DODGE CITY, Kan. – Taylor Velasquez emerged atop a hotly-contested United Rebel Sprint Series feature event Saturday night as Dodge City Raceway Park put the wraps on the 2014 season with 111 cars filling the pit area for the Second Annual Jerry Soderberg Memorial Championship event.
While the Turpin, OK, racer survived some last corner wheel-banging with Jake Bubak to secure the win over a field of 34 URSS Sprint Cars, other Soderberg Memorial winners included Jesse Richter in IMCA Modifieds, Nate Ginest in IMCA Sport Modifieds, Ron Hartman in IMCA Stock Cars, Cody Davis in Thunder Cars and Jarett Lunow in Hornets.
Both the URSS Sprint Car and IMCA Modified features came down to the final feet to bring the curtains down on the 2014 DCRP season in spectacular fashion.
Velasquez emerged from a multi-car battle in the non-stop 30-lap URSS season finale to take command on the 19th round then survived a last lap bid from Bubak to secure the win after the pair made contact in turn four with the checkered flag in sight.
“I’m not even sure how I got away from that, I just gassed it up and went!” Velasquez exclaimed in victory lane.
While Velasquez gridded the URSS feature outside the fifth row, Barry Crane jumped out to the early lead from the pole position and paced the initial three rounds before Brian Herbert surged into the lead.
With Herbert leading the way ahead of Crane and Luke Cranston, Zach Blurton made his way past Scott Cochran for fourth on the third lap before taking third from Cranston on the tenth round.
On the move as the lead six cars battled through traffic, Blurton took second from Crane on the 12th lap before disposing of Herbert for the lead the next time around.
Sixth after ten laps and making a move past Cranston for fourth as Blurton took the lead, Velasquez was on the charge Fronk Oil Co./Bearcat Well Service No. 21x with Bubak following him through the pack.
Velasquez took third from Herbert on the 17th round before racing around Crane for second and then taking the lead with a daring pass between Blurton and the outer retaining wall exiting turn four on the 19th lap.
Velasquez briefly distanced himself from the wild scramble over the ensuing laps with Bubak up to second by the 21st round. A ten car-length lead with five laps to go began to dwindle, with Bubak taking advantage of traffic to nibble away at the lead.
Bubak reached Velasquez’ tailtank as the white flag flew and slid into the lead entering turn three. Velasquez battled back with the pair slapping Hoosiers exiting turn four and somehow keeping forward momentum with Velasquez by little more than a car-length at the line.
Blurton, last year’s Inaugural Soderberg Memorial winner, claimed the show position behind Velasquez and Bubak with Cranston and Crane rounding out the top five. Josh Fairbank advanced from “B” Main action to finish sixth with Herbert, Zac Taylor, 15th-starter Jed Werner and Kris Moore completing the top ten.
Blurton, Taylor, Steven Richardson and Bubak topped URSS heat race action with Fairbank and Jordan Randles winning the “B” Mains. Brandon Sprott’s night came to an early end when he tagged the wall and flipped in turn four in the night’s third heat race with Ty Williams falling victim to the wall in the same place several laps later.
In the IMCA Modified ranks, Great Bend’s Jesse Richter fought off Cole Traugott over the closing rounds to capture his first DCRP win in the season-ending 20-lap main event.
Starting inside the second row, Richter gunned into the lead on the opening round and had the race well in hand until the race’s only caution flew with 14 laps in the books, turning Richter’s casual drive out front into a dogfight the rest of the way.
With Richter working the top side, Traugott went to work right away on the low side. Traugott pulled alongside several times and was alongside as the white flag flew. Richter fought off the challenges though to secure the win with Traugott settling for second.
“I knew I was gonna have to work for it when I saw the 9 (Traugott) in second up on the scoreboard,” Richter said in victory lane.
Mike Lunow claimed the show position as the top five were all within striking distance of the leader in the final handful of laps, with Mike Petersilie in fourth. Ryan Heger edged Austin Allen for fifth, but fell seven points shy of Allen in the track’s championship chase. It was Allen’s second consecutive championship.
Taking more hardware back to Great Bend was Nate Ginest, who took his second IMCA Sport Modified feature win of the year after the apparent winner failed to report to the tech area after the 20-lap main event.
While Ginest worked forward from seventh, Kameron Gruber paced the initial eight rounds before surrendering the point to Randle McRoberts. Fifth after a caution 12 laps in, Ginest charged to the front on the high side and was challenging for the lead when he nearly got into the wall in turns three and four on the 14th lap, slipping all the way back to sixth.
Ginest battled back to the front on the top side of the track, making what proved to be the race winning move as the white flag flew. Gruber was second with Mike Appel, Austin Walker and Josh Appel in the top five.
After getting involved in a lap 14 tangle, Jeff Kaup exited late but still finished off his second consecutive track championship.
