Friday, July 22, 2016

Kay and Van Der Wal Prevail in Knoxville's Dynamic Drive Lines Dirt Duel

A late restart produced a duel between two of the best drivers that Iowa has to offer with the who is known more for his Late Model prowess prevailing over the current king of the Modifieds as the Dynamic Drive Lines Dirt Duel drew to a close on a hot and steamy Thursday night at the Knoxville Raceway.

Forty-four IMCA Modifieds signed in for this once a year event at the Sprint Car Capital of the world, a show that over the past several years has been the Harris Clash before it was rained out and subsequently rescheduled at the Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City. Thursday's event was to be the finale of a three-race swing for the Hawkeye Dirt Tour, but after rainouts at both Des Moines and Oskaloosa, I was pleased with the turn out of the now stand alone show.

Three-time and defending All Iowa Points Late Model champion Justin Kay has been dabbling in the Modified the past couple of seasons and he would draw the pole position of the night's finale, the 25-lap IMCA Modified feature. Fellow front row starter Jacob Murray would stay with Kay for the first couple of laps only to see the leader begin to stretch it out from there and by lap ten the advantage was out to a full straightaway on the perfectly groomed surface. Two-time and defending All Iowa Points Modified champion Chris Abelson had started tenth and he was gradually making his way toward the front getting up to the third spot when the caution waved for Mike Ven Genderen's turn one spin with six laps remaining.

Murray chose the inside line for the restart and Abelson used the cushion in turns one and two to takeover second and now set his sights on the leader. On lap twenty-one, with Kay using the high line entering turn three, Abelson powered to the bottom and then slid up the track executing the perfect slide job in true sprint car fashion to take the lead with four laps to go. He may have played his cards too early though as Kay powered back on the bottom in turns one and two and with Abelson getting a run on him again down the back stretch Kay blocked the inside line where his challenger was once again going to try the slider. This broke the momentum of Abelson and not only did Kay regain the lead on lap twenty-two, he started to pull away once again to take the win in convincing fashion at the checkers. So in the battle of champions, give it to the Late Model driver Kay over Abelson. Now let's see if we can get Chris a ride in a Late Model soon to see if he can return the favor.

Jacob Murray was solid all night in third, Kelly Shryock started fifth and finished fourth while Richie Gustin came from twelfth to complete the top five.

Justin Kay (15K) takes the lead back from Chris Abelson - Barry Johnson photo

Mod Notes......This is the first time that I can remember a mid-summer Modified race at Knoxville that did not have one single competitor from either Minnesota or Wisconsin entered. I have to think that would have been different if the first two races would have went off as planned. As it turned out it was the state of California that had the most non-Iowa drivers on hand with Lance Mari, Paul Stone, Ethan Dotson and Cody Laney. Dotson and Laney have been racing here in the Midwest for the past month or so, while it was the first time that I have seen the other two in the results around here in 2016. Mari was impressive coming from fifth to nip Steve Stewart for the win in heat race number five and he was running seventh in the feature when he slowed and pulled to the infield. Stone appeared to be the winner of a very entertaining third heat race, but apparently failed to make weight and chose not to run in the third B-Main. Laney and Dotson both made the A-Main finishing 9th and 18th respectively......Regular Sprint Car driver Russ Hall drove Kevin Hollingsworth's #2x car on the night and powered his way to the front of that third heat race only to have Stone and Kyle Brown slip by him late for the two transfer spots. Hall was the beneficiary of Stone's DQ starting the main event in 7th and finishing 13th.

There were fifty-one IMCA Sport Mods on hand as well and they provided solid support with an entertaining main event that produced a winner who had a hard time making the right hand turn into victory lane due to damage on the left front of his car. Pole-sitter Brett Lowry established the early pace for the 20-lap main event before the caution waved on lap five for a three car tangle in turn two involving Austin Paul, Bobby Six and Trent Brink. On the restart Tim Plummer went to work on Lowry passing him for the lead and soon the eighth-starting Curtis Van Der Wal followed him into second.

