Notebook: Bauer's Aftermarket Nationals offer to Olson an effort to race the best

Dubuque driver gave Cedar Rapids racer a chance to compete with his Open motor; Chapman wins Hogan Memorial in Sport Mod; Deery Bros up next in Independence

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Troy Bauer wanted to race against the best.

The Dubuque driver won the Sport Mod main event and pocketed $2,000 for doing so Friday night in the Aftermarket Nationals at Farley Speedway, and had to fend off some of the area’s best — as well as a few from other states — to get it done.

He battled fiercely with rival Tyler Soppe — who sits tied for second in IMCA Northern Sport Mod national points — on his way to Victory Lane. But it was the guy who wasn’t there that Bauer was a little disappointed about. Bauer offered an extra open motor to Cedar Rapids’ Tony Olson in an effort to get him to make the trip to Farley, but Olson was otherwise occupied with the Governor’s Cup (and track points) at Davenport Speedway.

Bauer wanted Olson there to make the stakes even higher than they already were.

“I offered Tony Olson a motor. I was hoping he’d take my offer and come race with me. I had another motor sitting there in the garage and I was hoping to go 1-2,” Bauer said. “Tony and I never really, really talk, so I can’t say it’s a friendship, but he’s one of the best guys in Sport Mod. And I’m not bragging, but I don’t think I’ve ever lost to him when he’s come to Farley. I don’t travel much, so I’ve never gone and raced him on his turf, but I’ve gone and watched him, and I know that a lot of people are hating on him right now because he’s winning. He’s got that thing dialed in.”

Bauer’s offer was certainly a humbling one for Olson.

Olson is the other driver tied for second in national points with Soppe, and said missing a points race at one of his weekly tracks was too costly a price when a national championship is within grasp. He came within a whisper of capturing a national title last season, and with 18 wins so far in 2016, it’s on the table again.

Still, the offer was tempting, and it meant even more considering Bauer and Olson have only raced against each other a handful of times. That the push to offer Olson the motor was because Bauer considered him one of the best just added an extra layer.

“That was really awesome of him to do that. I wanted to jump on that opportunity if I could’ve, but racing for points at Davenport, I couldn’t miss that,” Olson said. “Going for national points, if you miss one night, you’re out of points and you pretty much screw yourself.

“Barely knowing him and only racing with him a couple times, that was pretty cool of him to offer. It’s a huge compliment. It would’ve been an awesome race to be in if the opportunity was there or if things were different. It was cool he offered it to me.”

Even without Olson there, Farley Speedway fans were treated to a knockdown battle between Bauer and Soppe throughout the first 2/3 of the main event. The pair banged doors and traded slide jobs on the 3/8-mile track, showing off their fierce rivalry.

Such an intense and heated race for the win made the win that much more satisfying for Bauer — and his large group of fans in attendance.

Soppe, like Olson, is one of the best in a Sport Mod in Eastern Iowa, and Bauer said he’s worked hard to get his racing program to a point where he can outrun that caliber of racer.

“Tyler and I go back to when we were 16 years old. He just doesn’t like me, I guess. He doesn’t like to drive me clean. I don’t know,” Bauer said. “I came out ahead, I guess. There were many times I thought about dumping him, but I used patience and knew I had the car to do it. That’s what I did. … It made my fans, made all my supporters and all the people who help me really appreciate it. You could tell when they came down (to help celebrate).

“I got tired of getting beat by Tyler. So I went back and went to work and here we are.”

 

CHAPMAN TAKES SPORT MOD AT HOGAN MEMORIAL

Ben Chapman wasn’t having a ton of fun before this season.

The Clarence driver was racing IMCA Modified — and had fallen into, as he called it, the “money pit” that high-level dirt racing can become. So after this season got underway, he moved back to IMCA Sport Mod, and that fun he was missing came back.

Of course, getting to Victory Lane certainly makes the fun obvious. Chapman did just that Sunday night at the Hogan Memorial in Vinton at Benton County Speedway, dominating the Sport Mod main event and taking the win ahead of Tony Olson, Matt Petrzelka, Danny Dvorak and Carter VanDenBerg.

“I bought this car turnkey for $6,000 and it’s 13 years old. I had bought a newer car and was racing Mods at the beginning of the year and it’s just a money pit,” Chapman said. “I just wasn’t having as much fun as I used to have. So I dropped back down to a Sport Mod and I’ve had a pretty good time so far.”

It was that same mentality that led Olson to move from Modified to Sport Mod several years ago as well.

Chapman getting the win ahead of Olson — who’s won the majority of feature races in Vinton the last several years — was statement enough, but the significance of the Hogan Memorial made the night the most special.

“I grew up watching this race, and I’ve been coming to this race as long as I can remember; my dad’s raced in it many times,” Chapman said. “It definitely means a lot.”

DEERY BROS UP NEXT IN INDEPENDENCE

The IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series for Late Models gets back in action this week after nearly a month off. The Summer Series rolls into Independence Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, bringing Eastern Iowa’s top Late Model racers with it to compete for $2,000 to win.

Summer Series all-time wins leader and seven-time champion Jeff Aikey enters Wednesday night with the series points lead ahead of Decorah’s Tyler Bruening, and seeks his first Summer Series win this season.

Wednesday night also serves as the Dale Miller Memorial race at Independence, offering $1,000 to win in IMCA Modified. Gates open at 5 p.m., with hot laps set for 6:45.

The Summer Series has two more races this week, as well. The tour heads to Algona and Kossuth County Speedway on Thursday, then to Dubuque Speedway on Sunday.

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

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