INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
Independence nearly matc ... »
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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, or send him an email at email@example.com
New this week: None
Dropped out: None
|1||+2||Austin Moyer||Sport Mod||For the first time since the premiere of the Eastern Iowa Driver Rankings, someone other than Justin Kay has the top spot. That goes to a guy who's been as dominant in Sport Mods as Kay has been in Late Models. The kid is consistent and wins a LOT, and finally ended a three-month run for Kay. Moyer won at Farley (again) and Dubuque (again) and ran fourth an Independence, a place he doesn't normally run.|
|2||-1||Justin Kay||Late Model||Let me be clear about something: this is still the guy to beat, hands down, in an IMCA Late Model in Eastern Iowa. He ran third at Farley in the Tri-Track Challenge and got his 20th win of the season with yet another Dubuque victory Sunday. His Open motor wouldn't run quite right at West Liberty, relegating him to 15th in the main. Don't be surprised if his time away from the top spot is short-lived.|
|3||-1||Troy Cordes||Modified||Gets the short end of Moyer jumping from 3 to 1, but not for lack of performance. He continued to put the stamp on his ownership of the IMCA Modified class at Independence with another win on Saturday. He ran second at Farley and fifth at Vinton on Sunday. The space between these top three is razor thin.|
|4||--||Benji Irvine||Hobby Stock||The only thing keeping Irvine from being considered for the top spot here is that inconsistent stretch he had to begin summer. Otherwise, he's been very good, and continued that this week. He got wins at Independence (sixth there this year) and Vinton on Sunday. He also stepped in an Outlaw Super Bomber at Tipton on Friday and ran fourth.|
|5||+3||Jenae Gustin||Sport Mod||The Marshalltown driver has rebounded nicely after a rough stretch that saw her fall out of the rankings a few weeks ago. Whether it was bad luck or some failed parts, the demons seem to be gone. She won at her home track in Marshalltown on Friday and ran third at Independence on Saturday. Getting back in a groove.|
|6||+1||Ronn Lauritzen||Modified||Lauritzen got a win Friday night at Marshalltown Speedway, and was laughing in Victory Lane - but not about the win. He and the announcer were too distracted by a fight happening in the tech area to focus on the interview (y'all have likely already seen the video). He also ran fourth at Vinton on Sunday after problems at Indee on Saturday night.|
|7||+2||Bill Whalen||Sport Compact||In my entry for Whalen last week, I mistakenly deprived him of credit for two extra wins, including the feature at the Benton County Fair Race in Vinton. He kept up his winning ways this week, with another at Southern Iowa Speedway on Wednesday. He also ran second at Vinton on Sunday.|
|8||+2||Brian Happel||Hobby Stock||He hung on to the top 10 last week, but got on more solid ground with three top-fives in three days this weekend. He ran second twice, at Farley and Indee (to Irvine), and ran fourth at his home track of Vinton. It's tough to come so close without a win, but I'm sure they won't take anything for granted at this point of the season.|
|9||-3||Tony Olson||Sport Mod||Tough to drop the Cedar Rapids driver this far, but with all the others' success and a bit of a down week, this is where he landed. He had an issue at Cedar County Raceway that left him 10th of the 11 cars, but rebounded for a top-five (fourth) at Benton County Speedway on Sunday.|
|10||-5||Andy Eckrich||Late Model||This is a week Andy will love to cast from his memory as quick as possible. He was running top five in three big event races this week, and didn't finish any of them. He fell out of the Tri-Track Challenge race at Farley (won by brother Denny), broke a rear end running third in the IMCA main at West Liberty, then spun while running fourth in the Open Late Model Shootout main event later that evening. That's racin', I suppose. Still hard to take.|
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