Callahan Tops Deery Foes At Benton County

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Joel Callahan in victory lane at Benton County Speedway. (Mike Ruefer photo)

VINTON, Iowa – Lapped cars didn’t bother Joel Callahan.

He figured if he had to get past them, so did everybody chasing him for the lead in Thursday’s Deery Brothers Summer Series main event at Benton County Speedway.

Callahan made the most of four restarts before midway of the 40-lap IMCA Late Model tour feature after starting ninth, reeling in Jeff Aikey and leading the last 16 circuits for the $2,000 victory, his sixth Deery win and first since July 7, 2016.

“It’s always good to win. We had a good car and the cautions helped. It seemed like every caution, I was able to gain a couple spots,” Callahan said following the county fair show victory.

Aikey, the winner of the previous tour race at Maquoketa Speedway, started from the pole and set a blistering pace in the early going.

Cautions erased his big leads, however, and Callahan was already sitting in second when the fourth of those yellow flags waved on lap 18.

Both had to work their way around a lapped car before Callahan edged ahead as lap 25 was scored.

They’d negotiate their way in the back of the field in the final laps before Callahan pulled away to win by close to half a straightaway.

“Any time you get into lapped traffic, the other guys have to get into it, too,” reasoned Callahan, who also won the $250 Sunoco Race Fuels feature qualifier drawing. “It was a good night. We were happy with everything. We’re always happy to be able to compete and we’re always happy to win.”

John Emerson, Eric Pollard and Jeremiah Hurst rounded out the top five. Pollard’s fourth-place finish was his best in just half a dozen career main event starts.

Hard charger Tyler Bruening started 15th and ended in sixth.

The finish:

1. Joel Callahan; 2. Jeff Aikey; 3. John Emerson; 4. Eric Pollard; 5. Jeremiah Hurst; 6. Tyler Bruening; 7. Matt Ryan; 8. Justin Kay; 9. Todd Malmstrom; 10. Andy Eckrich; 11. Curt Martin; 12. Darrel DeFrance; 13. Chad Holladay; 14. Luke Pestka; 15. Darren Ackerman; 16. Charlie McKenna; 17. Gary Webb; 18. Paul Nagle; 19. Dalton Simonsen; 20. Stacy Griffis; 21. Logan Duffy; 22. Joe Zrostlik; 23. Nick Marolf; 24. Andy Nezworski; 25. Brian Harris; 26. David Webster; 27. Kyle Krampe.