In the IMCA Stock Car ranks, Ron Hartman closed out the season in strong form by taking his second consecutive win in the 15-lap main event.
Leading from the outset, Hartman withstood strong challenges from Michael Pepper over the final rounds to secure the win with Karson Love, Reagan Sellard and Marlin Hogie in the top five.
Perry Misner rallied from the tail of the field to third, only to lose power coming off the final corner and coast across the line in sixth. It was still good enough to secure his second track title in three years.
In Thunder Car action, Cody Davis took command on the third round and raced on to his fourth win of the year in the 15-lapper.
The Bucklin, KS, racer took the checkered flag just ahead of Matt O’Hair, who claimed the Thunder Car championship, with David Berger, William Bauer and Edwin Elliott in the top five.
On the inner asphalt oval, Dodge City’s Jarett Lunow finished off a perfect season by racing to eighth win in as many tries, this time taking the checkered flag ahead of Jeff Moore and Marci O’Hair.
Dodge City Raceway Park – September 27 Results
Second Annual Jerry Soderberg Memorial Championship:
URSS Sprint Cars:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 2j-Zach Blurton, 2. 21x-Taylor Velasquez, 3. 97-Brian Herbert, 4. 51-Josh Fairbank, 5. 49-Kris Moore, 6. 1x-Cody Lampe, 7. 92-Coby Pearce, 8. 77-Cody Caldwell, 9. 7s-Luke Lucero.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 86-Zac Taylor, 2. 30c-Barry Crane, 3. 6-Mark Walinder, 4. 27a-Mike Hathaway, 5. 88J-Jeremy Huish, 6. 007k-Jared Kern, 7. 83-Austin McLean, 8. 12d-Steve Dalton, 9. 80-Josh Gilcrease.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 0-Steven Richardson, 2. 20-Luke Cranston, 3. 33-Koby Walters, 4. 50-Jed Werner, 5. 26-Chris Crowder, 6. 911-Ty Williams, 7. 18-Brandon Sprott, 8. 9d-Lance Davis.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 9x-Jake Bubak, 2. 16-Scott Cochran, 3. 11k-Tyler Knight, 4. 007-Jordan Randles, 5. 11-Keefe Hemel, 6. 4s-Kevin Schramek, 7. 9-John Webster, 8. 51w-Ross Essenberg.
First “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 51-Josh Fairbank, 2. 33-Koby Walters, 3. 50-Jed Werner, 4. 11-Keefe Hemel, 5. 27a-Mike Hathaway, 6. 77-Cody Caldwell, 7. 1x-Cody Lampe, 8. 4s-Kevin Schramek, 9. 83-Austin McLean, 10. 7s-Luke Lucero, 11. 92-Coby Pearce. DNS: 9d-Lance Davis.
Second “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 007-Jordan Randles, 2. 49-Kris Moore, 3. 11k-Tyler Knight, 4. 88j-Jeremy Huish, 5. 007k-Jared Kern, 6. 9-John Webster, 7. 12d-Steve Dalton, 8. 51r-Ross Essenberg, 9. 80-Josh Gilcrease, 10. 26-Chris Crowder. DNS: 911-Ty Williams, 18-Brandon Sprott.
“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 21x-Taylor Velasquez, 2. 9x-Jake Bubak, 3. 2j-Zach Blurton, 4. 20-Luke Cranston, 5. 30c-Barry Crane, 6. 51-Josh Fairbank, 7. 97-Brian Herbert, 8. 86-Zac Taylor, 9. 50-Jed Werner, 10. 49-Kris Moore, 11. 33-Koby Walters, 12. 16-Scott Cochran, 13. 007-Jordan Randles, 14. 88j-Jeremy Huish, 15. 6-Mark Walinder, 16. 11-Keefe Hemel, 17. 27a-Mike Hathaway, 18. 11k-Tyler Knight, 19. 0-Steven Richardson, 20. 007k-Jared Kern.
Lap Leaders: Barry Crane 1-3, Brian Herbert 4-12, Zach Blurton 13-18, Taylor Velasquez 19-30.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 8r-Jesse Richter, 2. 18-Austin Allen, 3. 21-Van Gemmill, 4. 36-Travis Simmons, 5. 1n-Nick Link, 6. 16-Kevin Gray, 7. 3c-Dale Wanger, 8. 22k-Brad Keller.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 25p-Mike Petersilie, 2. 3h-Ryan Heger, 3. 25-Kale Beavers, 4. 98-Danny Keller, 5. 2L-Tracy Link, 6. 23s-Heath Myers. DNS: 01-Jesse Smith.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 44-Mike Lunow, 2. 9-Cole Traugott, 3. 57-Joel Lane, 4. 88j-Jack Kirchoff, 5. B2-Bobby Bills, 6. M15-Mike Martin, 7. A2-Randy Wilson.
