Strategy pays off for Denning with Durbin Memorial win

Travis Denning cruised to the $2,008 IMCA Modified checkers at East Moline Speedway’s Greg Durbin Memorial. (Photo by Nick Jensen)

By Rob Hinckley

EAST MOLINE, Ill. (Aug. 8) – Travis Denning formulated the strategy as he circled the quarter-mile oval.

Denning got the hole shot from his P3 start, had the lead before the first circuit was completed and ended up cruising to the 30-lap Greg Durbin Memorial main event for IMCA Modifieds Sunday evening at East Moline Speedway.

The second annual event was held to celebrate the late member of the prominent Durbin racing family and driver of the No. 8 Modified. Already Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational qualifying eligible, Denning gathered $2,008 for the victory out of the nearly $8,000 up for grabs. 

The Sterling, Ill., hotshoe saw a straightaway advantage vanish on Lap 11 when one of the only three cautions flew. He then battled Jeff Larson after the restart with Larson edging to the front briefly. The left rear wheel came off the No. B1 sending Larson to a stop and bringing out the second yellow. 

Denning stayed on the point and let Greg’s brothers Brandon Durbin and Eric Barnes battle for the runner-up spot. Durbin charged the high groove at the end, but took second. Donavon Lodge snuck by Barnes. Ray Cox Jr. rounded out the top five.

Jarett Franzen exploded off a restart in the high groove and propelled by early leader C.J. Durbin to win the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod 15-lap finale. 

Durbin, Trey Grimm, Dakota Cole and Perry Gellerstedt followed. 

Mike Zemo Jr. paced the IMCA STARS Mod Lites, ahead of Brandon Freeburg, Michael Dominguez, Mike Morrow and Anthony Guss. 

The season continues at East Moline next Sunday, Aug. 15 with weekly racing in all classes Gates open at 4 p.m. Hot laps are at 5:15 p.m. with racing to follow.