With Plummer running down low and Van Der Wal up high it was a pretty good match between the two drivers who have plenty of pavement racing experience at Hawkeye Downs and on lap thirteen Van Der Wal was able to nose ahead and into the lead. Plummer was able to stay within striking distance, especially with Van Der Wal fighting steering issues on his left front, something that he could not pinpoint how it happened once he made it to victory lane as Van Der Wal took the win. The top five was a sweep by Oskaloosa and West Liberty regulars, no surprise given that both are big fast half-miles as well, with Plummer in second and Brett Lowry in third. Fourteen-year-old Jarrett Brown introduced himself to the followers of IMCA racing by running a string fourth and another 2016 rookie Matthew Van Gelder from Pella was fifth.
Curtis Van Der Wal was able to nurse his damaged ride to the checkers - Barry Johnson photo
Sport Mod Notes......While there were a couple of drivers from just across the border in South Dakota and Illinois who race regularly on tracks in Iowa, the two true "travelers" were Brendan Damon who pulled in from Great Bend, Kansas, and Australian Frank Packer who is back in the states after racing some in the Midwest last season......Tony Johnson started ninth in the fourth heat race and made a big run up to third, but even though only the top two transferred to the feature Johnson still had to weigh and he crossed the scales too light taking him of the pole position of one of the three B-Mains and starting him at the back once again. He finished 11th in that third B.......Carter VanDenBerg had moved into a transfer spot in that third B-Main before he ended up in the front stretch wall to end his evening. Since I was looking elsewhere so I did not see it, but by the number of times that announcer Tony Bokhoven stated it, Dan Keltner must have stuffed him into the wall pretty good. Keltner was penalized and wound up finishing ninth......Bobby Six started seventh in the first B-Main and, after a slow start, he found something as he quickly moved up to second where he then erased a full straightaway lead held by Josh Sink to nip him at the line for the win. Unfortunately, the lap five incident in the feature left Six with a 24th place finish......Kody Havens was the Hard Charger of the event coming from 21st to 11th.

It was a great event that would have been even bigger, both in the pits and in the stands, had it not been for the weather of the last three days. Dynamic Drive Lines announced that they are back on board for 2017 so it is good to know that the Modifieds will continue to get their night to shine at Knoxville.

The two greatest weeks in Sprint Car racing is fast approaching with the Arnold Motor Supply Knoxville 360 Nationals August 4th, 5th and 6th followed by the big one, the 5 Hour Energy Knoxville Nationals August 10th through the 13th. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Eckrich Wards Off Goedert For Maquoketa Deery Checkers

In his own words Luke Goedert is having his best season ever behind the wheel of an IMCA Late Model. With nine feature wins overall and as the current track point leader at the Maquoketa Speedway, Goedert came close to reaching double digits Thursday night when race leader Denny Eckrich bobbled in turn two on the final lap. But the veteran driver made the recovery and went on to win his second Deery Brothers Summer Series race of the season and the fifth in his career.

Morning rains followed by humid conditions in the afternoon left the track very heavy and the 27 Late Model drivers who signed in had to be cautiously aggressive during the three qualifying heats as the track was still coming into shape. In the first heat race the Deery Series Ironman Darrel DeFrance never even took the green flag as his car was smoking while the field did some packing and he retired to the pit area. Once underway the action was rough and tumble, especially for local driver Jon Poll who had to wonder if his primarily white car was invisible as two different drivers would drive right into him entering turn three during the event. Seven-time Deery champion, and current point leader Jeff Aikey was taking evasive action in the opening laps and veered toward the infield only to run over one of the big mud clods that lined the inside of the track after the crew worked hard to get the surface into shape for racing. The mud clod won and folded under the nose of Aikey's Late Model causing him to retire from the event early. Jon Merfeld would go on to win that first qualifier followed by Justin Kay and rooke contender Eric Pollard.

Heat two saw early leader Richie Gustin slide sideways in turn four with the remaining eight cars bearing down on him. When the scramble ended nearly every car in the race had some level of damage with leading rookie contender Cayden Carter being done for the night. Tyler Bruening would go on to take the win followed by Joe Zrostlik and local driver Marty Scheckel.

The third heat race was pretty much clean and green with Chad Holladay showing everybody that there was a top side to use as he swept around the competition to take the win over Denny Eckrich and Ryan Dolan.

B-Main action would complete the field and taking the tenth and final transfer spot was long time Stock Car competitor Jerry Miles who was driving the #38 car normally driven by Curt Marks. It was not an easy night to make his Late Model debut, but Miles looked good and for the most part avoided any trouble and was credited with a 15th-place finish after pulling off of the track late in the main event.

 Denny Eckrich and Dan Shelliam would bring the field to green for the 40-lap finale with Shelliam using the momentum off the top side to take the early lead. Eckrich kept the pressure on though and before the leaders got into lapped traffic Denny would take the lead on lap six. It was quite a battle up front, enhanced by Luke Goedert who had started fourth and with lapped cars in play the leaders were having to change lines often. Shelliam pulled even with Eckrich as they crossed the stripe on lap fifteen, but when he got a little too deep into turn one Shelliam went sideways and nosed straight into one of the track tires marking the infield, perhaps not allowing him to make a save and only lose a few positions.

That first caution of the race definitely caused a rash of yellow fever as Marty Scheckel and Tyler Droste spun in turn on on lap sixteen. Then, on the restart. Don Pataska, Curt Schroeder and Jon Merfeld all collided in turn two. The final caution of the event waved three laps later when Eric Pollard slowed to a halt on the front stretch since the infield was not an option due to mud and standing water.

