…while Cale, Cook, Gillenwater, Hoener and Hammel pick up feature wins!
Friday night was Pepsi Memphis Bottling Company Season Championship Night at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, IA. The 2012 point champions would be crowned in all five weekly classes, including the Budweiser IMCA Modifieds, Donnellson Tire IMCA Stock Cars, Shottenkirk Parts Express IMCA SportMods, Coor’s Light LCS Hobby Stocks and Sunline Auto Parts IMCA Sport Compacts.
A different format to set the feature line-ups was used on the night, as the top drivers in points were inverted for the first heat. The other drivers would be inverted for the remainder of the heats, with all new cars starting in the back of the heats. Then the first heat race finish would be how they started the first few rows of the feature, with the remainder of the heats lining up behind them how they finished there heats.
The first feature of the night was the 12 lap Coor’s Light LCS Hobby Stocks, with Jake Wenig and Tim Pettibone making up the front row for the event. The first caution of the race would come out just after the green flag was dropped, as Dan Wenig spun in turn 1 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Jake Wenig jumped out into the lead, with Pettibone and Brian Hoener battling it out for second. The action up front was slowed for the second time on lap 6, as Victor Hastings spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. Under the caution Jake Wenig, who was leading, pulled into the infield with troubles to end his night. Hoener would slip under Pettibone on the restart to take over the top spot, with Dan Wenig coming from the rear after his lap 1 spin to grab second. Dan would try to get under Hoener for the lead over the next 3 laps, when he got into the back of Hoener in turn 2 on lap 9 and spun him. Dan Wenig then got upside down off turn 2 to bring out the red. He would climb from his car ok, but done for the night. Hoener was given the lead back, as Dan Wenig was credited with being the cause of the caution. Hoener then held on over the final 3 to claim his first win of the season at the track. Dean Kratzer came from 6th to finish in 2nd, Hastings, who started 7th, recovered from his lap 6 spin to finish in 3rd, Jeff DeLonjay was 4th, with Pettibone holding on for 5th. Despite Dan Wenig’s 7th place finish he was crowned the 2012 Coor’s Light Hobby Stock Track Champion for the second year in a row.
Up next was the 12 lap Sunline Auto Parts IMCA Sport Compacts feature, with Nick Wilkerson and Chuck Fullenkamp on the front row. Wilkerson would take advantage of his starting spot to grab the lead on lap 1 over Rob Hammel, who charged from 9th to 2nd in one lap. The first caution of the event would come out on the completion of lap 1, as Brandon Lambert slowed to a stop in turn 3 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Wilkerson jumped back out front, with Hammel and Josh Barnes, who started 7th, battling for 2nd. Hammel would jump to the outside of Wilkerson to take over the top spot on lap 3, only to be slowed on the completion of the lap for a spin in turn 1. Brandon Reu would spin in turn 1 to bring out the yellow light. Once again Hammel moved out front on the restart, with Wilkerson working to hold back Barnes for 2nd. Hammel would pull away from the field over the final 9 laps to claim his fourth win of the season at the track. Wilkerson held on for 2nd, Barnes was 3rd, Dennis Schulte came from 10th to finish in 4th, with Austen Becerra rounding out the top 5. Darin Smith, the defending track champion, finished in 15th and had enough points to hold on for his second title in two years.
The twenty-six car starting field for the 18 lap Shottenkirk Parts Express IMCA SportMod feature had troubles getting the first two laps in the books, but once they did the remainder of the event went caution free. Jim Gillenwater and Tony Dunker led the field to the drop of the green flag, only to have the caution come out before the lap was scored. As Chris Larson spun in turn 1 to bring out the yellow light. On the original restart Gillenwater jumped out into the lead on lap 1 over Dunker and Brandon Ruffcorn. Another caution would wave over the field on the completion of lap 1, as Brandon Dale spun in turn 4 to bring on the yellow light. The caution light would come back on on the restart, as Bob Cowman spun in turn 2. Gillenwater once again moved out front on the next restart, with John Oliver Jr. getting around Dunker in the battle for second. The final caution of the event came out on the completion of lap 2, as a tire was clipped and spun onto the track in turn 2. On the restart Gillenwater moved back out front, with Dunker taking back the second spot from Oliver Jr. Gillenwater then pulled away over the final 15 laps to pick up his seventh win of the season at the track. Dunker was 2nd, Derek St. Clair came from 14th to finish in 3rd, Michael Joe Bliven started 12th and finished in 4th, with Bobby Anders coming from 11th to round out the top 5. Tony Dunker had already had the 2012 Track Championship wrapped up before the night started, as he had a 47 point lead over Gillenwater.
Ryan Cook and Jeff Waterman made up the front row for the 20 lap Budweiser IMCA Modified feature, but it was fourth place starter Tyler Cale who grabbed the lead on lap 1. While Cale continued to lead the field, Waterman, Rich Smith, who started 6th, Cayden Carter, who started 9th, Brandon Banks, and Cook had a nice five car battle for the second spot. The action was slowed for the first and only time on lap 9, as Kyle Hill spun in turn 4 to bring out the caution. On the restart Cale jumped back out front, with Waterman and Carter battling for second. Cale would lead the final 11 laps to claim his fourth win on the season at the speedway. Waterman won the battle for 2nd, Carter was 3rd, Cook finished in 4th, with Banks coming home in 5th. Jeff Waterman, who had a 4 point lead over Cale, used his second place finish to claim his first Modified Track Championship.
With the Donnellson Tire IMCA Stock Car top two drivers separated by only 1 point, there 15 lap feature was saved for last. Jason Cook and Jeff Mueller led the field to the drop of the green, only to be slowed before the lap was complete for a spin in turn 3. Cale Samberg would spin in turn 3 and collected the car of Abe Huls to bring out the yellow. On the original restart Cook moved out front, with Matt Greiner and Mueller battling it out for second. While Cook and Mueller hugged the bottom of the speedway, Greiner would work the middle to make it a three car battle for the top spot. Greiner was able to make the middle work, as he pulled even with Cook coming to the white flag. The two then ran the final lap side-by-side, with Cook edging out Greiner at the line by inches to pick up his fourth win of the season at the track. Greiner settled for 2nd, Mueller was 3rd, Jim Lynch came from 7th to finish in 4th, with Derek St. Clair recovering from his flat on lap 1 to finish in 5th. Matt Greiner, the defending track champion, was crowned with his second title in a row, despite being a tie atop the standings with Cook. Both drivers had three points paying feature wins, while Greiner had 4 second place finishes to Cook’s 2 to give Greiner the tie breaker.