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VINTON — Memorial races are always a little bittersweet by nature.
That’s especially so for the annual Hogan Memorial race, held each year at Benton County Speedway in Vinton, honoring Dick and Janet Hogan. The event celebrated its 20th running last night, and its significance has only grown.
“This event means just about everything,” said Benton County Speedway promoter Dana Benning. “The Hogan family has given so much to racing. The amount of passion put into this is awesome.
“It started as a simple memorial and over the years it’s grown. The amount of effort the Hogan family puts into this, their blood, sweat and tears has grown this to what we’re seeing.”
The 40-lap main event saw 26 cars take the green flag. Even with a five minute break at halfway for teams to have a chance to refuel and change tires if they wish, the race took 24 minutes to complete and had no cautions.
And to top that off, one driver led the whole way. Waterloo’s J.D. Auringer started second and rode the high line to his second Hogan Memorial win. His other victory came in 2007.
Auringer said he was getting nervous in the final laps while navigating lapped traffic — as any driver who’s led a lot of laps will attest — just waiting for something to go wrong. Fortunately for him, his lead held and he took home $3,650 after bonuses for leading at halfway and every lap.
“I can’t ask for anything better there. I started to get nervous there at the end, and my driving probably showed it, but I just wanted to be cautious and make sure I made every single lap count,” Auringer said. “It means a lot. The money is big, but just to win the race (means a lot). With that family — Scott Hogan and them guys are just wonderful people to race with on and off the racetrack. They put a hell of a deal on here.”
Auringer was quick to point out in Victory Lane that he was the beneficiary of some good fortune by redrawing the second starting spot. With several past winners of the event in the field — including Scott Hogan, Dick and Janet’s son, who’s won the event four times — Auringer said anyone could’ve won.
Starting up front was key, but Auringer did what he needed to do to keep his No. 00J car up front the whole way.
“We thought about changing tires (at the break), but all we did was put in fuel,” Auringer said. “Starting up front is huge. That’s the main thing in shows like this, because anybody that started this could’ve won it. There wasn’t anybody out there who couldn’t win this race.”
The Hogan family has been involved in racing for decades, and after Dick’s death in 1995, it was a no-brainer to honor his contributions to the sport.
Scott said when the family and speedway started it, he never envisioned what it would become.
“It’s just a neat deal that we’ve been able to keep this going for 20 years,” Hogan said. “It means a lot to us. It’s just remarkable how everybody comes.
“I never expected it to get to this level.”
20th HOGAN MEMORIAL
IMCA MODIFIED MAIN EVENT RESULTS
1. J.D. Auringer, Waterloo; 2. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 3. Dan Chapman, Clarence; 4. Mike Jergens, Plover; 5. Richie Gustin, Gilman; 6. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 7. Kyle Brown, Kellogg; 8. Jeremy Mills, Garner; 9. Troy Cordes, Dunkerton; 10. Joe Dockeral, Dysart; 11. Jake Bowman, Maquoketa; 12. Zach Less, Hopinkton; 13. Tim Ward, Gilbert, Ariz.; 14. Ronn Lauritzen, Jesup; 15. Bruce Hanford; 16. Scott Hogan, Vinton; 17. Josh Gilman, Earlham; 18. Tony Snyder, Readlyn; 19. Vern Jackson, Waterloo; 20. Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 21. Mitch Morris, Eldridge; 22. Tyler Droste, Waterloo; 23. Ed Thomas, Waterloo; 24. Patrick Flanagan, Cedar Rapids; 25. Jerry Dedrick, Vinton; 26. Racer Hulin, Laurel.
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