There are some all-time statistics included at the end, dating back to 1967. While the track was believed to have opened in 1965, my records date back to the beginning of the 1967 season. All of the “all-time” statistics here include races from only the five divisions that currently compete at Independence. For those inquiring minds, 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.
As always, special thanks to track photographer Scott Tjabring of Action Track Photography for allowing me to use his photos. Check out his excellent work at www.actiontrackphotos.com.
Division - Average - High - Low
Late Model – 19.5 - 21 - 18
Modified – 23.5 - 27 - 20
Stock Car – 14.5 - 16 - 13
SportMod – 21.5 - 24 - 19
Hobby Stock – 20.5 - 22 - 19
TOTAL – 99.5 - 102 - 97
* 124 drivers have earned points so far this season.
* Among those 124 drivers, 39 different hometowns are represented.
* Points leaders account for six of the 10 total feature wins through two weeks.
* The Tylers have it: Tyler Droste (SportMods) and Tyler Bruening (Late Models) are the only drivers to lead the points in his respective division both weeks of the season.
IN THE HUNT
* 36 drivers have remained in the top-10 in the points both weeks of the season. Those drivers include:
Late Model (7): Darren Ackerman, Tyler Bruening, Dirk Hamilton, Drew Johnson, Rory Metcalf, Jon Passick, Travis Smock;
Modified (8): Mike Burbridge, Troy Cordes, Patrick Flannagan, Adam Johnson, Jerry King, Jerry Luloff, Tony Olson, Shawn Ryan;
Stock Car (8): Norman Chesmore, Austin Evens, Tim Helle, Sean Johnson, Jeremy LaPlant, Dave Stricker, Thomas Thompson, Jarod Weepie;
SportMod (6): Jim Buhlman, Tyler Droste, Danny Dvorak, Lucas Lundry, Ray Lundry, Josh Sherbon;
Hobby Stock (7): August Bach, Vince Buchholz, Nathan Christie, Russell Damme Jr., Jeremy Floyd, Chris Wiltse, Steve Wiltse.
* There have been 9 different feature winners in 10 feature events this season.
* There have been no repeat winners in the Late Model, Modified, Stock Car or Hobby Stock divisions. Read more below on extended history relating to back-to-back winners to open the season.
* One driver has multiple wins: Tyler Droste (SportMod).
Tyler Droste became the first driver to earn back-to-back wins in 2011 by scoring a pair of SportMod wins to open the season. Dating back to season championship night last season, Droste has recorded three consecutive victories at Independence.
History in the making?
Late Model: Tyler Bruening became the 10th straight different opening points night Late Model feature winner: Travis Smock (2010), Rob Toland (2009), Darren Ackerman (2008), Darin Burco (2007), Dale Stolte (2006), Greg Kastli (2005), Dean Wagner (2004), Gary Crawford (2003), Curt Martin (2002 and 2001). Not since the 2002 season has a Late Model driver won two features in the first three weeks of the season. Greg Kastli won on the second and third nights that year. Tyler Bruening and Rob Toland are the only drivers eligible to break that streak in 2011.
Modified: Mike Burbridge became the 26th different opening night Modified winner in the 29-year history of the division at the speedway and the eighth straight different opening night winner in the division: Richie Gustin (2010), Max Corporon (2009), Vern Jackson (2008), J.D. Auringer (2007), Jason Snyder (2006), Joey Schaefer (2005), Scott Hogan (2004), Vern Jackson won in 2003. For the 15th consecutive season, no Modified driver won back-to-back features to open the season. Steve Droste was the last to do so in 1996. Scott Hogan was the last driver to win two of the first three features in a season, that back in 2004. Mike Burbridge and Adam Johnson were the first two winners in 2011.
Stock Car: For just the sixth time in the 19-years the Stock Cars have competed at Independence, a driver named Trimble or Irvine was not in victory lane during the first two weeks of the season (1993, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2008). Sean Johnson and Dave Stricker are each looking to become the 14th driver in 19 years to win two of the first three features of the season in the division.
SportMod: Tyler Droste is looking to become the first SportMod driver to win the first three features of the season in the division's brief four-year history at the track. The last time any driver won three straight features in the same season at Indee was Brian Irvine (Stock Cars) on August 1, 8 and 15, 2009. Including his win on championship night in 2010, Droste is the only driver in division history at Independence to string three straight wins together over two seasons.
Hobby Stock: Scott Pippert became the 21st different opening night Hobby Stock winner in 23 years of Hobby Stock racing at Independence. August Bach became only the sixth Hobby Stock driver in track history to win a feature in the first two weeks of consecutive seasons. The other five to do it? Rod Grother (2005-2006), Patrick Stansbery (2001-2002), Chris Wessner (1995-1996), Kevin Hoehne (1993-1994) and Lon Gadow (1990-1991).
