Age of experience
WEBSTER CITY – While he isn’t as old as dirt, Marshalltown Late Model driver Darrel DeFrance knows every inch of the dirt on the racing surface at the Hamilton County Speedway.
In his 40th year of racing – he’s spent more than 30 of them at the Historic Half-Mile – and sporting a new car for 2016, ‘The Ironman’ used every lane of the track on pull out his second victory of the season Saturday night. Webster City youngsters Ryan Griffith and Jason Hahne, who were also in the hunt for the top prize, weren’t even born when DeFrance kicked off his racing career.
DeFrance started on the outside of row No. 4 and patiently waited as the other drivers got the chance to lead the pack.
Four laps from the finish, DeFrance went to the topside to steal the lead from Griffith and then cruised on to Victory Lane. Griffith and Hahne finished in second and third, respectively.
Dustin Smith, one of six brothers who race out of Lake City, earned his second Modified checkers of the young 2016 season. Starting in the eighth spot, Smith came out on top of a duel with Medford, Oregon wheelman Tom Berry Jr., and laid claim to the lead at the start of the 14th lap.
Joel Rust, who started 11th in the pack, spun out to avoid a wreck and went to the back of the pack for the lap No. 4 caution restart. Rust began picking his way to the front and by the final lap of the feature the Grundy Center driver was running beside Berry Jr. as they headed to the finish. Rust eked out the second spot by a bumper, with Berry Jr. placing third.
Sport Mod fans witnessed another finish-line squeaker when Holland driver Jared VanDeest came from the 13th starting spot to lug home his second trophy of the season. VanDeest wrestled the lead away from local driver Brandon Toftee coming out of turn No. 2 on the last lap of the feature.
Webster City’s own Ty Griffith snuck in on the final lap to steal second and Toftee crossed the line in third. All three drivers sparred for the lead beginning at the halfway point of the race.
While not a newcomer to the Hamilton County Speedway Victory Lane, Iowa Falls police officer Travis Prochaska waited until the final two laps of the Stock Car feature to pick up his first trophy of the season. Once he crossed the stripe, Prochaska entertained the grandstand crowd with several burnouts on the front stretch to celebrate his win.
There were three cautions during the Stock Car main event and the lead changed hands several times. Steve Meyer, the 13th-place starter out of Grundy Center, jumped to the lead after the lap No. 16 restart, but only claimed the fame for one lap before Prochaska scooted to the front before taking the victory two laps later.
Duncombe’s Jeff Lyon placed third.
Cedar Rapids driver August Back took control of the caution-free Hobby Stock feature on the fifth lap and completed his victory in dominating fashion.
Battling for positions behind Bach were Shane Aldinger of Iowa Falls, local drivers Craig Graham and Dan Ayers, and Fort Dodge’s Myles Michehl. They finished in that order.
It’s Veteran’s Night at the speedway this Saturday night. Hot laps will kick off the evening at 6:30 p.m.