Racecars and fireworks lit up the night for the 46th running of Colorado National Speedway’s Challenge Cup on August 14, 2021.
MOUNTAIN STATES FIRE PROTECTION SUPER LATE MODELS After a firework display to celebrate the night’s special event, the Super Late Models headed out for the 150-lap Challenge Cup XLVI. Polesitter #5, Cody Dempster, led the first lap, but lost it to the #43, Kody Vanderwal, only a few laps later. Vanderwal, #43, settled into a comfortable lead while the #22 of Chris Eggleston took second place.
On Lap 19, a single car spun in Turn Two, the #02 of Steve Thompson. Everyone got around him safely, and the track stayed green. Vanderwal in the #43 continued to lead. On Lap 73, just before the halfway point, another car went for a spin, the #95 of Chris Muhler. Vanderwal was credited with the lead at the halfway point, earning him a $1,000 check from Coca-Cola.
A planned seven-minute break was called at the halfway point. Crews were allowed to enter the racetrack to check tire pressures and discuss the condition of their cars with their drivers. A fan from the stands was invited to roll a giant die to determine the fate of the #43 of Vanderwal at the race’s halfway “invert.” A four was rolled, indicating Vanderwal would restart in the fourth position.
The #32, Brett Yackey, was expected to lead the field back to green after the invert. However, Yackey’s #32 racecar experienced an issue during the caution laps and needed to be pushed back into the pits. This left the first position to #5, Cody Dempster. Dempster’s #5 and Chris Eggleston’s #22 dueled for the lead while the #43 of Vanderwal fought #11, Darren Robertson, for the third position.
Eventually Vanderwal caught Dempster’s #5 and nudged him out of the way, earning the second position. Vanderwal set his sights on Eggleston for the race lead. The field was slowed for the second time as the #02 of Steve Thompson found trouble in Turn Three. Vanderwal restarted in first position and easily maintained the lead until another caution was thrown with 14 laps to go for debris. Nobody could challenge Vanderwal for the race lead as the laps wound down and the #43 machine ultimately took home the checkered flag—and another $5,000—for his efforts.
QUICK TIME: #5 Cody Dempster, 15.661 FEATURE: #43 Kody Vanderwal
UPDATED LIST OF PAST CHALLENGE CUP WINNERS
2021 Kody Vanderwal 2020 Eddie Vecchiarelli 2019 Preston Peltier 2018 Brett Yackey 2017 Preston Peltier 2016 Kyle Ray 2015 Dominic Ursetta 2014 Dominic Ursetta 2013 Darren Robertson 2012 Adam Deines 2011 Chris Eggleston 2010 Dan Savage 2009 Chris Eggleston 2008 Ronnie Hults 2007 PJ Mattorano 2006 Scotty Backman 2005 Darren Crocker 2004 Jerry Robertson 2003 Rick Carelli 2002 Jerry Robertson 2001 Dave Finley 2000 Roger Avants 1999 MK Kanke 1998 Joe Bellm 1997 Richard Burton 1996 Jerry Robertson 1995 Rick Carelli 1994 Rick Carelli 1993 Bruce Yackey 1992 Steve Carlson 1991 Tom Carlson 1990 Fred Campbell 1989 Rick Carelli 1988 Terry Phillips 1987 Terry Phillips 1986 Larry Phillips 1985 Larry Phillips 1984 Larry Phillips 1983 Butch Speicher 1982 Larry Phillips 1981 Mike Niffenegger, Kalona, Iowa 1980 Odie Robertson, Littleton, Colorado 1979 “Wild Bill” Liebig, Rapid City, South Dakota 1978 Clayton Peterson Jr., Grand Island, Nebraska 1977 Terry Bivins, Kansas City 1976 Tommy Bartolomew, Waterloo, Iowa 1975 Odie Robertson, Littleton, Colorado
SUNOCO GRAND AMERICAN MODIFIEDS CJ Wilson in the #9 machine led the Grand American Modifieds to green for their 30-lap feature, followed closely by the #6, Scotty Scott. It didn’t take long for Scott’s #6 to find the race lead. He maintained the first position until Wilson’s #9 took it over with 14 laps left. However, field was slowed for a caution soon after. The #41 machine of Eric Vos had gone sideways by himself in Turn Four. The wreckage was cleared, and the race resumed with 13 laps to go.
Scotty Scott, #6, found himself in the lead shortly after the restart with Wilson’s #9 hot on his tail. The #9 lost speed, though, and was passed by the #13 of Darin Clarke for second place. Clarke’s #13 went after Scotty Scott’s #6, but he couldn’t pull it off. Scotty Scott was crowned the winner on his second start in the Grand American Modified series.
QUICK TIME: #13 Darin Clark, 16.859 DASH: #2 Tim Douglas FAST DASH: #9 CJ Wilson FEATURE: #6 Scotty Scott
TBK BANK SUPER STOCKS The Super Stocks were first to take to the track for their 25-lap feature event. The #19 of Shelby Cortese led the 22-car field to green but quickly lost the lead to Tim Coate’s #86. Cortese, #19, had some serious speed in the backstretch, but couldn’t make it stick going into Turns Three and Four. Six laps in, a multi-car incident in Turn Four involved #98, Joel Perri; #23, Jorden Abeyta; #33, Gary Cortese and #99, Sam Messerli. The wreck caused a lengthy caution.