With the final twenty-one laps going green it was now Goedert in pursuit of Eckrich while behind them Jeff Aikey was making the drive of the night after starting in the eighth row. Aikey was sixth for that first restart and as the laps wound down he was up to third, but still several car-lengths back from the lead duo. The traffic had thinned somewhat with attrition, but after the white flag waved Eckrich made a mistake in turn two and drove up to the track to make the save. This allowed Goedert to pull nearly even with the leader as they raced down the back stretch only to have Eckrich execute the final set of turns to perfection to secure the victory. Goedert's tenth win of the year would not come on this night, but with Maquoketa back in action this Saturday it might be a short wait for him to reach double figures. Aikey, who came into the night with just a one-point lead on Tyler Bruening stretched that out to five with his impressive run from sixteenth to third, Matt Ryan finished fourth and B-Main winner Andy Nezworski raced his way up from thirteenth to fifth. For the full finish as well as a picture of the winner, check out the official story from IMCA here.

The support classes, quite frankly, didn't provide much support with only seven Sport Mods and four Hobby Stocks signing in for action. Nathan Ballard, who is not a track regular here at Maquoketa, passed Kile Vohringer on lap three and then cruised to the checkers in the Hobby Stock feature whith Vohringer, Shane Oberbroeckling and Bobby Taggart next in line. In the Sport Mods Tony Olson took the lead from the pole and would have seemed to be a sure bet to go flag-to-flag for the win. Gage Neal didn't buy into that line of thinking though as on lap seven he showed Olson his nose on the outside going down the back stretch and through turns three and four, so when Olson moved up the track entering turn one on lap eight Neal dove to the bottom and stole the lead from the defending all Iowa Points champion. A caution with five laps remaining gave Olson another opportunity to challenge, but Neal fought him off and then drove away to take the win. Olson finished second while Jake Morris was the final car on the track at the checkers to take third. Jarrett Franzen and John Irwin would be credited with fourth and fifth.

Obviously it was a tough day and evening for track promoter Scott Schurbon and the race committee with the Jackson County Fair as their decision to proceed, and the work then required to make it happen was not rewarded with a solid crowd or car count in the two support divisions. Schurbon later posted this on the forum board in a thread where one member in particular had been very critical about the Dubuque Speedway cancelling a Deery Series race a couple of weeks earlier. "We did race and some of the reason we did is social media pressure. Every time a race is canceled you hear so much negative about the racetrack. In the end we should have cancelled.. the track was rough and heavy. We have had a pretty good race track the last few weeks and some great racing but that will be buried in a haze of how the track wasn't great at the Deery show. Racetracks in our area don't get the support we need. I don't mean this in a negative way, our racers and fans can't go every night of the weekend racing like they used to. Money is tighter now days race car parts are more expensive including towing expenses. All I can say was it was a good late model race for the fans thank you for your loyalty!! Thank you to all of the racers who came you were great!!"

As I read this this morning the first thing that went through my mind was what a former promoter told me a few years back. "You know Jeff, not everybody on social media really knows what they are talking about." So chalk this one up as a lesson learned and going forward make the decision that you feel is best for the track, the racers and the fans.

My cousin Jean, who by the way turns 82 today so say "Happy Birthday" to her tonight if you see us at Knoxville, and I made the two hour plus drive to Maquoketa and we were more than happy with the racing that we saw. Even better we were home before midnight so thank you to Scott Schurbon, Kevin Yoder, Grant Ostvig, Brit Montgomery and everybody at the Maquoketa Speedway for an entertaining Wednesday night!

In other news.....I completely forgot about setting the DVR to record the Truck race from Eldora last night, but how about our dirt drivers controlling the top five. Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell and Rico Abreu will rightfully get a lot of recognition, but how about young Jake Griffin from Quincy finishing in the fourth spot? And it was Tyler Reddick completing the top five.

Always remember that when you use the Calendar at Positively Racing you need to always confirm that the event is still happening before you go to it as tracks will often change their plans after issuing thier first schedule of the season. I compile these schedules primarily from November through March and if a track later makes a change it will often go unnoticed. Last night was a good example of that as the changes at the Frontier Raceway Park lead to a Wednesday night show at Mason City instead. The Crawford County Fair race in Denison, that was originally on the schedule for July 20th, disappeared at some point as did the Indiana Midgets event at the Plymouth Speedway. Then, just yesterday, this was posted on the Facebook page of the Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer in regard to their NSL Sprint Car show that was scheduled for last night.

Because of volatility in the sprint car world, tonight's NSL 360 Sprints sponsored by Arnold Motor Supply has been cancelled due to a potential low car count. "Sprint car racing in the upper Midwest is difficult right now because some of the power players who are making it tough on us little guys - and we are a little guy in the race world," said Clay County Fair CEO/Manager Jeremy Parsons. "I don't want our fans to experience a sub-standard show, which is what they would have seen tonight. Rumors surfaced last night that there would be less than 10 cars, " continued Parsons. "For the long-term viability of the track financially, I cannot take that risk and upset our fans."

So always check ahead and especially this weekend as there has already been a couple of tracks that have cancelled their shows due to the excessive heat in our area.

