By Rob Hinckley
EAST MOLINE, Ill. (Aug. 21, 2022) – Accelerating through the dirt in the high groove of turns one and two and then maneuvering the low side of turns three and four is a common strategy around East Moline Speedway.
Jon Padilla tried a different route Sunday evening and came out of a three-car battle for the 15-lap IMCA STARS Mod Lite Season Championship feature win.
The Silvis, Ill. pilot won the night’s battle and the season-long war as he was unofficially crowned the 2022 track champion. Last year’s champ, Anthony Guss, did not win one feature en route to that title. Padilla finishes this season with a pair of victories.
“Starting up front helped but I knew it wouldn’t be easy,” Padilla said in victory lane. “It worked great on the bottom (groove) and the car grabbed hold and got a good bite off the corner.”
Padilla started on the pole and paced every lap beating Brandon Freeburg, R.J. Gonzales, Mike Morrow and Jacob Copley.
The IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks featured a track record car count (12) and equal amount of drama. Three different drivers led the event – Josh Lane, Randy Lamar and Donnie Cole. A plethora of battles, cautions and contact ended up restacking the field for a two-lap dash to the finish.
On the ensuing green, more contact left three cars on their roof or close to it near turn one and the race was called complete.
At press time, track officials were still determining a final finish.
Jacob Waterman sped by Chuck Hanna on lap 15 and cruised to his fifth IMCA Sunoco Late Model 25-lap feature win. Hanna had to check up for another car that lost control, allowing Waterman to move by. Hanna, Chance Huston, Mike Haines and LeRoy Brenner rounded out the top five.
Jeff Larson visited again, with a new wrap this time, and ran away with the Friesen Performance IMCA Modified 20-lapper. Travis Denning closed in after a caution and took second ahead of Charlie Mohr, early leader Brandt Cole and Kenny Kostenbader.
Logan Veloz took the ultra-competitive and highly dramatic Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod 15-lap feature. After multiple cautions, the checkers fell with Matt Speidel, Trey Grimm, David Engelkens and Rayce Mullen rounding out the top five.
A season high total of 110 cars were in the pits and the final checkered flag fell about 10 p.m.
The 2022 season continues this Sunday Aug. 28 with season championship events for the other six regular classes.