Saturday, June 30, 2012

Heap, Huls haul mid-season hardware at Lee County Speedway

NOTE: I have no idea what happened to the background on this article. In the end, I had to do some altering to the color to get the text to appear, so I hope you can read it without difficulty!

Although wet and sometimes violent weather hit much of the state on Friday night, the southeast corner of Iowa was spared Mother Nature's wrath long enough to complete the Mid-Season Championship program at Lee County Speedway.

Promoter Dewain Hulett changed the format for the mid-season showcase to provide more entertainment for those in attendance. The top 12 in each division's points were inverted over the first three or four rows, depending on the number of races, in the heat race qualifiers. The features were then lined up straight-up based on heat race finishes, placing more emphasis on the qualifying events.

First out of the gate was the 20-lap feature for the IMCA Modifieds. Lonnie Heap, the first heat winner and feature pole starter, assumed the early command with fellow front row starter Tyler Cale in pursuit. Heap hugged the bottom of the track while Cale repeatedly looked for racing room between the leader and the tractor tires in the infield.

Meanwhile, points leader Josh Foster came from a third row starting spot to settle into third as the lead trio broke away from the pack. Foster was able to get a run on the low side of Cale for second in turns one and two on the 12th lap. Foster put the nose of his #77 a little too deep in turn two, clipping the tractor tire and sending his ride into a spin. He then briefly went to the pit area, but returned to tag the tail of the field before another lap was complete.

Following another stoppage on lap 13, Jeff Waterman ran the high side into contention, making his way into the top three after starting in the fourth row. With only a few laps to go, Waterman continued to challenge Cale for second until the final caution flag waved with just two laps to go.

On the final restart, Heap again took charge running the middle to low groove of the speedway while Waterman went high. After Cale lost a number of positions when he bobbled in turn two, Waterman closed on the leader, but Heap held on to take his first victory of the season. Waterman ran second ahead of Cayden Carter, Brandon Banks and Bill Roberts Jr.

Foster, who pulled to the infield for a lap following his return, finished the event one lap down. By virtue of his second place run, Waterman ended the night as the new points leader.

Abe Huls won by a nose in a thrilling 15-lap IMCA Stock Car feature. At the beginning, it was front row starters Huls and points leader Matt Greiner joined by Jeff Mueller in a three-wide battle for the lead. Greiner held the point when the race was slowed for caution on lap two. On the restart, Mueller swept to the inside of the leader to assume command before the next stoppage one lap later.

When racing resumed, Mueller and Huls ran the low groove until Huls opted for the higher line to make a run on the leader following a caution with just two laps to go. That allowed Jason Cook to close on the bottom side of Huls. Huls made the top groove work as he pulled alongside Mueller for the lead in the waning moments. Huls inched ahead at the line on the outside of Mueller to take the exciting win. Cook ran third ahead of Derek St. Clair and Cale Samberg.

Chuck Fullenkamp took command a short while into the 12-lap IMCA Sport Compact feature to drive to his fourth win of the season. Fullenkamp, who sits eighth in the national standings, crossed the line ahead of Kimberly Abbott, who is 10th in national points. Following an early spin, Austen Becerra made a nice run through the pack to finish third in the caution-free event ahead of Anthony Cassat and points leader Darin Smith.

First heat winner and points leader Tony Dunker started on the pole of the 15-lap IMCA SportMod feature. Dunker survived numerous caution periods to lead the event in its entirety, en route to his second win of the season. Jim Gillenwater came from a fourth row start to finish second ahead of John Oliver Jr. Rick Barlow Jr. and Chris Larson rounded out the top five.

Jake Wenig earned his third straight win to take the mid-season crown in the 15-lap Hobby Stock feature. From his pole position start, Wenig led the event in its entirety to take the victory ahead of Brian Hoener and Dan Wenig. Victor Hastings beat Dugan Thye to the line for fourth.

Tomorrow, it's more Mid-Season Championship racing, this time at Independence Motor Speedway. We plan a return to the traditional format of lining up all feature events straight-up by point totals. We'll also have a complete draw/redraw show for the IMCA Sport Compacts as they make their second appearance of the season. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Noteboom nabs HDT checkers at Buena Vista Raceway

Jay Noteboom held onto the final redraw spot in his heat race, redrew the #2 pill for the feature, then led all 30 laps to earn the win in the JR Motorsports Hawkeye Dirt Tour event at Buena Vista Raceway on Tuesday night.

Noteboom raced past pole-sitter Josh Most to take the lead at the drop of the green before the yellow flag waved for a spinning Mark Elliott with one lap complete. Noteboom quickly built a sizable lead when racing resumed with Stacey Mills giving chase on the high side in second and Dustin Smith running the low groove in third.

Noteboom built a half-straightaway lead by lap seven with Mills in second and Josh Most back in pursuit. The leaders ran the top groove in that formation until the caution waved on lap 12 when Smith lost an engine in turn four.

When racing resumed, Mike Van Genderen, who started in the fourth row, ran the low groove into contention when Most drifted high in turn two. Chris Abelson also closed on the leaders running the top side.

Van Genderen closed on Noteboom and was able to pull even with the leader in both sets of turns on the 20th circuit. He challenged until the caution flag waved on lap 21 for a pileup in turn two that knocked Richie Gustin, Mark Schulte and Jeff Waterman out of the event.

On the restart, Noteboom again tried to pull away from the pack on the top side of the speedway as Abelson worked the high side past Van Genderen. Jeremy Mills also worked around the outside of Van Genderen while Abelson closed in on the leader. As Abelson cut into Noteboom's advantage, the caution flag waved one final time on lap 26 for Most, who spun in turns three and four.

When the green flag waved a final time, Darin Duffy, who raced through the field from a ninth row starting spot, powered to the inside of Abelson and Mills to challenge for second while Van Genderen drifted off the high side of turn two. Duffy made the pass for the runner-up spot, but Noteboom held off his late surge to take the win, his first in HDT action. Duffy took second ahead of Jeremy Mills and Abelson. Elliott made a nice rebound from his first lap spin to come home fifth.

Feature - 1. Jay Noteboom (Hinton); 2. Darin Duffy (Hazleton); 3. Jeremy Mills (Garner); 4. Chris Abelson (Sioux City); 5. Mark Elliott (Webster City); 6. Stacey Mills (Webb); 7. Ricky Stephan (S. Sioux City, Neb.); 8. Mike Albertsen (Audubon); 9. Ryan Dolan (Lisbon); 10. James Slawson (Milford); 11. Matt Bonine (Onawa); 12. Brian Schmitt (Wall Lake); 13. Jason Schoenberger (Russell, Kan.); 14. Rich Smith (Davenport); 15. Josh Most (Red Oak); 16. Mike Van Genderen (Newton); 17. Ray Cox Jr. (Maquoketa); 18. Al Wolfgram (Boone); 19. Mike Jergens (Plover); 20. Richie Gustin (Marshalltown); 21. Mark Schulte (Delhi); 22. Jeff Waterman (Quincy, Ill.); 23. Dustin Smith (Lake City); 24. Clayton Christensen (Sepncer); 25. Brad Williams (Lytton).
First heat (top 4 redraw) - 1. Most; 2. D. Smith; 3. Bonine; 4. Slawson; 5. Stephan; 6. Christensen; 7. Cox; 8. Wolfgram; 9. R. Smith.
Second heat - 1. Abelson; 2. Schulte; 3. J. Mills; 4. Noteboom; 5. Gustin; 6. Duffy; 7. Albertsen; 8. Schmitt.
Third heat - 1. Elliott; 2. Van Genderen; 3. Waterman; 4. S. Mills; 5. Dolan; 6. Jergens; 7. Schoenberger; 8. Williams.

Along with the HDT Modifieds, the Alta oval hosted weekly points racing for its other regular divisions.

Donavon Smith held off a late surge from Brian Blessington to take top honors in the IMCA Stock Car 15-lapper. Running the low side, Blessington made his way past Chris Ullrich late for second, but was unable to make a run beneath the leader as Smith held on for the win in the caution-free event.

Feature - 1. Donavon Smith; 2. Brian Blessington; 3. Chris Ullrich; 4. David Smith; 5. Josh Suhr; 6. Michael Murphy; 7. Allan Schmidt; 8. Jason Ward; 9. Adam Klocke; 10. Matt Mahoney; 11. Mathias Lux; 12. Mark Stanley; 13. Bruce Plumisto; 14. Jay Brennan; 15. Stefan Sybesma.

Another Smith dominated the SportMod feature as Doug Smith took the win in that 15-lap event. Unlike Donavon, Doug had to survive a trio of cautions. Just like Donavon, Doug led his event from green to checkers to take the victory. Keagan Scott ran a close second.

Feature - 1. Doug Smith; 2. Keagan Scott; 3. Logan Scott; 4. Austin Lucas; 5. Jon Plowman; 6. Jared Hansen; 7. Tim Wilcox; 8. Tony Pogelar; 9. Doug Bartels; 10. Tim Rupp; 11. Cory Hoogland; 12. Mike Morrow; 13. Ronnie Fogelman; 14. Dylan Peterson; 15. Kyle Robinson; 16. Cody Hillgartner; 17. Ryan Roder; 18. Joey Lium.

Andy Boeckman took the lead just prior to a vicious rollover midway through the 12-lap IMCA Hobby Stock feature. Just after Boeckman took command when race leader Justin Nehring's ride went up in smoke, Casey Iehl suffered a violent roll in turn four.

When racing resumed, Boeckman ran the high side while Devin Smith raced through the pack to challenge from the low side. Boeckman proved to be too strong up top as he held on for the win.

Feature - 1. Andy Boeckman; 2. Devin Smith; 3. Craig Brotherton; 4. Cody Nielsen; 5. Brandon Nielson; 6. Gaylen Freese; 7. Tyler Schubert; 8. Ed DeLong; 9. Jordan Sanderson; 10. Merle Bass; 11. John Briggs; 12. Tim Pickel; 13. Andrew Claus; 14. Shane Hammen; 15. Josh Peters; 16. Nick Schilling; 17. Drew Barglof; 18. Casey Iehl; 19. Justin Nehring.

Jason Shideler ran the low groove past Jeff Roemen midway into the 10-lap IMCA Sport Compact feature to take the checkers. Cory Flanigan made a late run to finish second.

Feature - 1. Jason Shideler; 2. Cory Flanigan; 3. Gregory Brunelle; 4. Megan Lappegard; 5. Jeff Roemen; 6. Mike Brabec; 7. Bobby White; 8. Joe Bunkofske; 9. Nathan Ray; 10. Mark Lindgren; 11. Wayne Monroe; 12. Levi Verdoorn; 13. Mark Dorcey.

A wild Bomber feature saw a trio of cautions and multiple trips to the work area for the nine participants in that eight-lapper. In the end, Keith Demey survived the chaos to take the win, the only car left on the lead lap.

Feature - 1. Keith Demey; 2. Jake Bieret; 3. Mike Vondrak; 4. Kevin Keim; 5. Josh Mahler; 6. Mike Draper; 7. Kevin Blume; 8. Jess Bieret; 9. Taylor Bangford.

I had a great time on my first trip to BVR since 2001. Thanks to Brett Root for allowing me to tag along on the three-plus hour drive to northwest Iowa. With all the miles it felt like we put on Tuesday, I was kind of surprised we never ran out of gas...

In addition to the great night of racing in Alta, Tuesday night seemed like a social event in many aspects. It was a lot of fun hanging out with HDT scorer Jen Turner. Between Mod races and during cautions, we had in depth conversations on healthy living, the upcoming presidential election and the future of newsprint media. Well, not really. I mean, it was a lot of fun, but we didn't talk about that stuff. Our chats weren't fit to print, but they were damn fun to pass the time!

Kevin Trittien (currently idle blogger and speedway social chair), Wade Sembach (of Dusty Trail fame), along with the Karsyn's Krusaders gang, were also in attendance and made the night entertaining. While they did blow up my phone with some hysterical text messages, they were definitely worth a dying phone on the long trip home. I hope you found something to eat on your way home, Jessica! By the way, you never did tell me if you like baseball...

