The Brockway Mechanical and Roofing Sprint Invaders definitely had a theme going on Wednesday night. Thirty-four cars signed in to do battle for an opportunity to compete in the night's thirty-four lap feature that paid $1,200-to-win and $334-to-start at 34 Raceway near Burlington. Sure, all the other stuff was pre-planned, but when Richard Brod towed in late from Downers Grove, Illinois, to bump the count up one more from the thirty-three that were already on the lineup sheet, well it just made for a perfect headline.
As part of the announcing quartet for the evening I did not take my usual notes so this entry of the Back Stretch will be a bit different than usual. Nowhere near as good as when Ryan Clark broke from form the other day, but I did not want this event to slide by without making at least a few observations.
If you have any interest at all in Sprint Cars and have not yet seen the Sprint Invaders this year then you need to check the remaining schedule and make sure that you circle at least one event to attend. Yes, I am biased since I now work with the Association, but even if I were still a casual observer I would have no trouble seeing the strong car counts and the great racing that was really set in motion during 2012 and that has continued into this season. Other than the trip north to Independence where the car count was still a respectable twenty-three, the Invaders have averaged right around the thirty mark all season and you just really never know who is going to be the man to beat before the show starts. Last night at 34 Raceway Dustin Selvage jumped out to an early lead that grew quickly, but then disappeared almost as fast when defending series champion Ryan Jamison found the low groove to his liking and reeled him in. And, if you were able to pull your attention away from that battle for a moment you would have been entertained by the runs being made from deep in the field by Jarrod Schneiderman, Russ Hall and Australian visitor Jamie Veal.
Selvage and Jamison swapped the lead back and forth following the pit stop break on lap twenty and it was the youngster from Indianola who would prevail to take the victory driving the Phillips Floors #7K that he races weekly at Knoxville. Usually you would see Dustin aboard Kenny Bragg's #73 at a Sprint Invader event, but that car is still down after popping a motor at Donnellson on June 20th. Hall, the current point leader, seems to be gaining confidence with each event and as a driver who has shown flashes of brilliance in the past, Russ is now performing with more consistency as he drove from the ninth row to get by Jamison in the closing laps to finish second on Wednesday night. Jamison, Veal and Schneiderman completed the top five and you can click here for the full story and results from Bill W.
The Invaders double up on county fairs next week running Thursday night July 11th at the Cedar County Raceway in Tipton, then on Friday night July 12th they return to the Lee County Fair in Donnellson. I will have to miss those two events due to other commitments, but I am really excited about catching up with the Invaders again when they go to the Jacksonville Speedway on Friday July 19th. It has been several years since I have been at the racy little quarter-mile and I look forward to a great night of action there.
Three different types of Vintage Cars, midgets, super modifieds and sprint cars also ran at 34 Raceway Wednesday night and it was my pleasure to be able to interview Al Samberg during their heats. Al was one of the original five men who built the track when it became obvious that the old fairgrounds track in Burlington was going to be swallowed by the new freeway back in 1965. "Mel and Kenny (Jackson) called me up and said let's go build a race track," quipped Samberg, "but I told them that I had to finish cutting the grass first." Al spent many years behind the microphone at the track as well with two of his most memorable lines, to me at least, being "that little piece of bleached cloth" for the white flag and "Morning Sun, the two that is coming up".
Mod Lites and Four Cylinders were also in action Wednesday night and while other tracks consistently draw ten or fewer of these cars for their races, they seem to flock to 34 Raceway with 23 and 22 in the pits respectively tonight. Those who know me well know that I was not a big fan of the Mod Lite division until a year ago when I watched them run four and five wide at 34 Raceway and that one night made me a fan of the division. So much so that I began tracking them in the All Iowa Points for the first time in 2013 and it was current point leader Josh May who pulled all the way down from Desoto to take the win here Wednesday night as once again the Mod Lites raced three, four and even five-wide around the high banks of 34 Raceway. My theory on the Four Cylinder car count at 34 is that there are no "ringers" in the field and therefore everybody feels that they have a chance to win, although the way Austen Becerra ran away from the field on this night he might soon be considered a "ringer" as well. You can find the full results for each of these two classes here.
It was another fun night at 34 Raceway and it is always entertaining to roam the catwalk with Rich Adams, Dan Workman, Kenney Dixon, Norm Gegner and Bill W. Thanks to Jeff and Amy Laue for their hospitality, a great race track and for teaming up with J&M Displays of Yarmouth to top off the night with a beautiful fireworks display. It was a great way to start off the Independence Day weekend and here's hoping that all of you have a safe and happy Holiday!
See you on the Back Stretch!