“A” Feature (20 Laps): 1. 8r-Jesse Richter, 2. 9-Cole Traugott, 3. 44-Mike Lunow, 4. 25p-Mike Petersilie, 5. 3h-Ryan Heger, 6. 18-Austin Allen, 7. 98-Danny Keller, 8. 1n-Nick Link, 9. 88j-Jack Kirchoff, 10. 21-Van Gemmill, 11. A2-Randy Wilson, 12. B2-Bobby Bills, 13. 01-Jesse Smith, 14. M15-Mike Martin, 15. 2L-Tracy Link, 16. 25-Kale Beavers, 17. 23s-Heath Myers, 18. 22k-Brad Keller, 19. 36-Travis Simmons, 20. 3c-Dale Wanger, 21. 57-Joel Lane, 2. 16-Kevin Gray.
IMCA Sport Modifieds:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 33-Jason Lunow, 2. 37-Bart Baker, 3. 10T-Toby Witthuhn, 4. 81T-Tristan Barton, 5. 12m-Alan Melton, 6. 40d-Steve Dent, 7. 38c-Adrian Ramirez.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 44-Austin Walker, 2. 7b-Jamie French, 3. 92-Jeff Kaup, 4. 39-Brian May, 5. 83-Michael Pepper, 6. 21J-Jeremy Sigler, 7. 55d-Donald Strecker. DNS: 08-Dakota Sprouse.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 65J-Josh Appel, 2. 27g-Kameron Gruber, 3. 201-Nate Ginest, 4. 56m-Mike Appel, 5. 7-Clay Money, 6. 12-Kevin Tabor, 7. B23-Bently Pywell, 8. 55-Robbie Perkins.
“A” Feature (20 Laps): 1. 201-Nate Ginest, 2. 27g-Kameron Gruber, 3. 56m-Mike Appel, 4. 44-Austin Walker, 5. 65J-Josh Appel, 6. 37-Bart Baker, 7. 10T-Toby Witthuhn, 8. 33-Jason Lunow, 9. 7-Clay Money, 10. 81T-Tristan Barton, 11. 7b-Jamie French, 12. 21J-Jeremy Sigler, 13. 12-Kevin Tabor, 14. 39-Brian May, 15. B23-Bently Pywell, 16. 08-Dakota Sprouse, 17. 55-Robbie Perkins, 18. 12m-Alan Melton, 19. 92-Jeff Kaup, 20. 55d-Donald Strecker, 21. 83-Michael Pepper, 22. 38c-Adrian Ramirez, 23. 40d-Steve Dent.
IMCA Stock Cars:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 33-Marlin Hogie, 2. D44-Randy Dowell, 3. 70-Karson Love, 4. 10-Dusty Witthuhn, 5. 19-Brett Copeland, 6. 58-Kyle Tillery, 7. 20m-Perry Misner.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 55h-Ron Hartman, 2. 80-Rich Wadel, 3. 22-Michael Pepper, 4. 2s-Reagan Sellard, 5. 97x-Ondre Rexford, 6. 96-Shane Tillery. DNS: 17m-Shannon Maughlin.
“A” Feature (15 Laps): 1. 55h-Ron Hartman, 2. 22-Michael Pepper, 3. 70-Karson Love, 4. 2s-Reagan Sellard, 5. 33-Marlin Hogie, 6. 20m-Perry Misner, 7. 80-Rich Wadel, 8. 17m-Shannon Maughlin, 9. 58-Kyle Tillery, 10. 19-Brett Copeland, 11. D44-Randy Dowell, 12. 97x-Ondre Rexford, 13. 10-Dusty Witthuhn, 14. 96-Shane Tillery.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 007-Bryan Habiger, 2. 91d-Cody Davis, 3. 45p-Michael Penrod, 4. 44b-David Berger, 5. 22x-David Burrows, 6. 2m-Matt O’Hair.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 17-William Bauer, 2. 22-Dan Rogers, 3. 67-Edwin Elliott, 4. 7-Tom Reed, 5. 87-Dustin Carr.
“A” Feature (15 Laps): 1. 91d-Cody Davis, 2. 2m-Matt O’Hair, 3. 44b-David Berger, 4. 17-William Bauer, 5. 67-Edwin Elliott, 6. 22x-David Burrows, 7. 45p-Michael Penrod, 8. 87-Dustin Carr, 9. 22-Dan Rogers, 10. 007-Bryan Habiger, 11. 7-Tom Reed.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 7-Jarett Lunow, 2. 18-Jeff Moore, 3. 10-Marci O’Hair, 4. 29-Brandon Bogner, 5. 65-Zak Moore, 6. 11-Noah Day.
“A” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 7-Jarett Lunow, 2. 18-Jeff Moore, 3. 10-Marci O’Hair, 4. 29-Brandon Bogner, 5. 11-Noah Day, 6. 65-Zak Moore.
– Lonnie Wheatley, Dodge City Speedway press release. Photo credit: TWC Photos