Simpson captures Benton County opener, All-Star ballot nod

Chris Simpson held off Cayden Carter in winning the IMCA Modified feature, and $1,000, at Ben­ton County Speedway’s opener Sunday night. The checkers put Simpson on the ballot for the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational. (Photo by Jim Wittke)

By Jerry Mackey  

VINTON, Iowa (May 24) – With fans watching on big and small screens, Chris Simpson held off Cayden Carter in winning the IMCA Modified feature on opening night Sunday at Benton County Speedway.

The headliner of the night was the 25-lap IMCA Modified feature, which provided great racing on the perfectly prepared track and a battle to the checkered flag. Simpson, driving a Doug Cue-owned car, started on the pole position, led the race early and appeared to have control of the race until fourth starting Carter began to reel him.

Carter raced to the white flag on the rear bumper of Simpson and set up a side-by-side drag race down the back chute as the checkered flag was about to be waved. Simpson shot off the high side of turn four and held off Carter at the finish line taking the win by half a car length. Ethan Braaksma followed across the stripe in third. 

Simpson’s victory paid $1,000 and put him on the ballot for the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational.

The IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature was another nailbiter. Leah Wroten led early as she has shown that she will be a force to be reckoned with. Steve Meyer took the lead on lap 16 of the 20 lap feature and went on to take the checkers, just nipping Damon Murty at the checkers. Wroten held on to finish third. 

Defending national champion Tyler Soppe scored the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod win. He chased down early leader Ben Chapman and made the winning move as the race slipped past the midway point. 

Kaden Reynolds got to the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock stripe first, ahead of Nathan Ballard and Bret Vanous. 

The Bullring had a stellar field of 120 race cars in attendance. While the Covid-19 pandemic has played havoc with the scheduling of racing events, perseverance and innovative thinking got the season officially underway. The grandstands were closed on Sunday night but fans were allowed into the parking lot where they could view the races on a drive-in style large movie screen and the races were broadcast on IMCA.TV.