Way breaks through with big IMCA Modified win at Maquoketa

By Jerry Mackey

MAQUOKETA, Iowa (July 6, 2024) – Saturday nights race program at the Maquoketa Speedway was hosted by our friends at Downtown Nutrition and the kids club hosted Christmas in July at the races. Kids were greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Claus plus the Grinch was also in attendance.

Travis Denning driver of the IMCA Sunoco Late Model number 56D presented all the youngsters with glowing wristbands and checkered flags. 

The Friesen Performance IMCA Modified feature treated the fans with outstanding racing on a wide and smooth fast track. Mitch Way took control of the race early from his second row start and appeared to be on his way to his first Maquoketa Speedway win.

A caution brought the field to his rear bumper just past the midway point. On the restart the battle was on, Scott Lemke took over the top spot and led for several laps before Jeff Larson took over. Way used his never give up attitude and used several sliders as Larson and Way swapped the lead back and forth in the waning laps.

Way was able to get the win by a narrow margin over Larson with Ryan Maitland using a late-race charge to come home third after starting in the 11th position. Way raced in Eastern Iowa for a few years before moving to North Carolina, working for a NASCAR team. Way returned to the Quad Cities a few years ago and decided to get back into Modified racing. His Saturday night win was his first at Maquoketa since his return. 

The IMCA Sunoco Late Model feature looked to be a Saturday night cruise for Silvis, Ill., driver Jesse Bodin. The 2JR of Bodin took command early as was en route to a flag to flag victory when misfortune struck as he was about to take the white flag. Bodin spun entering turn four setting up a two-lap dash to the finish. 

Denning in the 56D held the fast line the last two laps and scored his second win in a row at the Maquoketa Speedway, taking the checkers ahead of Steve Johnson and Kelly Pestka. 

Gage Neal was also a repeat winner on Saturday night as he scored the win in the 20-lap IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature. Neal raced to the front from his outside third row start and went on to score a comfortable win.

The race behind Neal for second was hotly contested and was in doubt right to the finish line. Kodey Miles, subbing for his father Jerry in the familiar 4K car, ran a near perfect race in taking second by a nose ahead of Jacob Ellithorpe. 

Twenty-three drivers took the initial green flag in the Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod main event. Pole sitter Jared Staver led the first few laps before Tyler Soppe was able to take the lead racing the middle groove.

Soppe went on to record the win as he held off a fast closing Jarrett Franzen at the checkers. The winning margin was less than a car length. Staver crossed under the checkers in third. 

Racing in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks has been nothing short of outstanding the last few weeks. Saturday night was certainly more of the same as the race to the checkers saw a pack of three drivers race off of turn four with the winner very much in doubt.

Sheldon Hunter scored the win by a bumper over Lukas Short with Jordan Miles in third just a couple of feet behind Short. 

There will be no racing at Maquoketa Speedway on Saturday, July 13th as the Jackson County Fairgrounds will be the site of a large dog show. IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly racing will return Saturday, July 20 with hot laps taking to the track at 6 p.m. 

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