Stewart scores first Benton County Speedway victory

Derrick Stewart raced to the first Benton County Speedway victory of his career Sunday night in the IMCA Modified division. (Photo by Jim Wittke)

VINTON, Iowa (Aug.15) – Points battles remained tight Sunday night at Benton County Speedway. With the season championship program coming up next Sunday, drivers positioned themselves for a title run in the final event leading up to the season finale.

In the KISS Country 96.5 IMCA Modified division, a first-time winner had to hold off a hard-charging title contender in that feature. Derrick Stewart raced from the fourth row and worked along the outside of Josh Barta a handful of laps into the 20-lapper.

While Stewart pressured from the outside, point leader Troy Cordes, who also started in row four, pursued on the low side. Cordes reeled in the lead pair and the trio dueled before Stewart was able to make his way around Barta for the race lead.

Cordes continued to give chase and made numerous attempts to challenge high and low, but those efforts came up short as Stewart raced to his first-ever win at The Bullring. Cordes ran second ahead of Dylan Thornton, who ended the night trailing Cordes by four points in the division standings. Jerry Dedrick and Barta completed the top five.

By virtue of his first win of the season, Cristian Grady increased his narrow point lead in the standings for the Mach-1 IMCA Sport Compacts presented by Auto Crafters. 

Grady started in row three and made his way past Thomas Werning midway through that 12-lapper to drive to victory. Dylan Bonk ran second ahead of Logan Clausen, William Michel and Werning. Clausen finished the night three points behind Grady, while Michel ended the night 10 out of first.

While he isn’t in the points race, Brett Vanous has been a regular visitor to victory lane through the years at The Bullring. Sunday night, Vanous earned his second win of the year by holding off Jacob Floyd by inches in the 15-lapper for the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks presented by Kwik Star.

Vanous survived early pressure from Michael Kimm, a late charge from Floyd and a handful of restarts throughout to score the victory. Jeremiah Andrews, Kimm and Matt Brown completed the top five. Brown, who finished one spot ahead of points leader Joren Fisher, closed to within five points of Fisher in the standings entering championship night.

The battle for the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars presented by Albert Auto points lead was a race for second on the track Sunday night. Dylan Thornton cruised to the win in that 15-lapper while Leah Wroten held off point leader Jay Schmidt for runner-up honors. Wroten closed to within three points of Schmidt in the division standings. Mike Smith and Shaun Bistline competed the top five Sunday night.

Sixteen-year-old Maguire DeJong held the point for all 15 laps of the main event for the Karl Kustoms IMCA Northern SportMods presented by Christie Door Company. DeJong denied the challenges of runner-up Kyle Olson, who raced from a fourth row start. Fifth row starters Brett Thomas and Adam Birck ran third and fourth, respectively. Brandon Tharp rounded out the top five.

Point leader Tony Olson carries a healthy 34 point lead into championship night. He will lock up the title by simply taking the green flag Sunday night.

Gates for Sunday’s season championships open at 4 p.m., with hot laps at 5:30 and racing at 6. 

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