Eastern Iowa Driver Rankings: July 13

Light weekend for most racers with fairs and rain; 2 new drivers this week

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Welcome to the Inside Track's Eastern Iowa Driver Rankings. Each week of the racing season, the Gazette's Jeremiah Davis will rank the area's top 10 drivers across all divisions.

Think the list should be different? Tweet him at @jeremiahdavis10, send him an email at jeremiah.davis@thegazette.com or leave a comment at The Inside Track by Jeremiah Davis Facebook page.

New this week: Joel Callahan, Luke Goedert 

Dropped out: Kyle Brown, Mitch Morris 

Others considered (in no order):  Troy Cordes, Matt Ryan, Zach Less, Bryce Garnhart, Rob Toland, Jeff Aikey, Norman Chesmore, Mark Schulte, Chris Zogg, Tyler Bruening, Dan Hovden, Leah Wroten, Kyle Olson, Matt Gansen, Cayden Carter, Sam Wieben, Johnny Spaw,  Jim Hanson, Troy Hovey, Joel Rust, Ronn Lauritzen, Daniel Wauters, Brian Irvine, J.D. Auringer, Jeremiah Hurst, Dalton Simonsen, Jenae Gustin, Corey Dripps, Ben Chapman, Troy Bauer, Richie Gustin, Kyle Brown, Mitch Morris

1 Tony Olson Sport Mod This guy officially took over the No. 1 spot in the IMCA Northern Sport Mods national points standings late last week, putting him atop every standings/rankings he could be at this point. Oh, and he had a tire test from Indee come back clean this week, too. There's still a ton of racing to go, obviously, but at 19 wins, he's 11 from maxing out in wins as far as national points go. That's a career for some drivers, but seems totally normal and reachable for Olson - and the next guy on this list.
2 Tyler Soppe Sport Mod Soppe got two more wins this week (at Farley Speedway and Maquoketa Speedway), bringing him to 16 this season, and moved into second in national points behind Olson. As long as the rivalry between the two stays clean on the racetrack, it's going to get good the rest of this year. Clearly it's still on Soppe's mind, at least if you listened to his Victory Lane interview from his win in Farley. Game on.
3 Damon Murty Stock Car Murty drops a spot, but only because of Soppe's return to multiple Victory Lanes. But Murty won again this week, too, getting another win at Marshalltown Speedway. He was back in Oskaloosa at Southern Iowa Speedway last week, where he was second. He also made the trip down to Donnellson for the Stock Car special at Lee County Speedway, where he finished seventh.
4 Tyler Droste Late Model/Modified Droste came close to making it three straight weekends with at least one win - but only got on chance at it thanks to Independence Motor Speedway being off for the Buchanan County Fair and Dubuque Speedway raining out, He was second Friday night at Farley for Fan Appreciation Night in Late Model to Jeremiah Hurst. Dude is on a roll no matter what he's in, and his confidence is soaring.
5 Hunter Marriott Modified Speaking of high confidence. Marriott, who has been in contention for some big wins the last few weeks, made the trip north for the Dakota Tour, and left with some hardware. He was one of just a few to make the A-main in all three tour races, taking a DNF at Jamestown Speedway, but finishing eighth at NoDak Speedway and capping it off with a win at Williston. He's built towards this all season, and more wins are coming.
6 Benji Irvine Hobby Stock One of three guys still in the rankings who took the weekend off. It's rare he doesn't get to race at least over the course of a racing weekend, so he only lost a few spots as a result. He'll be back in action this weekend.
7 Nathan Ballard Sport Mod/Hobby Stock Here's another of the guys who took the weekend off - and Ballard's was for family vacation the first few days. He would've been at Benton County Speedway on Sunday, but rain put a stop to that. His Sport Mod has been on the shelf recently, but hopefully he'll get that back out soon, too.
8 Joel Callahan Late Model Callahan returns to the rankings this week thanks to a pair of strong runs Thursday and Friday. He got his second IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series for Late Models win of 2016 at Kossuth County Speedway in Algona, then backed that up with a third place on Friday night at Farley Speedway. He had a bit of a dip for a month or so, but appears to be back in form.
9 Luke Goedert Late Model Goedert makes his debut in the rankings, and that's thanks to a stellar last several weeks. Goedert has a handful of wins in the last few weeks, and added to that total Saturday night at Maquoketa Speedway. He was also ninth on Friday night at Farley Speedway. His surge to the front has been noticeable among his competitors too. It'll be interesting to see if he can keep this up.
10 Justin Kay Late Model/Modified I give him a hard time about dropping out of the rankings when he doesn't race, but he was far from the only one who didn't this weekend, and - let's be honest - he's still one to beat every time he comes to the racetrack. His switch from points racer to money chaser, which he talked about in the Inside Track Podcast, has meant some inconsistency when he races, but hasn't seen much change in results.

Previous weeks: April 27May 4May 11May 18May 25; June 1June 8June 15June 22June 29July 7

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

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