By Ryan Clark INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (Aug. 23) – Nobody has won more track championships or Late Model features at Independence Motor Speedway than Curt Martin.He added to that stellar career Saturday night.Martin, who entered the night tied atop the standings with Darren Ackerman, led all 30 laps of the IMCA Late Model feature and took the checkers half of a lap ahead of Jon Passick during Budweiser Season Championships. It was Martin’s 95th Late Model win in weekly racing history and his 11th track championship at the speedway, his first since 2006. Martin’s first track title came in 1984.Troy Cordes, Alex Zwanziger and Benji Irvine also locked up track titles by finishing the season in victory lane. Roger Ciesielski earned his first Independence win in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car division while Norman Chesmore earned track champion honors in that division.All feature events were lined up straight-up based on season point totals. The top four in each division’s standings were given the chance to double their money by taking the Indee Challenge – winning the feature after starting at the tail of the field. From his front row start, Martin quickly pulled away from Ackerman and extended his advantage to over a straightaway before a lap seven caution bunched the field. Martin continued his dominant performance when racing resumed and built a half a lap lead when the yellow flag again bunched the field with nine laps to go. He pulled away once more on that restart to drive to the convincing win.Cordes earned his fifth win of the year in the Performance Bodies IMCA Modified 25-lapper. He took the lead at the drop of the green while Tyler Droste worked his way past Scott Hogan for second on lap two. Cordes held the point on a lap 11 restart as he and Droste pulled away from traffic. Droste kept pace with the leader, however was unable to challenge for the win as Cordes drove to victory and his fourth track title in the division.Zwanziger earned the first track championship of his career in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod division.Zwanziger set the pace at the drop of the green and built a sizable advantage over the pack. Meanwhile, Jenae Gustin, who took the challenge and started at the tail, made a quick run through the 18-car field. Gustin found herself in the top five after just six laps and worked her way past Danny Dvorak for second with three laps to go. Gustin closed the gap on the leader, however Zwanziger was too strong out front as he raced to victory in the caution-free 20-lapper. Irvine fought off heavy pressure from Justin Wacha in lapped traffic to earn his seventh win of the season and his second straight IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock track championship. Irvine built a comfortable lead until he encountered slower traffic midway through that 20-lapper. Wacha chased Irvine through the backmarkers in the waning laps and challenged to the inside of the leader, however Irvine held on for victory. All four drivers at the top of the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car standings took the challenge and started at the tail of that 12-car feature. That left Jason Hocken on the pole for that 25-lapper. Hocken paced the field for the first 15 laps while Cieisielski raced into contention from a third row start. Ciesielski raced past Hocken on the 16th circuit to drive to victory.Chesmore wrapped up track championship honors by simply taking the green flag in the event. He finished fourth in the feature.
Published on February 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: email@example.com Comments When Syracuse takes the field in the Carrier Dome on Sunday, it will be searching for an identity. After losing seven starters and All-Americans from last season’s roster, the Orange enters the season as an unknown in college lacrosse for the first time in years.With the first scrimmage of the season this weekend, Tommy Palasek hopes to see the team begin establishing its identity.‘I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job figuring it out,’ Palasek said. ‘But as far as everyone else is concerned, I mean really no one’s seen us play since Maryland, so we have a whole new team for the most part. I think that we’re getting there.’Syracuse will be back in action for the first time since falling to Maryland in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals last May, taking on Le Moyne and Hofstra in a pair of scrimmages at the Carrier Dome on Sunday. The exhibition matchups will serve as a chance for the Orange to evaluate its progress two weeks before its season opener against Albany. With seven holes to fill going into the season, the tune-ups will also be a crucial to solidifying the starting lineup.Head coach John Desko said he is close to determining the starters and lineups on the field after nearly three weeks of practice.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRight now, the head coach said goaltender Matt Lerman will start in net. On close defense — where the team must replace two starters — Desko listed four candidates to join veteran Brian Megill, who is currently battling injuries. And in the midfield, 10 different players are in the mix to see significant playing time. JoJo Marasco, Hakeem Lecky and Bobby Eilers appear to be set as the starters thus far.Though Desko has an idea of his plans heading into the season, there is still some uncertainty surrounding the final roster. And Sunday will allow him to mix and match players on different lines to see how different combinations respond in game situations.‘We see some different things happen in game situations and how different players react. Some rise to the occasion, some take a step back,’ Desko said. ‘And we see how well those have learned the offenses and defenses when they get in a game situation, so that tells us a lot in these types of scrimmages.’With 10 players fighting for time at midfield, Desko said he actually feels more comfortable with the line as a whole than he did heading into last season. Though they don’t have the same experience as last season’s group, which included three All-Americans, Desko said the intense competition has them clicking and learning the offense.The constant battling every day has started to form the identity the Orange is searching for.Bobby Eilers remembers a grueling team workout before leaving for Winter Break. At 6 a.m., every player did six-minute squat holds, grimacing in pain while pushing each other to finish the exercise that left their legs shaking.‘The whole team did it and everyone lasted six minutes, and that’s just what we’re kind of like this year,’ Eilers said. ‘We’re all just sticking together and doing things together, and it’s paying off. We’re meshing very well out there.’Eilers said he hopes that togetherness translates to success on the field for the Orange, specifically in the midfield.The defense — which ranked third in the nation in scoring defense and set a school record for man-down efficiency last season — has been Syracuse’s identity in recent years while the offense has struggled. But the senior wants to see the offense pick up its production this year and return to SU’s old ways when the Orange seemed to go on a scoring outburst every game.Palasek feels the Orange has the ability to achieve that. After a few weeks of practice, the attack characterizes Syracuse as an unselfish group that is always looking for the next pass and has the athleticism to get up and down the field.And though SU won’t know its identity until the regular season begins, Palasek is confident this group will continue the program’s success the same way it always has.‘We’re just trying to stick with the Syracuse way,’ Palasek said. ‘And that’s always been the Syracuse way and play unselfish, and we’re just trying to keep that identity.’firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook Twitter Google+