Ward Stars At Arizona Speedway

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SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. — Tim Ward and Ethan Braaksma won opening night mains as the IMCA AZ Mod Tour teams filled the pit area at Arizona Speedway Friday night.

The modified main front row was filled by Robert Hellebust and Joey Price and it was Hellebust who raced into the lead. Eleventh-starting Ward used the bottom to close on Hellebust and they finished lap 11 even at the line.

A lap later Ward got under Hellebust on the backstretch, slid up the track in turn four and took the lead.

Hellebust dropped out with right front damage eventually and Ward held off third-starting Bobby Hogge IV and eighth-starting Hunter Marriott to set the podium.

Ricky Thornton Jr. was fourth after gridding 17th and Jason Hughes took fifth from 15th.

Sport mods ran a 20-lap main with more than a few yellows.

Drawing a front row assignment, Braaksma dominated the field for a $600 win.

Brady Bjella raced Chase Rudolf for runner-up honors and Bjella took second after a restart with two laps remaining.

A field of 92 modifieds drew for starting positions in their nine heats with heat winners and the top seven in passing/finishing points moving directly to the main.

Sport mods ran four heats for their 37-car turnout and added the top 12 in points to the heat winners.

For both divisions the main event lineup redrew the top six in points with the rest of the 16 qualifiers were straight up. B main action moved the top three or four to the mains.

Round two of the Tour is Saturday at Arizona Speedway.