By Mike Spieker
QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (Feb. 10) – After a solid third place effort was negated the night before in post-race tech, Jake O’Neil cruised to the win on night two of the Karl Performance Arizona IMCA Modified Tour at Arizona Speedway.
O’Neil started on the pole for the 25-lap main event with Kody Scholpp to his outside. O’Neil led the opening circuit with Scholpp in tow. Meanwhile, Jason Wolla, Casey Arneson and Ethan Dotson raced three-wide for third.
The race for third quickly became a battle for second as Dotson and Arneson reeled in Scholpp. Dotson, who was the lone driver in the top five riding the rim around the thin cushion, squeezed around Scholpp for second and brought Wolla with him.
Wolla snuck by Dotson for second with 18 laps to go but O’Neil had already stretched his advantage to over two seconds.
Lapped traffic slowed O’Neil’s pace significantly, which allowed Wolla to close the gap to just over a half second. Fortunately for O’Neil, the caution was displayed as Wolla was closing in, which allowed for a clean race track ahead for O’Neil on the ensuing restart.
Wolla fell back to fourth on the restart at the hands of Dotson and Arneson. O’Neil had checked out on the field once again by the time the final caution erased his lead with four laps remaining.
On the restart, a lapped car that had been pitside entered the race track right in front of the leaders. The lapped car ran right in the rubbered up groove, which forced O’Neil to attempt a slide job to get by him.
As O’Neil cleared the lapped car, Dotson got a tremendous run and nearly stole the lead exiting turn two. O’Neil was able to hold off Dotson’s charge, as well as a subsequent green, white, checkered restart, to take the $1,500 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifying victory.
Dotson, Arneson, Wolla and Scholpp rounded out the top five.
Ethan Braaksma backed up his win on Friday night to go back-to-back in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod feature. Braaksma took the lead from Chris Toth on lap six and went on to lead the remainder of the 20-lap event.
Feature results – 1. Jake O’Neil; 2. Ethan Dotson; 3. Casey Arneson; 4. Jason Wolla; 5. Kody Scholpp; 6. Lucas Schott; 7. Russell Allen; 8. Bobby Hogge IV; 9. Hunter Marriott; 10. Lance Mari; 11. Tim Ward; 12. Dylan Goplen; 13. Cody Laney; 14. Zachary Madrid; 15. Lucas Rodin; 16. Shawn Strand; 17. Spencer Wilson; 18. Ricky Thornton Jr.; 19. Chaz Baca; 20. Chad Andersen; 21. Tyler Mecl; 22. Marlyn Seidler; 23. Bubba Stafford Jr.; 24. Bill Brack; 25. Chris Abelson; 26. Paul Stone.