It was also nice to meet long-time BVR scorer Kay Schurke. Thanks, Kay, for all your help with race results!

That will take care of my mid-week travels for this week. Although the final checkered flag didn't wave until around 11:30, and despite the drive home with Brett while he dodged numerous random critters, I had a blast!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More numbers from the Benton County Speedway archives

As promised, the all-time wins leaders in the Pro Stock, Thunder Mod and Compact Modified divisions for Benton County Speedway are listed below. These numbers reflect only weekly racing. Non-points night races are not included.

The Pro Stock division was part of the weekly program in Vinton from 1990-2005, although it was called the Super Stock division for the first couple of seasons. The combined wins totals for the Super Stock and Pro Stock divisions are listed below. The record number of wins in a single season was held by Vern Jackson, who won 11 features during both the 1992 and 1993 campaigns. A total of 262 features were held in the division in weekly racing history at BCS.

Vern Jackson 41
Tom Hanson 29
Jerry Dedrick 23
Bobby Hansen 18
Josh McGowan 15
Alan Wessels 11
Dan Higdon 11
Joe Sterk 9
John Vrba 9
Scott Welsh 9
Doug Smith 8
Ken Hanson 8
Layne Meyer 6
Don Erger 5
Jeff King 5
Jeff Kriz 5
Tom Struve 5
Jeff Franck 4
Bob Ebaugh 3
George Cunha 3
Joe Kaiser 3
John Van Wechel 3
Shawn Fisher 3
Brad Huff 2
Dave Swarts 2
David Murty 2
Frankie Dulin 2
Tim Bartholomew 2
Tim Fobian 2
Todd Temeyer 2
Al Johnson 1
Corey Dripps 1
Dave Swale 1
Dwayne Burkey 1
Greg Pettit 1
Jody Herger 1
Keith Knox 1
Larry Barker 1
Luke Merfeld 1
Ray Lundry 1
Roger Ciesielski 1
Steve Krug 1

The Thunder Mods came on board in 1999 and ran until 2004. There were 103 features conducted in that division. The record wins in a single season was six, which was accomplished by Danny Dvorak in both 1999 and 2000, plus Shawn Stinger in 2002. Dvorak is the only driver who is the all-time wins leader in two separate divisions at the speedway. He also leads the way among IMCA SportMod drivers. The Thunder Mods were replaced by the SportMods in 2005.

Danny Dvorak 15
Shawn Stinger 11
Dan Wiley 10
Rob Olson 9
Dennis Betzer 6
Jody Junge 6
Kyle Hinrichs 6
Scott McLaughlin 6
Beau Duffield 4
Chuck Lewis 4
Frankie Dulin 4
Eric Marter 3
Joe Docekal 3
Tony Olson 3
Johnathan Thimmesch 2
Randy Coghlan 2
Ryan Coleman 2
Aazie Zimbelmann 1
Chuck Moore 1
Dustin Lacey 1
Greg Pettit 1
James Lamphier 1
Ken Irvine 1
Kurt Roose 1

The Compact Modifieds competed in Vinton from 1991-1998, before it became the Thunder Mod division in 1999. The record wins in a single season was held by Scott McLaughlin, who won an incredible 14 features in 18 events in 1997. A total of 126 Compact Modified features were held at the speedway.

Scott McLaughlin 37
Randy Patten 30
Dan Massman 16
Dan Higdon 7
Charles Patten 6
Carl Bergman 4
Dennis Betzer 4
Rodney Buhr 4
Dan Wiley 3
Jody Herger 3
Kevin Dufresne 3
Dick Covington 2
Don Erger 2
Clay Kemp 1
Greg Pettit 1
Jim Johnson 1
Larry Mullendore 1
Rick Clemens 1

After some thought, I decided to head to Buena Vista Raceway in Alta tonight for the JR Motorsports Hawkeye Dirt Tour special. I'm looking forward to my first trip to BVR since a July 4th special back in the early 2000s. A recap will be available overnight tonight or sometime tomorrow.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Stats Blitz! Numbers through June for Benton County Speedway

Below is the second installment of the 2012 Benton County Speedway Stats Blitz! The statistics included here are through the month of June - nine nights of weekly racing. This includes weekly points races only and does not include the Spring Shakedown and Frostbuster specials in April or the Hawkeye Dirt Tour event in May.

All photos included here are courtesy of Scott Tjabring of Action Track Photography, the official track photographer of the speedway.

A new Blitz will be posted at the end of each calendar month.

Car Count
Division - Average - High - Low
Modified – 19.6 - 28 - 13
Stock Car – 13.9 - 18 - 11
SportMod – 18.0 - 24 - 15
Hobby Stock – 13.6 - 20 -11
Sport Compact – 12.3 - 16 - 8
TOTAL – 77.3 - 100 - 69

* 164 drivers have earned points this season.
* No driver has led the points of his division after all nine weeks, however three drivers have held points leads following eight nights this season. Joe Docekal (Modified) has led the points the last eight weeks, while Danny Dvorak (SportMod) and Scott Pippert (Hobby Stock) have led the points every night except following week two. Nathan Chandler (Sport Compact) has led the points every week except following weeks two and three, while Phil Holtz (Stock Car) has led the standings for the last five weeks.

D 1 2 BEAT - Joe Docekal has led the IMCA Modified points for eight consecutive weeks entering the month of July.

* 22 drivers have remained in the top-10 in the points every week of the season. Those drivers include:
Modified (3): Joe Docekal, Patrick Flannagan, Jerry Luloff;
Stock Car (3): Norman Chesmore, Jason Deshaw, Jay Schmidt;
SportMod (3): Danny Dvorak, Kyle Olson, Dave Schulze;
Hobby Stock (5): Nathan Ballard, Matt Brown, Doug Laughridge, Cale Petersen, Scott Pippert.
Sport Compact (8): Merv Chandler, Nathan Chandler, Travis Losenicky, Jacob McVay, Steve Miedke, Gary Peiffer, Brett Vanous, Bill Whalen Jr.

* 5 drivers have remained in the top-5 in the points every week of the season. Those drivers include:
Modified (2): Joe Docekal, Jerry Luloff;
Stock Car (0): No Stock Car driver has spent every week in the top-5 in points;
SportMod (1): Danny Dvorak;
Hobby Stock (2): Scott Pippert, Matt Brown; 
Sport Compact (0): No Sport Compact driver has spent every week in the top-5 in points.

MATT ATTACK - Matt Brown has remained in the top-5 of the IMCA Hobby Stock points all season. His feature win on June 24 moved him into second place in the standings for the first time since May 20.

Feature Winners
* There have been 27 different feature winners in 45 feature events this season.
* Current points leaders account for only 16 of the 45 feature wins.
* Joe Docekal (Modified) is the only current points leader without a feature win.

GREAT EIGHT - Curtis Roster earned his first IMCA Stock Car win of the season on June 24. He now owns 25 career victories in the division on the Vinton oval.

* 126 drivers have earned at least one top-10 finish this season. The top-10 leaders in each division are as follows:
Modified (25 drivers with at least one top-10): Joe Docekal (9); Patrick Flannagan, Jerry Luloff (8 each); Scott Hogan (7); Ronn Lauritzen, Jeff Streeter (6 each);
Stock Car (25): Jay Schmidt (9); Norman Chesmore, Jason Deshaw, Phil Holtz (8 each); Curtis Roster (7); John Emerson, Damon Murty, Paul Shepherd (6 each);
SportMod (33): Danny Dvorak (9); Kyle Olson, Dave Schulze (8 each); Jim Buhlman (7); Jesse Belez, Rick Paulson (6 each);
Hobby Stock (23): Scott Pippert (9); Rod Grother, Jacob Keiser, Doug Laughridge, Cale Petersen (8 each); Matt Brown, Vince Buchholz (7 each); Justin Wacha (6);
Sport Compact (20): Steve Miedke (9); Nathan Chandler, Travis Ross, Bill Whalen Jr. (8 each); Merv Chandler, Travis Losenicky, Gary Peiffer (7 each); Jacob McVay (6).

2-4-6 - Dave Schulze (J2) has earned four straight top-6 IMCA SportMod feature finishes.

* 73 drivers have earned at least one top-5 finish this season. The top-5 leaders in each division are as follows:
Modified (13 drivers with at least one top-5): Joe Docekal (8), Scott Hogan (7), Patrick Flannagan (6), Jerry Luloff (5), Ronn Lauritzen (4);
Stock Car (16): Phil Holtz, Damon Murty (6 each); Jason Deshaw, Jay Schmidt (5 each); Norman Chesmore, Curtis Roster (4 each);
SportMod (17): Danny Dvorak (8), Jim Buhlman (7), Kyle Olson (5), Curt Hilmer (4);
Hobby Stock (15): Matt Brown, Scott Pippert (7 each); Vince Buchholz (6); Jacob Keiser (5); Rod Grother (4);
Sport Compact (12): Steve Miedke (8); Merv Chandler, Nathan Chandler (7); Brett Vanous (5); Travis Losenicky, Bill Whalen Jr. (4 each).

MOST FOR MIEDKE - Steve Miedke leads the IMCA Sport Compact division with eight top-5 finishes through nine weeks of racing.

* 55 drivers have earned at least one top-3 finish this season. The top-3 leaders in each division are as follows:
Modified (11 drivers with at least one top-3): Scott Hogan (6); Ronn Lauritzen (4); Troy Cordes, Patrick Flannagan, Richie Gustin (3 each);
Stock Car (11): Phil Holtz (6); Jason Deshaw, Damon Murty (5 each);
SportMod (11): Jim Buhlman, Danny Dvorak (6 each); Racer Hulin (3);
Hobby Stock (12): Scott Pippert (7); Matt Brown, Jacob Keiser (4 each); Rod Grother (3);
Sport Compact (10): Nathan Chandler (7), Steve Miedke (6), Merv Chandler (5), Bill Whalen Jr. (3).

FRONT-RUNNER - Ronn Lauritzen has finished no worse than second place in the last four weeks of IMCA Modified competition. He has two wins and two seconds in the span.

Feature Lap Leaders
* 52 drivers have led at least one lap of feature competition.
* Division lap leaders include:
Modified (8 different lap leaders): Ronn Lauritzen (39 laps led); Troy Cordes (32); Mike Burbridge, Richie Gustin (30 each);
Stock Car (13): Paul Shepherd (38 laps led), Damon Murty (22), Norman Chesmore (17), Jason Deshaw (13);
SportMod (11): Duane Van Deest (31 laps led), Danny Dvorak (19), Mike McDonald (18), Matt McCahen (14);
Hobby Stock (10): Scott Pippert (28 laps led), Jacob Keiser (25), Nathan Ballard (17), Brian Happel (15);
Sport Compact (10): Nathan Chandler (62 laps led); Merv Chandler, Steve Miedke (20 each); Adam Gates (6).

SHEP - Paul Shepherd has led more IMCA Stock Car feature laps than anyone else in the division. He has led the third most feature laps of any driver in Vinton this season.

Heat Races
* There have been 48 different heat race winners in 102 heat races.
* 26 drivers have won multiple heat races this season.
* The heat race wins leaders in each division are as follows:
Modified (10 winners in 25 heats): Ronn Lauritzen, Troy Cordes (5 each); Scott Hogan (4); Kyle Brown (3); Joe Docekal, Jeff Streeter (2 each);
Stock Car (10 winners in 18 heats): Paul Shepherd (5); Norman Chesmore, Damon Murty, Curtis Roster, Jay Schmidt (2 each);
SportMod (11 winners in 23 heats): Danny Dvorak (5); Jim Buhlman, Curt Hilmer, Mike McDonald (3 each); John Schaefer, Duane Van Deest (2 each);
Hobby Stock (9 winners in 19 heats): Jacob Keiser (5), Doug Laughridge (4), Erick Knutsen (3), Rod Grother (2);
Sport Compact (8 winners in 17 heats): Merv Chandler (4); Steve Miedke, Gary Peiffer (3 each); Nathan Chandler, Brett Vanous (2 each).

