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Meet the Teammore Marc Morehouse storiesmore Mike Hlas storiesmore Cyclone Country storiesmore Preps Etc. storiesmore Inside Track storiesmore Community Corner storiesMost PopularFind a jobJeremiah Davis, The GazetteAugust 13, 2014 | 5:03 pm
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.
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New this week: Nathan Ballard, Dan Keltner
Dropped out: Bill Whalen, Andy Eckrich
RANK +/- NAME CLASS THOUGHTS 1 +2 Troy Cordes Modified He may have had a rough two nights in Britt for the Night of 10,000 stars, but when he came back to Eastern Iowa, he reminded everyone who's been perhaps the best Modified driver in this half of the state. He won a heads-up duel with Ronn Lauritzen that everyone should watch (it's posted on both drivers' Facebook pages), and beating Uncle Ronn heads up at Indee is no small task. He also ran fourth in Vinton. That and his season as a whole vaults him to No. 1. 2 -- Justin Kay Late Model Ho-hum, just another week of all top-fives for the IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series points leader. He ran fourth in the Iowa State Fair race in Des Moines on Monday after a third at Davenport on Friday and yet another win at Dubuque Speedway on Sunday. It's looking like 25 wins is easily a possibility, and depending on how much he races come harvest time with specials, I wouldn't put it past him to notch 30 wins this year. Crazy stats. 3 -2 Austin Moyer Sport Mod The Dubuque driver took a week off to spend with his friends and family - a well-deserved week off, and one his competitors were grateful for, I'm sure. As a result, he falls from the top spot. But with the season he's had, even if he hadn't sat out and finished last in every race, he wouldn't have fallen beyond this spot. 4 +1 Jenae Gustin Sport Mod Her mid-summer lull is like a distant memory at this point. Gustin went 2-for-2 this week, winning again at Marshalltown Speedway and Independence Motor Speedway on Friday and Saturday night. If not for Moyer's season, she'd easily be the top Sport Mod driver in the area for 2014. 5 -1 Benji Irvine Hobby Stock It looked, for a minute, like he was continuing his recent resurgence when the checkers flew at Independence Motor Speedway on Saturday night. But the last lap in which he and Brian Happel got together, resulting in Irvine crossing the line first, was ruled questionable by race officials, DQing the Stanley driver. Bounced back for third in Vinton. 6 -- Ronn Lauritzen Modified Where early in the season he seemed to come out on top of close battles, Uncle Ronn has been just missing out in the second half of this summer. It happened again at Independence on Saturday night in the aforementioned battle with Cordes, in which he finished second. He also ran third at Marshalltown on Friday and eighth at Vinton on Sunday. 7 +1 Brian Happel Hobby Stock His racing Facebook page's entry exclaimed he finally "Got the monkey off our back at Indee," after claiming the victory at Independence Motor Speedway on Saturday after the dustup with Irvine. He backed that up with a second place run to Ballard in Vinton on Sunday. Not a bad weekend after some of the luck he's gone through. 8 +1 Tony Olson Sport Mod The days of finishing second everywhere seem like a distant memory these days. The Cedar Rapids driver got his first win at Farley Speedway on Friday, then ran second at Benton County Speedway in Vinton on Sunday behind his cousin Kyle. He's gotten at least one win somewhere for the last several weeks. Finishing 2014 strong. 9 N/R Nathan Ballard Hobby Stock Ballard has been dominant at Hawkeye Downs this season, and picked up his seventh win in the 13 races there this season. He's taken over the reigns of the Hobby Stock class once held by Autocrafters teammate Matt Petrzelka. The Norway driver also got a win Sunday at Benton County Speedway in Vinton. 10 N/R Dan Keltner Mod Lite The Coralville driver has been tearing it up in his Mod Lite this season, mostly in Southeast Iowa. He got his 20th win of the season this week and seventh alone at 34 Raceway in Burlington. He's also won every race he's attended at Columbus Junction Speedway, and twice at Cedar County Raceway in Tipton, which runs off and on.
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