Wednesday night marked the inaugural visit of the Hawkeye Dirt Tour to the Buena Vista Raceway in Alta. The HDT has only managed one visit west of I-35 with last year's event at the Hancock County Speedway in Britt, so this event was definitely one the fans were looking forward to. And the fans that wanted to see it made their voices heard loudly as the stands were packed full last night! The BVR weekly show would also be held for the IMCA stock cars, IMCA hobby stocks, IMCA sportmods, and IMCA sport compacts along with the BVR bombers.
Speaking of which, the BVR bombers were the first feature to roll onto the speedway. Mike Draper would hold down the lead from his outside front row start while Keith Demey stayed close in second. Following a lap two caution Demey ducked under Draper for the lead. A late caution came out and following the green flag coming back out, Draper would suffer a flat tire with two laps remaining. Keith Demey would take the win ahead of Lucas Vote and Mike Draper, who finished on his flat tire. These three were the only ones left running at the completion of the race.
Twelve IMCA sport compacts made their way to the track, but the green flag didn't stay out very long as a couple cars went too high in turns three and four and went over the banking to bring out the caution. The first lap was scored complete and Cory Flanigan would be the leader. A yellow flag came out for Randy Cass when his motor expired with five laps to go, allowing Merv Chandler to restart on Flanigan's rear bumper. Chandler honked the chrome horn and harrassed Flanigan, but was unable to muster up enough momentum to make the pass as Flanigan took the win. Chandler finished second, Jeff Roemen was third, Gregory Brunelle fourth, and Darin Lorenzen completed the top five.
The IMCA hobby stocks had a rough time keeping the green flag out for much of their feature. In fact, three caution periods were thrown before lap five, and then another couple before the next lap could be scored complete. Joe Menke would hold the top spot through much of the chaos, but when the green flag came out following the final lap five restart Devin Smith dove to the bottom in turn one and exited turn two with the lead. Brandon Nielson and Cody Nielsen gave chase with Cody slipping under Brandon for the second position. Michael Murphy charged to the front as well as he used the low groove to also get by Brandon Nielsen for third. Devin Smith would steadily pull away and take home his sixth win of the season at BVR, which also happened to be his 30th IMCA win as well. Cody Nielsen finished second, Michael Murphy third, Kyle Robinson fourth, and Brandon Nielson rounded out the top five.
Next on the track would be the IMCA sportmods. Outside front row starter Logan Scott looked smooth on lap one to assume command, but Tim Rupp dove inside of Scott in turn four to overtake the lead. Zach Norgaard would be next to pass Scott for second while a few laps later Doug Smith and Jesse Sobbing made Scott the meat of their sandwich as they passed him on both sides. A caution with five laps remaining bunched the field up, and it was at this point that I realized that the BVR staff had resorted back to the "old" Delaware double file restart in which the leader is out front by himself. Earlier in the year restarts were "NASCAR style" with the front two cars side by side. At any rate, Sobbing made quick work of Norgaard as Sobbing powered his machine up on the cushion once again to take over the second position. Smith would keep pace as he ducked low to maneuver around Norgaard for third, but with three laps remaining Sobbing became the final race leader as he picked up his 35th win of the season. Tim Rupp finished second, Doug Smith was third, Zach Norgaard fourth, and Tim Wilcox rounded out the apparent top five. In looking at results on the website, Norgaard was disqualified in post-race tech apparently, thus advancing Doug Bartels to fifth.
The IMCA stock cars may be low in number at BVR, but most times they put on the best show of the night. Despite all drivers attempting to hug the tires on the low side, there was passing going on throughout the race. Pole sitter Randy Brands held the top spot from the start, but Stefan Sybesma quickly moved up to second after passing Adam Klocke. After starting at the tail (11th), Brian Blessington was on the charge early as he made his way to fourth with a pass on Klocke, who had given up the third spot to Donavon Smith earlier. Sybesma saw the door open as Brands gave up the inside line, allowing Sybesma to capitalize and take the race lead. Donavon Smith followed to second while Blessington continued forward. Blessington found a lane inside of both Brands and Donavon Smith to nab the runner up spot, but that was as far as he'd get as Stefan Sybesma picked up the win. Blessington was second, Donavon Smith third, Randy Brands fourth, and David Smith completed the top five.
The finale of the evening was the twenty-five lap feature for the JR Motorsports Hawkeye Dirt Tour. Outside front row starter Kurt Krauskopf looked strong in the early running as he held down the lead, but following a quick caution Nebraska driver Dylan Smith made his way to second and tried to chase down the lead car. Chris Abelson worked his way to third and then later motored by Smith on the outside to take the second position away. The front two cars were checked out by themselves while Dustin Smith patiently worked his way to fourth. Smith got a good run on Dylan Smith going into turn one and slid up, making contact with the Nebraska driver and causing him to lose several positions. For whatever reason Krauskopf changed his line from the top to the bottom entering turn one with eleven laps remaining, and that was all Abelson needed as he exited turn two with momentum and the lead. A yellow flag with nine to go bunched the field tight, and the lack of experience at BVR cost Krauskopf as he drove in to turn one a little deep and overshot the cushion and banking, giving up a lot of positions. Dustin Smith and Jay Noteboom sea sawed for the runner up position with Smith winning out, but he was no match for Chris Abelson as the Sioux City driver pocketed the big check for the win. Dustin Smith finished second, Jay Noteboom third, Mike Jergens made a late surge to finish fourth, and Clayton Christensen rounded out the top five. Series point leaders Ryan Dolan and Mark Elliott struggled throughout the night and finished 13th and 17th, respectively.
Despite a little bit of dust as the night progressed, I thought the track remained in good shape throughout the course of the night. Heard one driver complain it was dark entering turn three, but I guess I didn't notice that from the stands. It's hard to believe that next Wednesday, August 10, is season championship night for the Buena Vista Raceway. It was brought to my attention that the October special from last year will not be run this year, so next Wednesday will be the final race of the year. Be sure to get out and support the track!
- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!!