Mike Burbridge became the 26th different Modified driver to visit victory lane in the division's 29 years of competition at the track. The win also marked his first career Modified win in IMCA competition.
* 77 drivers have earned at least one top-10 finish this season.
* 23 drivers earned top-10 finishes in both features:
Late Model (4): Darren Ackerman, Tyler Bruening, Drew Johnson, Jon Passick;
Modified (5): Troy Cordes, Patrick Flannagan, Adam Johnson, Jerry Luloff, Shawn Ryan;
Stock Car (5): Norman Chesmore, Sean Johnson, Dave Stricker, Thomas Thompson, Jarod Weepie;
SportMod (5): Tyler Droste, Danny Dvorak, Lucas Lundry, Ray Lundry, Josh Sherbon;
Hobby Stock (4): August Bach, Vince Buchholz, Nathan Christie, Russell Damme Jr..
No stranger to the top 10, Troy Cordes has earned 27 top-10 finishes in 30 nights of racing dating back to the start of the 2009 season, including two top-10s to start the 2011 season.
* 40 drivers have earned at least one top-5 finish this season.
* Only 10 drivers earned top-5 finishes in both features:
Late Model (0): None;
Modified (2): Adam Johnson, Shawn Ryan;
Stock Car (3): Norman Chesmore, Dave Stricker, Jarod Weepie;
SportMod (3): Tyler Droste, Danny Dvorak, Ray Lundry;
Hobby Stock (2): August Bach, Vince Buchholz.
Jarod Weepie has been a front-runner at Independence for many years in the IMCA Stock Car division. In fact, in the last 30 weekly events at Independence (dating back to the start of the 2009 season), Weepie has recorded 23 top-5 finishes, including a pair of top-5s to start the 2011 season.
* 26 drivers have earned at least one top-3 finish this season.
* Dave Stricker (Stock Car), Tyler Droste (SportMod), Ray Lundry (SportMod) and August Bach (Hobby Stock) are the only drivers with top-3 finishes in both features this season.
After starting the 2010 season with first and fourth place finishes during the first two nights of racing, August Bach (19) got out of the gate fast once again in 2011. He has a win and a third place finish to his credit after two weeks of racing this season.
Feature Lap Leaders
* 29 drivers have led at least one lap of feature competition.
* Division lap leaders include:
Late Model (3 total different lap leaders): Rob Toland (25 laps led), Tyler Bruening (20), Jon Passick (5);
Modified (6): Mike Burbridge (12 laps led), Tony Snyder (8), Patrick Flannagan (7), Adam Johnson (6),
Vern Jackson (4), Jerry King (1);
Stock Car (4): Sean Johnson (15 laps led), Dave Stricker (9), Thomas Thompson (6), Mike Padden (1);
SportMod (6): Tyler Droste (15 laps led); Luicas Lundry and Ray Lundry (5 each); Danny Dvorak (3); Jim Buhlman and Cory Evans (1 each);
Hobby Stock (4): Scott Pippert (14 laps led), Jamie Whitaker (11), August Bach (4), Justin Lichty (1)
She ain't purdy, but she sure is fast.
After 34 Raceway in Burlington rained out on May 28, Rob Toland made the trip from Moline, Illinois, to dominate the IMCA Late Model feature at Independence. His 25 laps led this season is the best among all drivers after two weeks of racing.
* There have been 23 different winners in 26 heat races.
* The only drivers to win heats both nights through two weeks include Tyler Bruening (Late Model), Sean Johnson (Stock Car) and Jamie Whitaker (Hobby Stock).
Jamie Whitaker (25) earned four IMCA Hobby Stock heat race wins in 2010. He's already halfway to last year's mark as Whitaker has won both of his heat races in 2011.
* A total of 36 races have been run this season.
* A total of 392 laps have been completed.
* A total of 53 caution flags have been thrown.
* Of the 36 races this season, 14 of them have been caution-free.
* 41 of the 53 cautions have occurred during features
* The Hobby Stock division (6 cautions in 7 total events) has had the best caution per race ratio by averaging .86 cautions for every race.
* The Hobby Stock division (6 cautions in 71 total laps) has had the best caution per race lap ratio by averaging 11.83 laps of green flag racing between caution flags.
* The Hobby Stock division leads the speedway by averaging 7.5 completed laps of feature racing before the first yellow flag.
Since the year 1967...
* 646 Late Model feature events have been completed in weekly competition with 96 different winners. On average, a new Late Model winner visits victory lane every 6.7 events.
* 416 Modified feature events have been completed in weekly competition with 78 different winners. On average, a new Modified winner visits victory lane every 5.3 events.
* 264 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 6.8 events.
* 39 SportMod feature events have been completed in weekly competition with 13 different winners. On average, a new SportMod winner visits victory lane every 3.0 events.
* 325 Hobby Stock feature events have been completed in weekly competition with 85 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 1,690 features completed in the five divisions that currently compete at the speedway.