Tonight we will sweat it out at the Knoxville Raceway as the Hawkeye Dirt Tour for IMCA Modifieds will be joined by the Northern Sport Mods on the historic half-mile and then there will be no racing for me this weekend as it will be the first of two straight weekends attending weddings. Next Tuesday night I look forward to the opening night of the annual Dubuque County Fair as the Sprint Invaders and the Hawkeye Dirt Tour IMCA Modifieds will be the grandstand headliners. Hope to see you on the Back Stretch!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday Notebook: July 20, 2016

Rain has wiped out what might have been my only two opportunities this season to catch up with Todd Staley's United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) after wash outs at Des Moines on Monday and Oskaloosa on Tuesday. I love going to Staley's shows as they are always well presented and feature some great racing amongst the drivers who travel with him regularly and you just never know when one of the locals might jump up and take a win. Oh well, guess I will have to search the schedule now and see what other possibilities there might be.

If you believe the rumors Monday might have also been my last opportunity to see racing on the historic half-mile oval at the Iowa State Fair Speedway since I cannot make either this week's Season Championship or next week's Deery Series race. Now I was told that a permanent stage will be built in front of the main grandstand with a new short track being built over in the area where turns three and four now sit. But then again, it was Anthony Crispino who told me, so ya never know.

Tonight's Hawkeye Dirt Tour race at the Southern Iowa Speedway was cancelled last night so it really must have poured in Oskaloosa as usually the county fairs will pull out all stops to get a show in, especially if it is going to be sunny and hot on race day. That now turns my attention to the Maquoketa Speedway for tonight's Deery Brothers Summer Series show, but the track must first survive some showers this morning. We are in a "ring of fire" pattern right now where thunderstorms fire up around the oustide of a hot dome of high pressure and then rotate in a clockwise pattern. That is what nailed Des Moines and Osky on Tuesday and as of this morning both Maquoketa and Mason City, where the North Iowa Fair Shootout is also scheduled for tonight, are right on the edge of that ring. Hopefully both shows can go on as scheduled tonight, but just know that if they do you should be prepared for a hot and humid evening "inside the ring".

Here are some items that caught my attention over the weekend......

Sprint Car driver Russ Hall rallied from twelfth to second driving Kevin Hollingsworth's IMCA Modified at the Iowa State Fair Speedway in Des Moines on Friday night. Hall was set to run the car in all three Hawkeye Dirt Tour events this week, but now (hopefully) it will be just one on Thursday night at a track that he will actually be more familiar with than his competitors, the Knoxville Raceway.

There were also a couple of first-time winners, at least for this season, in Des Moines on Friday with Randy Havlik taking the IMCA Late Model victory and Robert Moore topping the Northern Sport Mods.

Teenager Tanner Gebhardt has been close to winning a feature race on a couple of occasions here in his rookie season behind the wheel of a 305 c.i Winged Sprint, but on Saturday night he sealed the deal by taking the checkers at 34 Raceway near Burlington. Another local youngster, Devon Rouse won the Mod Lite main event.

Seth Janssen of Ogden was a first-time winner in the Hobby Stock division on Saturday night at the Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City, a track that will host its annual "Thursday Night Thunder" tomorrow night.

Cody Thompson of Sioux City was one of the early contenders for the lead in the Four Cylinder All Iowa Points chase in 2016, but when his name disappeared from the weekly results I wondered what was going on with him. Well now I know. Cody has apparently made the move to the Sport Mod class as on Saturday night he finished third at the Shelby County Speedway in Harlan. While I understand that, for some drivers, the Four Cylinder or Sport Compact division is what fits their budget and I would rather have them racing there long term instead of not racing at all, but it sure is nice to see drivers get some track time in the class and then move on to another division. As I look at this class that, by all common sense, should have the highest car counts at any track, I am not seeing the number of "new names" popping up in the results that one would expect for a low budget "beginners" class and I think that it has to do with some of the career winners that continue to stay in the division.

I have long been an advocate of the old Sunset Speedway rule where the top drivers in the Sportsman class were required to move on to the Late Models the next season which not only kept the Late Model count healthy, but the Sportsman class flourished as well with newcomers each year. If tracks or even sanctioning bodies would now do the same with the Four Cylinders I believe that you would see the car counts going up rather than going down. And, for those drivers who don't have the budget to move up, then perhaps they would need to be a little more strategic as to just how many races that they win each year, if you know what I mean. One driver won 48 features in the division last year alone and he is still racing in it. Is there any wonder why the car counts in that class where he competes are consistently under ten? Congratulations Cody, best of luck in the Sport Mod!

IMCA does not allow drivers to compete in both the Modified and Sport Mod divisions at the same time, but that is not the case in WISSOTA land, or actually NASCAR as it would be for the Cedar Lake Speedway where Jason Vandekamp of Scandia, Minnesota, won both the Modified and the Midwest Modified feature on Saturday night.

Kelly Shryock made the trip north to win the IMCA Modified main event in Arlington, Minnesota, this past weekend.

