by Brian Neal
Donnellson, IA (Friday, May 18, 2018) – Mother nature tried not once but twice to put a damper on Friday nights racing action at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa. But the track crew, with the help of the driver’s, was able to work thru the weather to put a cap on the night just after 10 PM. And when the final checkered flag flew three driver’s claim their first wins of the season at the track, while two others visited victory lane for multiple times this year.
After about a 30 minute delay, just after the heat races were completed, to work the track back in from a brief shower, the 14 lap Armstrong Tractor IMCA Sport Compact feature took to the track first. Cody Bowman and Kenny Smith led the field to the green flag, but it was sixth place starter Josh Barnes who shot out into the lead on lap 1 over David Prim and Brandon Reu. Barnes, who was setting a fast pace out front, started to pull away from the battle for second going on between Prim, Brandon Reu, Mike Reu, and Barry Taft, who started 7th. Around the midway portion of the race Barnes’ car started slowing down in turns 1 and 2, before picking up the pace again going down the backstretch. This would happen every lap, until lap 10, when the field finally caught up to him and passed him. Barnes’ troubles would hand the lead over to Prim, who had Brandon Reu and Mike Reu trying to work under him. This would leave Taft no choice but to work the middle groove to try and work himself pass the lead trio. That moved paid off on lap 12, as Taft went around Prim coming off turn 4 to take over the top spot. Taft then went on to pick up his third win in a row and fourth overall at the track. Mike Reu came home in 2nd, Prim was 3rd, Kimberly Abbott started 10th and finished 4th in the caution free race, with Alyssa Steele finishing 5th after starting in 8th.
Up next was the 18 lap Discount Tire & Service IMCA SportMod feature, with Kyle Hamelton and Bob Cowman making up the front row for the event. But it was fourth place starter Daniel Fellows who jumped out into the lead on lap 1 over Jeffrey DeLonjay and Cowman. The action was slowed for the first time of the race on lap 3, as Michael Benjamin spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Fellows moved back out front, with Ron Kibbe, who started 9th, Brandon Dale, who started 8th, and Austen Becerra, who started 6th, battling for the runner up spot. With the battle going on for the second spot, this allowed Fellows to start to pull away from the field. Just when it looked like Fellows was headed to his first ever SportMod feature win at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway, the second and final caution of the race appeared on lap 14 to bring the field back to Fellows’ back bumper. This time Dakota Sapp got sideways coming off turn 4 and collected Jim Walker to bring out the yellow. Fellows once again grabbed the lead on the restart, with Dale, Kibbe and Becerra close behind. Dale would try to work under Fellows over the final laps. But Fellows would hold him off to score his first ever SportMod feature at the track. However it wasn’t his career first, as that came back at the beginning of May at the Pepsi Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Missouri. Dale settled for 2nd, Becerra got by Kibbe late to finish 3rd, Kibbe was 4th, with DeLonjay rounding out the top 5.
Dayton Lynch and Chase Frank led the field to the drop of the green flag in the 20 lap Steffes Late Model feature, but it was fifth place starter Jeff Guengerich who grabbed the lead on lap 1 over Lynch and Gunner Frank. The action up front was slowed for the first time on lap 3, as Brandon Queen and Aric Becker got together in turn 2 and resulted in Becker spinning to bring out the yellow. On the restart Guengerich jumped back out front, with Jay Johnson, who started 6th, over taking Gunner Frank for second. While Guengerich set the pace out front, Johnson worked to hold back Gunner Frank for the runner up spot. The action up front was slowed for the second time of the race on lap 9, as something on Becker’s car broke coming off turn 4 and the car too a sharp right turn into the guardrail to bring out the yellow. He would drive away okay. Guengerich once again grabbed the lead on the restart, with Gunner Frank getting back by Johnson for second. Gunner Frank then tried to work under Guengerich over the next 5 laps, but Guengerich was able to hold him off each lap. Then going into turn 3 to come and complete lap 16, Gunner Frank drove it in hard on the bottom and then slid up in front of Guengerich coming off turn 4 to take over the top spot.
Just as lap 16 was scored complete, Chase Frank slowed to stop in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Gunner Frank moved back out front, with Tommy Elston, who started 7th, over taking Guengerich and Johnson to move into the runner up spot. But just after lap 17 was scored complete another caution appeared, as a tire was clipped in turn 4 and pushed onto the racing groove to bring out the yellow. Once again Gunner Frank grabbed the lead on the restart, with Elston glued to his back bumper. But with another lap scored the final caution of the race slowed the field, as Lynch spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Gunner Frank jumped back out front, with Elston and Johnson close behind. Elston tried to work under Gunner Frank over the final 2 laps, but Gunner Frank would hold him off to score his first ever Late Model win at the track. But it wasn’t his first career Late Model win, as that came last Sunday down at the Quincy Raceways in Quincy, Illinois. Elston settled for a close 2nd, Johnson was 3rd, Sam Halstead started 8th and finished 4th, with Guengerich coming home in 5th.
