Story by Kelly Ninas
Competitors came from far and wide to challenge for big money at the 2019 Wild West Challenge that was held at Lincoln County Raceway on Friday evening in North Platte, Nebraska.
Finishing their nights in the spotlight included the hot rods and their respective drivers that included Brandon Clough, Jacob Olmstead, Kyle Vanover, Luke Wassom and Terry Tritt.
Familiar face, Brandon Clough, the bearded farmer from Wallace, Nebraska was the first to cross the finish line in the IMCA Modified division to win the featured event. Clough started the feature on the inside of the second row, as he battled for position in the early going before he took the lead on the seventh lap to set sail for the win and drive his way to the promised land. Leading the way from the onset until he was passed by Clough, Cole Hodges of Ogallala was the runner-up when the checkered flag was waved. Hodges started the feature on the outside of the front row. Making the moves needed to earn a podium finish, veteran wheelman David Murray Jr of Oberlin, Kansas was able to finish third overall after starting the feature event on the inside of the third row.
Trying his best to run away and hide on the numerous restarts, Overton’s Jacob Olmstead was able to snare the lead on the fourth lap and hold any and all challengers throughout the feature event for the IMCA Northern Sport Mod division. Olmstead started the feature event on the inside of the fifth row when the green flag was dropped. On Olmstead’s back bumper on many of the late restarts was runner-up finisher Dillon Schultz of North Platte. Schultz was able to stay among the lead group for much of the feature, as she started on the outside of the third row when the green flag was dropped. Schultz was among the top five throughout the feature. Making the long drive pay off the most in the Northern Sport Mod feature, Nick Hankins of Bennett, Colorado was third overall after starting on the outside of the front row at the beginning of the feature.
Starting on the pole and leading from beginning to the end, Kyle Vanover of Beatrice continues to flourish at the North Platte oval, as he claimed the win in the IMCA Stock Car feature event. Vanover was able to weave through traffic with ease for much of the feature to hold onto the lead. In hot pursuit of Vanover for much of the feature event was Collin Heim of Hoxie, Kansas. Heim started the feature on the inside of the fourth row and was able to drive his way to a podium finish near the midway of the highlighted event to finish second overall. Coming home in third place overall was Joe Bellm of Denver, Colorado after starting in the fourth row of the feature lineup when the green flag was waved.
Staying among the leaders until your able to garner the lead and then hold off the fierce challenges for the lead was the formula for success for Awesome Luke Wassom of Broken Bow in the feature event for IMCA Hobby Stocks on Friday. Wassom started the feature on the outside of the third row and was able to showcase patience and grace in working his way through traffic to notch the victory. As close as possible in the waning laps, Jeromy Wagner of Kensington, Kansas tried numerous times in the final laps to make the pass for the lead only to be forced to settle with runner-up honors after starting on the inside of the second row at the beginning of the feature race. Tanner Clough of Wallace was the leader of the feature until he was passed by Wassom on lap six. Clough was able to recover quite nicely to finish third overall and earn the podium finish.
Leaving no doubt, Terry Tritt of York was ‘en fuego’ in leading every lap of the IMCA Sport Compact feature to claim the win. Tritt started the feature event on the inside of the third row and wasted no time in getting the lead and driving away with the victory. Doing his best to chase down Tritt, despite the blistering fast pace set by Tritt was Merle Johnson of Bertrand. Johnson was able to stay within striking distance to notch the runner-up accolades for his efforts. Coming home in third place overall was young hotshoe Kaden Dady of North Platte after he started the feature event on the outside of the third row.
–IMCA Modified Feature: 1. 20b-Brandon Clough; 2. 34jw-Cole Hodges; 3. 97m-David Murray Jr; 4. 50c-Colton Osborn; 5. 4p-Dave Pedersen; 6. 77t-Tripp Gaylord; 7. 11h-Henry Henderson; 8. 0hp-Bryan Herrick; 9. 28-John Burrow Jr; 10. 79-JR Owen.
Heat Races: 77t-Gaylord; 97m-Murray Jr.
–IMCA Northern Sport Modified Feature: 1. 88j-Jacob Olmstead; 2. 554-Dillon Schultz; 3. 99h-Nick Hankins; 4. 63-Troy Bayne; 5. 34n-Tom Nelson Jr; 6. 15k-Jamey Kennicutt; 7. 1-Paul Donovan; 8. 12j-Kerry Jones; 9. 34-Matt Caudillo; 10. 69z-Zane Turner.
Heat Races: 09x-Bretty Berry; 88j-Olmstead; 511-Zach Buesing.
–IMCA Stock Car Feature: 1. 19-Kyle Vanover; 2. 6-Collin Heim; 3. 73-Joe Bellm; 4. 1-Chris Heim; 5. 35jw-Casey Woken; 6. 5d-Travis Demilt; 7. 75-Dan Eller; 8. 12az-Rick Maier; 9. 31-Darin Racek; 10. 11k-Kyle Clough.
Heat Races: 19-Vanover; 6c-Cale Osborn; 35jw-Woken.
–IMCA Hobby Stock Feature: 1. 2w-Luke Wassom; 2. 29-Jeromy Wagner; 3. 1-Tanner Clough; 4. 72b-Jacob Hagan; 5. R89-Nate Refior; 6. 12t-Tanner Jones; 7. 5-Chuck Ledbetter; 8. 20b-Brady Henderson; 9. 19x-Billy Turner; 10. 68-Bob Potter.
Heat Racess: 20b-Henderson; 29-Wagner.
–IMCA Sport Compact Feature: 1. 5x-Terry Tritt; 2. 07-Merle Johnson; 3. 84d-Kaden Dady; 4. L2-Lonnie Lenser Jr; 5. 71c-Christian Destefano; 6. 7e-Quincy Eggleston; 7. 74-Robert Clanton; 8. 69x-Richard Crow; 9. 19-Otto Schutte; 10. 26-Marcus Florom.
Heat Races: 69x-Crow; 5x-Tritt.