FAST QUALIFIER - In a five week span, Mike McDonald strung together five straight top-2 heat race finishes, which included three wins.

Efficiency Stats
* 147 races have been run this season.
* 1,465 green flag laps have been completed.
* 142 caution flags have been thrown (an overall average of 0.97 per race).
Cautions Per Race Ratio
Sport Compact: 8 cautions in 26 races (0.31 cautions per race)
Hobby Stock: 13 / 28 (0.46)
Stock Car: 23 / 27 (0.85)
SportMod: 45 / 32 (1.41)
Modified: 53 / 34 (1.56)
Race Laps Per Caution Ratio
Sport Compact: 210 laps with 8 cautions (average of 26.25 green flag laps between cautions)
Hobby Stock: 284 / 13 (21.85)
Stock Car: 284 / 23 (12.35)
Modified: 379 / 53 (7.15)
SportMod: 308 / 45 (6.84)
Races with No Caution Flags
Hobby Stock:  21 of 28 races have run green to checkers without a caution (75.00%)
Sport Compact: 19 / 26 (73.07%)
SportMod: 20 / 32 (62.5%)
Stock Car: 16 / 27 (59.25%)
Modified: 9 / 34 (26.47%)
85 of 147 (57.82%) races have gone green to checkers without a caution
Feature Cautions
Modified: 28 of 53 total cautions were thrown in feature races (52.83%)
Sport Compact: 6 / 8 (75.00%)
Stock Car: 20 / 23 (86.95%)
Hobby Stock: 12 / 13 (92.30%)
SportMod: 42 / 45 (93.33%)
108 of 142 (76.05%) total cautions have been thrown during feature racing
Average Lap of First Feature Caution
Sport Compact: 7.78
Hobby Stock:7.11
Stock Car: 5.56
Modified: 3.89
SportMod: 2.78

Stuff Nobody Should Know…
* Of the 45 feature winners, 21 have come from inside starting spots and 24 from the outside.
* All but two of the Modified winners have come from an outside row start.
* There have been six straight different Stock Car feature winners (Damon Murty, Jason Deshaw, Phil Holtz, Paul Shepherd, Norman Chesmore, Curtis Roster).
* There have been five straight different Hobby Stock feature winners (Scott Pippert, Chris Luloff, Jacob Keiser, Brian Happel, Matt Brown).

LIKE RIDING A BIKE... - After a many year absence, it took Brian Happel just two weeks to find victory lane in the IMCA Hobby Stock division. Heading into July, Happel is one of five consecutive different winners in the division.

* All feature winners have come from the first six rows. Each starting position in the first six rows has produced at least one feature winner.
* Outside row four and inside row five have produced the most feature winners (8 winners each).
* While no driver has finished in the top-3 in his heat race each week, four drivers have earned eight top-3 finishes in heat races through nine weeks - Ronn Lauritzen (Modified), Scott Hogan (Modified), Jacob Keiser (Hobby Stock), Nathan Chandler (Sport Compact).
* 83 different drivers have cracked the top-10 in his division’s points for at least one week this season.
* 15 different drivers have held or shared their division's points lead at some point during the season.
* Ronn Lauritzen has finished either first or second in the last four Modified features.
* Joe Docekal has finished fourth in the Modified feature each of the last three weeks and four of the last five weeks.
* Through nine nights, Scott Hogan has earned four second place feature finishes.

Stuff To Tell Your Friends That Makes Them Think You've Lost It...
* The last five Modified winners have come from starting spots 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 (not in that order).
* The last four SportMod winners have come from starting spots 9, 10, 11 and 12 (not in that order).
* The SportMod division is the only division not to produce a feature winner from the front row.
* Patrick Flannagan (Modified), Danny Dvorak (SportMod) and Steve Miedke (Sport Compact) are the only drivers to finish in each of the top-5 finishing positions at least once.
* Ronn Lauritzen led all 20 laps of the Modified feature on June 10. Mike Burbridge led all 20 laps of the Modified feature on June 17. Burbridge led the first 10 laps on June 24. Lauritzen led the last 10 laps on June 24.
* A Modified with a "1" in its number has led the last 99 feature laps. Of 180 total Modified feature laps this season, a car with a "1" in it has led 161.
* Of all drivers who have raced weekly, only nine have not dropped in the points at any time this season. The following drivers have either moved up or held the same spot in the standings through nine weeks: Joe Docekal (Modified), Jerry Dedrick (Modified), Phil Holtz (Stock Car), Mike Galli (Stock Car), Kyle Olson (SportMod), Jim Buhlman (SportMod), Jacob Keiser (Hobby Stock), Justin Wacha (Hobby Stock), Travis Ross (Sport Compact).

MR. STEADY - Jacob Keiser is one of only nine drivers not to drop in the points this season. After finishing opening night in 19th, Keiser has steadily climbed to fourth place in the IMCA Hobby Stock standings.

* The Hobby Stocks and Sport Compacts have each completed three racing programs without a single caution. Other division lows include... Stock Cars (1 caution each on May 6, June 3, June 17), SportMods (2 cautions on May 13), Modifieds (1 caution on June 3).
* The nine SportMod winners have come from eight different starting positions (3, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12). The only starting position to produce multiple SportMod winners is outside row four.
* Of 132 laps of SportMod feature racing, the feature winners have led only 62 laps of the features they went on to win.

That's it for the month of June for Benton County Speedway. I'll be back at the end of next month with post-July numbers. Next week, I'll review the month of June for Independence Motor Speedway!

Thanks for reading!

Roster records 25th career Stock Car win in Vinton

Curtis Roster took the lead on lap six, then held off a hard-charging Damon Murty to earn the IMCA Stock Car win at Benton County Speedway on Sunday night. It was Roster's first win of the season and the 25th of his career in the division on the Vinton quarter-mile.

Russell Damme Jr. and Cory Tharp battled for the lead early while Roster pursued as the race was slowed three times for caution over the first three laps. The third and final caution left Damme sitting on the track, which put him to the tail and Roster on Tharp's rear bumper for the ensuing restart.

When the green flag waved for the final time, Roster briefly battled Norman Chesmore for second before working his #8 to the inside of Chesmore in turn two on the sixth circuit. Immediately, Roster swept past Tharp to take command in turns three and four.

As Roster led, Murty was working from a fifth row starting spot. He struggled to make a quick charge to the front as the multi-groove racing surface presented two and three-wide battles for position in front of him.

Murty eventually made his way past Tharp for second as the flying green waved, then set his sights on Roster. Murty was able to reel in the leader, but his attempts to pass Roster both high and low were unsuccessful as Roster held off his challenger to score the milestone win.

Roster has now won a feature in 10 of the 12 seasons the Stock Car division has been a part of the weekly racing program in Vinton. He is tied with Justin Temeyer in that category, second only to Murty, who has won in 11 of the 12 seasons in Vinton.

Roster became the sixth straight different feature winner in the division. The last time there were six consecutive different Stock Car winners was in the spring of 2005. The longest string of different winners in division history is nine, which was set in 2004.

Ronn Lauritzen earned an emotional win in the 20-lap IMCA Modified feature. Lauritzen, whose father unexpectedly passed away less than two weeks ago, earned his first visit to the winner's circle since his father's death.

It was outside front row starter Mike Burbridge taking the early lead. Burbridge held the point while Lauritzen battled Patrick Flannagan for the runner-up spot. Just following a lap four restart, Lauritzen worked the low groove past Flannagan to steal the position. He then went to work on running down the leader until the caution flag waved again on lap nine.

When racing resumed, Lauritzen continued to work the low side of the fast quarter-mile and made his bid for the lead exiting turn two on lap 11. Lauritzen shot beneath Burbridge to steal the lead, then drove away to score the emotional victory.

Lauritzen, who currently leads the North Central standings for the IMCA Modified division and ranks fourth nationally, has now earned four career weekly wins in Vinton. Sunday's win moved him into a tie for 31st on the all-time Modified wins list in Vinton with a variety of names, including Bernie Juliar, Larry Schmidt, Max Corporon, Mike Schulte, Ron Hurst and Richie Gustin, who entered a tie for that spot earlier this season. Lauritzen also joined Gustin as the only drivers who have made multiple trips to victory lane in the Modified division this season.

Matt Brown took the win on a milestone night for the Hobby Stock division. The Hobby Stocks, which were added to the weekly racing program in Vinton in 1990 and have been IMCA sanctioned since 2001, have now run 400 features in weekly racing history at the speedway.

Jacob Keiser took the lead at the drop of the green from his pole position start. Keiser paced the field while Brown made his way into second on lap two. The leaders pulled away in a terrific side-by-side battle throughout much of the 15-lapper until Brown broke free with five laps to go. He led the remainder of the event to take his first win in Vinton since July 18, 2010. It was the ninth career Hobby Stock win in Vinton for Brown. He now sits tied with Todd Temeyer for 13th on the all-time list.

All-time Benton County Speedway IMCA SportMod wins leader Danny Dvorak added another mark to his impressive wins total. Dvorak passed leader Mike Hogencamp following a lap five restart, then held off a hard-charging Brad Iverson to take his fourth win this season in weekly racing in Vinton. It was the 42nd weekly points win of his career at the speedway. Iverson, who was driving a borrowed car to help a friend test a set-up, made a terrific run in his first appearance this season to finish a close second.

Travis Losenicky held the early lead in the 12-lap IMCA Sport Compact feature. Nathan Chandler made his way to the front on lap three before action was slowed for caution one lap later. While under caution, the front three got bunched up, resulting in Chandler taking a hard hit from the rear by Losenicky.

When racing resumed, Chandler held the point until mechanical problems, presumably sustained during the incident while under caution, forced him to an early exit. By that time, Merv Chandler made his way into second place. He held off Steve Miedke late to score the win. It was Merv's second win at the speedway this season, but his first in weekly action. He was also victorious during the Hawkeye Dirt Tour special on May 8.

Chandler now has seven career wins in weekly racing in Vinton in the Sport Compact division. He is tied with Miedke and Bill Whalen Jr. for fifth all-time.

Complete results follow below.

Thanks to Bucky Doren for asking me to fill in for him on the mic tonight. After five straight days of racing, I plan to take the week off from area tracks until heading back to Lee County Speedway on Friday. Of course, I may reconsider it by Tuesday when the Hawkeye Dirt Tour heads to Buena Vista Raceway in Alta on Tuesday.

Either way, I do plan to provide a few more numbers this week from the archives of Benton County Speedway. If time allows, I'll put together and post the all-time wins lists for the Pro Stock, Thunder Mod and Compact Modified divisions.

Have a great week!

Feature - 1. 10K Ronn Lauritzen; 2. F7 Patrick Flannagan; 3. 33D Scott Hogan; 4. 12D Joe Docekal; 5. 8 Tony Snyder; 6. 11B Mike Burbridge; 7. 57B Dennis Betzer; 8. 01 Ed Thomas; 9. 21K Kyle Brown; 10. 80 Jerry Dedrick; 11. 7T Tim McBride; 12. 24 Travis Brown; 13. 40RC Rod Clement; 14. 27 Jamie Johnson; 15. 17 Dawn Krall; 16. 1J Jeff Streeter; 17. 18 Jerry Luloff; 18. 1XX Tom Hanson; 19. 91 Shawn Ryan; 20. 96 Eric Tuttle; DNS T23 Tony Olson.
First heat - 1. Betzer; 2. Lauritzen; 3. McBride; 4. Luloff; 5. Ryan; 6. Dedrick; 7. Hanson.
Second heat - 1. Streeter; 2. Flannagan; 3. Docekal; 4. Thomas; 5. Krall; 6. T. Brown; 7. Clement.
Third heat - 1. Hogan; 2. K. Brown; 3. Burbridge; 4. Snyder; 5. Johnson; 6. Tuttle; 7. Olson.

