On Saturday May 2nd I made my first trip of the year to the Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City. Tonight's action included double late model features after last week's feature was cut short due to Mother Nature. Also on hand were the Midwest 305 sprint cars, making it seven classes in action at the historic half-mile.
The first event run would be the makeup feature for the IMCA late models. Jason Hahne and Todd Cooney brought the field to the green flag, and it would be Cooney taking the early advantage. Cooney would pull away until a debris caution slowed the field down on lap eight. Cooney would once again build upon his lead until the white flag when Hahne's car made contact with the outside wall in turn one, bringing out the caution. That would allow Al Johnson and Ryan Griffith to tuck up behind Cooney on the restart, but it would be Cooney prevailing at the line. Johnson was second, Griffith third, Darrel DeFrance fourth, and Jason VanSickel rounded out the top five. VanSickel would play a vital role later in the racing program.
Heat races for all classes were next on the agenda. However, a power outage put a hault to the action as the second sportmod heat was lining up on the track. Fortunately they were not at speed. Enter Jason VanSickel. Nicknamed the "flying electrician", he quickly went to work checking all the fuse boxes around the track and outside of turn one. While there was a delay of about thirty minutes, he was able to fix the issue and racing was resumed shortly thereafter. Sounds like a page out of the old Greenbelt Speedway (Eldora, Iowa) book.
IMCA sport compacts were the first feature called to the track as ten competitors were ready for action. While the track was smooth all night, the sport compacts were mixing it up throughout the field with each other as a couple of drivers found the concrete wall and ending their nights. In the end it was Brad Chandler edging out point leader Gary Peiffer at the line. Nathan Chandler finished third, Jer Pederson fourth, and Justin Wacha rounded out the top five.
Up next would be the IMCA hobby stock feature. Seventeen cars started the twelve lap feature while two cars did not make the call, including the hard look driver of Kris Walker from Oskaloosa. He and Andy Jones got together in turn two and resulted in both cars making heavy contact with the outside wall. Daniel Krieger took the lead early until point leader Kevin Schmauss took command on lap three. Schmauss would continue to lead until the final laps as he had to deal with Justin Ades on the top side and TJ Mortensen on the low side. These three drivers put on a great final lap as they went three-wide. In the end, Ades used the momentum off the top side to capture the win as Mortensen and Schmauss followed. Krieger would finish fourth and Craig Graham rounded out the top five.
Fourteen stock cars took to the track next as they too were missing a couple cars as a result of earlier problems. Dave Hubbard took command early on from his pole starting position while the rest of the field were sometimes three-wide around the race track. An early caution settled the field down and Curt Hook took the top spot away from Hubbard. Hook would pull away from the field. Deeper in the field Jason Wagoner was making his way to the front utilizing the top groove of the track. A few laps later a group of cars tried going into turn one four-wide, but unfortunately contact was made and a couple cars had to report to the work area, including Mark Elliott who was driving Danny Hill's 4x stock car. This caution put Wagoner on the rear bumper of Hook, but that didn't last long as Wagoner made the pass for the lead on lap nine. Hook stayed close but was unable to muster up enough momentum to get back by as Wagoner took the checkers. The close battle was for third as they were four-wide coming to the line. I believe Mark Elliott got it at the stripe followed by Justin Ades and Reid Keller.
Up next would be the IMCA sportmods. Seventeen cars started the feature, including a couple that were involved in the big pileup a week ago. One of those drivers was Brett Meyer, as he sported a new Razor chassis. Meyer found himself leading after lap two while Scott Forbes and Greg Simmons battled it out for the second spot. Meyer cruised to the victory and Simmons prevailed for second. Austin Kaplan made a move to the outside of Forbes to take the third spot away while point leader Matt Lettow rounded out the top five.
IMCA modifieds were next on the card and Adam Larson looked to repeat his performance from the night before as he won the feature at Marshalltown. He started outside the front row and quickly jumped out to the lead. Scott Olson would apply some pressure early on, but Larson pulled away once they hit the midway point of the race and cruised to an easy win. Olson came home second, Mark Elliott finished third, Ryan Ruter fourth, and Mike Bennett rounded out the top five.
IMCA late models took to the track next for their second feature of the evening. Once again Todd Cooney found himself starting outside the front row and would jump out to the early lead. A battle for second shaped up between veterans Darrel DeFrance and Jeff Aikey. Those two went side by side for several laps while also gaining closer to Cooney's car. After a caution on lap six, the race was on as all three cars were racing for the lead. Cooney would regain his momentum while DeFrance was able to pull ahead of Aikey. Cooney went on to take his second win of the night followed by DeFrance, Aikey, Ryan Griffith, and Jason Hahne.
The final event of the night would be the midwest 305 sprint cars. A great field of cars were on hand as nineteen cars were checked in. Fourteen took the green flag and it would be Ryan Voss darting out to the lead from his second row inside starting position. The race was halted as two cars got tangled up and both rolled a couple times. Thankfully both drivers were okay. When the green flag dropped again, Matt Stephenson challenged Voss for the lead. Stephenson tried everything he could think of but his car would not handle very well coming out of the corners, many times sideways. Voss had too much grip as he took home the trophy. Stephenson took second, Marty Stephenson third, Wayne Redmond finished fourth, and Casey Friedrichsen rounded out the top five.
The racing action concluded at around 11:30. Obviously the power outage delay did not help things in this regard. But I did overhear that beings it wasn't the track's fault for the delay, the town did not enforce their normal curfew for the races. Hats off to promoter Al Urhammer as the track was very smooth considering all the rain the previous week. It did dry out and got a little dusty for the fans, but nothing too terrible that you couldn't see the cars.
- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!!