Up next was the 20 lap Donnellson Tire & Service IMCA Stock Car feature, with Dustin Griffiths and Chad Krogmeier making up the front row. Griffiths took advantage of his starting spot to grab the lead on lap 1 over Krogmeier and John Oliver Jr. The action going on behind Griffiths was intense, as Krogmeier, Jeremy Pundt, Oliver Jr., Jason Cook and Abe Huls raced two and even three wide for position. Cook would emerge from that battle into to second on lap 5, and then went to work on Griffiths for the lead. Two laps later, lap 7, Cook would work under Griffiths to take over the top spot. Cook however wasn’t able to put any distance between himself and the rest of the field, as you could have thrown a blanket over the top 6 at anytime over the next several laps. While Cook worked the bottom of the track, Oliver Jr. was working the top groove. But when Oliver Jr. was able to pull even with Cook around the midway part of the race, Cook switched lines to the top of the track. This would force Oliver Jr. to try and work under Cook over the next 4 laps. On lap 15 Oliver Jr. would edge out Cook at the line to take over the top spot. But Cook didn’t give up, as he got back under Oliver Jr. on lap 18 to grab the lead back. Cook then held off Oliver Jr. over the final laps to claim his first win of the season at the track. Oliver Jr. settled for a close 2nd, Pundt was 3rd, Huls was 4th, with Krogmeier finishing in 5th.
The final feature to take to the track was the 20 lap Budweiser IMCA Modifieds, with Kelly Buckallew and Mitch Boles leading the field to green. Buckallew would take advantage of his starting spot to jump out into the lead on lap 1 over Boles and Bill Roberts Jr. But the lead for Buckallew only lasted for 1 lap, as Boles slipped by on lap 2 to take over the top spot. Boles then slowed down the backstretch with troubles, which handed the lead over to Roberts Jr. on lap 3. Two laps later, lap 5, Jerry Reese slowed to a stop down the front stretch to bring out the first and only caution of the race. On the restart Roberts Jr. jumped back out front, with Jeff Waterman and Buckallew close behind. Waterman would try the high side and low side of the track over the next several laps to try and wrestle the lead away from Roberts Jr. But Roberts Jr. was able to hold him off each lap. Then disaster would strike Waterman on lap 12, as he tried to get under Roberts Jr. coming off turn two. Contact was made between the two, which resulted in Waterman cutting down a right front tire to end his night. This allowed Roberts Jr. to pull away for his second win of the season at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway. Buckallew had a nice run in 2nd, Jesse Belez, who was making his first visit to the track this season, finished 3rd after starting in 6th, Craig Spegal had another good run in 4th, with Dakota Simmons coming from 8th to come home in 5th.
Coming up next week Friday, May 25th at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway will be the first of two visits by the Sprint Invaders during the 2018 racing season. Also in action will be the Steffes Late Models, Budweiser IMCA Modifieds, Donnellson Tire & Service IMCA Stock Cars, Discount Tire & Service IMCA SportMods, and Armstrong Tractor IMCA Sport Compacts.
Gates will open at 5:30 PM, hot laps at 7 PM, and racing at 7:30 PM. Grandstand admission will be adults $15, seniors (60+) $14, students (11-17) $8, and kids 10 & under FREE!! Pit passes are $30, age 7-13 $20, ages 4-6 $10, and ages 3 & under $3.
For more information about the Pepsi Lee County Speedway you can visit their website at www.leecountyspeedway.com, like them on Facebook, or call Brian Gaylord at 319-371-6744 or Mike Van Genderen at 641-521-0330.
