Four drivers win first feature of year at HCS

WEBSTER CITY – Four more drivers added their names to the Victory Lane tally sheet Saturday evening at the Hamilton County Speedway.

Cody Wirt, a Hobby Stock driver from Fort Dodge, took that division’s feature lead on a third lap restart and increased the advantage with each trip around the oval. On the next to last lap, Wirt got caught in the topside cushion, which allowed his pursuers to close the distance. But Wirt managed to regain control to take the checkers as a tight group of four cars chased him across the stripe.

The second spot went to Webster City’s Matt Byrne, while Randy Embrey of Granger took third. Doug McCollough placed fourth and another Ford Dodge racer, Bryce Sommerfeld, was fifth.

The Modified feature was slowed by a mid-race red flag, as five cars slid into each other coming into turn No. 4. No one was injured, but one car was flipped on its side in the skid and was jammed between the other cars.

Wellsburg Modified driver Coty Alberts led from the start of the race, swapped out the lead for three short laps with Lake City’s Dustin Smith as local driver Mark Elliott joined the pursuit.

In the three car scramble for the flag, Alberts crossed just ahead of Elliott and Smith for his first win of the season. In fourth was Gilbert, Ariz., driver Tim Ward, while Chase Ellingson of Iowa Falls settled into fifth.

Elliott started at the back of the pack for the feature after his engine failed to fire in the lineup area. He had to be push-started to join the group.

Ankeny Late Model driver Ben Nading led wire-to-wire to earn his first appearance in Victory Lane this season. Webster City’s Jason Hahne came from the ninth starting spot for second, taking over for Nevada’s Paul Nagle during the final few laps of the race. Nagle wound up in third with fourth going to Darrell DeFrance of Marshalltown.

Despite four restarts in the Sport Mod feature, Doug Smith of Lanesboro held a strong lead at the checkers for his third victory of the season at the Historic Half-Mile dirt track. Locals Ty Griffith and Brad Ratcliff claimed second- and fourth-place, respectively, with Holland’s Jared VanDeest shooting up from the 12th starting spot for third.

Smith has 88 career IMCA Sport Mod wins through this week and is striving to hit the coveted 100 mark before the end of this year’s racing schedule.

Also taking home the trophy for the first time this year was Belmond’s John Campbell. In a hotly contested Stock Car feature, the lead changed hands several times with the top three cars running in close quarters over the final laps. Campbell got the best of the exchange, while Matt Ring of Dows was second and Lake City’s Devin Smith took third.

Tonight the Mods and Sport Mods will compete in the second annual Mid-Iowa Topless 50, with the winners taking home $2,000 and $1,000 top prizes. Hot laps will begin at 6:30 p.m., and special grandstand admission pricing will be in effect.

Saturday night is the midpoint of the race for track championships. Less than a dozen points separate the top three drivers in each class. Hot laps are scheduled for 6:30 p.m.