Thursday, July 2, 2009

Frankel Best of Show, Neal Best of Finish

Wednesday night marked the second night of the Great American Stock Car Series at the Independence Motor Speedway in Independence. This would be my first trip there this year and when I arrived at the Buchanan County Fairgrounds, my jaw dropped a little when I saw the new grandstand. The new seating section is much higher then the old covered stands that were destroyed last year and provided a great view of the track. Tonight's racing lineup also included the IMCA Deery Brothers late model series along with the vintage cars.

Fifty-one IMCA stock cars checked into racing action Wednesday night to try to lay claim to the $1,000 top prize. Jarod Weepie, a weekly competitor at the track, was the lucky recipient of the pole redraw and paced the field to the start of the thirty-lap feature event. Behind him three drivers raced wheel to wheel as Brian Irvine was running low, Jeff Joldersma in the middle, and Mike Nichols running the top side of the speedway. Irvine would settle in to the second spot six laps into the race as the top four cars began to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

The top three cars would later go three-wide for the lead, but it would be Mike Nichols prevailing on the top side on lap thirteen. Five laps later, Irvine would muscle his car past Nichols' machine on the low side to regain the lead. Joldersma got by Weepie to nail down the third spot for the moment while Wisconsin driver John Heinz made his way up to sixth after starting seventeenth. Irvine began to stretch his lead out until the only caution of the race came out with three laps to go. A double file restart allowed fifth place driver Justin Temeyer to sneak his way up to third on the low side, but up front it would be all Brian Irvine as he took home the win on his home track. Jeff Joldersma finished second, Justin Temeyer was third, Jesse Colwell fourth after starting fourteenth, and Mike Nichols slid back to fifth.

The final event of the night would be the IMCA Deery Brothers fifty-lap late model feature. Rob Toland used his outside front row start to jump out to the early lead, but eyes would be on Terry Neal as he raced his way up to third by lap three after starting ninth. Neal would make the pass for second a lap later and set his sights on Toland. The only caution of the race came on lap eight when Boone McLaughlin spun to a rest inside turn one. It was noted during this caution that Jason Frankel was on the charge forward as he sliced his way up to tenth after starting twentieth. Frankel was the last car to qualify out of one of two bmain events earlier in the night.

Neal used the restart to grab the lead the next time by the flagstand while Frankel rode the high side to sixth by lap eleven and then to fifth two laps later. Toland closed up on the back bumper of Neal and would overtake him as they reached lapped traffic ahead. Frankel would continue moving forward as he challenged Jay Johnson for the fourth position and take it using the low line this time. Bmain number two winner Jeff Aikey started fourteenth on the grid and found himself a contender as he made his way to sixth and closing in on the top five a few laps after the halfway point of the race. Aikey would get by Johnson later on to nail down the fifth spot.

Up front, Neal snared the lead back from Toland on lap thirty by using the bottom side of the track. Jason Frankel changed lanes and found the top side to his liking once again as he got by Ray Guss Jr. for third on lap thirty-seven. Guss was driving Herschel Roberts' #58 car on this night. Two laps later Frankel challenged Toland for the runner up spot, but couldn't make the move stick as Toland held him off. That was all Terry Neal needed as he extended his lead late in the race to take home the $2,000 payday. Rob Toland finished second, Jason Frankel was third, Ray Guss Jr fourth, and Jeff Aikey rounded out the top five. With just a handful of nights under his belt, rookie Chad Lerch finished with an impressive seventh place run.

Both features saw only one yellow apiece that kept the show moving along at a quick pace. The racing action concluded around 9:51pm, perfect for a midweek show. While it did get dusty for the spectators in attendance, the racing surface held up pretty good in my opinion. And as I mentioned before, the new grandstand was quite a treat. Definitely an improvement from the old grandstands.

The final stop for the Great American Stock Car Series comes Thursday night at the Marshalltown Speedway in Marshalltown. Also on the card are the IMCA hobby stocks along with the IMCA sportmods. The IMCA Deery Brothers late model series will make their next stop at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville on Wednesday, July 8th for the second night of the Harris Clash.

For other perspectives, check out as four of the five bloggers were in attendance tonight. Dick and Joyce Eisele, Jeff Broeg, and I all sat together while Ryan Clark was on the microphone and did an excellent job calling the action.

- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!!

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