Saturday, July 8, 2017

Fair Time at Donnellson

Against the backdrop of Iowas' oldest county fair, the Lee County Speedway staged a weekly racing program on Friday night. The five regular classes featured 60 cars competing in front of a nice sized crowd on a beautiful evening. Heat race action clicked off with I believe zero cautions, and the first feature rolled out shortly after 8:00 with no intermission. The IMCA sport compact 15 lapper ran first, with ten starters. Josh Barnes shot to the early lead in search of his third straight main event win. Mike Reu broke free from the pack and began to run down the leader. Just before the halfway mark, Reu took over the lead, and Barnes suddenly slowed, falling through the pack and heading to the pits on lap nine. Mike Reu opened a big lead as son Brandon Reu and Barry Taft battled side by side for the runner up spot. With a pair of laps remaining, Brandon eased ahead of Taft. At the checkers, it was Mike Reu winning in front of the home town crowd. Brandon Reu was second, followed by Taft, Kimberly Abbott, and Chuck Fullenkamp. The race ran caution free. 15 IMCA sport mods came to the track next for 18 laps. Jim Walker jumped to the front for the first four laps with row three starter Austen Becerra taking the second spot from Brandon Dale on lap four. One lap later, Becerra did a slide job on Walker in turn four to take the top spot. As Becerra opened a commanding lead, Walker retired with a flat tire. Dale held second, with Kyle Hill in third until Hill left the track with five circuits left to go. This moved the battle between Vance Wilson and Tony Dunker into third and fourth, and they crossed the line in that order. Daniel Fellows moved from the sport compacts to the sport mods and finished fifth, the last car on the lead lap of another non stop feature. It was the second win in a row for Austen. The first caution came on lap two of the IMCA modified 20 lapper, as early leader Bill Roberts Jr pulled out. The restart found row one starter Dennis Laveine out front. Michael Long and Jeff Waterman took the green flag from row two, and when racing resumed, they were locked in a duel for second. Waterman took command of the runner up spot on lap four, and from there it was a train race to the checkers. Laveine continued to hit his marks on the high side of the 3/8 mile with Waterman in his tracks. Long tried the low line, but could not get enough momentum to make the pass. He made one last charge on lap 18, but fell short. The checkers went to Laveine, followed by Waterman, Long, Chris Zogg, and Dean McGee. Next came the IMCA stock cars racing for 18 laps. A dozen cars took the green, with Beau Taylor a no show after finishing fourth in his heat race. Chad Krogmeier shot to a sizable lead, with Dean Kratzer, John Oliver Jr., and Jason Cook chasing the #12. A lap seven caution bunched the field, and Oliver moved to second on the Delaware restart. On lap nine, Oliver used a slide job in turn four . but failed to clear Krogmeier. The resulting melee found Krogmeier upside down, with Jeremy Pundt making contact with him. As the wreck was cleaned up, Krogmeier was out, and Pundt and Kratzer both went to the work area for repairs, and Oliver Jr. was sent to the back of the lead lap cars that did not go to the work area, which turned out to be sixth. This turned the lead over to Cook, with Corey Strothman now second. On the restart, Oliver charged back to third, with Pundt following him to fourth. With no more yellows, it was Cook, Strothman, Oliver, Pundt, and Jake Powers scoring top five finishes. The finale was the 20 lap UMP Pro late model main event. Even though there were several regulars missing, 13 cars checked in for the night. Unfortunately, lady racer Tegan Evans in her first appearance of 2017 after being a semi regular last season, dropped a drive shaft in hot laps, ending her night. Evans had made the long pull from ClintonIowa in her #T22. Another first timer was popular veteran IMCA racer Ron Boyse from Kalona,Iowa in his #74. Tommy Elston and Jeff Guengerich drew the front row start and Elston shot to the front with Denny Woodwrth coming from row two to second. Following a lap two caution,Elston and Woodworth began to put distance on the pack. Woodworth challenged Elston on lap seven, but Elston stretched his margin the following trip around. But Woodworth powered to the lead on that same lap as the leaders closed in on slower traffic. But just as things got interesting, the caution waved for a spinning Brandon Ruffcorn in turns three and four. Woodworth was unable to avoid contact with Ruffcorn, but suffered no obvious damage. With just seven laps left to go on the restart. Elston retook the lead. holding on for his third LCS win. Woodworth settled for second, with heat two winner Sam Halstead, Guengerich, and first heat winner Derek Liles collecting top fie runs. Boyse led the second five with Trent Grotz turning in a good run in seventh ahead of Ruffcorn, son Laine and dad Charles Vanzandt, and Chris Richard subbing for Matt Strassheim in the #73R. Former sport mod driver Joey Gower made his return to late model racing Monday night at Quincy Raceways, and was a row three starter at LCS before dropping out early. The final checkers waved well before 10:00. There will be no racing next Friday at Donnellson, with many of the regulars minus the late models in action at the Scotland County fair in Memphis,Mo. Then next Saturday, the UMP Pro late models and stock cars will be the feature attraction during the Davis County fair in Bloomfield,Iowa. Racing at LCS will resume on Friday, July 21.

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