By Jeremy Fox
INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (July 16, 2022) – Jeff Aikey had a night to remember on the night Independence Motor Speedway remembered Hall of Famer Greg Hunter.
Aikey led start to finish of Saturday’s 25-lap IMCA Sunoco Late Model main event, earning $2,777 and promptly giving the trophy to Hunter’s sons Nick and Andy after the last of victory lane photos were taken.
“I met Greg probably 42 years ago when I started. He was a pretty good friend,” Aikey said of fellow Late Model driver and Indee track champion Hunter, who passed away July 9 at the age of 64. “We raced together at a lot of Iowa tracks, here, Marshalltown, West Union, Vinton, Webster City, Dubuque. Greg was usually where I was. We did a lot of racing together.”
“I won the first Denny Osborn Memorial and that was big. It was pretty special to win the inaugural Greg Hunter Memorial too,” he continued. “I’m not a spring chicken any more so every win means a lot, but this one was really special. It was really emotional.”
Bobby Hansen and Aikey led the field to green for the main event. Aikey got out in front early while Hansen had to battle with Matt Ryan, Andy Nezworski and Sean Johnson before back-to-back cautions on lap eight.
Unfazed, Aikey went on to take the feature win worth $2,777 to win on a night when sevens appropriately dominated the top five: Aikey took the win in the no. 77 car, Nezworski finished second in the no. 7, Johnson was third, Ryan in the no. 07 car was fourth and Hansen was fifth.
Donations helped push the feature purse to more than $11,000.
J.D. Auringer took advantage of a late restart in topping the Friesen Performance IMCA Modified feature and Cole Mather caught Leah Wroten on lap 16 and led to the finish in winning his fourth IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature of the season at Indee.
Tony Olson accepted the challenge to start from the back row and beat the bounty hunters to the Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod checkers for his fifth straight Independence victory. Billy Rhoades was the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock winner.
Next Saturday night, July 23 is the Iowa Donor Network Racing to Save Lives Night presented by Geater Machining & Manufacturing. Pits 0pen at 4 p.m. and the grandstand opens at 4:30 p.m. with hot laps at 5:30 p.m. and racing at 6 p.m.
Late Model feature results – 1. Jeff Aikey; 2. Andy Nezworski; 3. Sean Johnson; 4. Matt Ryan; 5. Bobby Hansen; 6. Jacob Waterman; 7. Tim Simpson; 8. Dalton Simonsen; 9. Travis Smock; 10. Curt Martin; 11. Jerod Ballhagen; 12. Greg Kastli; 13. Don Pataska; 14. Colton Leal; 15. Jon Passick; 16. Brandon Davis; 17. Leah Wroten; 18. Austin Russell; 19. Kevin Kirkpatrick; 20. Logan Duffy; 21. Chase Jermeland; 22. Scott Welsh; 23. Gary Webb; 24. Dustin Schram.