DODGE CITY, Kan. – Zach Blurton and Ryan Heger were among those scoring victory honors as 124 cars filled the pit area Saturday night for the Inaugural Jerry Soderberg Memorial Championship event that closed out the season at Dodge City Raceway Park.
While Blurton took URSS Sprint Car honors after apparent winner Taylor Velasquez weighed in light at the scales and Heger topped the season finale in IMCA Modifieds for the second year in a row, Josh Appel took the win in United Wireless IMCA Sport Modifieds, Ron Hartman rallied from the tail to top the IMCA Stock Cars, Dan Rogers bested the Thunder Cars and James Phelps won the Hornet finale.
In the 30-lap United Rebel Sprint Series main event, fourth-starter Taylor Velasquez battled past pole starter on the high side on the fifth round and led the rest of the way for his apparent second series win of the season at DCRP.
But when Velasquez rolled across the scales below the 1,550 pound minimum, the $1,000 victory went to Jetmore’s Zach Blurton to make him the ninth different winner in the last nine URSS events at Dodge City Raceway Park.
After starting seventh, Blurton cracked the top five by the eighth round and then moved by Darren Bowman for fourth on the tenth circuit. Two laps later, Blurton made what proved to be the race-winning move by passing both Jared Kern and J.D. Johnson to move up to second.
Blurton gave chase over the final rounds and while never quite able to reel in the lightweight Velasquez, kept July winner J.D. Johnson for what proved to be the winning position.
Blurton and Johnson were joined on the podium by current URSS National points leader Jake Bubak in third with 13th-starter Ty Williams and Colorado points leader Adam Trimble rounding out the current top five.
In IMCA Modified action, Hugoton’s Ryan Heger emerged from a three-way shootout with Cole Traugott and Van Gemmill over the final circuits for his second win in season finale action in as many years.
While Heger worked his way up from the 22nd starting position after heat race problems, Brad Keller and Jack Kirchoff paced the early circuits before Traugott surged into the lead on the 12th round in his bid for a third consecutive win to finish out the DCRP season.
Heger and the elder Gemmill had other ideas though, with Heger taking the checkered flag in the 20-lapper ahead of Gemmill. Beau Davis worked up to third in the final laps, Brendon Gemmill rebounded from mid-race issues to snare fourth with Traugott shuffled back to fifth in the final circuits. Austin Allen crossed the stripe sixth to put the finishing touches on his championship season.
In similar fashion, Dodge City’s Josh Appel emerged from a multi-car battle over the last half of the race to post his first United Wireless IMCA Sport Modified win of the year.
Brian May paced the initial handful of rounds of the 20-lapper before Jeff Kaup surged into the lead. Trent Kleweno entered the mix at the midway point and held a handful of rounds before Appel battled into the lead for keeps on the 16th lap.
Appel took the win ahead of Kleweno, with Kaup securing the title with his third place finish. Jared Baird and Mike Appel rounded out the top five.
In IMCA Stock Car action, Rob Hartman raced from 17th to take his first win of the season at DCRP.
Michael Pepper raced into the lead five laps into the 20-lapper before being swarmed by a host of challengers, with Hartman emerging with the lead on the 13th lap and then surviving some late challenges for the win ahead of Angel Munoz, Randy Dowell, Pepper and Justin Lewis. Billy Phelps finished off his championship season with a seventh-place finish.
In Thunder Cars, Dan Rogers outlasted Cody Davis for his first feature win of the year in the 20-lap main event.
Rogers raced from sixth to take the lead away from Michael Penrod on the fifth round only to surrender the point to Davis on the 11th circuit. Rogers battled back into the lead on the 15th lap and raced to the stripe ahead of Davis, Tobby Schield, David Berger and Matt O’Hair with Dustin Walker taking the championship with a sixth-place finish.
James Phelps battled into the lead eight laps into the 12-lap Hornet feature and went on top post his first win of the year ahead of Marci O’Hair with Jarett Lunow’s third place finish good enough to secure the title.