INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (June 27) – Mid-season championships were extra special for a pair of drivers Saturday night at Independence Motor Speedway.
Brian Hunter and Brian Irvine earned their first trips to victory lane in their respective divisions at their hometown track.
Hunter took the green flag from the third row in the 25-lap Budweiser IMCA Late Model headliner. He made his way through traffic while Greg Kastli held the early lead.
Hunter reeled in the leader in a handful of laps before making his bid to the low side of Kastli on the sixth circuit. Hunter pulled away from the field and fought off the challenges of Rick Wendling in lapped traffic before the event’s only caution waved with six laps to go.
On the restart, Hunter again extended his advantage while Tyler Droste battled Wendling for second. Droste broke free from Wendling as laps wound down, however Hunter raced to the checkers and his first Independence win.
Irvine, a first-year Performance Bodies IMCA Modified driver, had been close to that elusive first win throughout the first half of the season. He checked it off his to-do list Saturday night.
Irvine raced the low side past Tony Snyder to steal the lead midway through that 20-lapper and then survived a late caution to earn his career first Modified victory ahead of Vern Jackson and Snyder.
Irvine’s cousin, Benji Irvine, continued his winning ways in the Big Daddy Chassis IMCA Hobby Stock division by earning his fourth win of the year.
Although lapped traffic impeded his progress in the second half of that 15-lapper, Irvine took advantage of slower traffic late to steal the win by a bumper ahead of Justin Lichty. Shawn Kuennen finished third.
Tony Olson raced past the low side of Matt McCahen to steal the lead on the sixth of 15 circuits and drive to his third win of the year in the Tenacity Graphics IMCA Northern SportMod main.
Olson held off a charging Lucas Lundry in traffic to score the win and take over the point lead. McCahen ran third.
Phil Holtz and Chris Luloff shared time at the front of the 15-lap Burco Sales IMCA Stock Car feature while point leader Jarod Weepie worked through the pack from a fourth row start.
Weepie worked a lower groove past Luloff for the lead as the white flag waved to drive to his second win of the season. Holtz finished third.
Racing action continues Saturday, July 4 in all six weekly divisions, however hot laps are scheduled one hour earlier, 5:30 p.m., due to the Independence Day holiday. The racing program, which will be held in conjunction with the City of Independence, is scheduled to be complete by 9:30 p.m. to accommodate the city’s fireworks display.