By Ryan Clark
INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (Aug. 23) – Nobody has won more track championships or Late Model features at Independence Motor Speedway than Curt Martin.
He added to that stellar career Saturday night.
Martin, who entered the night tied atop the standings with Darren Ackerman, led all 30 laps of the IMCA Late Model feature and took the checkers half of a lap ahead of Jon Passick during Budweiser Season Championships.
It was Martin’s 95th Late Model win in weekly racing history and his 11th track championship at the speedway, his first since 2006. Martin’s first track title came in 1984.
Troy Cordes, Alex Zwanziger and Benji Irvine also locked up track titles by finishing the season in victory lane. Roger Ciesielski earned his first Independence win in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car division while Norman Chesmore earned track champion honors in that division.
All feature events were lined up straight-up based on season point totals. The top four in each division’s standings were given the chance to double their money by taking the Indee Challenge – winning the feature after starting at the tail of the field.
From his front row start, Martin quickly pulled away from Ackerman and extended his advantage to over a straightaway before a lap seven caution bunched the field.
Martin continued his dominant performance when racing resumed and built a half a lap lead when the yellow flag again bunched the field with nine laps to go. He pulled away once more on that restart to drive to the convincing win.
Cordes earned his fifth win of the year in the Performance Bodies IMCA Modified 25-lapper. He took the lead at the drop of the green while Tyler Droste worked his way past Scott Hogan for second on lap two.
Cordes held the point on a lap 11 restart as he and Droste pulled away from traffic. Droste kept pace with the leader, however was unable to challenge for the win as Cordes drove to victory and his fourth track title in the division.
Zwanziger earned the first track championship of his career in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod division.
Zwanziger set the pace at the drop of the green and built a sizable advantage over the pack. Meanwhile, Jenae Gustin, who took the challenge and started at the tail, made a quick run through the 18-car field.
Gustin found herself in the top five after just six laps and worked her way past Danny Dvorak for second with three laps to go.
Gustin closed the gap on the leader, however Zwanziger was too strong out front as he raced to victory in the caution-free 20-lapper.
Irvine fought off heavy pressure from Justin Wacha in lapped traffic to earn his seventh win of the season and his second straight IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock track championship.
Irvine built a comfortable lead until he encountered slower traffic midway through that 20-lapper. Wacha chased Irvine through the backmarkers in the waning laps and challenged to the inside of the leader, however Irvine held on for victory.
All four drivers at the top of the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car standings took the challenge and started at the tail of that 12-car feature. That left Jason Hocken on the pole for that 25-lapper.
Hocken paced the field for the first 15 laps while Cieisielski raced into contention from a third row start. Ciesielski raced past Hocken on the 16th circuit to drive to victory.
Chesmore wrapped up track championship honors by simply taking the green flag in the event. He finished fourth in the feature.