Monday, May 9, 2011

Miedke, Keiser make Mother's Day memorable at Benton County Speedway

On Sunday afternoon, I made the trip to Vinton to spend some time with Mom on Mother's Day, then head to the track for the night's racing action. Those in attendance were undoubtedly left with a lot to talk about on Monday after a number of thrilling finishes in an efficient program that allowed race-goers more "mom time" as the final checkered flag waved shortly after the eight o'clock hour.

Just like moms, who deserve special recognition year-round rather than only one day on the calendar, a number of divisions don't always get the recognition they deserve. Those divisions provided the best racing of the night on Sunday as the "entry level" IMCA Sport Compact and IMCA Hobby Stock divisions left everyone on the edges of their seats until the checkers waved.

In the Sport Compacts, Steve Miedke motored to the front of the pack after one lap from his second row starting spot. He was able to put a few car-lengths on the field while Bill Whalen Jr., who started two rows deeper, made his way through traffic. Whalen, who earned wins at CJ Speedway on Friday and West Liberty Raceway on Saturday, was looking for a clean sweep of the weekend.

Whalen chased Miedke to the front, but remained a couple of car-lengths back while Bryce Bailey pursued the leaders. Bailey provided heavy pressure on Whalen, making his way into second just past the midway point of the 12-lap event. Entering turn two on lap seven, however, Bailey spun to the low side to bring out the caution, forcing him to the back of the pack for the ensuing restart.

When racing resumed, Miedke again pulled away from the pack, but encountered lapped traffic late in the event. Contact with a spinning backmarker on the back stretch of the final lap allowed Whalen to sneak past the leader as they entered turn three. Not to be left behind, Miedke powered his #11 hard into the final set of turns and was able to pull even with Whalen's #00W.

With Whalen already committed to the high groove, Miedke stayed on the throttle as he navigated the corner. As he drifted high exiting turn four, Miedke made slight contact with Whalen, but was able to inch ahead at the line for the thrilling win. Whalen held on for second ahead of Brett Vanous. By virtue of his third place finish, Vanous ended the night with the points lead. Brad Chandler made an impressive run through the 19-car field. He started the event in last when he borrowed the James Stevens machine after his own car broke earlier in the night.

1. 11 Steve Miedke
2. 00W Bill Whalen Jr.
3. 35 Brett Vanous
4. 2nd Brad Chandler
5. 1 Merv Chandler
6. 22T Travis Losenicky
7. 22 Nathan Chandler
8. 007 Adam Gates
9. 51 Bryce Bailey
10. A1 Louis Trachta

Hobby Stock points leader Scott Pippert was looking to make it four-for-four for the points season in that division, and five straight overall. While it appeared like he had no chance early in the event, by race's end Pippert proved why he has been the most dominant driver in the division.

Pole-sitter Jeremy Floyd led for much of the 15-lap event, but was under constant pressure from numerous pursuers. Jacob Keiser posed the strongest challenge as he ran a close second for most of the race. While the leaders battled, Pippert was making his way through the field from his sixth row starting spot. Pippert cleared half of the competitors in front of him and was sitting sixth when the race's only caution flag waved on lap six.

When racing resumed, Floyd maintained his position at the front of the pack with Keiser close behind when third-running Vince Buchholz spun in turn four. By that time, Pippert went to work on the high side and started closing in on the leaders. He made his way around Rod Grother with only two laps to go when Keiser swept beneath Floyd to take the lead.

Committed to the high side, Pippert made a quick attempt to chase down the leader as the white flag was displayed. He pulled to the outside of Keiser the final time down the back straightaway as Keiser remained glued to the bottom. Exiting turn four Keiser took a slight advantage as Pippert worked the top side. Keiser held on at the line by less than a car-length to earn the exciting victory. Floyd and Grother chased the leaders to the checkers.

1. 07 Jacob Keiser
2. 47 Scott Pippert
3. 12J Jeremy Floyd
4. 77 Rod Grother
5. 26 Nathan Christie
6. 09 Brad Forbes
7. 2P Cale Peterson
8. 29 Nathan Ballard
9. 78 Matt Brown
10. 67 Justin Stander

The excitement continued in the 15-lap IMCA Stock Car feature. At any point throughout the first six laps, if you took a snapshot of the action, you may be led to believe the field was lined up prior to the green flag as the front four cars in the field stayed in side-by-side formation the entire time.

Outside second row starter Curtis Roster made his way past outside front row starter Scooter Dulin at the drop of the green to join pole-sitter Thomas Thompson at the front of the pack. With Roster up high and Thompson down low, the two remained wheel-to-wheel while Dulin dropped to the low side and Phil Holtz joined the fray out front. Holtz pulled to the outside of Dulin as the top four remained wheel-to-wheel and nose-to-tail prior to lap six when contact between Dulin and Holtz forced the first caution of the event.

When racing resumed, Thompson held the point and continued to pace the field while Justin Temeyer was working the low groove through traffic from a fifth row starting spot. Running fifth when the green flag waved for the restart, Temeyer quickly made a charge to the front as he snuck past Roster for second just one lap later.

