Monday, August 25, 2014

Cordes sweeps weekend, tops Modified wins list in Vinton

The memorable season for Troy Cordes continued Sunday night.

The IMCA Modified driver earned his sixth win of the season at Benton County Speedway to extend his points lead. In the process, Cordes became the all-time leading feature winner in division history in Vinton. (complete results follow)

Ty Glass held the early lead while Patrick Flannagan ran the high side into contention. Flannagan powered around Glass on the fourth circuit to assume command while Cordes worked through the pack from a fifth row starting spot.

After being mired in traffic, Cordes raced the low groove into the top three on lap seven and then set his sights on the front-runners, who had built a half-straightaway lead.

Cordes reeled in the leaders just past the midway point of the 20-lapper and powered beneath them to assume command on lap 11. He drove away to score his 16th sanctioned win of the season and the 96th IMCA Modified win of his career.

Of those 96 wins, 45 have come in weekly racing in Vinton, making him the all-time wins leader in the division on the Vinton oval. Nine of his 45 Vinton wins have come in the month of August.

Entering Sunday night, Cordes was tied with Scott Hogan for the most Vinton Modified wins. He was also tied atop the wins list with Hogan for 224 calendar days from September 2009 to May 2010. This marks the first time in his career that Cordes has had sole possession of the wins lead. Only Cordes and Arlo Becker have had multiple stints as the Modified wins leader at the speedway.

Cordes, also the winner in Independence Saturday night, has swept feature wins over the same weekend five times in his career. That ties Jack Mitchell for the most Modified sweeps in history between the two tracks. Modified sweeps at Independence and Vinton have occurred 25 times. The last time Cordes did it was July 21-22, 2007.

Scott Pippert won a thrilling battle with Curtis Roster to earn his second IMCA Stock Car win of the season.

Roster took control on lap three with Pippert in tow. The top two broke away from the pack with Roster running the high side and Pippert down low.

Pippert was able to keep pace with Roster in turns three and four, but fought a push in turns one and two each time around the fast, smooth quarter-mile.

Pippert pulled alongside Roster over the final circuit and surged ahead at the line to score the victory.

With five Stock Car wins in weekly racing history in Vinton, Pippert moved into 10th on the all-time list. He, Damon Murty and Norman Chesmore are the only Stock Car drivers with multiple wins in each of the last two seasons.

National points contender Clint Luellen made the pull from to Vinton from Minburn Sunday night since his normal Sunday venue, Stuart Speedway, was not scheduled to race. Luellen made it worth the trip as he earned his first win in Vinton.

Kyle Olson took the lead at the drop of the green and quickly pulled away from the field while Luellen raced from a fifth row starting spot.

Luellen worked into a side-by-side battle with Dave Burrell for second when Olson bobbled in turns three and four on lap seven. Luellen made his way around Olson en route to the victory.

Luellen became the 51st different SportMod winner in weekly racing history in Vinton. The seven first-time SportMod winners this season ranks as second most in track history (2005).

When front-runners Justin Wacha and Benji Irvine bobbled in turn three with just a couple laps remaining, the door opened for Jacob Keiser to drive to his first win of the season in the 15-lap IMCA Hobby Stock feature.

The win was Keiser's eighth in weekly racing history at the speedway and moved him into a tie with Jerry Dedrick for 18th on the all-time list. Three of his eight wins have come in the month of August.

Keiser has now won at least one Hobby Stock feature in each of the last six years at the speedway. That is the longest active streak in the division.

Darren Ackerman held off Todd Cooney in the final appearance of the IMCA Late Model Sunday Series.

Cooney took the lead early from a second row starting spot while Ackerman made his way through traffic from a fifth row start. He was running fifth following a lap six yellow.

Two laps after the restart, Ackerman raced the low groove into the runner-up spot and then made his way past Cooney just prior to a lap 11 yellow.

Ackerman denied late pressure from Cooney to take his first win of the season in the 20-lap event.

Don Erger led all 10 laps to earn his second straight win in the BCS Micro Mod division. Erger held off pressure from Buster Pate and Chuck Ihde to drive to victory,  his second straight.

Adam Gates earned his third straight win in the IMCA Sport Compact 10-lapper. He led the entire event to beat points leader Bill Whalen Jr. to the checkers.

With four wins on the season, Gates has five for his career in Vinton. He is now tied with Doug Laughridge for eighth on the division's wins list.

Gates is the sixth Sport Compact driver in track history to string together at least three straight wins. A win next week would join him with Nathan Chandler and Bill Whalen Jr. as the only drivers to win four straight.

For those who read my blog for Vinton results, I will not be at Benton County Speedway next Sunday. I am heading to Marshalltown Speedway Friday night and will head to Boone immediately following the races to set up my camper in anticipation of next week's IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey's.

I'll stick around Boone Saturday night for the season championship program and then hang out Sunday as folks from all over the country make their way to Boone before we kick off America's Racin' Vacation Monday.

I'll still keeps the stats and update the numbers at a later date and will return to Vinton for the season championship program September 14.

Have a great week and I'll see you in Boone!

RESULTS
IMCA MODIFIED
Feature: 1. 71 Troy Cordes, Dunkerton; 2. 00 J. D. Auringer, Waterloo; 3. F7 Patrick Flannagan, Cedar Rapids; 4. 12D Joe Docekal, Dysart; 5. 20L Zach Less, Hopkinton; 6. 80 Jerry Dedrick, Vinton; 7. 12T Ty Glass, Cedar Rapids; 8. 4 Ryan Maitland, Waterloo; 9. 57B Dennis Betzer, Central City; 10. 17J Jason Seegmiller, Dubuque; 11. 63 Kelly Pestka, Preston; DNS 7 Todd Jensen, Waterloo.
Heat one: 1. Glass; 2. Maitland; 3. Less; 4. Cordes; 5. Docekal; 6. Seegmiller.
Heat two: 1. Auringer; 2. Flannagan; 3. Betzer; 4. Dedrick; 5. Pestka; DNS Jensen.