* The longest currently active feature qualifying streaks for weekly competition in each division include:
Late Model: Darren Ackerman has qualified for 61 consecutive features. His last miss was June 3, 2006.
Modified: Jerry Luloff has qualified for 199 consecutive features. His last miss was July 5, 1997.
Stock Car: Jarod Weepie has qualified for 138 consecutive features. His last miss was June 9, 2001.
Hobby Stock: Russell Damme Jr. has qualified for 21 consecutive features. His last miss was July 25, 2009.
SportMod: Jim Buhlman has qualified for all 39 features dating back to the first one at the speedway on June 21, 2008.
Jerry Luloff is known to local fans as the "Independence Icon" for good reason. He has qualified for 199 consecutive IMCA Modified features at his hometown track, a streak that dates back to July of 1997. To show how impressive of a mark that is, second on the list for Modifieds is Troy Cordes. He has qualified for 40 consecutive features, dating back to August of 2007.
Stuff Nobody Should Know…
* Eight different starting positions have produced the 10 feature winners this season. Only outside row two and inside row 5 have produced multiple winners (2 each).
* Every division has had one feature winner come from an inside starting spot and one feature winner come from an outside starting spot except the Late Models. Both Late Model winners started on the outside.
* All five of the opening night winners – Tyler Bruening (Late Model), Mike Burbridge (Modified), Sean Johnson (Stock Car), Tyler Droste (SportMod) and Scott Pippert (Hobby Stock) had never before won on opening night at Independence. The victories for Burbridge and Pippert marked their first career wins in weekly racing at Independence.
* Looking ahead… In 2011, June race dates include the 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th. A combined 20 weekly events (five apiece) have been scheduled on those dates in the history of the track. Of those 20 dates, only twice have the races been rained out – June 18, 1983 and June 25, 2005. Weekly races for June 4 and June 11 at Independence have never rained out. Coincidentally, May 28 was on the schedule this season and racing has won out over Mother Nature all six times in track history.
* Since the 1989 season, 87 track champions have been crowned among the five divisions that currently compete at Independence. Of those track champions, 44 were leading the points in their respective division at the end of May. The breakdown is as follows:
Late Model: 14 of 22 Late Model track champions held the points lead at the end of May, including Denny Osborn (1989), Curt Martin (1990, 1991, 2006), Greg Hunter (1992), Greg Kastli (1994, 2001, 2002, 2003), Rick Wendling (1995, 1996), Darren Ackerman (2004, 2007) and Tyler Bruening (2010). Of those, nine champions led the points at the end of every month during their championship seasons. They include Curt Martin (1991, 2006), Greg Kastli (1994, 2002, 2003), Rick Wendling (1995, 1996), Darren Ackerman (2007), Tyler Bruening (2010).
Modified: 10 of 22 Modified track champions held the points lead at the end of May, including Steve Droste (1994, 1995), Jerry Luloff (1999, 2000, 2006), Darin Duffy (2001, 2009), Scott Hogan (2003) and Troy Cordes (2010). Of those, five champions led the points at the end of every month during their championship seasons. They include Jerry Luloff (1999, 2000), Scott Hogan (2003), Darin Duffy (2009) and Troy Cordes (2010).
Stock Car: 8 of 18 Stock Car track champions held the points lead at the end of May, including Lon Gadow (1993), Dan Trimble (1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001), Jarod Weepie (2005) and Brian Irvine (2009). Of those, four champions led the points at the end of every month during their championship seasons. They include Dan Trimble (1994, 1998, 2000) and Jarod Weepie (2005).
Hobby Stock: 11 of 22 Hobby Stock track champions held the points lead at the end of May, including Lon Gadow (1990), Forrest Frost (1992), Kevin Hoehne (1994), Chris Wessner (1995), Jeff Roete (2000), Scooter Dulin (2001), Patrick Stansbery (2002, 2005), Vince Buchholz (2003), Brian Irvine (2004) and Josh Irvine (2007). Of those, seven champions led the points at the end of every month of their championship seasons. They include Lon Gadow (1990), Forrest Frost (1992), Scooter Dulin (2001), Patrick Stansbery (2002, 2005), Brian Irvine (2004) and Josh Irvine (2007). Also, during the shortened 2008 season, that did not get underway until June, Chris Luloff led at the end of every month en route to the track title.
SportMod: Kyle Bentley in 2009 is the only SportMod track champion to lead the points at the end of May the season he won a title. No SportMod driver has led the points at the end of every month during a championship season.
Tyler Bruening is the only defending track champion to currently hold the points lead in his division at Independence. He is looking to become the first back-to-back titlist at Independence in three years. The last time a driver repeated as champion was in 2007-2008 when Jarod Weepie did it in the IMCA Stock Car division. The last Late Model to do it? Curt Martin from 2004-2006 when he won three straight titles.
That ought to take care of May. Check back at the end of June or early July when the Blitz returns!