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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.
New this week: Hunter Marriott, Mitch Morris, Mitch Hovden
Dropped out: Tyler Droste, Justin Kay, Jeremiah Hurst
Others considered (in no order): Troy Cordes, Matt Ryan, Zach Less, Bryce Garnhart, Rob Toland, Jeff Aikey, Norman Chesmore, Joel Callahan, 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, Tyler Droste, Justin Kay, Jeremiah Hurst, Luke Goedert, Dalton Simonsen, Jenae Gustin
|1||--||Tony Olson||Sport Mod||Some racetracks put a bounty on drivers who win a bunch of races in a row in a given class. No one has done that yet to Olson, but maybe Davenport Speedway should. Or Benton County Speedway. Maybe Independence Motor Speedway. Point is, he wins a lot, and got another one Friday in Davenport. He's fueling the hate fire for some groups of fans in the stands. (Insert my podcast cohost Danny Lehmkuhl here: "Boooooooo!")|
|2||+1||Damon Murty||Stock Car||Murty's week probably made him angrier than it did happy. He didn't finish any lower than second...but also didn't finish any better. He was runner-up at Southern Iowa Speedway on Wednesday - to Cayden Carter, who hasn't lost a Stock Car race there this year, and has an aforementioned bounty on him there - at Marshalltown Speedway on Friday and at Hancock County Speedway in Britt on Tuesday night. A guy like him hates finishing second.|
|3||-1||Tyler Soppe||Sport Mod||OK, it really was a rough weekend this time for Tyler Soppe. He started off fine, finishing third at Davenport Speedway - Farley, his usual haunt, was off - but the rest of the weekend was one to forget. He was credited with last (11th and 16th, respectively, at Maquoketa Speedway and Dubuque Speedway on Saturday and Sunday. Throw that weekend in the trash and don't ever think about it again, Soppe fans.|
|4||-1||Nathan Ballard||Sport Mod/Hobby Stock||Ballard only got to race once, but tested himself at a new track in the Sport Mod for the first time. He ran fifth at Davenport Speedway, running hard with Olson and Soppe along the way. And probably the most enjoyable part for him was putting the first dents in the brand new sheet metal Olson put on his car. Take the little wins where you can get them.|
|5||--||Benji Irvine||Hobby Stock||Benji Irvine is the Matt Kenseth of Eastern Iowa - and I mean that as a sincere compliment. Irvine is as consistent as anyone, and showed it again this weekend - and while trying a new track, to boot. He was second at Independence Motor Speedway on Saturday, then was seventh at Hancock County Speedway in Britt (chasing the big money everyone else was).|
|6||+4||Corey Dripps||Modified||He didn't go up to Wisconsin to run the Cheesehead Triple Crown, but the Reinbeck driver made the most of staying in Iowa. He went back to my hometown in Alta and won last Wednesday at Buena Vista Raceway, then took the win in the IMCA Hawkeye Dirt Tour main event at Hancock County Speedway in Britt. He'll be heard from this weekend, too, with Aftermarket Nationals and the Hogan Memorial.|
|7||NR||Hunter Marriott||Modified||yes, he's listed as a Brookfield, Mo. driver. But anyone who knows Eastern Iowa racing knows Marriott races out of Eastern Iowa throughout the summer, and he represented the area well this weekend. Marriott made the trip to the Cheesehead Triple Crown, and while he ended it with a DNQ, he took third at 141 Speedway and the victory at Oshkosh. He turned right around and was seventh in Britt for the Hawkeye Dirt Tour race, too.|
|8||-1||Kyle Brown||Modified||I know I joked Damon Murty had to be frustrated from this weekend, but Brown certainly was in coming back from Wisconsin with results he'd preferred to have been better. He was 10th at 141 Speedway, 21st in Oshkosh and failed to qualify at Shawano. He also was 11th in the Hawkeye Dirt Tour race in Britt. He has to have this weekend circled, though. Especially the Hogan Memorial, because he's been super fast at Benton County Speedway this season.|
|9||NR||Mitch Morris||Modified||Morris returns to the rankings thanks to a 2-for-2 weekend. The McCausland driver won at Davenport Speedway on Friday night, then backed that up with another one at Maquoketa Speedway on Saturday night. It'll be very interesting to see if he has an open motor for Farley, and if he makes the trek to Vinton for the Hogan Memorial. He's been sharp this season.|
|10||NR||Mitch Hovden||Stock Car||I know these rankings have been IMCA heavy, but I promise I've been keeping an eye out, USRA racers. The Hovden crew has been solid at Fayette County Speedway and Upper Iowa Speedway all season, and Mitch has carried that banner most weeks. He took another win in West Union this weekend, and was second in Decorah. They've got a huge weekend ahead, and Hovden will be one to beat again.|
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