IMCA LATE MODEL
Feature: 1. 53 Darren Ackerman, Readlyn; 2. 30 Todd Cooney, Des Moines; 3. 70 Jerry King, Waterloo; 4. 45 Curt Martin, Independence; 5. 22 Charlie McKenna, Clear Lake; 6. 12 Don Pataska, Miles; 7. 60 Ben Seemann, Waterloo; 8. 99D Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown; 9. 77 Dirk Hamilton, Jesup; 10. 05 Paul Nagle, Nevada; 11. 23 Paul Conrad, Colo; 12. 5 Scott Welsh, Cedar Rapids; 13. 99 Luke Pestka, Robins.
Heat one: 1. King; 2. Pataska; 3. Cooney; 4. Hamilton; 5. Ackerman; 6. DeFrance; 7. Welsh.
Heat two: 1. McKenna; 2. Martin; 3. Conrad; 4. Pestka; 5. Wagner; 6. Nagle.

IMCA STOCK CAR
Feature: 1. 47 Scott Pippert, Elberon; 2. 8 Curtis Roster, Vinton; 3. 67 Justin Stander, Shellsburg; 4. 15 Norman Chesmore, Rowley; 5. 76 Mike Galli, Urbana; 6. 3J Jarod Weepie, Dunkerton; 7. 74C Cole Mather, Dundee; 8. 1X Michael Peterson, Montezuma; 9. 62G Adam Gebel, Cedar Falls; 10. 8B Scott Beauregard, Brandon.
Heat one: 1. Stander; 2. Weepie; 3. Beauregard; 4. Peterson; 5. Galli.
Heat two: 1. Roster; 2. Pippert; 3. Gebel; 4. Chesmore; 5. Mather.

IMCA NORTHERN SPORTMOD
Feature: 1. 3L Clint Luellen, Minburn; 2. 3K Kyle Olson, Cedar Rapids; 4. T23 Tony Olson, Cedar Rapids; 4. 199 Dave Burrell, Dysart; 5. 22 Matt Petrzelka, Norway; 6. 00 Jim Buhlman, Cedar Falls; 7. MR09 Kurt Hogan, Vinton; 8. 22H Curt Hilmer, Dysart; 9. 72 Brett Lowry, Montezuma; 10. J2 Dave Schulze, Keystone; 11. 17 Dawn Krall, Evansdale; 12. 10S John Schaefer, La Porte City; 13. 95 Mike McDonald, Cedar Rapids; 14. 3R Danny Dvorak, Vinton; 15. 55V Jared VanDerWal, LeGrand; DNS/16. 19 Nate Smith, Cedar Falls.
Heat one: 1. T. Olson; 2. Burrell; 3. Buhlman; 4. Petrzelka; 5. K. Olson; 6. Dvorak; 7. Schaefer; 8. Smith.
Heat two: 1. Luellen; 2. Schulze; 3. McDonald; 4. Hilmer; 5. Lowry; 6. Hogan; 7. Krall; 8. VanDerWal.

IMCA HOBBY STOCK
Feature: 1. 07 Jacob Keiser, Marengo; 2. 46 Brian Happel, Vinton; 3. 17K Kyle Parizek, Belle Plaine; 4. 79 Benji Irvine, Stanley; 5. 4P Matt Pohlman, Keystone; 6. 5 Marcus Wayne, Independence; 7. 78 Matt Brown, Dysart; 8. M35 Chad Mannion, Waterloo; 9. 7M Matt Tiernan, Stuart; 10. 7B Jim Ball, Independence; DQ 45 Justin Wacha, Vinton.
Heat one: 1. Brown; 2. Keiser; 3. Irvine; 4. Wayne; 5. Tiernan; 6. Mannion.
Heat two: 1. Wacha; 2. Happel; 3. Parizek; 4. Pohlman; 5. Ball.

IMCA SPORT COMPACT
Feature:
1. 007 Adam Gates, Marion; 2. 00W Bill Whalen Jr., Riverside; 3. 36DD Gary Peiffer, Troy Mills; 4. 3S Craig Streeter, Vinton.
Heat: 1. Gates; 2. Peiffer; 3. Streeter; 4. Whalen.

BCS MICRO MOD
Feature: 1. 6E Don Erger, Brandon; 2. 111 Buster Pate, Hiawatha; 3. 1 Chuck Ihde, Decorah; 4. 2 Brandon Maitland, Waterloo; 5. 5 John Hershberger, Rochester, Minn.; 6. 00 Brody Willett, Alburnett; 7. 71 Tristan Cordes, Dunkerton; 8. 7 Adam Rogich, Mabel, Minn.; 9. 75 Cole McNeal, Dysart; 10. 18 Jeff Davis, La Porte City.
Heat one: 1. Pate; 2. Maitland; 3. Davis; 4. Rogich; DNS Cordes.
Heat two: 1. Willett; 2. Hershberger; 3. Erger; 4. Ihde; 5. McNeal.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Four champions wrap up titles in victory lane at Independence

Saturday night was the final night of racing for 2014 at Independence Motor Speedway and four track champions went out in style during Budweiser Season Championships.

Curt Martin, Troy Cordes, Alex Zwanziger and Benji Irvine celebrated 2014 track championship honors in victory lane after earning feature wins.

Five laps were added to all five features, which were lined up straight-up based on season point totals. As has been the case for the last 15 seasons, the top four in each division's standings were given the chance to double their money if they could win their feature after starting at the tail.

Martin took the lead at the drop of the green in the 30-lapper for the IMCA Late Models. A pair of cautions didn't slow him down as Martin simply dominated the field to take the win by half of a lap ahead of Sean Johnson.

Martin has now won 95 times in weekly racing history in the Late Model division in Independence, the most all-time. Twenty of those wins have come in August. He has won in 26 different calendar years at the speedway, including one win in each of the last four seasons.

The win propelled Martin to his 11th Late Model track title in Independence, also the most all-time. Prior to this season, Martin's most recent championship run came in 2006. His first title came 30 years ago.

Cordes held off Tyler Droste to earn his fifth win of the season in the Performance Bodies IMCA Modified 25-lapper.

Cordes and Droste pulled away from the field following a mid-race restart and Cordes was able to hold Droste at bay to score the win en route to his fourth Modified title in Independence. Cordes was also the Mod champ in Indee in 2002, 2008 and 2010.

