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Aikey takes fourth straight Super Nationals

Cedar Falls driver dominates Late Models on marathon Thursday race day

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BOONE – There’s just something about Jeff Aikey and Boone Speedway that just works.

There’s something about how his No. 77 Late Model and the tight quarter-mile fit together that leads to success. The seven-time IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series for Late Models champion added to his all-time series wins lead on Thursday night at IMCA Super Nationals, and whatever it is that clicks so well with the speedway and him was on full display.

Aikey won his fourth straight Super Nationals and became the first driver in any division to take six Super Nationals victories. He was vintage Aikey in celebration – standing atop the car at first, and then hugging everyone in sight by the neck with one hand and a beer in the other.

“I just love this place. I love coming to Boone,” Aikey said. “I don’t know. This place just clicks with me. I know how to get around here.”

Aikey’s last two victories couldn’t really have been much different.

The 2015 Late Model main event at Super Nationals was one for the memory bank. Aikey came out on top of a four-car battle that saw countless slide jobs and lead-changes. He edged out Justin Kay to the line.

The 2016 version saw Aikey take the lead at Lap 14 of 50 and proceed to run away with it. He beat Joel Callahan by a straightaway, and Jason Rauen and Tyler Bruening in third and fourth by a half a lap.

It was his first Summer Series win of the season and his 68th overall.

“We got our brand new car out here at the end of the year, and everything is fresh – new motor, everything is clicking,” Aikey said.

The Cedar Falls driver entered Super Nationals four points behind Bruening in the standings, and left just one point shy. That basically means the season finale in the Liberty 100 at West Liberty Raceway is a winner-take-all for the Summer Series title.

Both drivers have one win – Bruening took the Yankee Dirt Track Classic last weekend – and have enjoyed the down-to-the-wire battle for the championship. Bruening congratulated Aikey in Victory Lane, and said after the race he can’t wait to get to West Liberty. Aikey said his plan was to get to the half-mile and “kicking his…” – well, you know.

“If we couldn’t be out by 40 (points), I’d have it this way,” Bruening said. “It’s nerve-wracking. We’ve never been in a points battle like this before. He’s got a few under his belt, so he’s a seasoned vet and all that. We’ll give ‘er hell at West Liberty and let the chips fall where they may.”

The way Aikey celebrated, there’s no denying he has an undying passion for racing. He’s approaching his 54th birthday, but has absolutely no intentions of slowing down.

He wants win No. 69 and title No. 8 just as bad as he wanted win No. 1 and title No. 1.

“The wins are getting better because the older you get, the better they get,” Aikey said. “This livens you up. I just love this (stuff). I’m not done yet.”

RACING GOES INTO THE WEE HOURS

After rain on Wednesday washed out racing action at Super Nationals, officials were forced to fit two full days’ worth of racing into one.

Well, sort of, anyway.

Racing got started Thursday at 10 a.m. with IMCA Modified and Stock Car heats and A-main qualifiers. After more than 100 checkered flags, including four Modified and four Stock Car A-main qualifiers, and the Late Model main event, racing action finished just before the sun came up on Friday. The final race of the Thursday program rolled off at 5:50 a.m.

Tim Ward and Jay Noteboom won the two Modified A-mains, giving Ward the second starting spot for Saturday night’s Modified main event.

l Comments: (319) 368-8884; jeremiah.davis@thegazette.com

 

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