Beating the heat and outrunning the storm were the competitors that challenged for accolades on Sunday evening at the Lexington Raceway during IMCA Racing action on the Dawson County Fairgrounds. Standing proudly in the winners circle at the end of the night were: Josh Leonard, David Murray Jr, Mike Nichols, Jacob Olmstead, Luke Wassom and Christian Destefano.
Knocking on the door of the lead was Gibbon’s Josh Leonard for much of the feature event for the NeSmith Late Models until he was finally able to knock that door down and take the lead on the 17th lap and cruise to the feature win. Prior to Leonard garnering the lead, Rece Vaught of Aurora was setting a blistering pace around the oval at Lexington Raceway by leading the first 16 laps of the feature. Vaught would stay up on the wheel for the remaining laps of the featured event to earn runner-up honors for his efforts. Finishing inside the top five just wasn’t going to be enough, so Cale Osborn of Cozad charged hard in the waning laps to earn a podium finish in third place. Denton Duncan of Ravenna and Dylan Schmer of Aurora rounded out the top five finishers in the feature. Duncan and Vaught were the earlier in the evening heat race victors.
In another feature that came down to the final laps to determine the winner, David Murray Jr. of Oberlin, Kansas tried nearly every which way to move into the lead during the IMCA Modified Feature event until he was finally able to find some moisture on the bottom of corner two and slingshot into the lead and hold onto the lead for the final two laps to earn the victory. Murray battled side-by-side for many laps with the early leader Jay Steffens of North Platte. Steffens was the leader for the first 18 laps of the feature event and he recovered quite nicely after losing the lead by finishing second place overall. Starting in the third row, it didn’t take long for Scott Smith of Davenport to drive his way inside the top five and then stay consistent throughout the feature event to earn third place accolades. Chuck Stryker of Eddyville was the heat race winner for the modifieds.
Flexing his muscle in the stock car division was showcased again, as Mike Nichols of Harlan, Iowa continued his string of great success at the Lexington Raceway with yet another IMCA Stock Car feature win. Nichols started in the fifth row when the green flag dropped and was able to drive with gumption to be in the lead group and then into the lead on the 12th lap. Nichols would masterfully cruise through lap traffic to claim the victory. Finding a lane during the second half of the race that worked for the Flyin’ Farmer resulted in a runner-up finish for Kyle Clough of Wallace. Clough started in the fourth row when the green flag first was waved. Finishing the night strong after a less than ideal start to the evening, Jeff Whiting of Gothenburg was third overall in the feature after having to bow out of his heat race with mechanical issues. Nichols along with Mickey Dancer the early leader in the feature won the heat races for the Stock Cars.
Driving with gumption was Jacob Olmstead of Overton in putting on a dominating performance to win the IMCA Northern Sport Modified Feature event. Olmstead started on the inside of the fourth row and was ‘in the zone’ to cruise to the victory after leading every lap. Doing his best to run down Olmstead during the feature was Hastings hotshoe Caleb Hetrick in second place. Hetrick was able to stay in the lead group for much of the feature and avoid trouble to then be in contention for a podium finish for his efforts. Kearney’s Cole Egge had a stellar evening behind the wheel of his hotrod with a third place finish in the feature event after starting in the third row when the green flag was waved to start the race. Prior to winning the feature, Olmstead along with Craig Howard of Lexington won the heat races for the division.
In one of the most exciting see-saw features of the evening, there four different leaders in the IMCA Hobby Stock feature. When all the smoke cleared, it was Luke ‘Awesome’ Wassom of Broken Bow that stood on top of the podium to win the feature. Wassom led just the final two laps to earn top honors after starting on the outside of the fourth row when the green flag dropped. When the green flag was waved Chuck Ledbetter of Loomis took the lead and held the point for the first two laps before Cole Egge of Kearney garnered the lead and led a trio of circuits before Oakley, Kansas speedster Brady Bencken took the lead and nearly made it the distance until Wassom passed him for the lead. Bencken was credited with the runner-up finish when the checkered flag was waved. Staying consistent throughout the feature event paid off for Kearney’s Travis Kernick to cross the finish line in third place. Kernick started in the second row and was able to stay up on the wheel and be rewarded.
Winning his first feature in Lexington of the season was Christian Destefano of Cozad by leading the second half of the IMCA Sport Compact Feature. Merle Johnsen of Bertrand had his best finish of the young season at Lexington with a runner-up finish in the division. Gibbon’s Justin Smallcomb and Travis Thelander of Blue Hill rounded out the top four finishers in the division.
–NeSmith Late Model Feature: 1. 85-Josh Leonard; 2. 20v-Rece Vaught; 3. 6c-Cale Osborn; 4. 83d-Denton Duncan; 5. 5s-Dylan Schmer; 6. 22-Chris Avery; 7. 15-Collin Safranek; 8. 14-Bill Kubik; 9. 23-Jacob Kubicka; 10. 1s-Chris Stevens.
Heat Races: 83d-Duncan; 20v-Vaught.
–IMCA Modified Feature: 1. 97m-David Murray Jr; 2. XII-Jay Steffens; 3. 50-Scott Smith; 4. 19-Chuck Stryker; 5. 11h-Henry Henderson; 6. 50s-Cale Smith; 7. 50c-Colton Osborn; 8. 20b-Brandon Clough.
Heat Races: 19-Stryker.
–IMCA Stock Car Feature: 1. 63-Mike Nichols; 2. 11k-Kyle Clough; 3. 16w-Jeff Whiting; 4. 25-Kyle Dumpert; 5. 24-Bob Chalupa; 6. 45-Mikey Dancer; 7. 31-Darin Racek; 8. 90-Allen Zimmerman; 9. 09h-Bob Hoing; 10. 24w-Casey Werkmeister.
Heat Races: 63-Nichols; 45-Dancer.
–IMCA Northern Sport Modified Feature: 1. 88j-Jacob Olmstead; 2. 44-Caleb Hetrick; 3. 1c-Cole Egge; 4. 12j-Kerry Jones; 5. 68-Craig Howard; 6. 15-Herb Slough; 7. 0hp-Bryan Herrick; 8. 5-Ken Eckhoff; 9. 59-Tyler Radjl; 10. 15d-Jacob Slough.
Heat Races: 68-Howard; 88j-Olmstead.
–IMCA Hobby Stock Feature: 1. 2w-Luke Wassom; 2. 711-Brady Bencken; 3. 2x-Travis Kernick; 4. R89-Nate Refior; 5. 250-Tathan Burkhart; 6. 1-Tanner Clough; 7. 8-Andrew Rayburn; 8. 12t-Tanner Jones; 9. 1j-Jacob Egge; 10. 99m-Allyn Myers. Heat Races: 2x-Kernick; 1j-Egge.
–IMCA Sport Compact Feature: 1. 71c-Christian Destefano; 2. 07-Merle Johnsen; 3. 85-Justin Smallcomb; 4. 12-Travis Thelander.
Heat Race: 12-Thelander.