The restart with 19 laps left saw the #86 of Tim Coates dueling it out with #3, Mike Cox, for the first position. A few laps later, the #3 Cox machine took the lead while Coates in the #86 and Alex Rodriguez in the #90 battled hard for second place. With seven laps left, the field was slowed again for another multi-car incident. The #55, Damien Lockhart, chased Gary Cortese’s #33 machine into the wall just past the start-finish line, collecting polesitter Shelby Cortese’s #19. All drivers exited their cars safely. Once the wreck was cleaned up, the green flag was thrown for a green-white-checker finish. Mike Cox, #3, showed the way to the checkered flag, fending off a challenge from the #90 of Alex Rodriguez.
QUICK TIME: #15 Jereme Wall, 19.534 DASH: #99Jr Ryan Raley, Jr. FAST DASH: #90 Alex Rodriguez FEATURE: #3 Mike Cox
ELITE DIESEL SERVICE FIGURE 8S Figure 8 cars were up next for their 20-lap feature event. Polesitter Daniel Wood, #7, took the lead early, showing the way for the pack of 13 cars through “The X.” Behind Wood’s #7, the field began to get strung out about halfway through the race, resulting in some chaos at the track’s crossroads. The #64 of Michael Kephart had some seriously close calls, narrowly missing the leaders as he gunned it through “The X.”
It seemed the #15 of Jereme Wall was the only one who had anything for race leader Daniel Wood, #7. However, before he could snag the lead, Wall’s #15 cut a right front tire. The #15 didn’t let up, though, and pushed through to finish the race on three tires and a sparking rim.
Daniel Wood, #7, captured the victory. DASH: #15 Jereme Wall FEATURE: #7 Daniel Wood
Super Late Models (halfway point) Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 43 Kody Vanderwal LaSalle 2. 22 Chris Eggleston Thornton 3. 5 Cody Dempster Parker 4. 32 Brett Yackey Greeley CO 5. 11 Darren Robertson Westminster 6. 05c Nick Cooper (R) Loveland 7. 12 Bruce Yackey Greeley 8. 84 Matt Zwingelberg Parker 9. 82 Michael Scott Hillsdale WY 10. 14 Brody Moore (R) Dillon 11. 95 Cris Muhler Brighton 12. 28 Nick Williams Milliken 13. 16 Steve Mills Colorado Springs 14. 02 Steve Thompson (R) Scottsbluff NE 15. 31 Rick Smith Gering NE 16. 34 Rudy Vanderwal LaSalle 17. 37 Ethan Hunter Colorado Springs CO DNS 29 Matt Brunker Lakewood CO
Super Late Models (FINAL FINISH) Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 43 Kody Vanderwal LaSalle 2. 11 Darren Robertson Westminster 3. 5 Cody Dempster Parker 4. 22 Chris Eggleston Thornton 5. 12 Bruce Yackey Greeley 6. 05c Nick Cooper (R) Loveland 7. 84 Matt Zwingelberg Parker 8. 82 Michael Scott Hillsdale WY 9. 95 Cris Muhler Brighton 10. 14 Brody Moore (R) Dillon 11. 28 Nick Williams Milliken 12. 16 Steve Mills Colorado Springs 13. 32 Brett Yackey Greeley CO 14. 34 Rudy Vanderwal LaSalle 15. 02 Steve Thompson (R) Scottsbluff NE 16. 37 Ethan Hunter Colorado Springs CO 17. 31 Rick Smith Gering NE DNS 29 Matt Brunker Lakewood CO
Grand American Modifieds Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 6 Scotty Scott (R) Arvada 2. 13 Darin Clark Cheyenne 3. 51 Kyle Clegg (R) Hudson 4. 9 CJ Wilson (R) Penrose 5. 0 Ron O’Neil Colorado Springs 6. 2 Jim Douglas Co. Springs 7. 17 Holly Clark (R) Colorado Springs 8. 89 Jacob Smith (R) Littleton 9. 37 Landon Birney Cheyenne 10. 1G Dale Geist Colorado Springs 11. 41 Eric Vos Wheatridge 12. 24 Nathan Gasser Fort Lupton 13. 82 Justin Karrol LaSalle 14. 4 Zach Mullins Greeley 15. 6x Ben Hendricks Cheyenne WY DNS 59 Charles Wilson Penrose
Super Stocks Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 3 Mike Cox Englewood 2. 90 Alex Rodriguez Phoenix AZ 3. 86 Tim Coate Highlands Ranch CO 4. 49 Chris Cox Keenesburg 5. 11w Scott Long Lyman NE 6. 1NE Troy Witthar Arvada 7. 15 Jereme Wall Commerce City 8. 196 Robert Davey Erie 9. M60 Morris Christner (R) Elizabeth 10. 21 Chris Nelson Arvada 11. 32 Cody Milan Fort Collins 12. 45E Rebecca Simpson Colorado Springs 13. 13B Brandon Claiborn Lafayette 14. 55 Damian Lockhart Hudson 15. 33 Gary Cortese Avondale 16. 19 Shelby Cortese Thornton 17. 23 Jordan Abeyta Denver 18. 4 Chris Jordan Mead 19. 14e Eric Phelps Cheyenne WY 20. 99 Sam Messerli Thornton 21. 99Jr Ryan Raley Jr Bennett DNS 98 Joel Perri Arvada
Figure 8s Pos No. Name Hometown 1. 7 Daniel Wood Greeley 2. 52 Jared Wall Commerce City 3. 2 Jeremy Jackson Denver CO 4. 92 Jason Wall (R) Brighton Co 5. 17 Harry Livermore Jr Denver CO 6. 15 Jereme Wall Commerce City CO 7. 64 Michael Kephart (R) Commerce City CO 8. 1 Issac Martinez Denver CO 9. 67 Kaleigh Swenson (R) Strasburg CO 10. 38 Cassidy Creekmore Littleton CO 11. 18 Dennis Stepanich III Thornton CO DNS 72 David Martinez (R) Denver DNS 78 Charles Martinez Denver