap ahead of fourth-running Doug Pratt.

In 4-cylinder action, Geoff Theobald appeared to be the car to beat. Theobald piloted the #33 into the lead after just two laps and quickly put distance on the field. On lap five, however, smoke started showing from behind his machine and he was sidelined with what appeared to be a flat tire.

Bill Whalen Jr., who had just taken over the second spot, inherited the point and drove to the victory. John Whalen ran second and Tyler Whalen nipped Cory Sheetz at the line for third.

In the most dominant performance of the evening, Greg Rossell annihilated the field in the Mod Lite feature. He built up a lead of nearly half of a track by the time the race's only caution flag waved with just a couple laps to go. On the restart, Rossell fulfilled his pursuit of a wire-to-wire win by beating Troy Phillpott to the checkers. Robert Guss, Justin Buchholz and Todd Hansen completed the top five.

As always, the track at CJ was smooth and the racing great. They are struggling with car count and butts in the grandstands, which probably has something to do with the number of eastern and southeastern Iowa tracks running on Friday nights, but I challenge anyone who hasn't already been to CJ to take in the show some Friday night. We were done by 9:30 last night and I think everyone in the stands was crowding the gate to get to the pits. I overheard many people comment how good and close the racing was. If you have been there, but not for a while, a lot of work has gone into making CJ a Friday destination for area race teams and race fans.

Thanks again to Brian and Amanda Tipps and Don and Sharon Wood for their hospitality, and to track announcer Gene Arnold for some airtime.

Assuming the weather holds off, it's back to Independence for me tonight. Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Simpson gets fourth straight Corn Belt win at Cresco

Although it remained in question throughout much of the 35-lapper, Chad Simpson took advantage of a late caution to keep his perfect record umblemished in the Dart Corn Belt Clash Late Model Series presented by Cen-Pe-Co Lubricants and WIX Filters. Simpson passed race-long leader Jake Meier with 10 laps to go to drive away to his fourth straight series win as the tour visited Cresco Speedway.

After a trio of cautions slowed the start of the event, pole-sitter Meier grabbed the lead. Meier paced the field while Jeff Aikey, who started right behind Meier, and Jason Rauen gave chase. Following another stoppage on lap two, Rauen raced past Aikey on the double-file restart and settled into second.

The trio ran nose-to-tail and started to put a little distance on the field while Simpson moved into fourth and started to reel in the lead pack. He caught the tail of that group around 10 laps into the event as the four ran in single file formation, bumper-to-bumper, as Lance Matthees joined the leaders a few laps later.

The top five remained unchanged until Rauen spun on the high side of turns three and four to bring out a pivotal caution on lap 22. On the restart, Simpson started alongside Aikey with Meier out front. Simpson quickly disposed of Aikey one lap later, then went to work on the low side to pressure Meier.

Exiting turn four on the 25th circuit, Simpson wheeled beneath Meier's #20 and powered into the lead. Simpson survived two late-race cautions to score the victory, his fourth in as many series events this season. Aikey made his way around Meier following a lap 26 restart to come home second ahead of Meier. Chris Simpson made a good run by finishing fourth after starting 17th.

Corn Belt Clash Late Models
1. 25 Chad Simpson (6)
2. 77 Jeff Aikey (3)
3. 20 Jake Meier (1)
4. 32 Chris Simpson (17)
5. 90 Lance Matthees (4)
6. 85 John Kaanta (8)
7. 50 Denny Eckrich (11)
8. 16 Tyler Bruening (7)
9. 45 Kurt Kile (23)
10. 05 Jake Hartung (13)
11. 33 Joe Ludemann (16)
12. 7 Dennis Hillson (2)
13. 21A Kelly Meyer (19)
14. 30 Shane Wehrs (21)
15. 98 Jason Rauen (5)
16. 88 Roger Torgerson (24)
17. 15K Justin Kay (26)
18. 22 Jill George (18)
19. 95 Keith Foss (9)
20. 1M Rob Moss (12)
21. 2 Lucas Peterson (25)
22. 61 Jon Rogers (14)
23. 31 Jason Utter (22)
24. 88K Kevin Kile (10)
25. 90X Eric Pember (20)
26. 58 Dave Eckrich (15)

Official points for the 15-race series will be based on each driver's 13 best finishes at season's end. This will offer drivers the opportunity to discard their two worst showings or allow them to entirely miss one or two shows during the course of the season. The updated points through four events are listed below. These standings reflect each driver's two worst finishes to-date being removed from their point totals.