Ricky Logan's name has been absent from the Sprint Car results from for the past six years, but the Little Rock, Arkansas, native is back in action winning the 305 Main event at the Knoxville Raceway on Saturday night and then running fifth in the 360 feature at the Double X Speedway in California, Missouri on Sunday night.

As we get closer to the Knoxville Nationals on the schedule it is always fun to see who transplant themselves in the Midwest in preparation for the big event and one of those drivers last year was Willie Croft. Now the quarter-mile Lincoln Speedway in central Illinois is a far cry from the big and fast Knoxville Raceway, but it must have felt just like home for the Roseville, California, driver as he won Friday night's Midwest Open Wheel Associaction (MOWA) main event in Lincoln.

I am tracking results from ten different states this year and out of all those tracks at only one of them, the Tomahawk Speedway in Wisconsin, is it completely impossible to even get the winners let alone the top five from each division. You'll recall that this is the facility that when I politely asked for results on the track's Facebook page back in the Spring the promoter told me that he was just too busy and that results would just have to be one of the "creature comforts" that we would have to do without for now. He has time to post some very darkly lit videos from some of the feature races, but no time to type out a few names. Monett Speedway and the Jacksonville Speedway make it very tough to get results as well which, in this day and age, there is no reason for.

The state of Kansas has lost another dirt track, at least for the remainder of this season with the closing of the Wakeeney Speedway. "Due to circumstances beyond our control John regrets to inform all the racers, families and fans that Wakeeney has to close. He wants everyone to know that he has done EVERYTHING humanly possible to keep the track open but it is just not possible." No blame, no pointing fingers, just a promoter who was likely putting forth a ton of effort, but still losing money and said that enough was enough. I know that drivers want to be paid more and that fans want to pay less, but if the promoter is not making a fair profit for all of the time involved and the risk, there will not be a race track, it is as simple as that.

Remember Steve Arpin? According the Dirt On Dirt  it has been ten years since he last drove a dirt Late Model, but the talent remains as on his first race back in the division he was the winner in the WISSOTA sanctioned event at Montana's Electric City Speedway. Go double zero, eh!

The Slinger Super Speedway north of Milwaukee was outside of the ring of fire on Tuesday and it was Matt Kenseth and Erik Jones finishing first and second in the Super Late Model division during the annual Slinger Nationals. I can guarantee you that Kenseth's win on Tuesday night came in front of far fewer empty seats than did his win on Sunday in New Hampshire. If you were watching the NBC Sports Network you would understand.

Jeff Gordon will be the substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at both Indianapolis and Pocono. With this being his second self-imposed timeout for concussion related symptoms one has to wonder just how much longer Junior will even race. A sudden retirement would be devastating for NASCAR.

Our colleague Brian Neal is no longer the promoter at the CJ Speedway in Columbus Junction. I don't know the circumstances, but I do selfishly hope that he will get back into the full swing of reporting the Midwest Racing News real soon!

Still holding out hope for Maquoketa tonight and Knoxville on Thursday, hope to see you on the Back Stretch!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Martin Extends Point Lead With Sprint Invaders Win At Tipton

Eighteen-year-old Chris Martin is on a roll now winning his second straight Sprint Invaders main event and extending his point lead in the process. Thursday night's flag-to-flag triumph at the Cedar County Raceway in Tipton, Iowa, follows up a win three weeks ago at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines with the young driver proving that he can not only win on the big half-miles, but on the quarter-mile bullrings as well.

Josh Schneiderman was a heat race winner and later took the checkers first in the Budweiser "King of Beers" Shake Up Dash, but when he drew the number six for his starting spot that landed the Dash runner-up, Martin on the pole for the 25-lap main event. The initial start was waved off when cars bunched up before the green and on the second attempt seventh starting Ryan Jamison slid to the infield in turn one placing the former three-time Invader champion at the rear of the nineteen car field for the third try at a start.

This one stuck and it was Martin racing out to the early advantage with fellow front row starter Cody Wehrle keeping him honest while working the low line around the quarter-mile. Josh Schneiderman was on the move slipping past his brother Jarrod for third and as he challenged Wehrle for second it allowed Martin to open up a lead. With lapped traffic now in play Wehrle went too high in turn four on the ninth circuit slipping off the top of the racing surface and losing three positions before he could scramble back into the groove in turn one. Three laps later the caution waved for Damian Getchell who had spun off the top of turn two and that planted Josh Schneiderman on the push bar of Martin for the restart.

With both drivers running the top Martin again began to ease away and when Schneiderman pushed to make up ground, he too slipped over the top in turn four and spun to bring out the caution with nine laps to go. Nate Van Haaften was now up to second and before another lap could be scored Justin Bucholz spun in turn four as he challenged Tim Moore for the fifth position with four other cars, Ryan Jamison, John Hall, John Schulz and Lucas Glasgow all making contact with Bucholz.

