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TIPTON — Corey Dripps has been racing for a long time, and has won a lot of races.
Until Tuesday night, however, Dripps had never won at Cedar County Raceway. The Reinbeck IMCA Modified racer crossed one off “my bucket list” — a list that’s gotten very short over the years — by leading flag to flag and winning the IMCA Hawkeye Dirt Tour Modified main event in Tipton.
“That was great. I’ve been racing around here a long time, and I’ve never picked up a feature win at Tipton, so this was on my bucket list of things to accomplish,” Dripps said. “I’ve been leading a lot of times down here and had a lot of things happen.
“We’ve had a lot of races we should’ve won and didn’t, and this was one of them. To finally get the monkey off our back tonight is pretty awesome.”
The win was extra satisfying for Dripps not only because he’d wanted to win in Tipton for so long, but also because of the last month he’s had.
Dripps looked headed to a win at the Hogan Memorial on July 3, but a brake issue held him up there. Ever since then, issue after issue has seemed to plague him. “Racing luck” hasn’t been on his side, Dripps said, so it was nice to finally shed the gremlins and take home the $1,000 payday.
“This Ford power is awesome. We should’ve won that Hogan Memorial and we’ve had issues the last several weeks, getting our stuff tore up,” Dripps said. “Just bad racing luck. We had time to get our car dialed in tonight and get our Ford motor back in there, and I couldn’t be happier with it.
“It’ll play with your confidence when you’re not having good luck out there. I know we’ve been fast, we just haven’t had luck. The nights I haven’t been as fast as I want, I’ve made mistakes in the pits. We had mechanical issues, but I think we’ve got it tuned in and we’re ready for this big stretch next week with a lot of money on the line.”
Dripps led all 30 laps, but started from fourth position. It was a Lap 1 move that put him in the lead and ended up being the race-winning move. He found a line on that opening circuit and got around both Johnny Walker Jr. and pole-sitter Ryan Maitland and never really looked back.
It was only late in the race that Dripps had any real challengers. State Center’s Kyle Brown said at the beginning of the night Tuesday a new engine would hopefully cure some of what’s ailed him over the last month or so as well, and he was proved right, too. While Dripps rode the razor-thin cushion at the top of the track, Brown took the bottom lane, and very nearly made up the straightaway deficit he had to Dripps.
Ultimately Dripps saw Brown’s nose, but never had to work to hold him off, and cut that bucket list down.
“That bucket list is getting shorter and that’s the way I like it,” Dripps said. “When I got to those lapped cars I saw a nose, and knew it couldn’t be a lapped car. That made me get after it a little harder. The cushion was so treacherous up there, I just didn’t want to drive over the edge. I felt like I could traintrack it, kind of ride that and gas it if I had to. We were waiting to see if someone really had something for us, but otherwise I was just maintaining up there.”
KAY MAKES IT 3 STRAIGHT AT TIPTON
Justin Kay loves Cedar County Raceway.
The quarter-mile in Tipton was where Kay said he got his start in a Late Model, and also a place at which he hasn’t missed a race since 2007. The love he has was given back again Tuesday night, as the Wheatland driver dominated the 50-lap, $2,000-to-win IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series for Late Models main event.
“I’m used to what this racetrack does. It did what I thought it would do tonight,” Kay said. “This is where I first started racing at, so we’ve always came here and raced and I enjoy racing here so much — in the Late Model and the Modified. I wish they raced here a couple more times a year. That’d be nice.”
Kay was driving with purpose throughout both of his main events Tuesday night. He spun after contact from Mark Elliott in the Hawkeye Dirt Tour Modified main event, making it back to a ninth-place finish after restarting 24th.
The motivation from that, as well as the ever-present motivation to win transferred to his Late Model, and the result was a win by nearly half a lap in the caution-free feature.
“I wanted to make up for it pretty bad,” Kay said. “I didn’t want to tear up the Mod or wreck somebody and do something stupid. I think we were real good in that, and if we could’ve gotten back toward the front, we’d have had a shot at it.
“The Late Model was real maneuverable. It made it nice and fun to drive.”
The three-time defending IMCA Late Model national champion and two-time defending Summer Series champion still isn’t satisfied, though.
With 16 wins between both his racecars in a season in which he’s severely cut back on his schedule, one would think he’d be thrilled with a pretty high winning percentage. But Kay still isn’t satisfied. Whether Modified or Late Model, he wants to keep getting better.
There’s always more speed to find.
“We can work on this and get a little better yet,” Kay said. “That’s always the goal when we get done is try to figure out what to do better. More laps, more seat time. Everything helps.
“Seat time and getting to work on the car (has gone down) with running fewer races. Now the only time we get to test anything is at a bigger race. It makes it a little tougher. We just might have to race a little more.”
Kay isn’t in the hunt for this year’s Summer Series championship, having missed a few events. That’s down to seven-time series champion Jeff Aikey against Decorah’s Tyler Bruening. Aikey came into the night six points up on Bruening, but left Tipton trailing Bruening by one.
Bruening finished seventh, while Aikey finished 14th, and holds a 485-484 points lead as the Summer Series heads into its home stretch. The Summer Series is next in action Aug. 16 at Dubuque Speedway.
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