Feature - 1. 8 Curtis Roster; 2. 99D Damon Murty; 3. 19J Jay Schmidt; 4. 4 Cory Tharp; 5. 15 Norman Chesmore; 6. 7H Phil Holtz; 7. 8B Scott Beauregard; 8. 22K Kevin Rose; 9. 21DE Jason Deshaw; 10. 76 Mike Galli; 11. 77 Andy Bryant; 12. 4JR Russell Damme Jr.
First heat - 1. Roster; 2. Murty; 3. Deshaw; 4. Beauregard; 5. Galli; 6. Rose.
Second heat - 1. Schmidt; 2. Tharp; 3. Chesmore; 4. Bryant; 5. Damme; 6. Holtz.

Feature - 1. 3R Danny Dvorak; 2. 95J Brad Iverson; 3. 505 Racer Hulin; 4. J2 Dave Schulze; 5. 21 Brennen Chipp; 6. 28P Rick Paulson; 7. 72 Mike Hogencamp; 8. 29 Sean Vogt; 9. 10S John Schaefer; 10. 11M Jody Mitchell; 11. 7D Dakoda Sellers; 12. K3 Kyle Olson; 13. 00 Jim Buhlman; 14. 15B Troy Burkhart; 15. 22H Curt Hilmer; 16. 11S Bob Ebaugh; 17. 42L Lonnie Mercer; 18. 3B Brian Anderson; DNS 57G Rich Gerhold.
First heat - 1. Schaefer; 2. Olson; 3. Vogt; 4. Anderson; 5. Ebaugh; 6. Burkhart; 7. Hilmer.
Second heat - 1. Hogencamp; 2. Schulze; 3. Sellers; 4. Dvorak; 5. Mitchell; 6. Chipp.
Third heat - 1. Paulson; 2. Mercer; 3. Hulin; 4. Buhlman; 5. Iverson; DNS Gerhold.

Feature - 1. 78 Matt Brown; 2. 07 Jacob Keiser; 3. 47 Scott Pippert; 4. 55 Vince Buchholz; 5. 46 Brian Happel; 6. 29 Nathan Ballard; 7. 18 Chris Luloff; 8. 77 Rod Grother; 9. 2P Cale Petersen; 10. 25 Doug Laughridge; 11. 26 Nathan Christie; 12. 45 Justin Wacha; DNS 76S Adam Streeter.
First heat - 1. Laughridge; 2. Ballard; 3. Grother; 4. Happel; 5. Petersen; 6. Wacha; DNS Streeter.
Second heat - 1. Keiser; 2. Brown; 3. Pippert; 4. Buchholz; 5. Luloff; 6. Christie.

Feature - 1. 2 Merv Chandler; 2. 11 Steve Miedke; 3. 35 Brett Vanous; 4. 00W Bill Whalen Jr.; 5. 83 Travis Ross; 6. 22T Travis Losenicky; 7. 22 Nathan Chandler; 8. 111 A.J. Witten.
Heat - 1. Miedke; 2. N. Chandler; 3. Vanous; 4. Losenicky; 5. Ross; 6. M. Chandler; 7. Witten; 8. Whalen.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ryan becomes 80th Modified winner in weekly history at Independence

Lately, it seems a new milestone is reached every week at Independence Motor Speedway. Saturday night was no different on a terrific night of racing on the 3/8-mile oval. A great field of 110 race teams entered the pits to put on a show for a huge crowd on Dunlap Motors "Red Solo Cup" Night at the Races.

While Saturday's place in speedway history follows below, I first want to give a shout-out to a guy who doesn't get near the credit he deserves. I've been to dozens of tracks in the last few years and have not seen a racing surface prepped any better than a track groomed by Don Burkey. Week in and week out, Don provides the best racing surface one could want at Benton County Speedway and he's been working that same magic at Independence the last few weeks. He is, hands down, the best in the business. Thank you, Don! Keep up the incredible work!

Now, a few numbers relating to Saturday night at Indee...

Shawn Ryan took the lead at the drop of the green, then set sail to win the 20-lap IMCA Modified feature in dominant fashion. The event, which ran without a single caution, took only approximately six minutes to complete. Ryan took the win by nearly a straightaway ahead of points leader Mark Schulte, who mastered the high groove to race from a fifth row starting spot.

For Ryan, it was his first career IMCA Modified win in weekly racing history at Independence. He became the 80th different Modified to visit the winner's circle in Saturday night racing at the speedway. Ryan joined Schulte as first-time winners this season and became the fourth consecutive different winner in the division at Independence. Ryan became the 437th different feature winner in weekly racing in Independence since the start of the 1967 season.

Chris Luloff's domination continued in the IMCA Hobby Stock main event. He worked his way past leader Vince Buchholz a handful of laps into that 15-lapper to drive to his 22nd career win in the division. Already the all-time leader in that category, Luloff adds to the wins record with every trip to victory lane.

Prior to Saturday, only four times in track history had a Hobby Stock driver won four consecutive features - Chris Wessner (1995), Nick Wroten (1998), Brian Irvine (2004) and Josh Irvine (2009). The streaks by Wessner and Wroten were five-race win streaks, the longest in Hobby Stock track history.

Luloff became the first Hobby Stock driver in track history to win four features in the same month of the same calendar year. Next Saturday, he will look to become just the second driver in track history to win five features on five separate Saturdays in the same calendar month of the same season. That was accomplished by Dan Trimble in the Stock Car division during the five-Saturday month of July back in 1994.

All-time at the speedway, Luloff now has 25 career wins in weekly racing, 15th on the all-time list and one win shy of being tied for 13th. The two drivers currently tied for 13th with 26 wins? Jack Mitchell... and Jerry Luloff. That should spark some interesting family conversations...

Sean Johnson came from a sixth row starting spot, after missing the qualifying invert during his heat race, to drive to the win in the 18-lap IMCA Stock Car feature. Johnson took over following a lap five caution to earn the victory, his third of the season and the 20th of his career in Independence. Two of Johnson's wins this year have come after failing to qualify for the invert.

With the win, Johnson remains third on the division's all-time wins at Indee, 11 wins behind Brian Irvine for second. His 20 career wins at the track put him alone in 24th all-time at the speedway.

Tyler Droste came from a mid-pack start to pass Danny Dvorak with six laps to go to take the win in the 15-lap IMCA SportMod feature. It was Droste's second win of the season at Indee in just three appearances.

Along with it being Droste's 10th overall win of the season in his #92, it was his 10th career SportMod win at Independence. He ranks third all-time in that category, two wins behind Josh Sherbon and Danny Dvorak.

Travis Smock earned the win in the 25-lap IMCA Late Model feature. Starting in the second row, Smock quickly made his way to the front, then led the event in dominating fashion to score his first win of the season. Smock, now with a win in each of the last three seasons, has three career Late Model wins at Independence, placing him in a tie with 10 others for 35th all-time. In eight weeks of racing this season, Smock became the seventh different feature winner in the division.

The IMCA Sport Compacts also made their first-ever appearance at the speedway Saturday night. Steve Miedke will go down as the division's first-ever winner in the division at the track. The division will return for another draw/redraw show next Saturday as part of Budweiser Mid-Season Championships. Gates will open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6 and racing to follow.

Saturday night, the caution flag waved a total of 11 times during the 19 events. It was the fewest number of cautions for an event this season, despite the second highest number of races and second most number of laps completed for a single night of racing. The yellow flag did not wave a single time during heat race qualifying and the Modifieds and Sport Compacts completed their portion of the show without a single stoppage.

Tonight, I'm heading across town to Benton County Speedway to fill in for track announcer Bucky Doren who is spending some quality father/son time at his kid's baseball tournament in Des Moines. Hope to see you in Vinton tonight!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Strassheim collects Late Model checkers at CJ Speedway

Since Lee County Speedway raced on Thursday of this week, I spent my free Friday at CJ Speedway in Columbus Junction, where the second of four Late Model specials was held in conjunction with the regular weekly racing program.

A field of 11 Late Models signed in on Friday to compete on the smooth, fast, half-mile oval. Both Jason Utter and Tom Goble experienced engine problems prior to heat race qualifying, leaving nine cars to take the green flag for the 20-lap feature.

Matt Strassheim, the Late Model winner at CJ during my most recent visit there last summer, started the event in the pole position. He quickly pulled away from fellow front row starter Ron Boyse at the drop of the green flag.

While Strassheim led, Tom Darbyshire made his way past Boyse for second, but Strassheim was already checking out by that time. In just three laps, Strassheim was enjoying a half-straightaway lead over Darbyshire, who extended his second place margin over Boyse by the same distance one lap later.

By lap seven, Strassheim extended his advantage to a full straightaway as he cruised to the win by that same margin ahead of Darbyshire. Boyse crossed the line in third, half of a lap behind Strassheim. Tommy Elston and Jay Chenoweth completed the top five. Jonathan Brauns, Jay Johnson, Colby Springsteen and Jeff Mitrisin rounded out the field.

With Donnellson off for the night, a number of IMCA Sport Compacts made the trip north as that division fielded an impressive 17 entries in Columbus Junction. Cory Sheetz took the early lead from his outside front row starting spot and paced the field through two early yellows during the first two laps.

Sheetz led Chuck Fullenkamp and Cody Thompson to the green flag when racing resumed. The lead trio broke away from the pack in a tight three-car battle before Thompson ran the low groove to the front three laps later. He built his lead to half of a straightaway when the caution flag waved one final time with two laps to go.

Thompson held the point on the restart to drive to the win ahead of Sheetz. Darin Smith drove the high side from a fifth row start to come home third ahead of Tyler Whalen and Fullenkamp.

Sky Griffith led the entirety of the IMCA Stock Car feature to make his way to victory lane. From his second row starting spot, Griffith quickly worked his way to the front, then survived a pair of early cautions and one late stoppage to take the win ahead of Blaine Dopler and Tad Payne. Alex Buffington and Bill Faler completed the top five.

Points leader Evan Epperson earned the win in the Mod Lite division. From his second row starting spot, Epperson quickly made his way past front row starters Collin Ball and Rob Guss. Following a mid-race caution, Epperson pulled away from a charging Troy Philpot to race to the win. Rob Guss ran third ahead of Daniel Guss and Johnathan Huston.

Steve Stewart continued his dominance in the Modified division. After starting in the third row, Stewart slid beneath Brandon Banks to steal the lead on the second circuit of that 15-lapper. Stewart pulled away from the pack to score the win in dominant fashion, half of a track ahead of his nearest pursuers. Zach Less put on a show running the high side of the speedway, making his way past Banks late to take second. Banks ran third ahead of John Fellman and Todd Hansen.

Race Notes: It was a tough night for both Utter and Goble in the Late Model ranks. While Goble lost power in hot laps and required a push back to his pit area, Utter never made it out of the pits. While talking with him later during the show, Utter figured something must have broken during his trip to Oskaloosa earlier this week for the Deery show... IMCA Stock Car points leader Nathan Wood also experienced engine problems during his qualifier. Those problems kept him from making the start in the main event. Based on the finishes of his competitors, I believe Wood will carry into next week a slim one point lead over both Alex Buffington and Blaine Dopler... The $200 bounty is still out on Steve Stewart in the Modifieds. The only stipulations for a driver to collect the bounty (aside from winning, of course), is that Stewart must be running and the winning driver must have already competed one previous week at CJ this season. That will be a tall order as Stewart is simply bad fast at CJ.

It was great to see Sharon Wood at the track on Friday. Sharon, who has helped promote the speedway in recent years, suffered a stroke during the off-season this past year. Sharon, you looked amazing and it was great to see your smile again!

It's back to Independence Motor Speedway on Saturday for Dunlap Motors Night at the Races. A number of specials are planned from the auto dealer in Indee, plus IMCA Sport Compacts will make their first-ever appearance this weekend. Also, there will be an added bonus for the 50/50 winner this week. The winner of Saturday's drawing will also receive a free grandstand pass to the World of Outlaws Late Model Series event held at Indee on Monday, August 6. I hope to see everyone in Indee on Saturday!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sutton scores Sprint Invaders win at Lee County Speedway

Defending series champion Matt Sutton topped a 29-car field to take his first series win of the year when the Sprint Invaders made their first appearance of the season at Lee County Speedway on Thursday night.