Only Schulz was able to restart and once back to green Martin made sure that nobody would be able to make a challenge as he pulled away to a commanding victory. Wehrle battled back to take away the second spot late in the race leaving Van Haaften to finish third while Jarrod Schneiderman and Tim Moore filled out the top five. Harold Pohren was the Hard Charger of the event coming from thirteenth to sixth, Dave Getchell was seventh, Josh Schneiderman made it back up to eighth, Schulz followed him in ninth and Tyson Hart returned to action completing the top ten.

In victory lane Martin was quick to thank his father and his crew for all of their hard work to give him such a fast car to drive and also pointed out that none of this would be possible without the help of all of his sponsors.

The Sprint Invaders return to action on Tuesday night, July 26th at the Dubuque Fairground Speedway during the Dubuque County Fair with some extra purse money on the line. The event will pay $2,000-to-win and $325 to start the main event on the wide and progressively banked 3/8-mile oval. The Hawkeye Dirt Tour for IMCA Modifieds will also be in action.

Randall's Performance Heat 1 - 1. Josh Schneiderman, West Burlington 2. Nate Van Haaften, Otley 3. Ryan Jamison, Mediapolis 4. Dave Getchell, Sperry 5. Harold Pohren, Lowell 6. John Schulz, West Burlington 7. Tyson Hart, Monmouth IL

Cen-Pe-Co Lubricants Heat 2 - 1. Chris Martin, Ankeny 2. Cody Wehrle, Burlington 3. Tim Moore, Rock Island IL 4. Damian Getchell, Sperry 5. John Greenwood, Woodward 6. Richard Brod, Plainfield IL

Fraise Mowerports Heat 3 - 1. Jarrod Schneiderman, West Burlington 2. Jacob Glasgow, Burlington 3. John Hall, Marion 4. Justin Bucholz, Davenport 5. Andy Krieger, Burlington 6. Rob Weuve, Oakland Acres

Golden Eagle Distributing Budweiser "King of Beers" Dash - 1. Josh Schneiderman 2. Martin 3. Wehrle 4. Jarrod Schneiderman 5. Van Haaften 6. Glasgow Main Event (start) - 1. Martin (1) 2. Wehrle (2) 3. Van Haaften (4) 4. Jarrod Schneiderman (3) 5. Moore (8) 6. Pohren (13) 7. Dave Getchell (10) 8. Josh Schneiderman (6) 9. Schulz (16) 10. Hart (19) 11. Damian Getchell (11) 12. Krieger (15) 13. Brod (17) 14. Greenwood (14) 15. Weuve (18) 16. Bucholz (12) 17. Hall (9) 18. Jamison (7) 19. Glasgow (5)

A solid field of thirty-one Sport Mods were also in action for a healthy $1,000-to-win and after the four heats and two B-Mains were caution plagued, the 20-lap feature went off non-stop on the well prepared racing surface. Pole-sitter Ben Chapman would lead the opening two laps before Matt Petrzelka would drive by him using the outside line. Chapman tried to fight back down low, but soon joined the leader up on the high side just waiting for a mistake.

Brayton Carter was finding the bite on the inside though and steadily closed in on the leaders finally taking second away from Chapman with three-laps to go and while Carter could pull even with Petrzelka in the turns in those closing laps, the momentum off the top side was enough to bring Petrzelka to the checkers first by a car-length over Carter. Chapman held on to finish in third with Dan Mohr in fourth, Tyler Soppe came from the sixth row to finish fifth while Gage Neal edged out Matt Short for sixth. Corey Dripps improved four spots from where he started to run eighth while Dalton Simonson and Joey Schaefer completed the top ten.

Both the Midwest Jalopies and the American Iron Racing Series (AIRS) were also on hand to put on some good racing while bringing back a lot of great memories for many, including me.

There is one more race on the 2016 calendar for the Cedar County Raceway and that will come on Tuesday, August 2nd, when both the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models and the Hawkeye Dirt Tour for IMCA Modifieds converge on the quick quarter-mile that is expertly groomed by the "Dirt Doctor" Al Dlouhy.

No racing for me this weekend, but that will get me geared up for a big week of Modified action in Des Moines, Oskaloosa and Knoxville next Monday through Thursday. See ya on the Back Stretch!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesday Notebook: July 13, 2016

The Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa picked a good week to sit idle as they would have been rained out anyway. The half-mile oval will be back with two big nights of action next week during the Southern Iowa Fair with the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) headlining on Tuesday night before Wednesday's Hawkeye Dirt Tour for IMCA Modifieds plus the conclusion of the Budweiser and Musco Lighting Stock Car Shootout.

Speaking of county fairs, they are in full swing now and there will be plenty of opportunities for race fans to get in some extra action along with some good ol' fair food over the next couple of weeks. Check the schedule at Positively Racing for all of the fair races coming up! My next event will be tomorrow night at the Cedar County Fair in Tipton with the Sprint Invaders. Joining the winged sprints will be the Sport Mods racing for a $1,000 top prize as well as the American Iron Racing Series. The weather looks good and I am looking forward to returning to the quick little quarter in Tipton.