Pepsi Lee County Speedway, Donnellson, Iowa
Friday, May 18, 2018 – Lee County EMS, Darkside Tint & Graphix, and Driftwood 13 Night
Steffes Late Models
A-Feature: 1. Gunner Frank, Montrose, IA; 2. Tommy Elston, Keokuk, IA; 3. Jay Johnson, West Burlington, IA; 4. Sam Halstead, New London, IA; 5. Jeff Guengerich, Washington, IA; 6. Vance Wilson, Quincy, IL; 7. Brandon Queen, Keokuk, IA; 8. Dayton Lynch, Bloomfield, IA; 9. Ron Boyse, Kalona, IA; 10. Chase Frank, Montrose, IA; 11. Darin Weisinger Jr., Mendon, IL; 12. Aric Becker, Cedar Rapids, IA; 13. Todd Frank, Montrose, IA (DNS)
Heat 1: 1. Gunner Frank; 2. Jay Johnson; 3. Vance Wilson; 4. Sam Halstead; 5. Chase Frank; 6. Aric Becker; 7. Brandon Queen
Heat 2: 1. Jeff Guengerich; 2. Ron Boyse; 3. Tommy Elston; 4. Dayton Lynch; 5. Darin Weisinger Jr.; 6. Todd Frank (DNS)
Budweiser IMCA Modifieds
A-Feature: 1. Bill Roberts Jr., Burlington, IA; 2. Kelly Buckallew, Memphis, MO; 3. Jesse Belez, Marengo, IA; 4. Craig Spegal, New London, MO; 5. Dakota Simmons, Douds, IA; 6. Dean McGee, Galesburg, IL; 7. James Raleigh, Colchester, IL; 8. Jeff Waterman, Quincy, IL; 9. Jerry Reese, Baring, MO; 10. Mitch Boles, New London, IA
Heat: 1. Kelly Buckallew; 2. Bill Roberts Jr.; 3. Mitch Boles; 4. Craig Spegal; 5. Jeff Waterman; 6. Jesse Belez; 7. Dean McGee; 8. Dakota Simmons; 9. James Raleigh (DNS); 10. Jerry Reese (DNS)
Donnellson Tire & Service IMCA Stock Cars
A-Feature: 1. Jason Cook, Mt. Pleasant, IA; 2. John Oliver Jr., Danville, IA; 3. Jeremy Pundt, Donnellson, IA; 4. Abe Huls, Carthage, IL; 5. Chad Krogmeier, Burlington, IA; 6. Spenscer Hopwood, Ottumwa, IA; 7. Dustin Griffiths, Hedrick, IA; 8. Kevin Koontz, Memphis, MO (DNS)
Heat: 1. Dustin Griffiths; 2. John Oliver Jr.; 3. Jason Cook; 4. Jeremy Pundt; 5. Chad Krogmeier; 6. Abe Huls; 7. Spenscer Hopwood; 8. Kevin Koontz (DNS)
Discount Tire & Service IMCA SportMods
A-Feature: 1. Daniel Fellows, Keokuk, IA; 2. Brandon Dale, Arbela, MO; 3. Austen Becerra, Bowen, IL; 4. Ron Kibbe, Mt. Pleasant, IA; 5. Jeffrey DeLonjay, Quincy, IL; 6. Bob Cowman, Quincy, IL; 7. Rick Barlow Jr., Montrose, IA; 8. Reed Wolfmeyer, Liberty, IL; 9. Michael Benjamin, Montrose, IA; 10. Kyle Hamelton, Keokuk, IA; 11. Dakota Sapp, Ottumwa, IA; 12. Jim Walker, Mystic, IA
Heat 1: 1. Jeffrey DeLonjay; 2. Ron Kibbe; 3. Jim Walker; 4. Kyle Hamelton; 5. Michael Benjamin; 6. Dakota Sapp
Heat 2: 1. Austen Becerra; 2. Daniel Fellows; 3. Brandon Dale; 4. Reed Wolfmeyer; 5. Bob Cowman; 6. Rick Barlow Jr.
Armstrong Tractor IMCA Sport Compacts
A-Feature: 1. Barry Taft, Argyle, IA; 2. Mike Reu, Donnellson, IA; 3. David Prim, Hamelton, IL; 4. Kimberly Abbott, Camp Point, IL; 5. Alyssa Steele, Keokuk, IA; 6. Cody Bowman, Mt. Pleasant, IA; 7. Jake Dietrich, Keokuk, IA; 8. Jason Ash, Burlington, IA; 9. Robert Sturms, Burlington, IA; 10. Aaron Berry, Mt. Pleasant, IA; 11. Matt Milligan, Cedar Rapids, IA; 12. Brandon Reu, Donnellson, IA; 13. Josh Barnes, Keokuk, IA; 14. Mike Hornung Jr., Keokuk, IA; 15. Kenny Smith, Donnellson, IA; 16. Dylan Schantz, Luray, MO (DNS)
Heat 1: 1. Josh Barnes; 2. Mike Reu; 3. Jason Ash; 4. Brandon Reu; 5. Cody Bowman; 6. Aaron Berry; 7. Mike Hornung Jr.; 8. Matt Milligan
Heat 2: 1. Barry Taft; 2. Alyssa Steele; 3. Kenny Smith; 4. David Prim; 5. Dylan Schantz; 6. Kimberly Abbott; 7. Robert Sturms; 8. Jake Dietrich