WEBSTER CITY - Finally! The heavy rains that have been a constant in the area in recent weeks departed on Saturday and allowed the Hamilton County Speedway to get in a night of racing.
The track set idle the previous two weeks because of excess moisture on the racing surface and surrounding areas.
Race day began with a celebration to the sport; vintage and current race cars were on display. The highlight of the festivities for the youngsters was four heats of Mini-Mod racing with heat winners competing for the championship. Taking home the trophy was 11-year-old Anna Atchison of Webster City. Paul Atchison, Anna's dad, drives the No. 38S Sport Mod.
DFJ photo by Nancy Kayser
Anna Atchison of Webster City (left) was crowned the Mini-Mod track champion during Fan Appreciation Day at the Hamilton County Speedway on Saturday.
DFJ photo by Nancy Kayser
Tyler Prochaska (left) won his first Modified feature of the season at the Hamilton County Speedway Saturday.
The Sport Mod feature had the fans that packed the grandstand on the edge of their seats as the lead changed hands four times before a winner was crowned.
Front-row starter Levi Carlberg of Iowa Falls shined for five laps until he spun out and was reassigned to the back of the pack. Webster City's Brandon Toftee then took his turn at the front for three laps before Blairsburg's Bob Sutherland came from midpack to take over.
Sutherland settled into the lead until a caution flag came out on the 12th lap. Matt Lettow of Roland challenged off the restart; he swung low in turn No. 4 on the final lap to scramble past Sutherland for the win. In third was sixth-row starter Carter VanDenberg of Oskaloosa.
John Campbell of Belmond cruised to his first Stock Car victory of 2014 on the track. But it was the duel behind him that garnered most of the attention. Mark Elliott of Webster City grabbed the second-place honors ahead of Matt Ring of Dows.
Cody Nielsen of Fort Dodge stands fifth in the IMCA National Hobby Stock points list and he added another 40 to his haul on Saturday with a feature victory. Claiming second was Craig Graham of Webster City.
The entry-level Sport Compact class was just a bit too keen to get its show going. Tangle ups in the corners resulted in three caution flags during the eight-lap feature.
Fort Dodge resident Tommy Beekman sustained to claim his fourth victory of the season. Nick Hogan of Manson was the runner-up.
Taking the Modified checkers at the historic half-mile for the first time this season was Tyler Prochaska of Iowa Falls. Coming from a second row start, he led the entire way.
Greg Elliott of Webster City was second, followed by Mark Elliott.
Late Model honors went to Webster City's Ryan Griffith for the second time this season. He took the lead for good on the third lap.
Jason Hahne, another Webster City driver, was close behind in second. Todd Cooney, Des Moines, started in the fifth row and settled for third.
Griffith and Cooney share the top spot in the race for the track championship.
It was exactly 20 years ago this week that Cooney won his first Late Model race. Switching from the Modified class to a Late Model midseason, Cooney, in only his fourth night in the division, scored his first win at the Hamilton County Speedway.
As of last week, Cooney owns 195 career Late Model victories. The racer's goal is to celebrate his milestone 200th win this season.
There are only three more points races left in the 2014 season. This Saturday's event will begin with hot laps at 6:30 p.m.