Different states represented, fans treated at HCS
WEBSTER CITY – It was cold and windy as the cars hit the track for the fourth week of racing at the Hamilton County Speedway Saturday night, but it didn’t take long for the fans to know they were in for a hot night of dirt-track racing.
When the top five spots in the Modified race were claimed by two drivers from Arizona, two from Iowa and one from Oregon, it was evident this was the place for racing after other tracks postponed for various reasons.
Ricky Thornton, Jr., out of Chandler, Arizona, moved from his 11th-place starting spot into the lead by the seventh lap of the Modified feature. He kept the lead through two restarts to take home his second trophy from the historic half-mile this season.
In the battle behind Thornton, Jr., it was another Arizona driver, Tim Ward, who came from the 10th spot to grab second. Webster City’s Mark Elliott was third, with Blairsburg’s Scott Olson in fourth and Tom Berry Jr., out of Medford, Oregon, in fifth.
The out-of-state racers – Thornton, Jr., Ward and Berry, Jr., – are all running the Iowa summer circuit in their quests for national Modified rankings.
Fans were also on the edges of their seats for the Sport Mod feature that saw the lead change hands three times. Webster City’s Brandon Toftee took the top spot for the initial seven laps before he was overtaken by another local driver Ty Griffith. He was then hounded by Lanesboro’s Doug Smith as the two raced side-by-side for three laps. Smith finally gained the edge on lap No. 14 and cruised home to claim the checkers.
Griffith settled for second with Jared VanDeest coming up from the fifth row to snag third place.
It took the Hobby Stock drivers a while to sort out a leader during the feature; it swapped hands three times before Fort Dodge driver Bryce Sommerfeld took control after a mid-race restart. Sommerfeld cruised to Victory Lane for the first time this year.
Webster City drivers Corey Roe and Doug McCollough chased the leader over the last half of the race, but Roe ended the night in second with McCollough in third.
Stock Car winner Todd Fisher, driving out of Norwalk, led the entire race, but the victory didn’t come easy. Two Minnesota drivers pestered Fisher throughout, at times running head-to-head with him using every lane of the track to gain the advantage.
After Fisher, a close second went to Derek Green of Granada, Minnesota. Grundy Center’s Steve Meyer came up to claim third and fourth went to Kevin Opheim of Mason City. Hamburg, Minnesota driver Dan Mackethan had to settle for fifth.
Another new face appeared in Victory Lane when Paul Nagle of Nevada, last year’s IMCA Lake Model Rookie of the Year, topped that division’s 20-lap feature race. Local driver Jason Hahne worked his way up from the fourth row to slide into second, while Story City’s Jeremy Grady was third.
The Hamilton County Speedway will play host to its first Stock Car Showdown tonight, beginning with hot laps at 6:30 p.m. The top prize of $2,000 will go to the winning Stock Car driver, while the Hobby Stock competitors will battle for a $1,000 winner’s check.
All classes will be back on the track for regular points racing on Saturday.