Cordes is now tied with Tom Bartholomew for second on the list of Modified championships in Independence. Jerry Luloff leads all drivers in the division with five titles.

All-time, Cordes has earned 36 Modified wins in weekly racing history at the speedway and sits third on the division's wins list. Cordes has won a dozen times in the month of August. All five of his wins this season came in the last eight weeks, including victories in three of the last four weeks.

Zwanziger drove to the win and track championship in the IMCA Northern SportMod division. Zwanziger set the pace at the drop of the green in that 20-lapper while Jenae Gustin, who accepted the challenge and started at the tail, quickly made her way through traffic.

After starting 18th, Gustin raced her way into the top five in just six laps and then into second with three laps remaining. Although Gustin closed late, Zwanziger held on for his second win of the year in the caution-free event.

The win wrapped up Zwanziger his first career track championship. He became the sixth different SportMod champion in seven seasons the division has competed in Independence.

It was Zwanziger's second win in weekly racing history at the speedway. He is one of 14 drivers with multiple wins in the division and is tied with Matt McCahen and Rod McDonald for 12th on the all-time list.

Irvine became the first driver in track history to earn back-to-back track titles in the IMCA Hobby Stock division. He led all 20 laps of that event and held off Justin Wacha in lapped traffic to score the victory.

With 12 Hobby Stock wins in weekly racing history in Independence, Irvine sits alone in fifth on the all-time list. Three of those wins have come in the month of August.

He is just the fourth driver in track history with multiple Hobby Stock titles. The division has been part of the weekly racing program in Independence for 26 years.

After all four drivers eligible for the challenge opted to start at the back of the 25-lap IMCA Stock Car feature, Jason Hocken found himself on the pole.

Hocken led the first 15 laps before Roger Ciesielski raced past him on the 16th circuit. Ciesielski led the remainder of the event to score his first Independence win in the division.

With the win, Ciesielski became the 49th different Stock Car winner in weekly racing history at the speedway, but the first to earn his first win on season championship night.

By virtue of taking the green flag in the feature, Norman Chesmore wrapped up his first career track championship in the division. Chesmore, who is the only driver remaining in the division from its inaugural season in 1993, beat Jarod Weepie by 17 points in the final standings.

Chesmore became the eighth different Stock Car champion in track history.

Saturday was my last night working on a regular basis at Independence and I am truly grateful for all the kind words people shared throughout the course of the program.

I planned early this season to make this year my last working weekly at the track, but I didn't expect the kind gestures and gifts last night.

When I made the decision to be done at the end of the season, I only told a few close friends because I didn't want anyone to make a big deal out of it. When word got out that Darin Burco and Todd Summers of S&B Promotions were also in their final year at Independence, word started spreading that I was going to become the new promoter.

That's when I started telling people that simply wasn't the case and that I wouldn't be returning after this season. A number of people didn't believe me at the time (a few still don't, even after last night), but I wanted to put out that fire before it spread even more.

I wasn't expecting anything Saturday night except to grill with friends in the pits and maybe have a few drinks. The response I received when word got out that last night was, in fact, my last night, was unbelievable. I'm not often left speechless, but I was at a loss for words on more than one occasion last night.

From what I understand, so many people were involved that I don't even know who all to thank. It's truly humbling.

A few people who I know were involved include Bucky Doren, Linda Hall, Bobbie Emerson, Troy Cordes and his entire crew, Gary and Karen Crawford, Andy and Jessica Miller, Darin Burco and Todd Summers. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Not just for last night, but thank you for being part of an incredible racing family.

I'll still be in Independence on a fairly regular basis next season and I look forward to spending time with friends in the stands as a race fan. I'll fill in if and when they need me, but I won't be at any track on a weekly basis next year. I plan to visit other tracks, as well, and enjoy racing as a fan.

I'll still be in Boone to announce Super Nationals next week and for as long as IMCA and Boone Speedway will have me. I'll also continue to keep all the stats on Independence and Benton County Speedway. I live for that stuff and it's great to see so many fans with an appreciation for the numbers and history, as well.

There are three people above all else who I need to thank. The first is my dad. His passion for racing was instilled in me at a very young age. Although he's been gone for over three years, I still carry his passion within me and I have no intention of leaving the sport of racing. The sport and the people simply mean too much to me and he is the reason I've been blessed with such a special racing family.

The second is Dana Benning. After keeping stats in the stands as a kid, I was on Dale Hackwell Jr.'s crew for a number of years before I received a call from Dana prior to the start of the 2000 season when he took the reigns in Independence. He offered me a job despite the fact that we'd never met and had never even had a conversation prior to that phone call. Thanks, Dana. That single phone call means more to me than you'll ever know.

The third person is Jim Roper. As a kid, I watched Jim flag in Independence before he became the voice of the speedway. I idolized him as a young race fan and through the years I came to respect him as a peer. Today I love him as a friend.

When I receive compliments on my announcing, a lot of that credit goes right back to Jim. Yeah, I probably talk a little more than Jim used to, but he was the first to teach me, above all else, the job of an announcer is to inform the race fans. If you can't get the car number, driver and hometown over the mic and if you can't explain race procedure, then you aren't doing your job. Yes, you can entertain along the way, but to let people know what's going on is why you're there. Thank you, Jim.

The fans and drivers in Independence are a special group of people. Yeah, I grew up going there so some may say I'm biased, but I've been to a lot of tracks over the years and there's a special feeling driving onto the Buchanan County Fairgrounds on a Saturday afternoon.

The fans who are committed to racing in Independence are second-to-none. They show that through their passion and in the way they fill the stands every Saturday night.

The accomplishments of the drivers speak for themselves. Our drivers have not only succeeded locally, but on the regional and national levels throughout their careers, as well. I am honored to have worked with them and to call many of them my friends.

Like I said last night, the racing is what draws us to the track the first time we go, but it is the people we meet and the friends we make who keep us coming back.

Thank you to everyone and I'll see you at the races!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gustin gets Hawkeye Dirt Tour checkers at Benton County Speedway

One night after a fantastic IMCA Modified feature at Benton County Speedway, the division offered an encore during the XSAN Hawkeye Dirt Tour stop Monday night.

