BRITT, Iowa – Another big-time event brought out the best in Ethan Braaksma.
Braaksma ran down Richie Gustin in lapped traffic to regain the lead late in Hancock County Speedway’s Thursday Night of 1,000 Stars special, then stayed in front to the $3,000 IMCA Modified checkers.
Along with a career-best payday, Braaksma earned a spot on the 2021 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot.
“So many drivers can win these races. The competition is unbelievable,” said Braaksma, already a three-time Dirt Knights Tour winner this season. “It’s awesome to be able to come to these big shows and race up front with these guys.”
Gustin, who’d won his B feature and started the main event from 16th, ended in second. Cody Laney, midway leader Jeff Aikey and Joel Rust completed the top five.
Braaksma had started 11th, made the most of the fast lower line in working his way toward the front and was running third at halfway.
A good jump on the restart put Braaksma at the front of the field. The hard-charging Gustin drove by on the outside, but Braaksma stayed closed in lapped traffic and got the lead back, pulling away as the race ended with a long green flag run.
“I kind of felt like a sitting duck up there as the laps ticked off, hoping nobody would get by me. After I got the lead back, I was able to pass lapped cars on the high side,” he said. “It was nice to race these guys clean and to race with them hard.”
One thousand dollar feature winners during the Night of 1,000 Stars sponsored by IMT Transport were Derek Green in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars and Cody Thompson in the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods.
Brandon Nielsen topped the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature and Kaytee DeVries topped the Mach-1 Sport Compact main.
1. Ethan Braaksma; 2. Richie Gustin; 3. Cody Laney; 4. Jeff Aikey; 5. Joel Rust; 6. Jake O’Neil; 7. Kelly Shryock; 8. Jeremy Mills; 9. Nick Meyer; 10. Austin Kuehl; 11. Ricky Stephan; 12. Lyle Sathoff; 13. Cody Knecht; 14. Todd Stinehart; 15. Ben Schultze; 16. Jayden Larson; 17. Jim Mathieson; 18. Josh Ruby; 19. Benji LaCrosse; 20. Jason Asbe; 21. Tristan Vesterby; 22. Jerad Thelen; 23. Jake McBirne; 24. Austin Wolf.