WEBSTER CITY - Officially, the early evening temperature was only 89 degrees with a heat index just slightly higher, but the typical Iowa weather didn't seem to affect the racers or fans Saturday evening at the Hamilton County Speedway.
The track surface was excellent and provided a solid base for fast racing with competitors using all of the lanes during the features.
Webster City's Rocky Caudle topped the Sport Mod division for his first win since 2008. He took the lead beginning on lap four and stayed there to the finish.
DFJ photo by Nancy Kayser
Webster City resident Rocky Caudle leads the Sport Mod feature at the Hamilton County Speedway on Saturday. He went on to take the checkers.
The race was marked with six cautions and one red flag incident, but Caudle stayed at the front on each restart. He had plenty of pressure from behind from the "20" cars - the No. 21 of Matt Lettow, Roland, the No. 22A of Shawn Albers, Wellsburg, the No. 27 of Bryon Weyer, Des Moines, and the No. 26J of Joel Rust of Grundy Center - along with the No. 505 driven by Racer Hulin of Laurel, who twice worked his way forward from the back of the pack. On the last lap as the group rounded turn No. 4 heading to the flag, Hulin gunned past Rust to claim third. Weyer finished second, with Rust in fourth.
The No. 22A of Albers brought out the red flag during the Sport Mod feature race as he rounded turn three on the low side. Albers bumped a safety tire, causing his race car to flip on its top to the inside of the track. Race personnel quickly flipped his car back on its wheels and the uninjured Albers drove the car to the pits to retire for the evening.
Track rules state that after a certain number of yellow flags, the race will end immediately on the next yellow or checkered flag, whichever comes first. The warning was issued to the Sport Mod drivers on the restart of the 11th lap, but they drove caution free to the checkers to race their full 15 laps.
It probably wasn't very comfortable for the Stock Car racers - suited up in driving outfits and helmets - to wait in their cars in the line-up area for the long Sport Mod feature to finish. So when they hit the track they were ready to get up to speed to get some cooling wind blowing through their cockpits. They were so ready they came off the start four wide.
The group raced three and four wide for the first four laps until the No. R31 driven by Ryan Leeman of Roland was able to take control of the lead on the fifth time around. He led the remainder of the fast-paced, caution-free race to claim his first checkered flag in several seasons.
Leeman's win wasn't easy as second-place finisher, the No. 7J driven by John Campbell of Belmond, and the third-place winner, Jason Vansickel of Webster City in the No. 37E, kept pushing him from behind.
Veteran racer and park-ranger-in-training Craig Graham of Webster City made his first stop in Victory Lane this season when he piloted his No. 13G Hobby Stock to the front by mid-race. Running a close second was Corey Roe of Webster City in the No. 8R.
Modified feature winner J. D. Auringer of Evansdale came from his row four starting spot to grab the lead on the first lap. He stayed high on the track, while the No. 22T driven by Tyler Prochaska of Iowa Falls took the low side to run side by side with him. Auringer led on the stretches with Prochaska gaining ground on the low side of the turns.
Auringer took the checkers by just a short distance, and Prochaska finished second. In the third spot was Scott Williams of Steamboat Rock in the No. 64, with No. 12 Mark Elliott, Webster City, in fourth and Kyle Brown of Kellogg in the No. 21K fifth.
It was Auringer's second win of the season.
Ryan Griffith of Webster City and his No. X celebrated win No. 5 of the season in the Late Model feature race. The race cars bunched together for the first half of the race. By the fifth lap Griffith was in the front and gaining momentum until he had a strong lead for the final 10 laps.
Ben Nading, No. 21 of Ankeny, ran second with the familiar No. 99D driven by Darrel DeFrance of Marshalltown in third. Fourth was Webster City's Jason Hahne in the No. 76 with Ryan Giles, No. 9 of West Des Moines, in fifth.
Jarid Kuchenreuther, No. 83 of Rockwell City, led the entire Sport Compact feature to garner his fifth win of the season. Finishing second was Adam Strunk, No. 85S of Webster City, with No. 18 driven by Ryan Boland of Fort Dodge in third and No. 78 Sheldon Richardson of Lehigh was fourth.
There were 74 racers in the pits from 38 Iowa towns.
Next week is Fan Appreciation and Armed Forces Night. Admission is only $5 with any service personnel in uniform being admitted free of charge. A fireworks display, sponsored by the four Webster City financial institutions, is scheduled to begin immediately after the final feature race.
The Grandstand opens at 5 p.m.; hot laps begin at 6 p.m., with racing to follow.