VINTON, Iowa (Aug. 30) – The slimmest of margins separated Todd Cooney and John Emerson atop the IMCA Late Model Sunday Series standings entering the final night of action at Benton County Speedway.
As such, it stands to reason it took all 25 feature laps to remove all doubt in determining the series champion.
Cooney held a one point edge over Emerson entering the ninth and final series tilt and, based on the tie breakers in place, unless he won the feature Emerson had to beat Cooney by at least two positions on the track to steal championship honors.
Done and done.
Emerson chased pole sitter Charlie McKenna for the first six laps before assuming command on the next circuit and just prior to the race’s only caution. Cooney, who started outside of McKenna, worked past him on the restart while Ryan Dolan raced the top side into contention.
Dolan, the winner of two of the first three series events held in Vinton this season, slid past Cooney and quickly chased down Emerson. Dolan assumed command with six laps to go, however Emerson remained committed to the low groove and stayed in close pursuit.
Emerson rallied and surged ahead of Dolan as the white flag waved en route to victory, clinching the series title in the process. Darren Ackerman made his way around Cooney late to steal third.
National title contender Tony Olson won for the eighth time in Vinton and for the 27th time overall this season in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod division.
Olson, who locked up track championships with feature wins at Davenport and Independence earlier in the weekend, took the lead on the third circuit of Sunday’s feature. He started to pull away from traffic while Danny Dvorak raced through the field and settled into second.
Dvorak reeled in the race leader and was able to steal the top spot when Olson bobbled in turns one and two. A caution, however, negated the pass and left Olson at the helm for a restart with five laps remaining.
Olson drove away from the field when racing resumed to score the win in the 16-lapper ahead of Dvorak and Sam Wieben.
Nathan Ballard and Justin Wacha have battled at the top of the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock standings all season and they did the same on the track for top honors in that division’s 15-lapper.
From a fourth row start, Ballard quickly raced the low side into contention and took the lead after the completion of just one lap. Wacha chased him to the front as the lead pair pulled to a straightaway advantage over the field.
Wacha was able to slide beneath Ballard to snare the lead on lap six, however Ballard dialed in his No. 29 on the top side and resumed command four laps later. Ballard led the remainder of the 15-lapper to record his ninth win of the season. Wacha ran second ahead of Matt Pohlman.
Troy Cordes raced from a row five starting spot and into the lead after just seven of 20 laps in the Cassill Motors IMCA Modified main. Cordes took the top spot from Mike Burbridge and drove away from the pack to score the win, his third of the year.
Tony Snyder held off Scott Hogan for runner-up honors. Cordes, who started the night with a two point lead over Hogan, will have a four point advantage entering season championship night.
In only his second night behind the wheel of a new-to-him IMCA Sunoco Stock Car, Justin Temeyer raced to his first local win since last season. Temeyer took the lead away from Kevin Rose on the sixth of 16 laps and then held off pressure from Damon Murty to score the win. Scott Pippert ran third.
Racing action will take a break the next two weekends due to the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s, which will be held Sept. 7-12 at Boone Speedway. Action returns to the Vinton quarter-mile one more night this season for the Salute to Soldiers Season Championships on Sept. 20.