Following his heat win, Sutton also scored the win in the six-lap Shake Up Dash, then drew the #1 pill for the invert, placing him on the pole for the 20-lap feature.

After a couple of failed attempts to get the first lap in the books, which included a stoppage when Matt Krieger took a soft rollover in turn one, Sutton grabbed the lead. He paced the field as second row starter Tyler Blank and Tony Shilling gave chase. The top three ran in that formation until the next caution on lap six.

When racing resumed, Shilling dropped to the low side of Blank to take second while Sutton extended his advantage. Sutton built a straightaway lead just as he encountered lapped traffic on the 11th circuit, maintaining his large lead until the yellow flag waved a final time on lap 17.

On the final restart, Sutton once again pulled away to take the win ahead of Blank, who snuck past Shilling on the final restart. Shilling ran third at the line ahead of Russ Hall and Justin Parrish. Ryan Jamison, Jerrod Hull, Ben Wagoner, Bobby Mincer and Andy Huston completed the top 10.

The IMCA Stock Cars and IMCA SportMods were also in competition. Although they did not race for track points, both divisions were running for state, regional and national points.

From his outside front row starting spot, Abe Huls took charge at the drop of the green in the 15-lap Stock Car main. He put a few car-lengths on the rest of the 16-car field while his pursuers jockeyed in two and three-wide formation behind him.

After working hard on the low groove of the speedway, Jeff Mueller eventually made his way past Jason Cook and Matt Greiner for second, a straightaway behind the leader. Mueller's progress, however, came to a halt when he came upon the lapped car of Matt Keller. Locked in behind Keller with Cook and Greiner close behind, Mueller had no where to go and spun in turn one in the waning laps, exiting the event to the infield.

Huls, meanwhile, ran away from the pack to take the win in the caution-free event. Cook ran second ahead of Greiner. John Oliver Jr. and Tanner Thomann completed the top five.

A nice field of 22 SportMods took the green in that 15-lapper. Pole-sitter Tom Elsen held the early lead while fellow front row starter Tony Dunker settled into the second spot. The leaders ran in that order until the caution flag waved on lap five.

When the green flag waved again, Dunker shot to the inside of the leader to take command. He quickly pulled away from the field while John Oliver Jr., doing double duty on the night, worked the high side of the slick, smooth 3/8-mile oval.

Oliver worked past Jim Gillenwater and Vance Wilson on the top side, but was unable to reel in Elsen or Dunker. Dunker maintained his advantage to drive to the victory ahead of Elsen and Oliver. Wilson and Gillenwater rounded out the top five.

Since Lee County raced on Thursday of this week, that leaves Friday night open on my schedule. As of now, the plan is to make my first trip of the year to CJ Speedway in Columbus Junction for the second Late Model special of the year on the half-mile. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Eckrich sails to Deery Series win at Southern Iowa Speedway

Denny Eckrich qualified well, redrew the front row, then dominated all 35 laps to take the win in the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models appearance at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa on Wednesday night.

Following his win in the final heat race qualifier, Eckrich held the #2 card on the redraw, which put him outside two-time defending series champ Ray Guss Jr. on the front row for the main event. He quickly shot past Guss to take command when the green flag waved.

The lead pair broke away from third-running Andy Eckrich as Guss tried to keep Denny Eckrich in his sights. By the time the leader encountered lapped traffic at the 10 lap mark, Denny was half of a straightaway ahead of Guss, the same margin Guss held over Andy Eckrich.

Guss closed to within a few car-lengths as the leader made his way through the slower traffic, however Eckrich again started pulling away before the race's only caution on lap 20. By that time, Todd Cooney made his way past Andy Eckrich for third.

On the restart, Eckrich wasted little time rebuilding his lead with Guss and Cooney in tow. Neither driver was able to mount a charge as Eckrich drove to his second career series victory, his first since his win at Marshalltown Speedway last month. Guss ran second ahead of Cooney.

Jeff Aikey made his way around Andy Eckrich following the lap 20 restart to take fourth. Series points leader Mike Murphy Jr. closed late, but settled for sixth ahead of Kurt Kile, Jay Johnson, Spencer Diercks and Darrel DeFrance.

The next Deery Series event is Monday, July 2, at Independence Motor Speedway where we'll pay the winner $2,525 in recognition of the series 25th visit to the speedway. IMCA sanctioned SportMods and Hobby Stocks will also be competing. More info on that event can be found at

In addition to the Late Models, Mid-Season Championship racing was held in four of the five weekly divisions at Osky. All of the track's regular divisions, except the IMCA Modifieds, were part of Wednesday's show in a normal qualify/invert program.

In the first of those features, Merv Chandler won an entertaining battle with his son, Brad, to score the victory in the IMCA Sport Compacts. Merv traded paint with the younger Chandler as those two drivers went three-wide with Bill Whalen Jr. at the completion of lap three.

Merv snuck between his competitors, then pinched Brad up high, leaving little racing room between Merv and the wall. Merv took charge at that point, then held off the return favor from Brad a few moments later to take the win. Whalen ran third.

Alan VanGorp held the early lead in the 16-lap IMCA Stock Car feature. Matt Greiner and Damon Murty chased the leader to the front of the pack as that trio of drivers broke away from the pack in just a few laps.

Murty ran the low side beneath Greiner and then VanGorp in turns one and two on the eighth circuit, but started to lose ground when his left front tire began losing air. Greiner, meanwhile, worked the low side of the leader on the back stretch one lap later to take command.

Greiner went on to lead the remainder of the event to take the mid-season crown. VanGorp finished second, a straightaway ahead of a hard-charging Zack VanderBeek, who came from the back after being involved in a first lap caution. Murty held on for fourth ahead of points leader Nathan Wood.

Jamie Songer led the entire 15-lap distance to take the win in the IMCA Hobby Stock feature. Bobby Greene chased Songer to the front, but Songer checked out to take the win by half of a strraightaway. Points leader Shannon Anderson crossed the line in third ahead of Danny Thrasher and Mike Hughes.

The caution flag made rare, frequent appearances on the Osky half-mile in the 15-lap IMCA SportMod main event. Despite the stoppages, Bryan Weyer led "weyer-to-weyer" to earn the victory ahead of track and national points leader Jesse Sobbing. Curtis VanDerWal ran third ahead of Carter VanDenBerg and Jason Hall.

Thanks to Mike Van Genderen and his crew for their hospitality. They did a great job beating the impending rain showers as the final checkers waved right at the 10 o'clock hour.

It felt like a family reunion of sorts as a number of Positively Racing bloggers were in attendance  Wednesday night. In addition to Osky regulars Barry Johnson, Jeff Broeg and Dick and Joyce Eisele, Kevin Trittien was also in Osky. It was a lot of fun to watch the races with the crew and I hope we cross paths more often this season! They will have recaps on their blogs, as well, so be sure to check them out. Kevin is still in the process of exorcising his computer demons so, even though he won't have a write-up from last night, hopefully he will be able to dust off the keyboard in the near future!

Tonight, it's back to Lee County Speedway in Donnellson for a special Thursday show. The Sprint Invaders will be on-hand tonight for Budweiser Night at the track. In addition to the 360 Sprints, IMCA Stock Cars and IMCA SportMods will be competing for state, regional and national points in a draw/redraw show. Remember, if you were in Donnellson last Friday when rain cut the program short, you will be able to use those tickets toward tonight's prices and only pay the difference to get in the stands. The Budweiser party tent will be up all night, as well. There will be beer specials and a party in the pits after the races. It promises to be a great night! Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sweep Success: Comparing Independence and Vinton winners

Once I compiled the weekly racing histories of Independence Motor Speedway and Benton County Speedway, I was curious who has had successful weekends at both tracks through the years. I researched who had success by sweeping features at both tracks over a single weekend. Then, I looked through the archive of track champions to see who earned points titles at both tracks in the same season.

Since the list of multi-titlists is considerably smaller, I'll start there. Below are drivers who won track championships at both Independence and Vinton in the same season, followed by weekend feature sweeps at the two tracks. Included are only divisions that currently compete at both tracks.

Track Championship Sweeps
1983 - Jack Mitchell
1991 - Tom Bartholomew
1998 - Scott Hogan
2001 - Jerry Luloff
2002 - Troy Cordes
2004 - Vern Jackson
2007 - J.D. Auringer 

1991 - Jerry Luloff
2001 - Scooter Dulin
2003 - Patrick Stansbery
2006 - Paul Shepherd
2008 - Chris Luloff
2003 - Dan Trimble
2004 - Dan Trimble

2010 - Austin Kaplan

Weekend Feature Sweeps
May 21-22, 1983 - Jack Mitchell
May 28-29, 1983 - Jack Mitchell
June 11-12, 1983 - Mike Krall
July 2-3, 1983 - Jack Mitchell
July 9-10, 1983 - Jack Mitchell
July 16-17, 1983 - Jack Mitchell
June 15-16, 1991 - Tom Bartholomew
July 20-21, 1991 - Tom Bartholomew
June 4-5, 1994 - Timm Jensen
August 1-2, 1998 - Tim McBride
May 12-13, 2001 - Darin Duffy
July 7-8, 2001 - Vern Jackson
May 25-26, 2002 - Joey Schaefer
August 16-17, 2003 - Troy Cordes
May 15-16, 2004 - Scott Hogan
July 17-18, 2004 - Troy Cordes
June 4-5, 2005 - Vern Jackson
July 30-31, 2005 - Troy Cordes
July 22-23, 2006 - Don Erger
April 28-29, 2007 - Jerry Luloff
June 30-July 1, 2007 - J.D. Auringer
July 21-22, 2007 - Troy Cordes
August 15-16, 2009 - Jerry Luloff 

May 11-12, 1991 - Forrest Frost
June 8-9, 1991 - Jerry Luloff
July 6-7, 1991 - Jerry Luloff
July 20-21, 1991 - Jerry Luloff
August 3-4, 1991 - Jerry Luloff
May 2-3, 1992 - Forrest Frost
May 23-24, 1992 - Bret Dage
July 2-3, 1994 - Roger Ciesielski
August 12-13, 1995 - Vince Buchholz
April 28-29, 2001 - Scooter Dulin
June 23-24, 2001 - Scooter Dulin
July 13-14, 2002 - J.R. Kahler
July 20-21, 2002 - J.R. Kahler
May 31-June 1, 2003 - Brian Irvine
June 28-29, 2003 - Brian Irvine
May 14-15, 2005 - Chris Luloff
June 18-19, 2005 - Paul Shepherd
July 1-2, 2006 - Paul Shepherd
July 15-16, 2006 - Chris Luloff
August 26-27, 2006 - Chris Luloff
July 12-13, 2008 - Chris Luloff
August 23-24, 2008 - Chris Luloff
June 6-7, 2009 - Matt Brown
May 5-6, 2012 - Nathan Ballard
May 12-13, 2012 - Scott Pippert
June 2-3, 2012 - Chris Luloff

June 9-10, 2001 - Dan Trimble
August 11-12, 2001 - Justin Temeyer
June 22-23, 2002 - Tom Schmitt
June 14-15, 2003 - Dan Trimble
August 2-3, 2003 - Dan Trimble
July 31-August 1, 2004 - Justin Temeyer
August 21-22, 2004 - Dan Trimble
May 14-15, 2005 - Damon Murty
June 4-5, 2005 - Damon Murty
July 8-9, 2006 - Damon Murty
May 19-20, 2007 - Justin Temeyer
June 9-10, 2007 - Justin Temeyer
July 18-19, 2009 - Justin Temeyer
May 1-2, 2010 - Justin Temeyer
May 5-6, 2012 - Phil Holtz

August 23-24, 2008 - Jim Buhlman
May 23-24, 2009 - Danny Dvorak
June 6-7, 2009 - Chris Luloff
August 15-16, 2009 - Danny Dvorak
August 22-23, 2009 - Austin Kaplan
June 26-27, 2010 - Austin Kaplan
May 19-20, 2012 - Danny Dvorak

A few people have asked about the history of the Pro Stock division in Vinton. I have the names of all the winners and will start working on the all-time list in the near future. I'll do the same for the Compact Modified and Thunder Mod when time allows.