Thompson, still running down low, gave Temeyer a little too much breathing room exiting turn four on the 10th circuit as he stuck the nose of his #56T beneath Thompson's #83E. Temeyer assumed command by the time the leaders entered turns one and two. He withstood all challenges to lead the remainder of the event en route to the victory. Nathan Wood, who made a late charge by running the top side of the track, challenged Temeyer late, but settled for second. Unfortunately for Thompson, he pulled off early with mechanical problems.

1. 56T Justin Temeyer
2. 52 Nathan Wood
3. 15 Norman Chesmore
4. 6X Bob Ahrendsen
5. 8 Curtis Roster
6. 10 John Schaefer
7. 31S Paul Shepherd
8. 3T Scooter Dulin
9. 9E Austin Evens
10. 76 Mike Galli

What appeared to be a sure victory for front row starter Troy Cordes turned into less than a guarantee when lapped traffic played a part in the 20-lap IMCA Modified feature. Cordes left the field behind quickly when the green flag waved and built up a half straigthaway lead over fellow front row starter Brandon Banks just a couple of laps into the event. Cordes maintained that advantage by the time Joe Docekal made his way around the outside of Banks for second four laps into the event.

On lap 11, Cordes encountered his first lapped car which allowed Docekal to close part of the gap. It was lapped traffic three laps later, however, that made things interesting. A pair of backmarkers were running side-by-side when Cordes approached them on the back stretch, leaving him little room to work with. As Cordes was considering his options, Docekal closed the gap and pulled to within a car-length of the leader.

When the leaders cleared traffic, Cordes held the point while Docekal attempted to make his move beneath him. Despite a gallant effort, Docekal came up short at the line as Cordes scored the win by a car-length. Points leader Scott Hogan, who started in row five, went to work on the high side early to come home third in the caution-free event.

1. 71 Troy Cordes
2. 12D Joe Docekal
3. 33D Scott Hogan
4. 22 Brandon Banks
5. 5 Jerry Dedrick
6. 10K Ronn Lauritzen
7. T23 Tony Olson
8. 32 Chris Snyder
9. F7 Patrick Flannagan
10. 11B Mike Burbridge

After a couple of cautions prior to the completion of the first lap, third row starter Kurt Hogan was liking his chances more and more as the 15-lap IMCA SportMod feature took shape. Following miscues by those in front of him, Hogan eventually found himself in the pole position without a lap in the books.

Hogan took command when the green flag waved the third time and shot into the lead ahead of Jim Buhlman, a SportMod feature winner each of the last two weeks in Vinton. Hogan stretched his lead to half of a straightaway by the time the caution flag waved again on lap four.

When racing resumed, Hogan again took charge, building the same advantage while Buhlman kept the same distance between himself and the battle for third among Curt Hilmer, Ken Kositzky and Jake Strayer. The caution flag again wiped out Hogan's lead just past the midway point. Despite an additional pair of stoppages with only three laps to go, Hogan proved too strong for the field as he scored the victory ahead of Buhlman. Hilmer held off Strayer for third and, in the process, lifted his #22H to the top of the division's point standings. Hilmer now holds a slim one-point edge over Hogan and Kositzky, with a trio of drivers tied for fourth just four points out of the lead. Buhlman, who jumped to seventh in points, is only six points out of the lead.

1. MR09 Kurt Hogan
2. 00 Jim Buhlman
3. 22H Curt Hilmer
4. 18J Jake Strayer
5. K0 Ken Kositzky
6. J2 Dave Schulze
7. 1 Austin Kaplan
8. 28P Rick Paulson
9. 33 Ed O'Brien
10. 72 Mike Hogencamp

Thanks to Mick Trier and crew for another excellent night on the 1/4-mile. The track was fast and smooth and should be in great shape for this Tuesday's Hawkeye Dirt Tour opener, where I plan to be and intend to recap right here at Positively Racing. On that note, I hope tonight's blog meets your standards, Mick! Since I didn't get the Indee results posted in a timely manner for you last night, I made a little extra effort to get tonight's recap posted! Also, to RACEceiver mic-man Mike Van Genderen, I apologize for no recap of last Sunday's races in Vinton. Hopefully, tonight's report gets you through the week!

While being at a race track was the plan for many on this Sunday, it shouldn't overshadow the importance of Mother's Day. Although there are designated days on the calendar to express our appreciation for our parents, it goes without saying that expressing love and gratitude for mom and dad is something that we all should do every day.

You hear a lot of people say that they are lucky to have the best parents in the world. For those of us who feel that way, we are damned lucky. I have said it many times before and I will say it for eternity that my mom is my best friend. Every time we end a phone call or say goodbye in person, we make sure to say, "I love you." It isn't because we have to, it's because we do.

We never know what each tomorrow may bring - it may be a good day, a bad day, a day to remember or a day we wish we could forget, but each of those days should bring with them a moment when you tell your parents that you love them. My love for my mom is unconditional and I have been reminded time and time again that her love for me is the same. There will be good days ahead that we will celebrate together and there will be rough days, as well, when we'll lean on each other. No matter what those days bring, Mom, I am truly blessed to be your son. I love you, Mom. Happy Mother's Day.

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