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Blum beats Neal by one point for national IMCA Late Model title


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Blum bests Neal in one point race for national IMCA Late Model title


VINTON, Iowa (Sept. 1) – A single point made Kevin Blum the national champion in IMCA’s Late Model division.


Blum edged Terry Neal for the title by a razor-thin 814-813 margin to earn top honors in the class, along with a $5,500 share of the $21,500 point fund that will be paid out to drivers in official top 20 standings. The national crown is Blum’s career first.


Ray Guss Jr. repeated his third place finish from last season, just three points off the championship pace. Todd Cooney got the tie-breaking edge over Mark Burgtorf for fourth.


Blum led all drivers in the division with 16 feature wins, one more than Neal. Both drivers got 18 bonus points for track championships, Blum at Quad City Raceway and Neal at Jackson County Speedway.


Also runner-up in 2007 when the tie-breaker tipped the national title to Darrel DeFrance, Neal collected a second track crown for leading the combined Dubuque Speedway and Farley Speedway point race.


Guss won six features and raked in 25 bonus points along with the Davenport Speedway title.


Former national champs Cooney and Burgtorf both won 11 times. Cooney paced the points at Hamilton County Speedway and at Iowa State Fairgrounds Speedway and now leads all drivers in the history of the division with 14 local track championships.


Burgtorf reigned at Lee County Speedway, winning his 11th career track title and 100th career feature in the class this season.


Lonnie Bailey was track champion at 34 Raceway and at Quincy Raceway. Darren Ackerman was first in points at Independence Motor Speedway and Josh Most topped Shelby County Speedway standings.


Blum and Matt Ryan both won the first Smiley’s Racing Products State championships of their careers, in Illinois and Iowa, respectively.


Rookie of the year is Ryan Giles, tied for 32nd overall in the national standings.


IMCA’s weekly point season for Late Models began April 24 and ran through Aug. 30. Track officials have until Sept. 28 to notify the home office of corrections affecting their top 15 before standings become official.


National standings are based on drivers’ best 20 finishes out of their first 55 starts. Bonus points, equal to the average weekly car count at tracks holding a minimum of eight sanctioned events, are awarded to track champions.


The higher average is used to award bonuses when drivers won more than one track title; pro-rated bonuses are given at tracks where fewer than eight weekly events were held.


Final point races for the other eight divisions sanctioned by IMCA will be Sept. 27.


Unofficial National Top 20 IMCA Late Model Point Standings –

1. Kevin Blum, Colona, Ill., 814;

2. Terry Neal, Ely, 813;

3. Ray Guss Jr., Milan, Ill., 811;

4. Todd Cooney, Des Moines, 802;

5. Mark Burgtorf, Quincy, Ill., 802;

6. Lonnie Bailey, Quincy, Ill., 776;

7. Matt Ryan, Davenport, 760;

8. Ryan Griffith, Webster City, 753;

9. Jason Frankel, Quincy, Ill., 751;

10. Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown, 751;

11. Nate Beuseling, Silvis, Ill., 746;

12. Justin Reed, Quincy, Ill., 743;

13. Al Johnson, Story City, 739;

14. Joe Zrostlik, Long Grove, 721;

15. Josh Most, Red Oak, 719;

16. Keith Pratt, Mendon, Ill., 719;

17. Tom Goble, Burlington, 713;

18. Tom Darbyshire, Morning Sun, 685;

19. Mike Garland, Morrison, Ill., 684;

20. Cory Goldbeck, Camanche, 684.

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