Close races keep HCS fans entertained Saturday

WEBSTER CITY – Another perfect Iowa summer night brought out the fans to fill the grandstand at the Hamilton County Speedway on Saturday.

Local driver Jason Hahne wrestled the lead away from Madrid’s Randy Havlik in the middle of the Late Model feature and he methodically pulled away from the pack with each lap until Marshalltown’s Darrel DeFrance was able to reel him in with three laps to go.

Hahne and DeFrance exited turn No. 4 side by side on the final lap with Hahne powering to the win by a car length. DeFrance settled for second with Havlik in the third slot.

With Modified racers on the track from Arizona, California and 17 Iowa towns, many with multiple state and national titles, fans knew the feature would be worth the price of admission.

Young Des Moines driver Nick Roberts used his front row starting position to take the lead. As Roberts set the pace, the veterans began to pick their way to the front.

By mid-race, local driver Mark Elliott had caught up with Roberts and worked every lane to fine a way ahead of the leader. But Roberts was able to hold on for the win with Elliott in second. Third went to Nate Hughes of Humboldt, and the hard-charger of the race was Kanawha’s Ryan Ruter, who scurried from the 21st starting spot to score eighth.

A flat tire on the second lap of his heat put Fort Dodge Hobby Stock driver Myles Michehl in the pits. The mishap forced him to the back of the pack to start the feature, but the 17th starting position did not slow him down as he moved into the lead with four laps to go en route to his third speedway win of the season.

Taking second was Callender racer Matt Mundt, who led for more than half of the race. Webster City wheelman Matt Byrne came form ninth to place third.

As usual, the Stock Cars ran in packs in an effort to sort out the winner. Lance Deal of Fort Dodge set the pace early and led for three-fourths of the race. But it was Jason Minnehan of Churdan who took over during the late stages and he went on to make a visit to Victory Lane.

Minnehan held off local driver Reid Keller, who reached the leader’s bumper and took second. Lake City’s Devin Smith (third) and Matt Ring (fourth) of Dows were also in the front pack and in the hunt.

Ellsworth driver Rocky Caudle pushed to the front of the Sport Mod feature on lap No. 7 and he wasted no time in putting distance between his car and the field. A late-race restart bunched the field and made for an exciting green-white checkered finish, but Caudle was again able to outrun the bunch to the stripe for his first Historic Half-Mile win of the year.

Chasing Caudle across the line in second was Carter VanDenberg of Oskaloosa. Webster City racer Ty Griffith slotted into third ahead of Lanesboro’s Doug Smith.

The points race continues Saturday evening with hot laps kicking off the program at 6:30 p.m.