A first for Arizona: Cocopah adds IMCA Late Models

SOMERTON, Ariz. – The wave of the future is taking IMCA Late Models to Arizona.  Cocopah Speedway at Somerton becomes the first track in the Grand Canyon State to sanction the division, with five dates on the schedule announced for the 2020 IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing season.  “The fans are excited and we have drivers who have never competed in a Late Model before looking to get into this class,” said promoter Benji Lyons. “”We are committed as a track to this division and we’ve got a group of drivers who are committed to building cars.”  “We have to do something to reduce the cost of Late Model racing and we’re going to stick to our guns,” he concluded. “This is going to be the wave of the future.” The division makes its Cocopah debut on Feb. 1.  Other point season dates are March 7 and 21, May 2 and Sept. 26. “With the stability of IMCA, sanctioning Late Models just made sense,” Lyons stated. “It’s going to be a building project but I [Read More]


Arneson’s first Arizona win comes in finale at Cocopah

SOMERTON, Ariz. (Jan. 18) – Casey Arneson’s first IMCA Modified feature win in Arizona came on the final night of Cocopah Speedway’s Winter Nationals. After finishes ranging from a solid third to a not-so-sweet 16th in his first five outings at Somerton, Arneson drew the pole start and led all 25 times around the oval. “It was good to be able to get that first win,” said Arneson, $1,000 richer and already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot. “We had a good car and everything worked out for us.”  A couple yellows kept Arneson out of lapped traffic. Jake O’Neil, in the hunt for a fourth straight Winter Nationals victory, started fifth and got to within a couple car lengths. Completing the top five were Tim Ward, Kollin Hibdon and 16th starting R.C. Whitwell. The win by Arneson came in an El Dorado ride he and Riley Hatfield built. Fellow North Dakota driver and family friend Don Gumke, who’d raced with Arneson’s father “back in the day” was honored with the empty pole position during parade [Read More]


O’Neil makes it three straight Winter Nationals wins

By Mike Spieker SOMERTON, Ariz. (Jan. 17) – Jake O’Neil cruised to his third Winter Nationals victory Friday night at Cocopah Speedway. O’Neil started third on the grid and took the lead away from front row starter Joey Price on lap three. Once out front, the Tucson pilot never looked back as he led the remainder of the 25-lap, $1,000 to win main event.  Eighth place starter R.C. Whitwell moved into second at the halfway point, but was never able to threaten the leader. O’Neil was loyal to the low side of the speedway throughout the race while Whitwell used the high side in the entry of the corner before diving low on exit.  The margin of victory for O’Neil was 2.2 seconds over Whitwell at the checkers.  “I saw on the scoreboard that the 96 (Whitwell) was behind me. He is super fast and a pretty good wheelman and I knew if I made one mistake, he would be right there to capitalize,” said O’Neil. “I just tried to minimize my mistakes as much as [Read More]


O’Neil bests Thornton in Cocopah classic as Morris tops Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods

By Mike Spieker SOMERTON, Ariz. (Jan. 16) – Some of the best racing seen to date at Winter Nationals was displayed Thursday evening, and Jake O’Neil ended the night at Cocopah Speed­way with a second straight $1,000 IMCA Modified feature win. O’Neil made a bold three-wide pass on the high side to drive from fourth to second in the first set of corners, then powered around the outside of Kollin Hibdon to lead lap one. Ricky Thornton Jr. moved his way up to the second spot from the fifth starting position by lap four and quickly set his sights on O’Neil. Thornton searched every inch of the oval be­fore taking command of the lead on lap 15.  O’Neil quickly mounted another charge as the lead duo sliced their way through slower traffic. O’Neil finally cleared Thornton Jr. to take the point with four laps to go and held on for the victory. “I thought once he got by me it was over. Usually when that guy gets to the lead there is no catching him,” O’Neil [Read More]


Night three IMCA Modified checkers fly for O’Neil; Cordova is first to repeat at Cocopah

SOMERTON, Ariz. (Jan. 11) – His green to checkered run at the front of the IMCA Modified field Saturday night at Cocopah Speedway put Jake O’Neil in victory lane and on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invita­tional ballot. O’Neil took home $1,000 as the third different winner in as many Winter Nationals shows. Jeff Taylor held off Casey Arneson in the race for second, finishing five car lengths off the pace. Bobby Hogge IV and Lance Mari completed the top five. Joshua Cordova became the first repeat winner at Somerton, topping the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature. Gene Henrie scored the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car victory and Michael Johnson dominated the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod main.  Scott Tenney led the first 18 times around the track in the Hobby Stock main. Cordova had started fourth and was scored first by the width of his bumper on lap 19 and led Tenney across the stripe in the caution-free 20-lapper. Friday winner Tim Gonska, Eric Knutson and Nathan DeRagon rounded out the top five. Checkers flew for Henrie [Read More]


