VINTON, Iowa (Aug. 22) – A number of close points battles were finally settled as champions were crowned on the final night of racing for the 2021 season at Benton County Speedway.
Troy Cordes and Cristian Grady made the most of the finale by locking up track titles with season championship feature wins on the fast, smooth, multi-grooved, quarter-mile Bullring.
Features were lined straight-up based on season point totals, allowing those in contention for track titles to settle things from the front row. And in four of those divisions, margins of four points or fewer separated the top contenders entering the final night.
From his pole position start, Cordes quickly made his move to the top side while fellow front row starter and championship contender Dylan Thornton gave chase in the KISS Country 96.5 IMCA Modifieds.
Cordes extended his advantage while Thornton tried both high and low to reel in the front-runner. He distanced himself in lapped traffic and built over a straight-away lead to secure the win and track title ahead of a hard-charging Mark Schulte, Thornton, Jerry Dedrick and Derrick Stewart in the caution-free 25-lapper. For Cordes, it was his career seventh season championship feature win at The Bullring and his eighth Modified track title in Vinton.
Likewise, Grady sealed the deal with a win in the Mach-1 IMCA Sport Compacts presented by Auto Crafters. Grady was chased throughout the 15-lapper by Logan Clausen, who was looking to steal the win and the track title away from Grady.
Grady maintained the point throughout to lead the main event in its entirety on his way to victory and his first title on the Vinton oval. Clausen finished second ahead of first-time visitor Corey Crispin. Zeke Wheeler and Blake Driscol completed the top five.
Kaden Reynolds raced to a track-best ninth win of the year in the main event for the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks presented by Kwik Star.
From a row two start, Reynolds quickly worked into contention and battled front row starters Joren Fisher and Matt Brown for the race lead. They were joined by Michael Kimm before Reynolds broke free just a few laps into that 18-lapper.
Reynolds won the event in dominant fashion, his 30th of the season, as he continues to lead the national IMCA Hobby Stock points. Fisher, who started the night four points ahead of Matt Brown, earned the first track title of his career with a second place run. Brett Vanous, Jacob Floyd and Jeremiah Andrews completed the top five.
Dallon Murty topped the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars presented by Albert Auto in similar fashion. From his second row start, Murty quickly worked into contention and battled front row starters Jay Schmidt and Leah Wroten for the race lead.
Running the top side, Murty pulled away from the pack while Dylan Thornton entered the mix from a fourth row start. Thornton briefly applied pressure to Murty, but was unable to make the pass as Murty raced to his division-leading eighth win of the year. Thornton ran second ahead of Jay Schmidt, who locked up the track title with his third place finish. Riley Hanson and Wroten rounded out the top five.
By simply taking the green flag, Tony Olson was assured his fifth track title in the Karl Kustoms IMCA Northern SportMods presented by Christie Door Company. That led him to decide to start that 18-lapper from the back of the pack to make it a show for the fans in attendance.
Kyle Olson inherited the pole position and quickly pulled away from the field at the drop of the green. Running the top side, he built a considerable lead before engine problems brought his great run to an early end.
Meanwhile, the battle for second between Joe Docekal and Brandon Tharp became a battle for the race lead. While those two tussled, Tony Olson made his way through the pack and challenged for the top spot.
Running the low groove, Docekal was able to wrestle the lead away from Tharp to drive to victory. Olson, Troy Burkhart and Brett Thomas rounded out the top five.