by Brian Neal
Donnellson, IA (Thursday, August 24, 2016) – It’s hard to believe it is that time of the year, but on Friday, August 26th the 2016 track champions will be crowned at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa. The nights action will include 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, which is being brought to you this week by Budweiser. But before the Budweiser Season Championship Night gets started, the Shottenkirk Parts Express will continue their rained out feature from Friday, August 19th.
The closest points battle heading into Friday night is in the Steffes Late Models, as Tommy Elston (462) holds a slim 1 point lead over Sam Halstead (461). The track title will go to Elston if he finishes in front of Halstead in the feature event, even if he finished right behind Halstead the title will still be his. As Elston holds the tie breaker by winning 6 point paying feature events during the 2016 season, compared to Halstead only winning 4. Sitting third in the standings is Jeff Guengerich with 443, while Tyler Cale holds down the fourth spot with 405. Five points separates fifth, sixth and seventh in points, with Charles VanZandt currently holding the fifth spot with 386, while Derek Liles and Todd Frank are tied for sixth with 381. Gunner Frank is close behind in eighth with 374, with Colby Springsteen (338) and Laine VanZandt (288) rounding out the top ten.
Jeff Waterman sits atop the Budweiser IMCA Modified points standings with 450 points, which is 19 more points then Dennis LaVeine (431). If less then 19 cars sign in on Friday, all Waterman has to do is take the green flag in his heat race and the title will be his. LaVeine is also in a battle for the runner up spot in points, as Bill Roberts Jr. sits third with 424, only 7 points back of LaVeine. Levi Smith is fourth with 387, Larry McConnell is fifth with 374. Jerad Fuller is sixth with 347, and Jardin Fuller is seventh with 321. Dean McGee currently sits eighth with 308, while Blake Woodruff is only 6 points back in ninth (302). Kelly Buckallew rounds out the top ten with 270 points.
New London’s Jeff Mueller has already clinched the title in the Donnellson Tire and Service IMCA Stock Cars, as he has a 40 point lead over John Oliver Jr. (474 to 434). Even if Mueller decides to stay home on Friday and Oliver Jr. would go on to win the feature, which would result in a tie atop the standings. Mueller holds the tie breaker by winning 8 features during the 2016 season at the track. Sitting eight points back of Oliver Jr. in third is Jeremy Pundt, with 426 points. While the 2015 IMCA Hobby Stock track champion Kevin Koontz sits in fifth with 316 points. Abe Huls, who is sixth with 285 points, is seven points ahead of Andrew Hustead, who has 278 points. Only 1 point separates eighth and ninth in points, as Greg Gill with 265 leads Dean Kratzer who has 264 points. Currently rounding out the top ten is Brent Hartley, who leads Jason See by 6 points (247 to 241).
The current Shottenkirk Parts Express IMCA SportMod top ten standings will mostly likely be shaken up after Friday nights action, as they have double features to run. Jim Gillenwater (415) holds a 22 point lead over defending track champion Joey Gower (393) going into the nights action. While Tony Dunker sits in third with 388 points, only 5 points behind Gower for second. Brandon Dale sits in fourth with 377, which is only 5 points ahead of John Oliver Jr. (372) who is fifth. Austen Becerra is sixth with 349 points, Kyle Hill and Austin Howes are battling for seventh in points, as they are separated by 4 points (267 to 263). While Donn Crear (199) and Dakota Simmons (189) round out the top ten.
Josh Barnes will more than likely pick up his first Armstrong Tractor IMCA Sport Compact track title, as he has a 25 point lead over defending track champion Kimberly Abbott. If less then 25 cars sign in on Friday the title will be Barnes’, who has 462 points, when he takes the green flag for his heat race. Not only does Abbott have a chance at the title, but she is also in a battle for the runner up spot in points. Abbott only holds a 2 points advantage over Brandon Reu (437 to 435), but Ron Kibbe sits in fourth with 431 points. Mike Reu is fifth with 423 points, Darin Weisinger Jr. is sixth with 412 points, Kenny Smith is seventh with 377 points, and Brandon Lambert is eighth with 356 points. Rounding out the top ten is Barry Taft with 141 points and Levi Heath with 135 points.
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.