The tour's all-time leading feature winner, Richie Gustin drove the high side to victory in a thrilling finish on the Vinton quarter-mile. (complete results follow)

Outside front row starter Vern Jackson set the pace at the start of the 30-lapper with pole-sitter Tyler Droste in tow. Jackson ran the high side of the fast, smooth surface while Droste tried to pull alongside him down low.

Droste was able to draw even with the leader as they crossed the stripe to complete lap seven, however Jackson maintained the point. Meanwhile, Gustin, who was also running the top groove, reeled in the lead pair.

As the front trio battled, Ronn Lauritzen and Joe Docekal joined the battle and made it a five-car breakaway at the front of the pack.

Gustin was able to reel in Jackson and Droste exiting turn four on lap 14 as they ran three-wide off the corner. Jackson and Droste then opened up some breathing room while Gustin fell back into a battle for third.

Working the low side, Droste, pulled ahead of Jackson to take control with 10 laps to go. He built a five car-length lead and was approaching lapped traffic when caution slowed action on lap 23.

Following another restart on lap 24, Droste set the pace with Gustin and Jackson in row two. Jackson, who had been running the top side all night, elected to start outside of that row, however Gustin powered in front of him when racing resumed.

One more caution slowed the field with four laps remaining and Droste again set sail when the green flag waved.

Running the top side, Gustin powered back into contention and pulled even in turns three and four. He surged into the lead as the flying green waved and led the final two circuits on his way to victory.

Droste ran second ahead of Lauritzen, Jackson and Docekal.

IMCA sanctioned Stock Cars, Northern SportMods and Hobby Stocks also took part in Monday's program. They were not running for track points, but all other applicable IMCA points in the draw/redraw special.

Scott Pippert took the lead at the drop of the green in the 15-lap Stock Car feature. He worked the top side while Damon Murty pursued.

Although Murty remained glued to Pippert's rear bumper, he was unable to pass the leader until Pippert got sideways in turn four on the final lap. Murty swept to the outside of Pippert to take the unexpected victory.

Tony Olson, Sunday night's Northern SportMod winner, made it back-to-back wins in that division's 15-lapper.

Kip Siems held the early lead while Olson made his way through traffic from a mid-pack start. Olson quickly raced his way into second and set his sights on Siems after just one lap.

Olson chased Siems for a handful of laps until he made his move to the inside of the leader on lap six. Olson took command and led the remainder of the event to score the victory.

Although low in number, the Hobby Stocks provided plenty of excitement in that 12-lapper.

From his outside front row starting spot, Matt Pohlman took the the lead with Justin Wacha in tow. Wacha kept pace with the leader and dropped to his inside entering turn three on lap five.

Wacha exited turn four with the lead and then held off late pressure from Jacob Keiser to score the victory.

Tuesday night my plan is to head to Cedar County Raceway in Tipton for the next round of the Hawkeye Dirt Tour, plus the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models and IMCA Stock Cars. I've been battling a bad cold all day and was hesitant to even make the drive across town Monday night for the races in Vinton. If I'm feeling better, I hope to see you tomorrow in Tipton. If not, I'll catch the action on XSAN and see you in Independence next weekend!

RESULTS
HAWKEYE DIRT TOUR IMCA MODIFIEDS
Feature: 1. 19G Richie Gustin, Gilman; 2. 92 Tyler Droste, Waterloo; 3. 10K Ronn Lauritzen, Jesup; 4. 64 Vern Jackson, Waterloo; 5. 12D Joe Docekal, Dysart; 6. 10M Jeremy Mills, Garner; 7. 00J J. D. Auringer, Waterloo; 8. 21K Kyle Brown, Kellogg; 9. 57V Mike Van Genderen, Newton; 10. 26J Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 11. 99 Jess Sobbing, Glenwood; 12. 10C Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 13. 71W Jeff Waterman, Quincy, Ill.; 14. 17R Derek Reimer, Marshalltown; 15. 71 Troy Cordes, Dunkerton; 16. 48J Jacob Murray, Hartford; 17. 20L Zach Less, Hopkinton; 18. 33D Scott Hogan, Vinton; 19. 9 Tyler Groenendyk, Oskaloosa; 20. 81 Jesse Belez, Marengo; 21. 12X Trent Jackson, Marshalltown; 22. F7 Patrick Flannagan, Cedar Rapids.
Heat one (four redraw): 1. Auringer; 2. Gustin; 3. Brown; 4. Rust; 5. Waterman; 6. Reimer; 7. Cordes; 8. Sobbing.
Heat two: 1. Docekal; 2. Mills; 3. Groenendyk; 4. V. Jackson; 5. Less; 6. Murray; 7. T. Jackson.
Heat three: 1. Droste; 2. Flannagan; 3. Lauritzen; 4. Van Genderen; 5. Hogan; 6. Belez; 7. Carter.

IMCA STOCK CAR
Feature: 1. 99D Damon Murty, Chelsea; 2. 47 Scott Pippert, Elberon; 3. 15 Norman Chesmore, Rowley; 4. 67 Justin Stander, Shellsburg; 5. 76 Mike Galli, Urbana; 6. 3 Ryan Coleman, Vinton; 7. 62G Adam Gebel, Cedar Falls; 8. 8E Mitchell Evens, Independence.
Heat: 1. Murty; 2. Chesmore; 3. Stander; 4. Galli; 5. Pippert; 6. Coleman; 7. Gebel; 8. Evens.

IMCA NORTHERN SPORTMOD
Feature: 1. T23 Tony Olson, Cedar Rapids; 2. S16 Kip Siems, Cedar Falls; 3. 198 Sam Wieben, Dysart; 4. K3 Kyle Olson, Cedar Rapids; 5. 15B Troy Burkhart, Urbana; 6. 19J Jenae Gustin, Marshalltown; 7. 22H Curt Hilmer, Dysart; 8. 1 Austin Kaplan, Ankeny; 9. 00 Jim Buhlman, Cedar Falls; 10. J2 Dave Schulze, Keystone; 11. 22 Matt Petrzelka, Norway; 12. 15N Ross Neal, Marion; 13. 30 Joey Schaefer, Waterloo; 14. 199 Dave Burrell, Dysart; 15. 57R Ryan King, Montour; 16. 3R Danny Dvorak, Vinton; DNS/17. CH19 Colby Heishman, Brooklyn.
Heat one: 1. Buhlman; 2. Wieben; 3. Burkhart; 4. K. Olson; 5. T. Olson; 6. Petrzelka; 7. Burrell; 8. Neal; 9. Kaplan.
Heat two: 1. Hilmer; 2. Gustin; 3. Heishman; 4. Siems; 5. Schaefer; 6. Schulze; 7. King; 8. Dvorak.

