by Brian Neal
Donnellson, IA (Friday, August 19, 2016) – After taking a couple of weeks off from racing, the Pepsi Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa got back into action on Friday, August 19th. The nights action was presented by Trump Trucks of Kahoka, Missouri, as the Sprint Invaders joined the five weekly classes. Despite most of the day being partly cloudy it turned out to be a night to try and beat mother nature, as a front was moving in from the southwest just before hot laps got started. Even though the show was being pushed along at a fast pace, mother nature would open up the skies during the final feature and would claim the SportMod feature after 3 laps being scored complete.
The first feature to take to the track was the 14 lap Armstrong Tractor IMCA Sport Compacts, with Kenny Smith and Brandon Lambert leading the field to the drop of the green flag. But it was third place starter Barry Taft who jumped out into the lead on lap 1 over Lambert and Darin Weisinger Jr. As Taft set the pace out front, all eyes were on Josh Barnes, who started 12th after troubles in his heat race. Barnes would quickly move up to challenge the top five in the early portion of the race and then over took Brandon Reu on lap 10 for the runner up spot. But without a caution Barnes ran out of laps to chase down Taft for the lead, as Taft held on to score his first win of the season at the track. Barnes settled for 2nd, Brandon Reu was 3rd, Mike Reu was 4th, with Kimberly Abbott coming from 8th to finish 5th.
Up next was the 20 lap Budweiser IMCA Modified feature, with Larry McConnell and Jardin Fuller making up the front row for the event. Jardin Fuller would take advantage of his starting spot to grab the lead on lap 1 over Levi Smith and Jerad Fuller. The action up front was slowed on lap 7 when Bill Roberts Jr. and Jeff Waterman got together in turn 4 and spun to bring out the yellow. On the restart Jardin Fuller got into the guardrail in turn 3, which allowed Dean McGee to slip past for the top spot. While McGee started to pull away from the field, Roberts Jr. and Waterman were working their way back towards the front. By the time Roberts Jr. worked himself into the runner up spot, McGee had built a straight-away lead. Without a late race caution there was no catching McGee, as he went on to pick up his first win of the season at the track. Roberts Jr. was 2nd, Dennis LaVeine came from 7th to finish 3rd, Waterman was 4th, with Jerad Fuller rounding out the top 5.
Andrew Hustead and Jason See led the field to green in the 20 lap Donnellson Tire and Service IMCA Stock Car feature, with Hustead moving out front on lap 1 over See and Jeremy Pundt. Hustead, who was up top, then tried to hold off Pundt, who was working the bottom, over the next few laps. But Pundt would slip past Hustead on lap 4 to grab the top spot away, as John Oliver Jr. and Jeff Mueller, who started 10th, moved in to battle Hustead for the runner up spot. With Pundt out front, Mueller would work under Oliver Jr. coming off turn 2 on lap 13 for the third spot and then one lap later, lap 14, he was able to get under Hustead for the runner up spot. But Mueller wasn’t able to get to Pundt over the final laps, as Pundt went on to score his second win of the season at the track. Mueller was 2nd, Oliver Jr. was 3rd, Hustead was 4th. with Abe Huls finishing 5th.
Up next was the 25 lap Steffes Late Model feature, with Tyler Cale and Tommy Elston drawing the front row for the event. Elston would take advantage of his front row starting spot to jump out into the lead on lap 1 over Cale and Jeff Guengerich. While Elston started to pull away from the field, the battle was for the runner up spot between Cale, Guengerich, Sam Halstead and Todd Frank. The field was brought back to Elston’s back bumper on lap 11 when Laine VanZandt spun in turn 3 to bring out the caution. On the restart Elston moved back out front, with the battle for second continuing between Cale, Guengerich, Halstead and Frank. Halstead would use the top of the track to slip past Cale and Guengerich into the runner up spot on lap 18, and then he went to work on chasing down Elston for the lead. But Elston would hold on over the final laps to claim his sixth win of the season at the track. Halstead settled for 2nd, Todd Frank over took Guengerich late to finish 3rd, Guengerich was 4th, with Derek Liles coming home in 5th.
The final feature to take to the track on the night was the 18 lap Shottenkirk Parts Express IMCA SportMods, with Austen Becerra and John Oliver Jr. leading the field to the drop of the green flag. Oliver Jr. took advantage of his front row starting spot to grab the lead on lap 1 over Becerra and Brandon Dale. The action up front was slowed on lap 2, when Joe Waterman spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Oliver Jr. jumped back out front, with Jim Gillenwater, who started 5th, using the bottom of the track to move into the runner up spot. Coming off turn 4 to complete lap 3 Gillenwater was able to slip under Oliver Jr. to grab the top spot. Just after the completion of the lap rain started to fall on the track, which forced the caution to come out. An attempt was made to restart the race, but the rains got heavier and the track was lost. So the remainder of the feature will be made up next Friday.
Coming up next Friday, August 26th at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa will be Budweiser Season Championship Night. The 2016 track champions will be determined in the Steffes Late Models, Budweiser IMCA Modifieds, Donnellson Tire and Service IMCA Stock Cars, Shottenkirk Parts Express IMCA SportMods, and Armstrong Tractor IMCA Sport Compacts. A regular points invert night will be ran for season championship night, except for the Steffes Late Models. Which will use a draw / redraw format to set their starting spots. But before this night can be started the rained out Shottenkirk Parts Express IMCA SportMod feature from Friday, August 19th will be completed first.
Gates will open at 5:30 PM, Hot Laps at 7 PM, and Racing at 7:30 PM. Grandstand admission is adults $10, seniors $9, and students (11-17) $5, and kids 10 & under FREE!. Pit passes are $25, ages (7-13) $15, and ages (6 & under) $10.