By Ryan Clark
INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (May 10) – For the third straight week, three drivers became first-time winners at Independence Motor Speedway. For two of them, the victories were the first of their careers in their respective divisions.
John Emerson had won numerous IMCA Sunoco Stock Car features in recent years in Independence, but it took just the third night of the season for the first-year IMCA Late Model driver to find victory lane.
From his second row starting spot, Emerson quickly worked past front row starters Joel Brasch and Rick Wendling to assume command. He paced the field through a handful of cautions over the first six laps before the race went non-stop over the final 19 circuits of the 25-lap feature.
Emerson held the point while Wendling and Dean Wagner tussled for second following the final restart. He pulled away from the pack until Wendling broke free from Wagner. Wendling chased down the leader and pulled to within a car-length as Emerson worked lapped traffic late in the event.
Emerson held on to lead the event in its entirety on his way to the first Late Model win of his career. Wendling finished a close second ahead of Wagner.
Josh Sherbon experienced success of his own in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods, however the third-year IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modified driver was still in search of his first win in that division entering Saturday night.
Sherbon picked up his first career Modified win in dominant fashion by leading all 20 laps and taking the checkers by a sizable margin ahead of Ronn Lauritzen. Patrick Flannagan finished third.
Jesse Brown had one IMCA Stock Car win to his credit entering Saturday night, however he was in search of his first win on the Independence oval. By night’s end, Brown was the third first-time winner to visit victory lane.
Justin Stander held the early lead in that 18-lapper while Brown pursued. Brown took command just prior to a lap four caution and then held off a hard-charging Jarod Weepie to earn his first win at the speedway. Paul Shepherd finished third.
Rod McDonald led all 15 laps of the Northern SportMod feature to take his first win of the season and the second of his career in Independence. Danny Dvorak made an impressive run from the 19th starting spot to take runner-up honors. Kevin Hurst crossed the line in third.
Benji Irvine became the speedway’s first repeat winner of the season as he topped the 15-lap IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature. Irvine, also the winner on opening night, worked around race-long leader Jamie Whitaker with five laps to go to sail to victory. Whitaker and Jacob Keiser completed the top three.