IMCA HOBBY STOCK
Feature: 1. 45 Justin Wacha, Vinton; 2. 07 Jacob Keiser, Marengo; 3. 46 Brian Happel, Vinton; 4. 4P Matt Pohlman, Keystone; 5. 1 Scott Siems, Cedar Rapids.
Heat: 1. Keiser; 2. Happel; 3. Pohlman; 4. Wacha; 5. Siems.

Auringer wins a classic in IMCA Modified action in Vinton

The XSAN Hawkeye Dirt Tour for IMCA Modifieds will have a tough act to follow Monday night.

As I sat watching the IMCA Modified main Sunday night at Benton County Speedway, I was trying to think back to the last time any race had me on the edge of my seat as much as that race had me there.

The answer? The Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational at the 2013 IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey's.

Yes, Sunday night's feature in Vinton was just that good. There may not have been the same prestige on the line, but there was no telling that to the four drivers within striking distance of victory Sunday night.

The 20-lapper started with pole-sitter Jerry Dedrick leading the first circuit before Zach Less, who started outside of row two, challenged to his outside. Less took command on the second circuit until caution slowed action on lap five.

On the restart, Less again held the point while Scott Hogan, who started seventh, made it a three-car battle with Less and Dedrick for the lead. The front-runners ran three-wide for multiple laps before Dedrick slowed to the low side of turns three and four with mechanical problems on lap nine. That brought out what would be the second and final yellow.

Less led the field back to green with Hogan in tow while J. D. Auringer and Troy Cordes raced into contention from fifth row starting spots.

While Cordes was trying to break free from traffic, Auringer chased down the leaders. Hogan was working the low side of Less as the top two battled side-by-side for the lead. As Auringer considered his options, Cordes reeled them in to make it a four-car breakaway at the front of the pack.

Hogan and Auringer battled down low while Less worked the top side with Cordes close behind. Less eventually pulled alongside Hogan, who found the middle groove, and Auringer, who was running the low side, in three-wide formation.

Hogan inched ahead each time across the stripe while Less fell back into a battle with Cordes for third. Auringer, meanwhile, stayed even with Hogan on the low side and surged ahead at the line to score the thrilling victory.

Auringer, whose last win in Vinton came during the Hogan Memorial, has won three times in weekly racing this season. He has earned 15 Modified wins in weekly racing history at the speedway, placing him alone in eighth on the all-time list.

The first Vinton win of his career during the month of August, this is the latest in the season Auringer has made his way to victory lane on the quarter-mile.

Damon Murty continued his winning ways in the IMCA Stock Car division. He took the lead from Nathan Wood with five laps remaining to score his fourth win in the last five weeks and his seventh of the year.

Scott Beauregard held the early lead before Wood worked past the leader just prior to a lap five caution.

On the restart, Murty, who restarted fifth, quickly worked through traffic and settled into third before another stoppage on lap eight.

Murty swept past Curtis Roster on the restart and then shot to the low side of Wood exiting turn two on lap 10 to drive to victory.

Murty's all-time leading Stock Car wins total in Vinton is now at 68. He has won 16 times in the month of August, which is more than any other driver in any month in any division in track history.

Murty has won the last two Stock Car features at the speedway, giving him 10 separate streaks of multiple wins in his career in Vinton. He has won at least seven features in four separate seasons in his career at the speedway (2005, 2006, 2009, 2014).

To his surprise, Tony Olson had one stud holding his left rear wheel on at the end of the 15-lap IMCA Northern SportMod feature. To his relief, he discovered it in victory lane after being interviewed for the win.

Dawn Krall led throughout most of the event while Olson worked through the pack from a sixth row starting spot.

Krall was enjoying a sizable lead by the time Olson made his way into second just shy of the midway point on lap seven. Olson reeled in the leader and worked the top side off turn two to steal the lead on lap 11.

Krall remained close over the final laps, however Olson led to the checkers and scored his fourth win of the season. All four of his wins have come in the last eight points races for the division.

His 13 career Northern SportMod wins in Vinton place Olson third on the all-time list. It was his second career win during the month of August.

Brian Happel got to the high side early and that's where he stayed en route to his fourth win of the year in the IMCA Hobby Stock feature.

Happel, who was pressured throughout the 15-lapper by points leader Benji Irvine, held Irvine at bay to score the victory.

With 13 career Hobby Stock wins in weekly racing history in Vinton, Happel finished the night tied with Ron Tharp for sixth on the all-time list.

Happel's win Sunday night nearly fell on the anniversary of his first career win in Vinton. That victory came just over nine years ago on August 14, 2005. Five of Happel's 13 wins have come during the month of August.

Adam Gates checked out early in the 10-lap IMCA Sport Compact feature. Gates dominated the field to score his second straight victory and third of the year in Vinton.

Gates has four career Sport Compact wins in Vinton, tying him with Brett Vanous for ninth on the all-time list. He became the eighth driver in division history to string together consecutive wins at the speedway.

Like Gates, Don Erger made it look easy in the 10-lap BCS Micro Mod main. Erger led the entire distance to earn his fifth win of the season.

There have been four different Micro Mod winners in the division's inaugural season in Vinton and three of them have won in the last three weeks.

Incredible job on track prep Sunday by BCS dirt man Don Burkey. From top to bottom, beginning to end, the track was smooth and multi-grooved. The Modified feature Sunday night was, hands down, the best race I've seen all year.

It promises to be an awesome show when the HDT comes to town Monday night (tonight)!