Current Series Points
1. 25 Chad Simpson, 120 points
2. 58 Dave Eckrich, 112
3. 32 Chris Simpson, 110
T4. 95 Keith Foss, 102
T4. 77 Jeff Aikey, 102
T4. 20 Jake Meier, 102
T4. 50 Denny Eckrich, 102
T4. 3 Kevin Sather, 102
9. 27 Jake Redetzke, 100
10. 31 Jason Utter, 98
11. 98X Jason Rauen, 96
T12. 90 Lance Matthees, 84
T12. 15K Justin Kay, 84
14. 77K Kurt Kile, 82
15. 44 Adam Hensel, 80
16. 90X Eric Pember, 76
17. 88 Kevin Kile, 72
18. 85 John Kaanta, 66
19. 28X Justin Mitchell, 66
20. 55C Chad Mahder, 58

You'll notice, despite his dominance through the first portion of the season, Chad Simpson's lead is only eight points. While he has won four times, only two of those victories would officially count toward the series standings after you remove the other two. Dave Eckrich, meanwhile, has had fourth and second place showings early in the year while his 26th place finish tonight and his seventh place finish at Mississippi Thunder Speedway on May 14 would be removed. Granted, Simpson has those two wins in his back pocket that will eventually count, however, anything can happen over the course of the season to keep the points battle tight. With 11 races left on the schedule, those two "insurance" wins are good to have, but will provide no guarantees as the series moves forward.

In other action at Cresco, second row starter Jason Schlangen pulled to the inside of pole-sitter Jimmy Broszeit to challenge for the early lead of the B Mod main event. Schlangen pulled even at the start-finish line at the end of the first lap then took charge and quickly separated himself from the field.

As Schlangen pulled to nearly half of a straightaway ahead of his competitors, Ben Moudry motored into the second spot while Brandon Hare raced through traffic from a fourth row start. Following a lap five yellow, Hare made his way into the top three, then worked into second following a second stoppage on lap eight.

When racing resumed, Hare quickly pressured the leader as Schlangen finally gave way just past the midway point of the 20-lapper. Hare pulled away from the field to drive to the impressive victory. Schlangen came home second, a half of a straightaway out of the lead, while Moudry came home third, a full straightaway behind the winner. Broszeit and Brian Mahlstedt completed the top five. After causing the lap five yellow, Brian Schrage made an impressive run back through the field to come home sixth.

B Mods
1. 56H Brandon Hare (8)
2. 27 Jason Schlangen (3)
3. 85 Ben Moudry (2)
4. 88X Jimmy Broszeit (1)
5. 14M Brian Mahlstedt (6)
6. 14 Brian Schrage (5)
7. S16 Kip Siems (7)
8. 58 Shane Panos (10)
9. 7 Brian Freilinger (16)
10. 21 Chris Weigert (12)
11. 63 Matthew McCahen (13)
12. 4J Jeremy Geisler (4)
13. 28 Parker Hale (14)
14. 35C Cole Konkel (11)
15. 80 Jamey Ayers (9)
16. 17C Chad Halverson (15)
DNS 82 Em Fretheim

Pole-sitter Danny Sacquinte appeared to have the car to beat in the Hobby Stock feature. Sacquinte took the lead early and pulled away from the field while Steve Holthaus was making his way around his competitors. A lap 11 caution bunched the field with Scott Spilde in second and Holthaus in third.

When racing resumed, the three leaders engaged in a thrilling three-car battle out front before Holthaus finally inched ahead in the waning laps to score the exciting win. Spilde ran second ahead of Sacquinte.

Hobby Stocks
1. 70 Steve Holthaus (4)
2. 18 Scott Spilde (3)
3. 6 Danny Sacquinte (1)
4. 98 Kyle Anderson (5)
5. 16 Dan Hovden (8)
6. 24 Randy Banks (6)
7. 60 Denise Krauskopf (7)
8. 21 Joel Anderson (2)
9. 7K Andy Stinson (10)
10. 70C Chris Hovden (9)
11. 37X Casey Colsch (11)

Mitch Hovden led all 18 laps of the Stock Car feature to take the victory in the caution-free event. Hovden held off the challenges of Mike Bergan and Lynn Panos to score the win.

Stock Car
1. 15 Mitch Hovden (1)
2. 5 Mike Bergan (3)
3. 97 Lynn Panos (5)
4. 23 Brian Gjere (2)
5. 33 Kevin Donlan (10)
6. 67 Kyle Falck (7)
7. 42 Dan Christopher (11)
8. 37 Pete Solum (9)
9. 121G Arlen Hoy (13)
10. 62 Kevin Bidne (12)
11. 48 Casey Sebastion (14)
12. 27 Shawn Peter (6)
13. 11X Shay Curtin (4)
DNS 40 Austin Curtin

While it was my first trip back to Cresco in a few years, the racing was as good as it's always been on the smooth 4/10-mile oval. While I generally don't prefer more than three divisions for a mid-week show, the evening was very smooth and the program efficient. The first green flag waved at 7:30 and the final checkers were in the air before 10:30.

Thanks to Tom Barnes and the rest of the Howard County Fair crew for running a great program. For a season-opening event, the crew seemed to be in mid-season form and, judging by the nice crowd in the stands, it should be a successful year for the folks in Cresco.

The Corn Belt Clash Series has a quick turn-around as series action is set to resume tomorrow (tonight) at Farley Speedway in an event that was rescheduled from a rainout earlier this spring. It doesn't look as though Mother Nature is looking to cooperate this time around, either, as the chance of rain in Farley on Friday stands at 60%. While I don't plan to be in Farley tomorrow, I do plan to hit the next two series dates which are next week. On Wednesday, June 9, the series moves to Fayette County Speedway in West Union followed by a Thursday night show at Highway 3 Raceway in Allison. Hopefully, your local track dodges the rainy weather this weekend!