By Ryan Clark
Two last-lap passes and a photo finish provided for arguably the best night of racing so far this season at Benton County Speedway.
A field of 105 race teams assembled for Sunday’s third annual Urbana 5 Memorial/Iowa Donor Network event, which celebrated the memory of five area youth killed in a traffic accident in Benton County.
The Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods, paying $1,500 to the winner, headlined the event. An extra $350 was also up for grabs for anyone who could beat Tony Olson, the winner of the race each of the last two seasons.
It was pole sitter Sam Wieben surging to the early lead of the 20-lapper. He built a sizable advantage while Jared VanDeest and Joey Schaefer worked through traffic from mid-pack starts.
Cautions on laps five and 14 kept the field bunched, however Wieben maintained the point throughout.
VanDeest kept pace with the leader following the lap 14 restart and ran the high side while Wieben remained committed to the low groove. VanDeest surged ahead as the white flag waved and held on for the $1,850 payday.
Wieben ran second ahead of Schaefer and Olson, who started 24th.
The story was similar in the IMCA Modified main, which paid a winner’s share of $1,000.
Patrick Flannagan led that 20-lapper to green while Tyler Droste quickly positioned himself to challenge from a third row start.
Running the high side, Flannagan was able to hold Droste at bay until Droste pulled a slider in the waning laps. Although he briefly stole the lead a couple of times, Flannagan maintained the lead at the line over the final circuits to secure victory and add his name to the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot. Kyle Brown and Scott Hogan ran third and fourth, respectively.
Nathan Wood led all 16 laps of the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature but had to hold on by inches at the line to beat a hard-charging Damon Murty for the win.
Nathan Ballard raced to his third straight IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock win and his fifth of the season in that 15-lapper.
Todd Cooney took the lead on lap two and dominated the IMCA Late Model main for his third win of the year.
Northern SportMods – 1. Jared VanDeest, Grundy Center; 2. Sam Wieben, Dysart; 3. Joey Schaefer, Waterloo; 4. Tony Olson, Cedar Rapids; 5. Dakoda Sellers, Waverly; 6. Frank Packer, Queensland, Australia; 7. Ryan King, Montour; 8. Kyle Olson, Cedar Rapids; 9. Danny Dvorak, Vinton; 10. Jason Purvis, Boone; 11. Matt Petrzelka, Norway; 12. Joe Docekal, Dysart; 13. Kyle Bentley, Fairbank; 14. Taylor Musselman, Norwalk; 15. Aaron Mitchell, Palo; 16. Brian Kauffman, Cedar Rapids; 17. Ben Chapman, Clarence; 18. Brian Sondag, Urbana; 19. Rob Aimers, Marion; 20. Scott Meyers, Newhall; 21. Scott Williams, Atkins; 22. Curt Hilmer, Dysart; 23. Johnathon Logue, Boone; 24. Jeremy Lech, Vinton.
Modifieds – 1. Patrick Flannagan, Cedar Rapids; 2. Tyler Droste, Waterloo; 3. Kyle Brown, Madrid; 4. Scott Hogan, Vinton; 5. Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 6. Todd Shute, Des Moines; 7. Corey Dripps, Waterloo; 8. Paul Stone, Winton, Calif.; 9. David Brown, Kellogg; 10. Ryan Maitland, Waterloo; 11. Jason Snyder, Dunkerton; 12. Colby Heishman, Brooklyn; 13. Tony Snyder, Readlyn; 14. Brandon Maitland, Waterloo; 15. Dennis Betzer, Central City; 16. Mitch Manternach, Manchester; 17. Josh Barta, Cedar Falls; 18. Troy Cordes, Dunkerton; 19. Jerry Dedrick, Vinton.
Late Models – 1. Todd Cooney, Des Moines; 2. Ryan Dolan, Lisbon; 3. Joe Zrostlik, Long Grove; 4. Brunson Behning, Davenport; 5. Greg Kastli, Waterloo; 6. Dirk Hamilton, Jesup; 7. Curtis Glover, Des Moines; 8. Bryce Carey, Nashua; 9. Scott Welsh, Cedar Rapids; 10. Brandon Morris, Cedar Rapids.
Stock Cars – 1. Nathan Wood, Sigourney; 2. Damon Murty, Chelsea; 3. Scooter Dulin, Cedar Rapids; 4. Justin Stander, Shellsburg; 5. Kevin Rose, Waterloo; 6. Shane Ebaugh, Evansdale; 7. Curtis Roster, Vinton; 8. John Oliver Jr., Danville; 9. Norman Chesmore, Rowley; 10. Chad Siems, Shellsburg; 11. Bob Ahrendsen, Cedar Rapids; 12. Brandon Jacoby, Waterloo; 13. Tyler Carey, Nashua.
Hobby Stocks – 1. Nathan Ballard, Marengo; 2. Daniel Wauters, Iowa City; 3. Matt Brown, Dysart; 4. Quinton Miller, Independence; 5. Matt Pohlman, Keystone; 6. Jeremiah Wilson, Waterloo; 7. Justin Ginther, Independence; 8. Derrick Thran, Grundy Center; 9. Scott Siems, Cedar Rapids; 10. Brett Vanous, Quasqueton; 11. Jacob Floyd, Cedar Rapids; 12. Cory Tharp, Waterloo; 13. Leah Wroten, Independence; 14. Kyle Dulin, Keystone; 15. Dale Kite, Keystone; 16. Justin Wacha, Vinton.