Sellers gets first career win on emotional night at Independence

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (May 31) – Emotions were strong Saturday night at Independence Motor Speedway as those in attendance honored the memory of Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod driver Brandon Smith. A weekly competitor in Independence throughout his career, Smith died in an accident in his garage over the weekend.

Outside front row starter Lucas Lundry took the lead at the on-set of the 15-lap feature. He distanced himself from the pack while Matt McCahen and Dakoda Sellers pursued.

While the race was already under caution on lap nine, a fire erupted from Lundry’s brakes which forced him to an early exit. That left McCahen and Sellers on the front row for the ensuing restart.

Sellers shot into the lead when racing resumed and led the final six laps to score the first win of his career. McCahen ran second head of Kevin Hurst.

Luke Pestka took the lead in lapped traffic to drive to his first win of the year in the IMCA Late Model feature.

Russell Hesse led early and was pressured by Sean Johnson throughout the first six laps of the 25-lapper while Pestka worked into contention from a fourth row start.

Pestka reeled in both Johnson and Hesse on the eighth circuit while the leaders battled lapped traffic. Pestka snuck beneath the front runners and the lapped car in turn four to escape with the lead.

Pestka survived a pair of stoppages over the final 17 circuits to take the victory. Greg Kastli came from the fifth row to finish second ahead of Johnson.

A handful of cautions over the first eight laps prevented Jason Snyder from running away and hiding in the 20-lap Performance Bodies IMCA Modified feature.

After building big leads following each restart, Snyder found Ronn Lauritzen on his rear bumper on the final restart on lap eight. Lauritzen swept past the leader shortly after racing resumed to drive to his third win of the year. Vern Jackson came home second followed by point leader Scott Hogan who started 15th.

IMCA Sunoco Stock Car driver Jarod Weepie extended his points lead by taking his first win of the season in that 18-lapper.

Cole Mather took the early lead and held off pressure from Jesse Brown until the caution flag waved on lap 10. On the restart, Weepie, who was running fifth, worked the top groove into second by the time the field exited turn two.
Weepie pestered Mather for a number of laps before making his way into the lead with one lap remaining. He went on to score the win ahead of Mather and Tim Helle.

Jim Ball earned his first win in nearly eight years in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock division. Ball took the lead at the drop of the green and held off a late charge from Matt White to seal the victory. By virtue of his third place finish, Shawn Kuennen took over the points lead.

Since those in attendance waited through two rain delays, promoters Darin Burco and Todd Summers of S&B Promotions are offering a $5 Fan Appreciation Night next Saturday, June 7. Grandstand admission will be $5 for everyone ages 12 and older. Kids 11 and under will be admitted free if accompanying a paid adult.

June 7 is also the annual Relay for Life Cancer Awareness Pink Night. Everyone is invited to wear pink to the races to help promote cancer awareness and raise money for the American Cancer Society.