Kay wins Deery Series finale, Sobbing earns IMCA Late Model tour crown 

His 15th place finish at Saturday’s Liberty 100 Deery Brothers Summer Series event at West Liberty Raceway made Jesse Sobbing the champion and rookie of the year in the IMCA Late Model tour. (Photo by Mike Ruefer)

WEST LIBERTY, Iowa (Sept. 23) – Justin Kay celebrated another feature win and Jesse Sobbing celebrated a first championship when the final Deery Brothers Summer Series checkers of the season flew Saturday at West Liberty Raceway.

Kay topped the $5,000 to win, 100 lap Liberty 100 main event while Sobbing persevered to a 15th place finish, good enough to make him champion and the top rookie of the 2017 tour for IMCA Late Models.

Tyler Bruening led all but the first nine and the last nine laps before chasing Kay across the stripe. Jake Neal ran in or close to the top three all night and finished as the runner-up to Sobbing in the points race.

Kay had raced his way to the 16th starting spot in the feature by finishing second in his “B” race earlier in the evening; he and Sobbing were part of a multi-car tangle on the 26th lap that was loaded with potential to change both the outcome of the main event and the series standings.

After restarting at the rear, Kay raced his way back through the field, passing Bruening for the lead on lap 92 and then holding on following a caution with six to go.

Sobbing’s car sustained heavy front end damage in the earlier incident. He stayed on the track and his perseverance was rewarded with 15th place points and the series championship.

The checkers were the fifth of the season and series career 24th for Kay.

“I don’t think I’ve ever won a Deery show like that,” said Kay, who figured he passed around 33 cars over the course of his ‘B’ and the main event. “I’ve gone to the back and won weekly shows but never a Deery.”

“The track was absolutely awesome,” he added. “It was smooth, slick and black. The race was just fun.”

A former Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod national champion and IMCA Modified regional cham­pion, Sobbing is the first driver to win both the Deery Series crown and rookie of the year title the same year.

Neal was the $250 Sunoco Race Fuels feature qualifier drawing winner at West Liberty.

Chad Holladay had set fast time on Friday to earn $300. Bruening was the winner of the opening night champions’ race, passing Holladay out of the final turn for a $1,000 payday.

Feature results – 1. Justin Kay, Wheatland; 2. Tyler Bruening, Decorah; 3. Jake Neal, Omaha, Neb.; 4. Andy Eckrich, Oxford; 5. Nick Marolf, Wilton; 6. Kevin Kile, West Liberty; 7. Ryan Dolan, Lisbon; 8. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 9. Ron Boyse, Kalona; 10. Chris Horn, Cedar Rapids; 11. Chad Holladay, Muscatine; 12. Scott Fitzpatrick, Cedar Falls; 13. Matt Ryan, Davenport; 14.Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown; 15. Jesse Sobbing, Malvern; 16. Tim Simpson, West Branch; 17. Jeff Tharp, Sherrill; 18. Joel Callahan, Dubuque; 19. Denny Eckrich, Tiffin; 20. Curt Martin, Independence; 21. Kyle Hinrichs, Swisher; 22. Rob Moss, Iowa City; 23. Kyle Krampe, Baxter; 24. Luke Merfeld, Dubuque.