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

RESULTS
IMCA MODIFIED
Feature: 1. 00J J. D. Auringer, Waterloo; 2. 33D Scott Hogan, Vinton; 3. 71 Troy Cordes, Dunkerton; 4. 20L Zach Less, Hopkinton; 5. 12D Joe Docekal, Dysart; 6. 26J Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 7. 10K Ronn Lauritzen, Jesup; 8. 57B Dennis Betzer, Central City; 9. 12T Ty Glass, Cedar Rapids; 10. 81 Jesse Belez, Marengo; 11. 4 Ryan Maitland, Waterloo; 12. 7 Todd Jensen, Waterloo; 13. 8 Tony Snyder, Readlyn; 14. F7 Patrick Flannagan, Cedar Rapids; 15. 11B Mike Burbridge, Delhi; 16. 80 Jerry Dedrick, Vinton; 17. 77 Tim McBride, Denver.
Heat one: 1. Dedrick; 2. Less; 3. Docekal; 4. Lauritzen; 5. Betzer; 6. Rust; 7. Snyder; 8. Glass; 9. Jensen.
Heat two: 1. Auringer; 2. Belez; 3. Flannagan; 4. Cordes; 5. Hogan; 6. Burbridge; 7. Maitland; 8. McBride.

IMCA STOCK CAR
Feature:
1. 99D Damon Murty, Chelsea; 2. 52 Nathan Wood, Sigourney; 3. 8 Curtis Roster, Vinton; 4. 15 Norman Chesmore, Rowley; 5. 47 Scott Pippert, Elberon; 6. 67 Justin Stander, Shellsburg; 7. 62G Adam Gebel, Cedar Falls; 8. 8B Scott Beauregard, Brandon; 9. 3 Ryan Coleman, Vinton; 10. 25 Shawn Fisher, Vinton; 11. 76X Chad Siems, Shellsburg; 12. 99 Erik Knutsen, Cedar Rapids; 13. 76 Mike Galli, Urbana; 14. 115 Hannah Chesmore, Rowley; 15. 171 Buck Swanson, Waterloo; 16. 8E Mitchell Evens, Independence.
Heat one: 1. Wood; 2. Murty; 3. Pippert; 4. Galli; 5. Knutsen; 6. Coleman; 7. Fisher; DNS Swanson.
Heat two: 1. Gebel; 2. Roster; 3. Stander; 4. Beauregard; 5. N. Chesmore; 6. Siems; 7. Evens; 8. H. Chesmore.

IMCA NORTHERN SPORTMOD
Feature: 1. T23 Tony Olson, Cedar Rapids; 2. 17 Dawn Krall, Evansdale; 3. CH19 Colby Heishman, Brooklyn; 4. 72 Brett Lowry, Montezuma; 5. 199 Dave Burrell, Dysart; 6. MR09 Kurt Hogan, Vinton; 7. 34Z Cory Van Zante, Sully; 8. 1 Austin Kaplan, Ankeny; 9. 15B Troy Burkhart, Urbana; 10. 22 Matt Petrzelka, Norway; 11. 22H Curt Hilmer, Dysart; 12. 95 Mike McDonald, Cedar Rapids; 13. J2 Dave Schulze, Keystone; 14. 10S John Schaefer, La Porte City; 15. 6K Lee Rouse, Atkins; 16. 57R Ryan King, Montour; 17. K3 Kyle Olson, Cedar Rapids; 18. 3B Brian Anderson, Garrison; 19. 3R Danny Dvorak, Vinton; 20. 00 Jim Buhlman, Cedar Falls.
Heat one: 1. K. Olson; 2. Burrell; 3. Petrzelka; 4. Lowry; 5. Buhlman; 6. Burkhart; 7. Rouse.
Heat two: 1. Anderson; 2. Schaefer; 3. King; 4. Hilmer; 5. Van Zante; 6. Heishman; 7. Kaplan.
Heat three: 1. Hogan; 2. T. Olson; 3. Krall; 4. Dvorak; 5. McDonald; 6. Schulze.

IMCA HOBBY STOCK
Feature: 1. 46 Brian Happel, Vinton; 2. 79 Benji Irvine, Stanley; 3. 07 Jacob Keiser, Marengo; 4. 55 Vince Buchholz, Tama; 5. 17K Kyle Parizek, Belle Plaine; 6. 5 Marcus Wayne, Independence; 7. 88 C. J. Dall, Marshalltown; 8. 29 Nathan Ballard, Marengo; 9. 78 Matt Brown, Dysart; DNS/10. 45 Justin Wacha, Vinton.
Heat: 1. Brown; 2. Irvine; 3. Happel; 4. Keiser; 5. Dall; 6. Wayne; 7. Buchholz; 8. Ballard; 9. Parizek; 10. Wacha.

IMCA SPORT COMPACT
Feature: 1. 007 Adam Gates, Marion; 2. 22 Nathan Chandler, Norway; 3. 36 Dave Reed, Cedar Rapids; 4. 00W Bill Whalen Jr., Riverside; 5. 3S Craig Streeter, Vinton; 6. 321 Drew Nickell, Cedar Rapids.
Heat: 1. Chandler; 2. Gates; 3. Reed; 4. Whalen; 5. Streeter; 6. Nickell.

BCS MICRO MOD
Feature: 1. 6E Don Erger, Brandon; 2. 2 Brandon Maitland, Waterloo; 3. 71 Tristan Cordes, Dunkerton; 4. 18 Jeff Davis, La Porte City; 5. 75 Cole McNeal, Dysart; 6. 111A A. J. Witten, Cedar Rapids; 7. 111 Buster Pate, Hiawatha.
Heat: 1. Erger; 2. Maitland; 3. Davis; 4. Cordes; 5. McNeal; 6. Pate; 7. Witten.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Siems scores thrilling SportMod win at Independence Motor Speedway

Three and four-wide racing has been common this season at Independence Motor Speedway, but the IMCA Northern SportMods took it to a whole new level Saturday night. (season championship scenarios follow below)

After a two-car battle at the front of the pack throughout the 15-lap feature, the field closed on the final lap as the front-runners crossed the line four-wide at the checkers.

Brian Hilbert took the lead at the drop of the green until a flat tire on his machine brought out the caution flag on lap nine, which left Lucas Lundry and Kip Siems on the front row for the ensuing restart.

