With a vacation day on Friday, and no racing last weekend, I was determined to catch some action last night. Darryl, Fred and I watched the radar throughout the day and decided north looked safer than south. So after a lot of calling and facebooking, we confirmed that CJ Speedway in Columbus Junction,Iowa was racing and late models were on the card. We arrived at the 4/10 mile fairgrounds facility in plenty of time and settled in amongst a good sized crowd.
The heat races for the six class program actually a few minutes early, and ran off in good time. There was a 25 minute intermission, but the large number of kids in attendance were given hayrack rides through the pits. there were also lots of Little Racer Car Club giveaways. CJ probably has more kids per adult than any track we attend, a good sign for the future of racing in that area.
The first feature of the night was for the mod lites. I am not sure what has caused the drop in car count in this class, but it seems to be down wherever we see them. Still, the six cars on hand put on a good ten lap show. Collin Ball had things in hand until a lap seven caution erased his nice sized lead. On lap nine, Dan Keltner was able to get past Ball to take the win.
Next up was the 11 car four cylinder ten lapper. 74 year old Wayne Noble led lap one. Following a restart, Corey Sheetz pulled ahead for one circuit. The two raced side by side on lap three before Noble reclaimed the top spot. Noble, the " Mayor of Newport," cruised to the win with Bill Whelen slipping past Sheetz on lap nine for second.
Old friend John Richardson had told us on arrival that the growing truck class was the group to watch, and for sure the nine car group seems to lead the track in drama. Austin Kemper led lap one before the first of numerous cautions periods. Jacob Brown took over on the restart as things got interesting. Lots of bumping, banging, black flags and catcalls from the grandstand filled the ten laps of action. Brown obviously had the truck to beat, and I was surprised to learn it was his first win. After an early trip to the tail, Billy Stanford charged back to take second.
The 11 IMCA stock car took to the track for 15 laps. Travis Finke grabbed the point on the start, leading the first five circuits. On lap six, Dane Fenton slipped past, with Lane Kaufman moving to second. The two leaders had a close battle going before what appeared to be contact on the backstretch on lap 11 sent Kaufman off the track with a flat tire. On the Delaware restart, Kurt Kinsley grabbed the second spot, but Fenton held on from there. It was his first stock car win after a successful career in hobby stocks.
A dozen IMCA modified checked in, with 11 taking the 15 lap featurgreen. Steve Stewart powered from row two to lead the opening lap, and I said to Darryl, " the race is now for second. " But, wrong, again. Stewart held the top spot through a lap seven yellow, as a pair of # 20s, Dan Albright, and John Fellman battled side by side behind him. On lap nine, Stewart suddenly slowed in turn two, bringing out the yellow. Fellman and Albright restarted side by side, dueling through one more caution period. They completed lap 13 side by side, then Fellman edged ahead for the win.
Rounding out the night was the 15 lap IMCA rules late model main event. Only four cars checked in this week - point leader Tom Darbyshire and Tommy Elston were a couple of drivers I had called who could not make it on Friday. Veteran Wappello driver Jay Chenoweth # 6 led the opening trip around the oval, and heat winner " Superman " Sam Halstead took over on lap two, taking Jonathon Brauns along as Chenoweth bobbled in turn four. Lap six saw Brauns put his # 22B out front, and he built a straightaway lead in the non stop event. As Brauns took the white flag, he slowed and pulled to the infield pit area, handing the lead back to the # 84 of Halstead. Sam then took the checkers well ahead of Chenoweth, who was locked in a battle with Hal Russell, driving an old Dough Nigh machine, now numbered J6D. Russell, who campaigned several years ago in a # Z2 had been off the racing grid for some time. The word going around was that Brauns was simply testing out his " big " engine and outlaw tires this night, possibly ahead of the open show this Tuesday in West Liberty.
Thanks to announcer Gene Arnold for the info, and the staff at CJ Speedway for an entertaining night of racing. Tonight, a little Alan Jackson at the Mississippi Valley Fair in Davenport, the tomorrow back to Quincy Raceways for UMP late models and modifieds along with IMCA sport mods, stock cars and sport compacts. Se ya Racin' Down the Road.