By Jerry Mackey
INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (Aug. 1) – Saturday was a very special night at the Independence Motor Speedway as the Iowa Donor Network night brought 138 race teams to the track racing for a huge purse thanks to all the hard work by the Donor Network volunteers. The huge crowd on hand was treated to an outstanding night of racing with near perfect weather conditions providing a great racing experience.
Curt Martin has been racing at his hometown track for five decades, taking his first green flag in 1978, when he started racing midway through the season. Saturday night saw Martin win his unprecedented 13th track championship with championships being recorded in five consecutive decades.
Martin came into Saturday night holding a slim four-point lead in the season-long IMCA Sunoco Late Model point standings ahead of Jeff Aikey. With Aikey finishing sixth in the main event and Martin trailing Aikey in eighth, the title went to Martin by two points over Aikey.
Winner Sean Johnson finished three points behind Martin.
Following the Late Model feature, Johnson generously donated $500 to the Iowa Donor Network and also offered track promoter Mick Trier $500 to add the Late Models to the final race at IMS next week. Initially, Trier declined the donation but with local businessman Doug Cue matching Johnson’s donation, Trier agreed to run the Late Models on Aug. 8.
The $1,000 to win IMCA Modified feature saw Kollin Hibdon score an impressive win. The 16-year-old Hibdon, already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot, took advantage of a front row draw and led the main event flag to flag. Hibdon’s mentor, Jeff Aikey fought through the pack from his eighth position start to finish second ahead of Troy Cordes.
The IMCA Sunoco Stock Car main event saw Cole Mather push his win streak to six consecutive and 12 of the last 13 at his home track. Mather raced down Leah Wroten and raced wheel to wheel with her for several laps before taking control of the main event. Chris Luloff was able to move past Wroten in the late going to take second as Wroten took third.
The Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods saw visitor Josh Most score the win in the 18 lap feature. Most was forced to make repairs following a last lap skirmish in his heat race. The hard work paid off as Most took the $1,000 first place prize money. Early leader Troy Bauer held on for second just ahead of Vern Jackson who advanced 21 positions after starting shotgun on the field.
The IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks main event belonged to Kaden Reynolds, who drew the outside pole and led the race flag to flag. Second place finisher Nathan Ballard ran the rim of the race track the entire distance of the feature but was unable to mount a serious challenge on Reynolds.
The IMS staff would like to thank Jess Ender and all the Iowa Donor Network Volunteers for making the race program Saturday night an outstanding event. Watch the Iowa Donor Network Facebook page for a grand total of dollars raised for the IDN.