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Johnson takes Late Model checkers, Hahne second

Strunk, Embrey, Weyer, Gustin and Deal also feature winners at Hamilton Co. Speedway

May 15, 2012
By Nancy Kayser - For the DFJ ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

WEBSTER CITY - It was another perfect spring evening as racers and fans gathered for the second Saturday night of racing at the Hamilton County Speedway.

Three cars took turns leading the Sport Mod feature with the No. 17 driven by Tyler Heetland of Bancroft jumping out to lead for the first six laps until a mechanical problem put him in the pits. Racer Hulin - yes, that's his real name - in the No. 505 from Laurel had worked his way from mid-pack to take over the No. 1 spot, but was challenged hard by eventual winner Bryon Weyer of Des Moines in the No. 27.

Weyer was able to pass Hulin by the 12th lap and stayed there for the win. Webster City's Brandon Toftee in the No. 85T took over the third spot on the same lap. In fourth was Joel Rust, No. 26J of Grundy Center and fifth was the No. 2 car driven by Jerid Ratzke of Williams.

Article Photos

DFJ photo by Nancy Kayser
A pack of cars heads around the final turn during a Sport Mod heat race at the Hamilton County Speedway on Saturday. Bryon Weyer went on to win the feature race in the class.

The Hobby Stock feature race put 22 cars on the track, and it was caution free. Pole-sitter Roger Haupt Jr. of Clarion in the No. 24R went to the front for the first seven laps until the No. 40 car driven by Randy Embrey of Granger grabbed first place.

Embrey picked off cars one by one as he worked his way forward, followed closely by the No. 56 of Ty Griffith of Webster City. Also contending were the No. 24 driven by Austin Wolfgram of Webster City, the No. 12K of Eric Knutson, Slater, and the No. 71M of Jeremy Morriss of Clare. The exciting finish had Embrey in first, Griffith in second, Knutson was third, Wolfgram fourth and Morriss in fifth.

Richie Gustin of Gilman in the No. 19G, the 2011 Hamilton County Speedway Modified track champion, garnered his first win of the season. He took the lead from his front row start position and stayed there for the entire 20-lap feature. The No. 30 car of Josh Ruby, Lakota, and the No. 20 car of Luke Wanninger of Jefferson battled for second and third, finishing in that order.

Veteran Webster City racer Jim Mitchell in the No. 5 Stock Car zipped to the front on the start of the feature from his third-row start position. Roland's Ryan Leeman in the No. R31 tried hard to take over the lead on the corners, but Mitchell stayed ahead on the stretches. Running most of the race in third was Jeff Deal of Fort Dodge in the No. 22 until lap No. 13 when the three race cars closed up.

The No. 80 car of Scott Bloemke, Belmond, who had been in fourth, spun out in turn four to bring out the second caution flag of the race. On the restart, Deal took the lead and held on for the green-white-checkered finish. Mitchell ended the race in second, Leeman in third, the No. 37E driven by Jason Vansickel of Webster City was fourth in his first night at the track, and Bloemke came from the back of the pack on the restart to grab fifth.

It took two starts to get the Late Model feature rolling as five cars were involved in a tangle up as they headed into turn one. With no harm done, the cars resumed their start positions for a second try.

Long time driver Al Johnson of Story City in the No. 8 car used his pole position to take the lead and he never looked back. Jason Hahne, Webster City in the No. 76 was in second the entire race with veteran Darrel DeFrance of Marshalltown in the yellow No. 99D contending in third. Young driver Ryan Giles of West Des Moines in the No. 9 held fourth position until Ryan Griffith, No. X of Webster City passed him on lap No. 17. Finish order was Johnson, Hahne, DeFrance, Griffith and Giles.

Webster City High School student Adam Strunk, last year's Hornet track champ, was on the track for the first time this year in his No. 85S for the five-lap Sport Compact feature. Jarid Kuchenreuther, No. 83, of Rockwell City was in the lead the entire race until Strunk passed him coming out of turn four on the last lap to take the checkered flag in the exciting finish.

Conley Trucking of Ames was the night's race sponsor, which had 89 cars from 42 Iowa towns in the pits.



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