If there is a theme or record that has you curious regarding either Independence or Vinton, feel free to shoot an e-mail to me at I'll see if I have the info you're seeking.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happel, Burbridge, Chesmore among mid-season winners at Benton County

A great field of 80 drivers signed in for Gary's Auto Mid-Season Championship action Sunday night at Benton County Speedway. Three of the five winners graced victory lane for the first time in 2012, one of whom made his first visit to the winner's circle in nearly seven years.

Brian Happel, who has been out of racing for a handful of years, took just four nights behind the wheel in his return (and only his second night in Vinton)  to pilot his #46 to victory lane in the 15-lap IMCA Hobby Stock feature. From his pole position starting spot, Happel took command at the drop of the green with heavy pressure from Justin Wacha.

After the leaders swapped the top spot over the first two laps, Happel broke free on the third circuit, while a trio of competitors were working their way to the front. Jacob Keiser, Justin Stander and points leader Scott Pippert remained within striking distance as the leaders engaged in an exciting door-to-door, bumper-to-bumper battle at the front of the pack.

Happel held the point each time around the slick, fast quarter-mile, while Pippert worked his way into second on the low side of the speedway from his fifth row starting spot. As the white flag waved, Pippert pulled even with Happel and challenged over the final lap, however Happel drove the high side to victory by a car-length.

It was Happel's first win in Vinton since August 28, 2005. That span of 2,485 days between wins is the second longest span between Hobby Stock wins in track history. The longest? That mark is held by Pippert who went nine days shy of eight years between wins from 1999 and 2007.

The third Hobby Stock win of his career in Vinton, Happel is now tied for 33rd on the all-time list for the division, joining Cliff Tharp, Forrest Frost, Kris Walker and Rod Grother.

Mike Burbridge edged ahead of Dennis Betzer to take the lead on the first lap of the 20-lap IMCA Modified feature when caution slowed action prior to the completion of lap two.

On the restart, Burbridge held the point while Ronn Lauritzen worked his way past Betzer for second after starting in row three. The leaders remained unchanged until caution slowed the event one final time on the 14th circuit.

When racing resumed, Burbridge pulled away from the pack while Scott Hogan worked the low side into contention. Hogan made his way around Lauritzen for second one lap later, then started to reel in the leader before he slid off the high side of turns three and four in the waning laps. Burbridge held on to take the win, his first of the season and the fifth of his career in Vinton. His five Modified wins place him tied with Ed Thomas, Shawn Fisher and Tony Olson for 27th on the all-time list.

The seventh different Modified winner in eight weeks, Burbridge became the fifth straight different winner in the division.

Norman Chesmore led all 15 laps in the IMCA Stock Car main event to take his first win of the season. Chesmore ran the low groove and held off persistent challenges from Jason Deshaw to take the win, his first since July 18, 2010. The 13th Stock Car win of his career in Vinton, Chesmore now sits alone in fifth all-time after breaking out of a tie with Scooter Dulin in that category. Like the Modifieds, the Stock Cars have had five consecutive different winners.

Nathan Chandler continued his hot streak in the IMCA Sport Compact division. From the back of the 12-car starting pack, Chandler worked past Brad Chandler just three laps into the event. He proceeded to set sail through lapped traffic to take his sixth win of the season in weekly racing in Vinton. It was Chandler's 30th career win in the division in Vinton, extending his lead all-time to three wins over Gary Peiffer.

The caution-filled IMCA SportMod feature timed out when the yellow flag waved for the eighth time with 12 laps in the books. Despite the frequent yellows, Racer Hulin made a run from his fifth row starting spot to take the lead from Dave Schulze eight laps into the race. Hulin led the remainder of the event to take his second straight SportMod win.

Hulin became just the eighth driver in track history to record consecutive SportMod wins. Drew Fish was the last to record back-to-back SportMod wins, just over a year ago on May 29 and June 5, 2011. The sixth SportMod win of his career in Vinton, Hulin is now tied with Kurt Hogan for fifth on the all-time list.

Feature - 1. 11B Mike Burbridge; 2. 10K Ronn Lauritzen; 3. 21K Kyle Brown; 4. 12D Joe Docekal; 5. 18 Jerry Luloff; 6. 8 Tony Snyder; 7. 57B Dennis Betzer; 8. 1J Jeff Streeter; 9. T23 Tony Olson; 10. 17 Dawn Krall; 11. 33D Scott Hogan; 12. F7 Patrick Flannagan; 13. 80 Jerry Dedrick; 14. 24 Travis Brown; 15. 7T Tim McBride; 16. 32 Chris Snyder; 17. 1X Steven Streeter; 18. 171 Buck Swanson; 19. 21 David Brown.
First heat - 1. Hogan; 2. Betzer; 3. C. Snyder; 4. T. Snyder; 5. Dedrick; 6. S. Streeter; 7. D. Brown.
Second heat - 1. J. Streeter; 2. K. Brown; 3. Luloff; 4. T. Brown; 5. Krall; DNS Olson.
Third heat - 1. Lauritzen; 2. Burbridge; 3. Docekal; 4. McBride; 5. Flannagan; 6. Swanson.

Feature - 1. 15 Norman Chesmore; 2. 21DE Jason Deshaw; 3. 7H Phil Holtz; 4. 99D Damon Murty; 5. 87 John Emerson; 6. 19J Jay Schmidt; 7. 31S Paul Shepherd; 8. 566 Jim Lynch; 9. 8 Curtis Roster; 10. 38 Rich Vogt; 11. 76 Mike Galli; 12. 4 Cory Tharp; 13. 4JR Russell Damme Jr.
First heat - 1. Chesmore; 2. Roster; 3. Holtz; 4. Lynch; 5. Deshaw; 6. Damme; 7. Shepherd.
Second heat - 1. Schmidt; 2. Murty; 3. Vogt; 4. Tharp; 5. Emerson; 6. Galli.

Feature - 1. 505 Racer Hulin; 2. J2 Dave Schulze; 3. 00 Jim Buhlman; 4. K3 Kyle Olson; 5. 22H Curt Hilmer; 6. 43 Creston Williams; 7. 198 Sam Wieben; 8. 3R Danny Dvorak; 9. 81 Jesse Belez; 10. S16 Kip Siems; 11. 63 Matt McCahen; 12. 28P Rick Paulson; 13. 10S John Schaefer; 14. 7D Dakoda Sellers; 15. 42L Lonnie Mercer; 16. 72 Mike Hogencamp; 17. 95 Mike McDonald; 18. 40J Jason Doyle; 19. 93 Josh Burrell; 20. 57G Rich Gerhold; 21. 11M Jody Mitchell; 22. T17 Tom Rawlins; 23. 29 Sean Vogt; DNS 3B Brian Anderson.
First heat - 1. Schaefer; 2. Burrell; 3. Paulson; 4. Belez; 5. Doyle; 6. Vogt; 7. Dvorak; DNS Anderson.
Second heat - 1. Schulze; 2. Hulin; 3. Siems; 4. Buhlman; 5. Wieben; 6. Sellers; 7. Gerhold; 8. Mitchell.
Third heat - 1. McDonald; 2. Mercer; 3. McCahen; 4. Olson; 5. Rawlins; 6. Williams; 7. Hogencamp; 8. Hilmer.

Feature - 1. 46 Brian Happel; 2. 47 Scott Pippert; 3. 07 Jacob Keiser; 4. 67 Justin Stander; 5. 78 Matt Brown; 6. 2P Cale Petersen; 7. 25 Doug Laughridge; 8. 26 Nathan Christie; 9. 77 Rod Grother; 10. 45 Justin Wacha; DNS 55 Vince Buchholz.
First heat - 1. Happel; 2. Wacha; 3. Brown; 4. Stander; 5. Pippert.
Second heat - 1. Keiser; 2. Grother; 3. Petersen; 4. Christie; 5. Laughridge; 6. Buchholz.

Feature - 1. 22 Nathan Chandler; 2. 26 Brad Chandler; 3. 11 Steve Miedke; 4. 36DD Gary Peiffer; 5. 22T Travis Losenicky; 6. 83 Travis Ross; 7. 57C Bill Whalen Jr.; 8. 03 Neil Nabholz; 9. 18J Jaycee Floyd; 10. 3S Craig Streeter; 11. 111 A.J. Witten; 12. 2 Merv Chandler; DNS 75S Dustin Sondag.
First heat - 1. Peiffer; 2. M. Chandler; 3. Ross; 4. Nabholz; 5. Witten; 6. N. Chandler.
Second heat - 1. B. Chandler; 2. Miedke; 3. Losenicky; 4. Streeter; 5. Floyd; 6. Whalen; DNS Sondag.

A night of milestones celebrated at Independence Motor Speedway

After we dodged the rain to the south (although threatened by occasional sprinkles at the track), Saturday night was a memorable one at Independence Motor Speedway. A number of milestones were reached during the course of the program, all of which were years in the making. To add to the excitement of the evening, Late Model legends Ed Sanger and Curt Hansen joined Gary Crawford to pace all five features to green.

Chris Luloff took the lead on lap five, then led the remaining 10 laps to score his third win of the season and the 21st of his career in the Hobby Stock division at the speedway. With the win, Luloff passed Chris Wessner and now sits alone at the top of the all-time Hobby Stock wins list at the speedway. Wessner, who moved into a tie at the top of the list with Ken Irvine and Rick Johnson on July 8, 1995, held that position all alone since July 29, 1995.

Luloff's first win in the division came nearly eight years ago, on June 19, 2004. He was the 58th different winner to earn a win in the Hobby Stocks in weekly points racing in track history. He now leads a total of 88 drivers who have earned at least one feature win in the division.

His win on Saturday night was the third straight trip to victory lane for Luloff. He entered the night already one of only six drivers to accomplish that feat in the 22-plus years the division has competed weekly at Independence. He joined Wessner and Brian Irvine as the only three drivers with multiple Hobby Stock win streaks of three or more races. Next week, Luloff will look to extend his winning streak to four, which was last accomplished by Josh Irvine in 2009. Wessner and Nick Wroten hold the all-time winning streak mark for the division, which is five straight wins. Of Luloff's 21 wins, six have come in the month of June.

When considering all-time wins at the speedway, Luloff has now won 24 career features in weekly racing at Indee (Hobby Stock and SportMod). He ranks tied with Tom Bartholomew for 15th on the all-time list.

Darin Duffy took the lead with only a couple of laps to go when leader Ronn Lauritzen suffered mechanical problems in the Modified feature. After Lauritzen and Patrick Flannagan engaged in a thrilling two-car battle throughout the middle of the race, Duffy worked through traffic and emerged victorious for his 40th career IMCA Modified win in weekly racing history at Indee. The win broke the tie he had with Vern Jackson atop that list.

The 10th Modified win of his career in the month of June at Independence, Duffy now has a total of 50 wins all-time at the speedway when also considering his Late Model wins. That places him in a tie for fourth all-time with Greg Kastli. Duffy has a way to go to reach number three as Dan Trimble sits in that position with 69 career wins at Independence.

Danny Dvorak ran the high side to victory in the IMCA SportMod main event. After starting in the third row, Dvorak worked around Jim Buhlman to take the lead at the approximate midway point of that 15-lapper en route to the win.

The 12th SportMod win of his career at Independence, Dvorak tied Josh Sherbon at the top of the division's all-time wins list. Dvorak has evenly spread out his success at Independence. Of those 12 wins, he has earned three wins each in the months of May, June, July and August.

With 15 career wins at Independence, Dvorak now ranks tied for 32nd on the all-time list. Joining him in that spot are Denny Osborn, Tom Hanson and Tom Schmitt.