Lundry took charge when racing resumed with Siems applying pressure. Jared VanDeest and Jenae Gustin had a two-car battle of their own for third place a short distance behind the lead pair.

While Siems challenged Lundry, Van Deest and Gustin reeled in the leaders and dropped to the low side of the front stretch off turn four on the final lap.

The top-four cars fell into four-wide formation at the stripe with Siems taking the thrilling win ahead of Lundry.

The win was the first of the year for Siems, who has won five times in weekly racing history in the SportMod division in Independence. He is now tied with Lundry and Joel Rust for sixth on the all-time list.

Siems has won at least one feature in each of the last three seasons at the speedway. That is currently the longest active streak in the division. He has won twice in his career during the month of August.

Darren Ackerman drove away from the field to score a dominant victory in the 25-lap IMCA Late Model feature.

After starting in row five, Ackerman took the lead from Rory Metcalf on the ninth lap and pulled away from traffic to win the caution-free event by half of a lap.

With the win, Ackerman took over the points lead in the division. He ended the night tied with Curt Martin at the top of the standings, however Ackerman holds the tiebreaker by virtue of his four feature wins this season.

This year marks the first time in his impressive career that Ackerman has won four times in a single season. His 22 career Late Model wins in weekly racing history in Independence tie him with Red Dralle for seventh on the all-time list. He has a little work to do to reach the top six - Jim Burbridge sits in that position with 32 wins.

When considering all divisions in weekly racing history at the speedway, Ackerman's 22 wins tie him with Dralle and Keith Knox for 21st on the track's wins list. Ackerman has won five times during the month of August.

Vern Jackson drove the high side to victory in the 20-lap Performance Bodies IMCA Modified feature. Jackson raced past Adam Johnson on the eighth circuit on the way to his first win of the season.

In his weekly racing career, Jackson's 41 Modified wins in Independence put him second on the all-time list. He is one win shy of Darin Duffy at the top of the list.

Dating back to 1979, Jackson has won in six different divisions in weekly racing at the speedway - in the Roadrunner, Sportsman, Late Model, Street Stock, Pro Stock and Modified divisions - a total of 97 times. No other driver has won in more divisions and no other driver has more wins. Jackson has won at least one feature in 28 different calendar years in Independence - also a track record.

Prior to Saturday night, Jackson's most recent win came on the same weekend last year - August 17, 2013. Twelve of his 41 Modified wins have come in the month of August.

Justin Wacha made his way past Shawn Kuennen to drive to his second win of the year in the IMCA Hobby Stock division.

Randy Byerly and Kuennen shared time at the front of the 15-lapper before Wacha took control on lap 12. He survived a late restart and pressure from Brian Happel to earn the hard-fought victory.

With the win, Wacha became the 65th driver in weekly racing history to earn multiple Hobby Stock wins in Independence. He is tied with 17 other drivers for 48th on the division's wins list.

Scott Pippert also drove to his second win Saturday night. Pippert raced the low side past Jarod Weepie with two laps to go in the 18-lap IMCA Stock Car feature and then held off pressure from Weepie to earn his second straight win.

Pippert became the 28th Stock Car driver in weekly racing history in Independence to earn multiple wins. He finished the night tied with four other drivers for 24th on the all-time wins list.

Before taking a look at season championship scenarios for next Saturday's season finale, a number of folks should be recognized for making Saturday night's Kids' Night a huge success. Doug Cue of Superior Cleaning Services in Independence spearheaded the candy dash and collection of prizes for the show. He, along with Tarpy Trucking, RE/MAX Independence Realty, Independence Plumbing & Heating, Independence Pizza Hut, Performance Bodies, Tyler Droste Racing and Ed Thomas Racing all offered candy or other prizes to support the program.

Thank you also to 10-year-old Cole Snyder for joining me behind the microphone to call the action throughout the show. At first, Cole was hesitant to talk about more than the Modifieds and then he was unsure if he wanted to do more than read Modified lineups. Very quickly, he became comfortable on the microphone and did a fantastic job informing and entertaining the crowd throughout the entire program. Thanks for a fun night, Cole! You were awesome!

It was also great to see Grant Oskvig in attendance Saturday night. Grant, who flags at various tracks throughout central Iowa during the summer, is also the official flagman for the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models and is one of two who flag the action at Boone Speedway for the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals. I'm glad you were able to get a night off to enjoy the races as a fan, Grant! My calendar will be a little more open next summer and I can't wait to take in a few shows with you!

Now, onto next Saturday's scenarios...

Before each division's breakdown, here's a breakdown of the points structure and next Saturday's format. Each feature winner is awarded 40 points, with each subsequent finishing position earning one less point. A second place finish earns a driver 39 points, third place 38, etc. The fewest number of points a driver can earn by taking the green flag in a feature is 17. Should more than 24 cars start a feature, all drivers who finish 24th or worse receive 17 points. This means the largest number of points a driver can make-up or lose to a fellow competitor who starts the feature is 23. All ties in the point standings are broken by the number of feature wins. If drivers have the same number of wins, most second place finishes breaks the tie. If still tied, most third place finishes, etc. until the tie is broken.

The Late Model division is the only division that awards points for heat race finishes. Heat races award three points for a win, two points for second place and one point for third place. Since next Saturday's feature will be lined up straight-up based on season point totals, there will be no heat races held in any division, including Late Models. Qualifying is not necessary since feature lineups will be determined upon driver check-in.

We typically start 24 cars in feature events, but will start up to 26 if no more than 26 cars sign into a division. In the event that more than 26 cars sign in, the top 20 in points in attendance will be locked into a starting spot in the feature. The remaining drivers will be lined up based on season point totals for a B feature with transfer spots to the feature awarded to the top four finishers.

The Indee Challenge will be offered to the top four drivers in each division's standings. Each of those drivers will be given the chance to double their money if they can win the feature after starting at the tail. Additional laps will be scheduled in the features.

IMCA LATE MODEL
Darren Ackerman and Curt Martin are tied at the top of the standings, however Ackerman holds the tiebreaker with four feature wins. Dean Wagner sits in third place, 17 points behind the leaders. Jerry King is 24 points back in fourth and Jon Passick sits fifth, 26 points out of the lead. They are the only five drivers mathematically alive to win the track championship.