Every weather forecast that I saw for this past Sunday had no mention of rain in it, at least when I last checked on Saturday, so I was really disappointed when a line of storms pressed southeast and washed out the Deery Brothers Summer Series race at the Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway. I see today though that this race has now been rescheduled for Tuesday, August 16th, so that will be added to the specials calendar soon and it will definitely be on my "to do" list.

As those storms passed through Mount Pleasant they dumped seven tenths of an inch of rain in just a few minutes causing some street flooding so I then kept an eye on the radar to see if a trip to Quincy for the UMP Summer Nationals event might still be a possibility. It was as if the storms slowed and then parked just to the northwest of Quincy and despite the fact that my friend and colleague Danny Rosencrans was texting me to tell me that the rain was going to miss the track, knowing that the same radar image had soaked my hometown earlier plus an irritating case of poison ivy made me decide to sit this one out. Bad decision! From the video that I saw the next morning on Dirt On Dirt it looked like the newly reworked surface was very racey and relatively dust free as Bobby Pierce racked up another victory on the Hell Tour. It was also great to see how full the grandstands were at Quincy even with the threatening weather. I am glad that I was one of the few who chickened out!

The past couple of weeks have been really good here on the Back Stretch as the story on Oskaloosa's most recent weekly show pushed the page views to the most ever for one calendar month topping October of 2012 and the page view count also surpassed the one quarter of a million mark. Then last Thursday's story on the Lee County Fair race had several shares on Facebook making it the second most read single entry ever behind the longtime leader, this August of 2013 story on the USMTS show at Tipton. I want to thank each and every one of you for taking a moment and stopping by for a look at the Back Stretch and I hope that you will continue to do so for a long time to come!

I love the "one and done" or the "lone ranger" rule where a driver is sent to the pits if involved in just one caution during a heat race or a B-Main, but recently I saw a glaring example of one interpretation that I don't like about it. Two drivers were racing for the final transfer position in a heat race and the driver that was in fifth went into the corner too deep and spun the driver that was running fourth. With the rest of the field closing on the spun car fast, the caution waved despite the fact that the spun car was trying to get back into motion. Both cars were sent to the pits meaning that an official had determined that the "takeout" was intentional, so my question would be why not give the driver in fourth, an innocent victim, his spot back? Oh well, as I said, overall I love the rule because not only does it keep the show moving, but it trains drivers to not spin and sit waiting for a caution, even at feature time.

Congratulations to Shark Racing driver Logan Schuchart who scored his first career World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car win on Friday night at the Cedar Lake Speedway.

Johnny Fennewald is now two of three with feature wins since joining the ULMA Late Model field at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Missouri. The news for Fennewald is much worse when it comes to his Modified though as both he and Eric Turner have been disqualified from their finishes on June 30th due to tire infractions. Tire doping has been a big story recently on the national Late Model scene and it is good to see that they are checking the Modifieds as well.

Andrew Burg from Carlisle, Iowa, was the IMCA Hobby Stock feature winner at the Rolling Plains Motor (RPM) Speedway in Hays, Kansas, this weekend. Not sure why he made the long pull, but at least it paid off.

It was a big weekend for the father and son team of David and Tyler McDonald from Huron, South Dakota. On Friday night David won the WISSOTA Late Model feature and Tyler captured the WISSOTA Modified feature at the Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen, then on Saturday night they repeated their wins at their hometown Dakota State Fair Speedway. Tyler kept the streak going with the Modified win at the Miller Central Speedway on Sunday night, but dad could not close out the perfect weekend as he finished fourth in the Late Model main event that was won by Brian Diede.

Thirteen-year-old Garrett Schwartz became the youngest race winner ever at the Grundy County Speedway in Morris, Illinois, on Friday night when captured the opening heat race for the Super Late Models. You can check out the story with a picture here and take notice of the great crowd on hand for the weekly show on pavement. Feature time did not go well for the young driver though as he was credited with 20th after completing just five laps.

Mike Peters of Whitehall, Wisconsin, won the Mini-Vans feature at the LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday night. There were four grocery getters in action, but no soccer moms behind the wheel.

We will close out today's notebook with the top 100 in the current Back Stretch National Dirt Late Model points and I hope to see you at the track soon!

