VINTON, Iowa (July 3) – That $4,908 check was great.
But taking home the winner’s trophy from the 25th, final and record-breaking Hogan Memorial, Cayden Carter said, was priceless.
Carter led all but nine laps and the last 36 times around the track in the 50-lap IMCA Modified main event Wednesday night at Benton County Speedway, beating Jeff Aikey to the stripe by three car lengths.
When the checkers flew, it signaled the end of one of the longest running specials for IMCA Modifieds. A track record 153 cars, including 44 Modifieds from seven states, saw action in front of a very full grandstand.
“Winning this race means a lot to us,” said Carter, born a month and a half before the first annual event and who’d also won the Hogan in 2013. “This has always been a big race for us. I didn’t want the money. I wanted the trophy. You can’t buy that.”
Aikey had started 13th and battled back and forth with Joel Rust before settling into second with six laps left.
Carter drew the pole after winning the third of six heats and led the first two circuits following a caution on the initial start.
Outside front row starter Austin Howes was scored as the leader on laps three and four; Carter regained the front spot before Californian Cody Laney nosed ahead.
The front pair tussled before Carter got the lead back on lap 14; he was in heavy traffic when the caution light came on again on lap 23 and still had Rust and Aikey on his tail when the race was halted for the mandatory front stretch pitstop at halfway.
Continuing to make the most of the fast higher line, Carter quickly built a half straight advantage after the restart. He was two lapped cars ahead of Rust when the final caution came out with seven laps left.
Aikey caught Rust and made the final circuits interesting, but couldn’t catch Carter. The winner’s share of the purse included $500 for leading at halfway and $2,050 in lap money.
“We got lucky with the draw tonight,” Carter said from victory lane, one hand still on that tall trophy. “We felt pretty good about running in traffic and thought that if we could get a lapped car in between, we’d be good.”
Carter was already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot.
Rust, Tim Ward and Hunter Marriott rounded out the top five. Hard charger Ethan Dotson started 24th and finished 10th while Ed Thomas, honored with an Ironman award earlier in the evening, started the main event for the 24th time.
Friends and the racing community added some $22,000-plus to the evening’s purse. Kyle Brown was the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car winner, Daniel Wauters topped the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature and Jake McBirnie won the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod main.
Brown, the defending Modified winner, started on the pole and led all 20 laps for a $1,000 payday. Damon Murty ran second most of the last half of the race before Abe Huls snuck by to take the runner-up spot.
Wauters charged to the front following a lap three restart and led to the finish of the Hobby Stock feature, holding off Leah Wroten to earn $1,350.
And McBirnie was the fourth different leader in the last half of the Northern SportMod main. He banked $1,000 after running up front the last six circuits.
Modifieds – 1. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa2. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls; 3. Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 4. Tim Ward, Harcourt; 5. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 6. Brad Dierks, Clarence; 7. Cody Laney, Torrance, Calif.; 8. Richie Gustin, Gilman; 9. Kyle Brown, Madrid; 10. Ethan Dotson, Bakersfield, Calif.; 11. Kollin Hibdon, Pahrump, Nev.; 12. Darin Duffy, Urbana; 13. Ethan Braaksma, Newton; 14. Todd Shute, Norwalk; 15. Brennen Chipp, Dunkerton; 16. Brandon Spanjer, Crete, Neb.; 17. Austin Howes, Memphis, Mo.; 18. Dennis LaVeine, Burlington; 19. John Oliver Jr., Danville; 20. J.D. Auringer, Waterloo; 21. Troy Cordes, Dunkerton; 22. David Brown, Kellogg; 23. Scott Hogan, Vinton; 24. Tyler Droste, Waterloo; 25. Ed Thomas, Waterloo; 26. Mike Burbridge, Delhi.
Stock Cars – 1. Kyle Brown, Madrid; 2. Abe Huls, Carthage, Ill.; 3. Damon Murty, Chelsea; 4. Johnny Spaw, Cedar Rapids; 5. Dan Trimble, Fairbank; 6. Jay Schmidt, Tama; 7. Scooter Dulin, Cedar Rapids; 8. Neal Miller, Evansdale; 9. Dallon Murty, Chelsea; 10. Jared Daggett, Marshalltown; 11. Danny Dvorak, Vinton; 12. Les Blakely, Fairfield; 13. Shane Ebaugh, Evansdale; 14. Dean Kratzer, Montrose; 15. Russell Damme Jr., Waterloo; 16. Kevin Rose, Waterloo; 17. Riley Hanson, Vinton; 18. Brandon Jacoby, Waterloo; 19. Dustin Vis, Cedar Rapids; 20. John Oliver Jr., Danville; 21. Dwayne Herb, Hiawatha; 22. Kenzie Ritter, Keystone; 23. Kyle Merkes, Farley; 24. Paul Howard, Davenport; 25. Jerry Schipper, Dike; 26. Chase Zaruba, Sabula.
Hobby Stocks – 1. Daniel Wauters, West Branch; 2. Leah Wroten, Independence; 3. Nathan Ballard, Marengo; 4. Brett Vanous, Quasqueton; 5. Erick Knutsen, Cedar Rapids; 6. Justin Wacha, Vinton; 7. Justin Ginther, Jesup;