One week after earning his first-ever victory in the IMCA Stock Car division, John Emerson wasted no time returning to victory lane as he scored career win number two on Saturday night. In those wins, Emerson led all 36 laps of feature racing.

Emerson, now one of only 24 drivers with multiple Stock Car wins at the speedway, became the first Stock Car driver since Damon Murty in 2005 to earn his first two Independence wins in back-to-back fashion. Emerson is only the sixth Stock Car driver at Independence to earn his first wins in consecutive weeks. Lon Gadow (1993), Chris Wessner (1998), Justin Temeyer (2001), Brad Holtkamp (2002) and Murty are the only other drivers in the division to do it.

Tyler Bruening earned his first win of the season in the IMCA Late Model division. Bruening took control just past the midway point when he worked the top side around Dean Wagner to drive to victory. Bruening became the sixth different Late Model feature winner in seven weeks this season.

The 11th win of Bruening's career at Independence, he now sits alone in 16th on the all-time list. Bruening now has four wins in the month of June, more than any other month on the calendar.

Saturday night was nothing short of an awesome night of racing. Due to the threat of weather, we were able to dodge any inclement weather in the area and complete the program at 9:09 p.m. Fantastic job by Todd Summers, Darin Burco and Don Burkey for providing a perfect racing surface which saw three and four-wide racing throughout the night.

It was a humbling experience to share the tower with Crawford, Sanger and Hansen. Those three drivers earned nearly 100 feature wins in weekly racing alone at the speedway. Prior to the night, Hansen asked if it was okay if they watched from the tower. As I told him last night, he was one of the drivers who helped establish the rich tradition at the speedway so they were welcome to join us anywhere anytime to take in the races.

Thanks also to the fans in attendance who braved the questionable weather to take in the show. I'm certain those folks will be sure to tell their friends what a great night of racing they missed.

On a sad note, Saturday night was Modified driver Ronn Lauritzen's first night back in action since the unexpected passing of his father earlier in the week. Ronn put on a tremendous battle in the Modified main and appeared to be on his way to victory when mechanical problems ended his run early. Thank you to Ronn, his family, crew and fans for making the trip to Indee last night. I'm sure it had to be a tough night, but I'm sure your dad would be proud of you for making the trip on putting on one hell of a show.

Starting next week, we're going to add IMCA Sport Compacts to the schedule on a trial basis for a couple of weeks. The division will be IMCA sanctioned for state and national points in a pair of draw/redraw shows. A number of drivers in that division have been wanting to make the pull to Indee so we're going to give it a shot and see what develops. June 30 will be Budweiser Mid-Season Championships and all of the regular weekly divisions will run features only, but the Sport Compacts will be draw/redraw that night.

Tonight, I have the honor of filling in for scorer Kevin Kemp at Benton County Speedway in Vinton while he enjoys some family time away from the track. I hope to see you there!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rain cuts action short at Lee County Speedway

After the first set of heats came to an end, steady rain showers put an end to Friday night's race program at Lee County Speedway. The third and final IMCA Modified heat had just concluded when the rain started falling. After a 20 minute delay to wait out the weather, the program was canceled.

Rain checks from the June 15 show will be good for one of the next two events on the schedule. Next Thursday, June 21, the Sprint Invaders will make their way to the 3/8-mile oval. Joining the 360 Sprints will be IMCA SportMods and IMCA Stock Cars. While those divisions will be competing for IMCA state, regional and national points, track points will not be awarded in the draw/redraw show. The $9 value of Friday's adult grandstand admission rain check can be used toward grandstand admission on June 21. Those using their rain checks will only need to pay the difference in ticket prices. Visit for more information.

Lee County Speedway is not scheduled to race next Friday, June 22.

For those fans not able to return next Thursday, rain checks from the June 15 show will also be valid for the next night of weekly points racing on June 29 during Mid-Season Championship action. In addition to racing in all five divisions, a candy dash, originally scheduled for June 15, will also be held.

Pit passes from June 15 will also be valid for either the June 21 or June 29 programs.

Providing the weather forecast improves, we'll be back in action on Saturday for the seventh night of weekly points racing of the season at Independence Motor Speedway. Then, on Sunday, I'll be filling in for scorer Kevin Kemp at Benton County Speedway in Vinton. Have a great weekend!

Cooney tops IMCA Late Models during Wapello County Fair special at Eldon

Todd Cooney appeared to have the fastest car in heat race qualifying, then proved it in the 25-lap feature when the IMCA Late Models made a special appearance at Eldon Raceway during the Wapello County Fair.

Cooney, who was fast during his qualifier, settled for a fourth place qualifying run on the narrow half-mile, redrew the front row for the feature, then checked out to earn the victory.

A strong field of 14 cars took the green flag with Cooney and pole-sitter Kevin Kile setting the pace. Cooney made his way to the front as Kile and Spencer Diercks gave chase. Cooney's lead was half of a straightaway at the six lap mark, then a full straightaway by the time the only caution flag waved on lap 13.

On the restart, Diercks shot past Kile for second while Cooney again built a sizable lead. Diercks briefly challenged the #30 for the lead before Cooney powered away from the pack to take the dominant win. Diercks ran second, half of a straightaway behind Cooney, with Kile the same distance back in third.

Feature - 1. 30 Todd Cooney; 2. Spencer Diercks; 3. 88 Kevin Kile; 4.42 Tom Darbyshire; 5. 77 Kurt Kile; 6. 33 Nick Marolf; 7. 15K Justin Kay; 8. 74 Ron Boyse; 9. 46 Nate Beuseling; 10. 38 Colby Springsteen; 11. 62 Greg Cox; 12. 31 Jason Utter; 13. 99D Darrel DeFrance; 14. 66 Todd Johnson.

Todd Phillips led the entire distance in the Stock Car feature, although not without pressure the whole way. From his pole position start, Phillips led the 13-car field to green with outside front row starter Nathan Wood on his rear bumper. The leaders ran nose-to-tail over most of the event, stretching their advantage to half of a straightaway after just five laps.

Wood closed numerous times throughout the course of the event, challenging to the inside of the leader at various stages. Wood pulled to the inside of Phillips in turn one on the 11th circuit as the leaders ran in side-by-side formation through the first set of turns a full straightaway ahead of the field. Phillips exited turn two with the lead as Wood settled in once again on his rear bumper.

Exiting turn four on the final lap, Wood shot to the inside of Phillips and drag raced the leader to the stripe where Phillips held on by just a few feet for the win. Rich Vogt ran third ahead of Shane Paris and Mike Harward.

Ryan Fullenkamp made the fair race extra memorable as he earned his first-ever win in the B Mod division. Fullenkamp took charge at the drop of the green while Jason McDaniel worked the high side from his third row starting spot. McDaniel raced into second and was working his way past Fullenkamp for the lead, just as the race's first caution waved on lap four.

Fullenkamp held the point for the restart, with McDaniel, Mike Shelton and Curtis Vanderwal pursuing. Then, things got a little strange. One lap after racing resumed, Vanderwal exited when he lost a left rear spring on his ride, then the same thing happened to McDaniel two laps later. While under caution, it was discovered Shelton also lost a left rear spring, however he opted to continue. In the meantime, McDaniel made the necessary repairs to his #85 and rejoined the tail of the field for the lap six restart.

When racing resumed, Fullenkamp held serve and survived a late caution to take the milestone win. Tyler Heckart raced to a second place finish ahead of McDaniel, who made his way through the pack to finish third. Brandon Dale and Tom Lathrop completed the top five.

Dustin Griffiths led most of the way in an entertaining 15-lap Hobby Stock feature. From his pole position start, Griffiths took charge at the drop of the green while Mike Hughes was making his way through the field from a fourth row starting spot.

Hughes pulled to within a bumper's width of the leader as the top pair made its way down the back chute on lap five. Hughes tried numerous times to work the low side past Griffiths in the corners, however his #18H consistently pushed in the turns, allowing Griffiths to retain the lead.

Hughes was able to pull even with the leader a couple of times off turn four, with the leaders exchanging paint down the front stretch each time. Finally, as the leaders made their way through turns three and four with just a couple of laps to go, Hughes powered into the low side and again slid up in the corner. This forced Griffiths to the top side with barely enough room to keep his #10G straight and off the outside wall. Hughes pulled away quickly from his pursuer to take the win by half of a straightaway. Craig Brown, Tony Teninty and Rocky Fosdyck rounded out the top five.

Kevin Kirkpatrick took command at the midway point of the 4-Cylinder feature to drive to the win in that 10-lapper. Travis Tedrow and Darin Smith completed the top three. Early leader John Whalen ran fourth.

It was nice to see such a great field of cars and good crowd on-hand at Eldon. For a track that is running a limited schedule this season, the fair board was likely pleased with the show on Thursday night. Thanks to announcer Tony Paris for the Positively Racing plug and for his help with driver names prior to the show.

Tonight, it's back to Lee County Speedway for another night of weekly points racing. After a few questions the last couple of weeks about my pink outfit from Independence earlier this month, I decided to wear the pink shoes to Donnellson tonight. Yes, folks, they are real!

Be sure to take in a race at your area dirt track this weekend! See you at the races!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BCS Stats Blitz! Modifieds (1979-1983, 1990-present)

The IMCA Modified division was introduced at Benton County Speedway in 1979 and competed until the end of the 1983 season. After the track closed from 1984-1989, Modifieds returned to the weekly racing program at the speedway when it reopened in 1990. The division was IMCA sanctioned during the 1990 and 1991 seasons. They ran unsanctioned from 1992-2000, but have been IMCA sanctioned since the 2001 season. In the 27-plus seasons the Modifieds have competed in weekly racing in Vinton, 72 different drivers have earned wins in 458 all-time events. Below is the weekly racing history of the Modified division at Benton County Speedway. Only statistics and wins from weekly results are listed; specials are not included.

Before you dig in, I'll share with you what is probably the most ironic/unlikely stat of them all that I discovered while doing my research. In the Modified division, Jack Mitchell was the all-time leader in wins for 28 years... to the DAY. From June 28, 1981, to June 28, 2009, Mitchell was the top Mod. To add to that, Scott Hogan passed him and ended Mitchell's reign that night on June 28, his #33D made his 33rd career trip to victory lane in weekly racing action in Vinton.

Enjoy the Blitz and, as always, thanks for reading!