The "Back Stretch"
Dirt Late Model Points
Pos. Driver Hometown Points
1 . Josh Richards Shinnston WV 158
2 . Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg TN 151
3 . Jonathan Davenport Blairsville GA 137
4 . Bobby Pierce Oakwood IL 95
5 . Shane Clanton Locust Grove GA 81
6 . Brandon Sheppard New Berlin IL 73
7 . Jared Landers Batesville AR 63
8 . Dale McDowell Chickamauga GA 62
9 . Brian Shirley Chatham IL 61
10 . Chris Madden Gray Court SC 57
11 . Billy Moyer Batesville AR 56
12 . Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville IL 56
13 . Mike Marlar Winfield TN 52
14 . Tim McCreadie Watertown NY 48
15 . Darrell Lanigan Union KY 44
16 . Don O'Neal Martinsville IN 44
17 . Jimmy Owens Newport TN 43
18 . Casey Roberts Toccoa GA 40
19 . Gregg Satterlee Rochester Mills PA 38
20 . Donald McIntosh Dawsonville GA 36
21 . Rick Eckert York PA 36
22 . Ryan Unzicker El Paso IL 34
23 . Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville FL 33
24 . Brandon Overton Appling GA 32
25 . Jason Feger Bloomington IL 32
26 . Frank Heckenast Jr. Orland Park IL 30
27 . Steve Francis Ashland KY 29
28 . Billy Moyer Jr. Batesville AR 28
29 . Chris Simpson Marion IA 28
30 . Jesse Stovall Galena MO 28
31 . Willie Milliken Leland NC 27
32 . Eddie Carrier Jr. Salt Rock WV 26
33 . Jason Covert York Haven PA 26
34 . Chris Ferguson Mount Holly NC 25
35 . Devin Moran Dresden OH 24
36 . Tony Jackson Jr. Lebanon MO 24
37 . Jimmy Mars Elk Mound WI 23
38 . Kyle Bronson Brandon FL 23
39 . Tim Dohm Cross Lanes WV 23
40 . Dale Hollidge Mechanicsville MD 22
41 . Mark Whitener Middleburg FL 22
42 . Max Blair Centerville PA 22
43 . Jackie Boggs Grayson KY 21
44 . Riley Hickman Ooletwah TN 20
45 . Ross Bailes Clover SC 20
46 . Tyler Carpenter Parkersburg WV 20
47 . Cory Hedgecock Louden TN 19
48 . Greg Johnson Bedford IN 19
49 . Terry Phillips Springfield MO 19
50 . Dona Marcoullier Houghton Lake MI 18
51 . Devin Gilpin Columbus IN 17
52 . Kevin Weaver Gibson City IL 17
53 . Jason Hiett Lincoln AL 16
54 . Rusty Schlenk Jackson MI 16
55 . Jason Krohn Slayton MN 15
56 . Justin Kay Wheatland IA 15
57 . Mason Zeigler Chalk Hill PA 15
58 . Jared Miley South Park PA 14
59 . Johnny Pursley Clover SC 14
60 . Kyle Beard Trumann AR 14
61 . Ricky Thornton Jr. Chandler AZ 14
62 . Corey Conley Wellsburg WV 13
63 . Doug Drown Wooster OH 13
64 . Freddie Carpenter Parkersburg WV 13
65 . Ronny Lee Hollingsworth Northport AL 13
66 . Russell Erwin Beaverdam VA 13
67 . Zack Dohm Cross Lanes WV 13
68 . Chad Simpson Marion IA 12
69 . David Watts Buckhannon 12
70 . Jeff Rine Danville PA 12
71 . Randy Weaver Crossville TN 12
72 . Rodney Sanders Happy TX 12
73 . Tanner English Benton KY 12
74 . Daulton Wilson Fayetteville NC 11
75 . Devin Dixon Apollo Beach FL 11
76 . Don Shaw Ham Lake MN 11
77 . Donald Bradsher Burlington NC 11
78 . Eric Spangler Lake City MI 11
79 . Josh Putnam Killen AL 11
80 . McKay Wenger Fairbury IL 11
81 . Michael Kloos Trenton IL 11
82 . Rhett Carter Blackshear GA 11
83 . Rich Bell Sheffield IL 11
84 . Steve Casebolt Richmond IN 11
85 . Tim Manville Highland IL 11
86 . Tyler Crowder Tallahassee FL 11
87 . A.J. Diemel Navarino WI 10
88 . B.J. Robinson Blanchard LA 10
89 . Caleb Ashby Cunningham TN 10
90 . Chad Zobrist Highland IL 10
91 . Chub Frank Sugar Grove PA 10
92 . Hunter Rasdon Jonesboro AR 10
93 . Jason Papich Santa Maria CA 10
94 . Jeff Provinzino Hibbing MN 10
95 . Jonathan Edwards Lake Wylie SC 10
96 . Ricky Weiss Winnipeg MAN 10
97 . Ryan VanderVeen Six Lakes MI 10
98 . Tyler Erb Magnolia TX 10
99 . Dan Tipton 9
100 . Dean Bowen Whiteville NC 9
101 . Dennis Franklin Gaffney SC 9
102 . Duane Chamberlain Richmond IN 9
103 . Jack Sullivan Greenbriar AR 9
104 . Jason Fitzgerald Jacksonville FL 9
105 . Joel Callahan Dubuque IA 9
106 . Matt Cosner Ridgely WV 9
107 . Ryan Gustin Marshalltown IA 9
108 . Scott Ward Watertown SD 9
109 . Timothy Culp Sheridan AR 9