By either Ackerman or Martin simply taking the green flag in next week's championship feature, King and Passick will be eliminated. Assuming the odds of that is very likely, here are the scenarios for the remaining three drivers still alive to win the championship:

Darren Ackerman: To win his fourth track championship, Ackerman must beat Martin and finish within 17 spots of Wagner in the feature. Ackerman also hold the tie-breaker with Wagner (number of feature wins).
Curt Martin: The scenario is almost the same for Martin to win his 11th track championship. He must beat Ackerman and finish within 17 spots of Wagner unless Wagner wins the feature. In the instance that Wagner wins the feature, Martin would need to finish within 16 spots of Wagner because Wagner would hold the feature wins tiebreaker.
Dean Wagner: Wagner must beat both Ackerman and Martin by 18 positions to earn his first track championship. If Wagner wins the feature, he would need to finish ahead of Martin by 17 positions.

IMCA MODIFIED
Troy Cordes leads the Modified points with a 27 point advantage over J. D. Auringer and Scott Hogan. He is 31 points ahead of Tyler Droste and 32 ahead of Ronn Lauritzen.

By simply taking the green flag in next Saturday's feature, Cordes would lock up his fourth Modified track championship at Independence. For some reason, if Cordes does not take the green flag in the feature, all other drivers in the top five are mathematically alive to win the title. Since all five of those drivers are within five points of each other, it would set up a thrilling (although unlikely) scenario. Use the point structure listed above to determine what those four drivers would need to do to win the title if Cordes doesn't start the feature.

Auringer is officially in second place in the standings and will start in the front row of the championship feature. He is tied in total points with Hogan, however the third tiebreaker is where Auringer gets the nod. Both he and Hogan have one win entering the final night and each have two second place finishes. Auringer's three third place finishes to Hogan's two third place finishes breaks the tie and puts Auringer on the front row.

IMCA STOCK CAR
Norman Chesmore is looking for the first track championship of his career and is very close to locking it up. Chesmore sits 18 points ahead of Jarod Weepie and 37 points ahead of Jesse Brown in the standings. They are the only three Stock Car drivers who are mathematically alive to win the title. By virtue of taking the green flag in the feature, Chesmore would eliminate Brown from title contention.

Norman Chesmore: To lock up the title, Chesmore must finish within 17 positions of Weepie in the final running order.

Jarod Weepie: Weepie must beat Chesmore by 18 positions to earn his fifth Stock Car crown. In the event of a tie in the standings, Weepie holds all tie-breaker by virtue of his feature win.

Jesse Brown: Should Chesmore not take the green flag, depending on car count, Brown would still be alive to win the track championship. In that scenario, Brown would need to finish no worse than fourth in the feature AND beat Weepie by 20 positions. Brown holds the tiebreaker over Chesmore (feature wins), but Weepie holds the tiebreaker over Brown unless Brown wins the feature. If Chesmore doesn't start and Brown wins the feature, beating Weepie by 19 positions would earn the title for Brown. (See why I didn't give a detailed breakdown of the Modifieds in the event Cordes doesn't take the green flag?)

IMCA NORTHERN SPORTMOD
Alex Zwanziger holds a five point lead over Danny Dvorak and an 11 point lead over Jenae Gustin entering championship night. They are the only three drivers still alive to win the track championship.

Alex Zwanziger: A top five finish will earn Zwanziger his first Independence track championship. Actually, he can finish sixth and win the tiebreaker over Dvorak unless Dvorak wins the feature. In the event of a Dvorak win, Zwanziger must finish in the top five to lock up the title. As it stands, Zwanziger has one feature win and Dvorak has none, however if Dvorak wins and Zwanziger finishes sixth, the second tiebreaker would be in effect and Dvorak would win based on his three runner-up finishes to Zwanziger's two.

If Zwanziger finishes outside the top five and Dvorak doesn't win, Zwanziger must finish within five spots of Dvorak and 10 spots of Gustin to earn the title.

Danny Dvorak: Dvorak can earn his third SportMod title if he beats Zwanziger by six positions (only five positions if Dvorak wins the feature) and finishes within five spots of Gustin.

Jenae Gustin: Gustin must beat Zwanziger by 11 spots AND Dvorak by six spots to earn her first track championship. Her seven feature wins awards her the tiebreaker against both drivers.

IMCA HOBBY STOCK
Benji Irvine leads the standings by five points over Justin Wacha and nine points over Shawn Kuennen. Both Jamie Whitaker (28 points back) and Jeremiah Wilson (33 points back) are mathematically alive, however both Whitaker and Wilson will be eliminated if either Irvine or Wacha take the green flag in the feature.

Benji Irvine: A top-five finish would lock up Irvine's second straight Hobby Stock title. Coincidentally, he would be the first Hobby Stock driver in the 26-year history of the division in Independence to win back-to-back championships.

Should Irvine not finish in the top five, he would need to finish within five spots of Wacha and nine spots of Kuennen to win the points championship. Irvine holds the tiebreaker with both drivers by virtue of his six feature wins.

Justin Wacha: To win his first track championship, Wacha must beat Irvine by six spots and finish within three spots of Keunnen. Kuennen holds the tiebreaker with Wacha. Both have two wins and one runner-up finish, however Kuennen has three third place finishes to none for Wacha.

Shawn Kuennen: Also in search of his first track championship, Kuennen can win the title if he beats Irvine by 10 positions and Wacha by four spots.

There you have it, unofficial championship scenarios at-a-glance as we enter the final night of racing in Independence.

Tonight, it's off to Benton County Speedway here in Vinton for the first of two straight nights of racing. Weekly action gets underway at 6 p.m. tonight and tomorrow is the make-up date for the XSAN Hawkeye Dirt Tour for IMCA Modifieds.

Tuesday, I'm planning to head to Cedar County Raceway in Tipton for the Deery Brothers Summer Series/Hawkeye Dirt Tour double-header. Those two divisions will be joined by IMCA sanctioned Stock Cars this year and, as always, promises to be a great show.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your weekend!