Modified Feature Wins
Scott Hogan 42
Troy Cordes 38
Jack Mitchell 32
Arlo Becker 31
Todd Jensen 17
Vern Jackson 16
Corey Dripps 14
Jerry Luloff 13
Timm Jensen 13
Patrick Flannagan 12
Robbie Schmuecker 12
Tim McBride 12
J.D. Auringer 11
Darin Duffy 10
Don Erger 10
Jeff Barkdoll 10
Joey Schaefer 8
Kevin Pittman 8
Mike Sampson 8
Dave Burrell 7
Joe Docekal 7
Rich Krafka 7
Dave Venenga 6
Garry Stuber 6
Jim Schmuecker 6
Mike Krall 6
Ed Thomas 5
Shawn Fisher 5
Tony Olson 5
Bernie Juliar 4
Larry Schmidt 4
Max Corporon 4
Mike Burbridge 4
Mike Schulte 4
Richie Gustin 4
Ron Hurst 4
Brian Krall 3
Dave Stricker 3
Ronn Lauritzen 3
Steve Droste 3
Tom Bartholomew 3
Adam Johnson 2
Buck Swanson 2
Dale Fischlein 2
Jeff Risse 2
Larry Druschel 2
Russ Olson 2
Steve Ricks 2
Brandon Banks 1
Brett Root 1
Charlie McKenna 1
Curtis Roster 1
Dan Kohls 1
Duane Bentley 1
Gary Kaune 1
Jamie Aikey 1
Jan Messer 1
Jeff Mathes 1
Jeff Schroyer 1
Jerry Dedrick 1
Johnathan Thimmesch 1
Keith Knaack 1
Kyle Brown 1
Matt Stein 1
Mike Mauer 1
Mitch Morris 1
Randy Trefz 1
Rick Brinkema 1
Shawn Ryan 1
Steve Hatcher 1
Terry Schroeder 1
Tom Hanson 1

Track Champions
1979 - Arlo Becker (1)
1980 - Jim Schmuecker (1)
1981 - Jack Mitchell (1)
1982 - Jack Mitchell (2)
1983 - Jack Mitchell (3)
1990 - Kevin Pittman (1)
1991 - Tom Bartholomew (1)
1992 - Dave Burrell (1)
1993 - Dave Burrell (2)
1994 - Dave Burrell (3)
1995 - Scott Hogan (1)
1996 - Scott Hogan (2)
1997 - Corey Dripps (1)
1998 - Scott Hogan (3)
1999 - Robbie Schmuecker (1)
2000 - Robbie Schmuecker (1)
2001 - Jerry Luloff (1)
2002 - Troy Cordes (1)
2003 - Troy Cordes (2)
2004 - Vern Jackson (1)
2005 - Troy Cordes (3)
2006 - Scott Hogan (4)
2007 - J.D. Auringer (1)
2008 - Scott Hogan (5)
2009 - Troy Cordes (4)
2010 - Scott Hogan (6)
2011 - Scott Hogan (7)

Most consecutive seasons with win
11 - Troy Cordes (2002-2012)
10 - Scott Hogan (2002-2011)
9 - Arlo Becker (1990-1998)
5 - Rich Krafka (1994-1998)
5 - Tim McBride (1997-2001)
4 - Timm Jensen (1991-1994)
4 - Jeff Barkdoll (1993-1996)
4 - Scott Hogan (1994-1998)
4 - Patrick Flannagan (2003-2006)
4 - Shawn Fisher (2007-2010)
4 - Jerry Luloff (2007-2010)
3 - Arlo Becker (1979-1981)
3 - Jim Schmuecker (1979-1981)
3 - Mike Schulte (1981-1983)
3 - Jack Mitchell (1981-1983)
3 - Todd Jensen (1990-1992)
3 - Dave Burrell (1992-1994)
3 - Garry Stuber (1993-1995)
3 - Corey Dripps (1996-1998)
3 - Mike Sampson (1998-2000)
3 - Ed Thomas (1999-2001)
3 - Vern Jackson (2000-2002)
3 - Don Erger (2002-2004)
3 - Patrick Flannagan (2010-2012)
Most consecutive seasons with win (active)
11 - Troy Cordes (2002-2012)
10 - Scott Hogan (2002-2011)
3 - Patrick Flannagan (2010-2012)
2 - Joe Docekal (2010-2011)
2 - Ronn Lauritzen (2011-2012)
First-time winners per month
19 - May
17 - August
15 - June
12 - July
7 - April
2 - September
Total features
Total winners
Longest win streak (same season)
5 - Jack Mitchell (1982)
Longest win streak (over seasons, if longer than above)
Most wins in single season
11 - Jack Mitchell (1982)
Most number of different winners in a season
11 (2003, 2011)
Career track championships
7 - Scott Hogan (1995, 1996, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011)
4 - Troy Cordes (2002, 2003, 2005, 2009)
3 - Dave Burrell (1992, 1993, 1994)
3 - Jack Mitchell (1981-1983)
2 - Robbie Schmuecker (1999, 2000)
1 - Arlo Becker (1979)
1 - Corey Dripps (1997)
1 - J.D. Auringer (2007)
1 - Jerry Luloff (2001)
1 - Jim Schmuecker (1980)
1 - Kevin Pittman (1990)
1 - Tom Bartholomew (1991)
1 - Vern Jackson (2004)
Most consecutive different winners (same season)
10 (2011)
8 (1992, 2011)
7 (1997, 2002, 2010)
6 (1981, 1991, 1992)
5 (1980, 1991)
Most consecutive different winners (over two seasons, if same as or longer than above)
10 (1992-1993)
Most consecutive different winners to start season
7 (1994, 2003)
Most consecutive different winners to end season
8 (1992)
Most opening night feature wins
3 - Timm Jensen (1992, 1997, 2003)
3 - Scott Hogan (1996, 2009, 2011)
2 - Jack Mitchell (1982, 1983)
2 - Arlo Becker (1994, 2001)
2 - Troy Cordes (2004, 2005)
1 - Rick Brinkema (1979)
1 - Bernie Juliar (1980)
1 - Larry Druschel (1981)
1 - Kevin Pittman (1990)
1 - Larry Schmidt (1991)
1 - Jeff Mathes (1993)
1 - Todd Jensen (1995)
1 - Jeff Barkdoll (1998)
1 - Dan Kohls (1999)
1 - Darin Duffy (2000)
1 - Joey Schaefer (2002)
1 - Don Erger (2006)
1 - J.D. Auringer (2007)
1 - Jerry Luloff (2008)
1 - Richie Gustin (2010)
1 - Shawn Ryan (2012)
Most season championship feature wins
5 - Troy Cordes (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009)
4 - Arlo Becker (1991, 1996, 1997, 1998)
2 - Mike Schulte (1982)
2 - Scott Hogan (1995, 2010)
1 - Mike Krall (1979)
1 - Dave Vennenga (1980)
1 - Jack Mitchell (1983)
1 - Kevin Pittman (1990)
1 - Timm Jensen (1992)
1 - Dave Burrell (1993)
1 - Rich Krafka (1994)
1 - Tim McBride (1999)
1 - Ed Thomas (2000)
1 - Vern Jackson (2001)
1 - Dave Stricker (2002)
1 - Todd Jensen (2006)
1 - Shawn Fisher (2008)
1 - Mitch Morris (2011)
Track champion with fewest feature wins
1 - Dave Burrell (1994)
1 - Scott Hogan (1998)
1 - Jerry Luloff (2001)
2 - Jim Schmuecker (1980)
2 - Troy Cordes (2002)
3 - Scott Hogan (1996, 2006, 2008, 2011)
3 - Dave Burrell (1992, 1993)
3 - Vern Jackson (2004)
Most points nights (season)
23 (2005)
Fewest points night (season)
12 (1979, 1980, 1983, 1990, 1993)
Most 2 race win streaks (each streak within same season)
7 - Troy Cordes
4 - Arlo Becker
3 - Scott Hogan
3 - Corey Dripps
Most 3 race win streaks (each streak within same season)
2 - Vern Jackson
Most 4 race win streaks (each streak within same season)
2 - Jack Mitchell
Most 5 race win streaks (each streak within same season)
1 - Jack Mitchell
Seasons with no back-to-back feature winners
1992, 1994
Most days between first and most recent feature wins
9,135 - Todd Jensen (25 years, 4 days)
Average number of different winners per season
Average number of race nights per season
1st feature winner in division history
Rick Brinkema (6/2/79)
50th feature winner in division history
Jack Mitchell (7/4/92)
100th feature winner in division history
Todd Jensen (8/25/91)
150th feature winner in division history
Arlo Becker (5/14/95)
200th feature winner in division history
Rich Krafka (6/7/98)
250th feature winner in division history
Vern Jackson (6/3/01)
300th feature winner in division history
Russ Olson (5/9/04)
350th feature winner in division history
Don Erger (7/23/06)
400th feature winner in division history
Scott Hogan (6/28/09)
450th feature winner in division history
Mike Burbridge (9/4/11)
Monthly sweeps (minimum of 3 races in month)
August 1982 - Jack Mitchell (3 races)
May 1983 - Jack Mitchell (3 races)
July 1983 - Jack Mitchell (4 races)
Won 2 features during season of 1st career win
Bernie Juliar (1980)
Dale Fischlien (1982)
Tom Bartholomew (1991)
Tim McBride (1994)
Troy Cordes (2002)
Richie Gustin (2010)
Won 3 features during season of 1st career win
Dave Vennenga (1980)
Dave Burrell (1992)
Corey Dripps (1996)
J.D. Auringer (2006)
Max Corporon (2009)
Won 4 features during season of 1st career win
Arlo Becker (1979)
Joe Docekal (2010)
Mike Burbridge (2011)
Won 5 features during season of 1st career win
Mike Krall (1979)
Scott Hogan (1995)
Joey Schaefer (2002)
Won 6 features during season of 1st career win
Darin Duffy (2000)
Won 7 features during season of 1st career win
Jack Mitchell (1981)
Won 8 features during season of 1st career win
Kevin Pittman (1990)
Season opener win following championship night win the season before
2 - Scott Hogan (1995-1996, 2010-2011)
2 - Troy Cordes (2003-2004, 2004-2005)
Won track championship the same year as first career feature win
Arlo Becker (1979)
Jack Mitchell (1981)
Kevin Pittman (1990)
Tom Bartholomew (1991)
Dave Burrell (1992)
Scott Hogan (1995)
Robbie Schmuecker (1999)
Jerry Luloff (2001)
Troy Cordes (2002)
Won track championship the same year as final career feature win
Kevin Pittman (1990)
Dave Burrell (1994)
First-time feature winners per season
7 (1991)
6 (1999)
5 (1979, 1980, 1982, 2011)
4 (2002)
3 (1992, 1993, 2001, 2006)
2 (1981, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010)
1 (1990, 1995, 1996)
0 (1983, 1998, 2004, 2007)
Earned first career win on opening night
Rick Brinkema (1979)
Bernie Juliar (1980)
Kevin Pittman (1990)
Larry Schmidt (1991)
Jeff Mathes (1993)
Dan Kohls (1999)
Darin Duffy (2000)
Joey Schaefer (2002)
Richie Gustin (2010)
Shawn Ryan (2012)
Earned final career win on opening night
Rick Brinkema (1979)
Larry Druschel (1981)
Jeff Mathes (1993)
Dan Kohls (1999)
Arlo Becker (2001)
Timm Jensen (2003)
Earned first career win on championship night
Mike Schulte (1981)
Mitch Morris (2011)
Earned final career win on championship night
Kevin Pittman (1990)
Dave Stricker (2002)
Mitch Morris (2011)
Days as career wins leader (through 6/10/12)
10,227 - Jack Mitchell (6/28/81-6/28/09)
1,127 - Scott Hogan (5/10/09-6/10/12)
692 - Arlo Becker (6/23/79-8/23/79, 6/29/80-7/12/81, 8/23/81-5/2/82)
325 - Mike Krall (8/16/79-7/6/80)
224 - Troy Cordes (9/20/09-5/2/10)
21 - Rick Brinkema (6/2/79-6/23/79)
Bookend wins (won opener and championship features in same season)
1 - Jack Mitchell (1983)
1 - Kevin Pittman (1990)
1 - Timm Jensen (1992)
2 - Troy Cordes (2004, 2005)
Won opening night feature and track championship in the same year
2 - Jack Mitchell (1982, 1983)
1 - Kevin Pittman (1990)
2 - Scott Hogan (1996, 2011)
1 - Troy Cordes (2005)
1 - J.D. Auringer (2007)
Won championship night feature and track championship in the same year
1 - Jack Mitchell (1983)
1 - Kevin Pittman (1990)
1 - Dave Burrell (1993)
2 - Scott Hogan (1995, 2010)
3 - Troy Cordes (2003, 2005, 2009)
Won opening night and championship night features, plus track championship the same year
1 - Jack Mitchell (1983)
1 - Kevin Pittman (1990)
1 - Troy Cordes (2005)
Most recent 2-time feature winner in a season
Troy Cordes (2011)
Tony Olson (2011)
Ronn Lauritzen (2011)
Most recent 3-time feature winner in a season
Scott Hogan (2011)
Joe Docekal (2011)
Most recent 4-time feature winner in a season
Mike Burbridge (2011)
Most recent 5-time feature winner in a season
Scott Hogan (2010)
Most recent 6-time feature winner in a season
Scott Hogan (2005)
Most recent 7-time feature winner in a season
Troy Cordes (2007)
J.D. Auringer (2007)
Most recent 8-time feature winner in a season
Kevin Pittman (1990)
Most recent 10-time feature winner in a season
Jack Mitchell (1983)
Most recent 11-time feature winner in a season
Jack Mitchell (1982)