By Jerry Mackey
MAQUOKETA, Iowa (Aug. 12, 2023) – Saturday night, the Maquoketa Speedway hosted 135 race teams on Kinion Auto Sales Season Championships for the IMCA Sunoco Late Models.
The Late Models took the green with 20 drivers in attendance on the quick ¼-mile oval. The battle was on at the dropping of the green between the two high point drivers, Andy Nezworski and Dalton Simonsen.
Nezworski was recorded as the leader on lap one before Simonsen took over the top spot. Simonsen has been a top five car all year but was yet to record a win. Saturday night saw the Fairfax driver’s fortune change as he battled Nezworski the entire race and went on to record a very impressive win.
A late-race caution set up a dash to the finish and Bryce Garnhart was able to nip Nezworski at the finish line for second. Nezworski was crowned the 2023 track champion after completing a stellar season.
The Friesen Performance IMCA Modified main event was action packed to say the least with a couple multiple car cautions completely changing the complexion of the race.
When the checkers flew following 20 laps of intense competition, it was Chris Zogg earning the feature win. Pat Moore took off from the front row and led the first 15 laps before a caution set up a restart and Moore was not able to hold back the hard chargers.
Zogg took the win over Travis Denning, who debuted a new Performer chassis on Saturday night. Austin Blume raced to a third place finish.
It is always special to welcome a first-time winner to the Oly’s Garage victory lane. Saturday night saw Cole Stichter score his first-ever feature win and he did it taking the win over a stout field of 26 Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods.
Stichter drove a flawless race in hitting his marks every lap. Stichter held back all challengers in scoring the win by using a masterful touch on the accelerator. Levi Gaunt, in the running for national rookie honors in the class, came under the checkers in second ahead of Dakota Cole.
IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars took the green for their 15-lap feature with Austin Vorbeck leading lap number one before last week winner Richard Nelson took over the lead coming from a third row start.
Nelson’s lead was short-lived as Jerry Miles took over the top spot advancing from a fourth row start. Miles went on to take the win holding off a hard-charging Jacob Ellithorpe.
Ellithorpe took one last shot at the win in turn four coming to the checkers but Miles was not rattled and made a crossover move to score the win. The last-lap move cost Ellithorpe a spot as David Brandies shot by for second.
The IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks saw another driver add his name to the 2023 Maquoketa Speedway winner’s list. Brandon White drove his number 3B to the win in the 12-lap feature taking the checkers ahead of Tucker Richardson and Jimmy Doescher. White shot to the front from his third row start moving past TJ Harms and into the race lead.
Season championships in all other classes will be held Saturday, Aug. 19 at Maquoketa with hot laps taking to the track at 6 p.m.