By Ben Deatherage
BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. (Jan. 1) – Saturday rang in the new year and Mohave Valley Raceway’s New Year’s Bash at the Track was celebrated as the first event of the 2022 IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing season.
Cody Laney was the $2,022 IMCA Modified winner and Larry Brigner collected $1,000 for the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car checkers. Ryan Peery scored the $750 Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod victory while Ken McWilliams banked $500 for taking the Mach-1 Sport Compact win.
Already Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational qualifying eligible, Laney had the field covered and had no issues with restarts in the Modified main. The Torrance, Calif., chauffeur was #StephanieStrong after heartbreaking mechanical problems took him out of action in the final moments in the Friday program.
Apache Junction driver Brigner jetted to the point of the 20-lap Stock Car main event. However, Trevor Hidalgo, managed to get around him on the second circuit. Night one winner Chris McCurdy Jr. obtained the top place position around the halfway mark. His tenure as the pacesetter lasted until lap 14, when Brigner got around him to reclaim the lead.
Brigner stayed in front the rest of the way to win the first victory in IMCA Stock Car competition at Mohave Valley, along with B & B Racing Chassis All-Star Invitational qualifying eligibility.
The fourth-starting Peery propelled his ride to the point on the second attempt to start the Northern SportMod feature. The Yreka, Calif., speedster had to deal with some pressure as the race stayed green for some time. Friday winner Mark Martini reeled in Peery but couldn’t quite make the pass.
The second and final caution of the main event occurred on lap 12. On the ensuing restart, Peery took off to the lead the rest of the distance to open his 2022 winning account.
Lastly, it was another electrifying Sport Compact 20-lap feature. Chris Niemi showed the way at the very start but was quickly challenged by McWilliams.
McWilliams, from Menifee, Calif., and winner the previous evening, tried to negotiate Niemi but could not do so. Later on, D.J. Werkmeister came to call to make it a three-car tussle for the top spot.
McWilliams finally was able to get past Niemi at the halfway mark. Werkmeister closed the gap and put up a significant challenge. The race came down to the final circuit, with McWilliams fending off all challengers and sweeping the New Year’s Bash at the Track.