Surrounded by friends, family and fellow racers on Monday night, Cory Sample had a lot more to celebrate with this Independence Day than just fireworks.
Sample, competing all 10 days in the newly returned Iron Man Challenge, saw his 100th IMCA race on the 10th and final day of competition at Rattlesnake Raceway. Fallon’s racing fans turned out in force with both bleachers and lawn packed throughout the night.
Sample, winning his seventh main event of the IMCA Modifieds Monday night by a hair over Jeff Olschowska, had the last points he needed to take first.
“It was a pretty great competition,” Sample said of his fourth ever Iron Man appearance, which featured more than 40 cars between Sunday and Monday. “We had to win a lot more races just to get to 100 but we didn’t think we would get to it within these 10 days. Seeing that on July 4 with all my friends and family around was a pretty special experience.”
Sample had the fastest lap of the night as well in the main event with a time of 14.9 seconds, though, his chances looked dicey when two-time National Champion Zane DeVilbiss took the first heat. Devilbiss took fifth in the main event of the modifieds, while Joel Myers took fourth, Malen Gonzalez took third and Olschowska won second.
James Thibodeaux, who raced all 10 days like Sample and Myers, took second prize, followed by Meyers and Andy Strait. Sample leads first in IMCA points at 393, followed by Thibodeaux at 329, Myers at 328 and Strait at 323.
Sample didn’t steal the night all for himself since Rookie of the Year David Ausano won the Hobby Stock division, taking the last lap from Cody Morris in the main event.
“I had a great crew behind me,” Ausano said on how he made the 10 days possible. “They stayed with me the whole trip. They helped me repair the car every place I needed it. Lots of parts, lots of support, and without them I wouldn’t be here. Without my wife standing behind me and supporting me, this definitely wouldn’t have happened.”
Ausano captured the main event, but veteran racer Bob Vaden, who took third in the main, won first overall for Iron Man’s Hobby Stock division as well as first place in the Northern Division races.
“I’m just happy to be here,” Vaden said, “happy to finish all 10 races and to put my car back on the trailer.”
Vaden was followed by Shayna Robertson who won the Southern Division but second in the hobby-stock overall. Robertson was fifth in the main event behind Chris Christiano with Shanze Cazel in sixth, Raymond Davis in seventh and Mickey Beauchat in eighth.
Though he fell behind in the main, Beauchat, nonetheless, won lap of the night for the Hobby Stocks at 17.9. Morris held the fastest lap title on Saturday when he won Saturday’s main at 17.06 seconds despite coming up short against Ausano on Monday night.
“I was all over his heel,” Morris said during the ceremony one one of the closes races of the night. “I just couldn’t get past him.”
The action took a brief pause in the main event of the Dwarf races when Kenny Martin’s car tumbled on the track. The wreck left a trail of scrap metal and Martin gasping on the ground before an ambulance arrived, though Martin's racer was mostly intact. Martin was reportedly alright with no serious injury, though, the wreck delayed the main of the IMCA Modifieds by at least thirty minutes.
Though some of the crowd began to trickle out of Rattlesnake Raceway in the late hour, the die-hard fans still packed the stands, including U.S. Sen. Dean Heller who waved the flag for main event of the Hobby Stocks.
Heller, known also as a former IMCA Modifieds racer at Rattlesnake Raceway, said it was great to be in the flag stand for his first ever Iron Man.
“Obviously when they sent me to Washington D.C. my Saturday night racing came to a halt,” Heller said. “I enjoy coming out to spend time with the fans. It’s good excitement and it's good racing. I’ve always said racing takes three things: Good racers, good announcers and good promotion. And you have all three here at Rattlesnake Raceway.”