Baca is best in night two Somerton show, IMCA Modified checkers good for $1,000

SOMERTON, Ariz. (Jan. 10) – After he got back in the lead, Chaz Baca got the $1,000 IMCA Modified feature win Friday night at Cocopah Speedway. Baca ran in front the first nine circuits of the Winter Nationals main event before Braxton Yeager drove by. Baca had regained the point by the time the next lap was scored, however, and led Yeager, Marlyn Seidler, Lance Mari and Bobby Hogge IV across the stripe. Tom Berry Jr. ran third much of the way before bringing out a late caution; Baca was already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot. Canadian Brendon LaBatte was the leader the last 17 times around the track in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car headliner. Completing the top five were Gene Henrie, Steffan Carey, Troy Jerovetz and Kevin Roberts. Tim Gonska’s long tow from Minnesota was rewarded with the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock checkers. All 17 cars that started the 20-circuit contest finished on the lead lap.  Eric Knutson, Joshua Cordova, Brad King and Scott Tenney were scored behind Gonska. After working [Read More]


Thornton tops IMCA Modifieds in Winter Nationals opener at Cocopah

SOMERTON, Ariz. (Jan. 9) – His return to his home state put $1,000 in Ricky Thornton Jr.’s bank account Thursday night. Thornton led every lap in winning the IMCA Modified feature on opening night of Winter Nationals at Cocopah Speedway. The victory came in the first sanctioned Modified event of the 2020 IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing Season. Piloting Kollin Hibdon’s backup car, Thornton had started outside the front row. He walked away from the rest of the field following a lap 13 restart. Runner-up was Jeff Taylor and Jake O’Neil challenged before finishing third. “B” feature winner Tom Berry Jr. started 16th and finished fourth while Hibdon completed the top five. Already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot, Iowa transplant Thornton won for the 148th time in his IMCA Modified career.  Other winners in the lidlifter at Somerton were Iowan Troy Jervetz in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, Shelby Frye in the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods and defending track champion Joshua Cordova in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks. Jerovetz led start to finish in [Read More]


Marriott sweeps Wes Hurst Weekend at Cocopah

By Jackson Braun SOMERTON, Ariz. (Nov. 8-9) – After being on hiatus since 2012, the Wes Hurst Memorial returned in a big fashion over the weekend with the IMCA Modifieds at the Cocopah Speedway. The IMCA Modifieds had a highly competitive field both nights of action. 35 IMCA Modifieds checked in on Friday night, while 31 filled the pits on Saturday. Jason Beaulieu led the field to green on Friday night and got the jump on the field. The 30-lap main event was a contest from start to finish, as no racer ran away from the field. Beaulieu faced pressure from Jake O’Neil and Hunter Marriott in the early portion of the race. O’Neil did end up passing Beaulieu, but a broken left front combined with a caution slowing down the field spelled the end of the race for O’Neil. Marriott inherited the lead but Jesse Sobbing got a run and found himself in contention for the win. Marriott analyzed Sobbing’s run around the race track and used the weaknesses to his advantage, getting back [Read More]


IMCA Modifieds headline Cocopah’s Wes Hurst Memorial

YUMA, Ariz. – IMCA Modifieds get top billing on both nights of Cocopah Speedway’s Wes Hurst Memorial, running for a top prize of $2,000 on Friday, Nov. 8 and for $3,000 on Saturday, Nov. 9.  Both features are 2020 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifying events. Friday’s race pays $1,000 to the runner-up and a minimum of $200 to start; the Saturday race pays $1,500 to the runner-up and a minimum of $300 to start.  Kenny Wallace will join the IMCA Modified fields and entry fees are $50 on Friday and $75 on Saturday.  Also on Friday and Saturday programs are Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods and IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks. Both nights will be broadcast by IMCA.TV.  Pit gates open at 3 p.m., the grandstand opens at 5 p.m. and racing starts at 7 p.m. Spectator admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and military, and free for kids ages 11 and under. An open practice runs from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7. Pit passes are $25 that evening. More information about the [Read More]


Lyons takes promoter’s post at Cocopah

SOMERTON, Ariz. – Three IMCA divisions will run weekly this season at Cocopah Speedway, under the direction of new promoter Benji Lyons.  Friday and Saturday point shows run through Sept. 14 and feature IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks and Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods.  “This facility is probably one of the top 10 in the country,” Lyons said. “This is a racing town and the people here really support this track.” Sixty-two loads have been added to the 3/8-mile oval with another 40 or so coming before opening night. Modifieds at Cocopah are part of IMCA’s Larry Shaw Race Cars Western Region. Hobby Stocks are in the Big Daddy Race Cars Southern Region. “I like the stability of IMCA,” Lyons said. “I’m not in the rules enforcing business and I’m not in the business of reinventing the wheel. I’m in the racing business and sanctioning with IMCA means I don’t have to take my attention away from putting fans in the stands.”  Cocopah first sanctioned with IMCA in 1990. This season will be the ninth [Read More]