by Brian Neal
Donnellson, IA (Saturday, May 2, 2020) – The 2020 racing season at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa was set to kick off back on Friday, March 27th. But when the coronavirus pandemic started to spread throughout the United States in early March, the federal government put in a limit on the number of people that could gather to a maximum of 10. Then by the second week of April the Iowa Governor closed all race tracks. Which would put the 2020 season on hold until some of the restrictions were lifted.
On Monday, April 27th the Iowa Governor announced she was opening up 77 out of the 99 counties in the state, and Lee County just happened to be one of those. even though the race track could open back up for racing, we were not allowed to have any fans in the grandstands. At the time of the governor’s announcement Lee County Speedway promoters Brian and Marcie Gaylord only had some teams coming in on Saturday, May 2nd for a practice. That would change on Friday, May 1st, as the Darkside Promotions team of Timmy Current and Ryan Duhme called wanting to take over the fairgrounds to put on their Spring Fling event. And agreement was made between the two promotional groups, and the Spring Fling was announced to race on Saturday, May 2nd. In action on the night was the Modifieds, Stock Cars, and SportMods.
One-hundred and two cars in the three divisions signed in for action, which included 34 Modifieds, 20 Stock Cars, and 48 SportMods. Before the three feature races could begin, thirteen heats races and five B Mains had to be run to help set up the starting spots in those feature events.
The first feature to take to the track was the 20 lap Stock Cars, with Todd Reitzler and Jim Redmann drawing the front row for the event. Reitzler used his front row starting spot to his advantage by grabbing the lead on lap 1 over Jay Schmidt and Redmann. While Reitzler used the top of the track to extend his lead, John Oliver Jr., who started 7th, worked the bottom to try and get to the front. On lap 7 Oliver Jr. worked himself into the runner up spot, and then went to work on chasing down Reitzler for the top spot. Coming off turn 2 to complete lap 13, Oliver Jr. would slip under Reitzler to take over the lead. Three laps later, lap 16, the first and only caution of the race appeared, as Jordan Ross spun in turn 1 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Oliver Jr. jumped back out front, with Reitzler and Cole Mather, who started 8th, close behind. Mather would clear Reitzler for the runner up spot on lap 17, and then tried to challenge Oliver Jr. for the top spot over the final few laps. But Oliver Jr., who is very familiar to the Pepsi Lee County Speedway victory lane, would hold him off to pick up his first win of the season. Mather settled for 2nd, Reitzler was 3rd, David Brandies came from 10th to finish 4th, with Schmidt rounding out the top 5.
Tyler Inman and Cody Thompson led the field to green in the 20 lap SportMod feature, with Inman jumping out front to lead lap 1 over Thompson and Brayton Carter, who started 5th.The lead for Inman lasted until lap 3, when Thompson got under him to take over the top spot. The field was slowed for the first and only time on lap 5, when a tire was clipped and thrown on the track in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Thompson jumped back out front, with Brayton Carter and Carter VanDenBerg close behind. Brayton Carter would try to keep pace with Thompson, as the two pulled away from the rest of the field that was battling two and even three wide behind them at times. The lead duo would enter lapped traffic late in the race, and ultimately it was lap traffic that would determine the finish of the race. Going into turn 3 on the final lap Thompson decided to follow a lap car and entered the corner low, which forced Brayton Carter to go high. With the lap car holding up Thompson, Brayton Carter used the momentum off the top of turn four to edge out Thompson at the line for the win. Logan Anderson came from 15th to finish 3rd, VanDenBerg was 4th, with Ben Chapman finishing 5th after starting in 18th.
The final feature to take to the track on the night was the 30 lap Modifieds, with Michael Long and Denny Eckrich leading the field to the green flag. Just as the green was waved the caution light would come on, as Spencer Diercks spun in turn 4 and collected Tyler Madigan and Cody Schroeder to bring out the yellow. On the original restart Long moved out front to lead lap 1 over Eckrich and Bryce Garnhart. Just as Long started to pull away, the second and final caution of the race appeared on lap 8. This time Chris Lawrence got into the guardrail in turn 3 to bring out the yellow. Long once again grabbed the lead on the restart, with Eckrich and Garnhart still following. While Long pulled away, Chris Simpson, who started 9th, Cayden Carter, who started 11th, and Tom Berry Jr., who started 12th, were working their way towards the front. Simpson got to the runner up spot on lap 16, and then went to work on chopping into Long’s straight-away lead. Despite Long getting into heavy lapped traffic there was no catching him, as he went on to claim the win. Simpson was 2nd, Carter was 3rd, Berry Jr. was 4th, with Eckrich holding on for 5th.
The next event at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway will be on Friday, May 15th and Saturday, May 16th. In action on Friday, May 15th will be the Modifieds, SportMods and Sport Compacts. Then on Saturday, May 16th the Late Models, 305 Sprint Cars, and Stock Cars will take to the 3/8th mile track. There is NO entry fees or track registration, nor do you have to buy any licenses.
Friday, May 15th the pit gates will open at 5 PM, with hot laps at 7 PM, and racing at 7:30 PM. Then on Saturday, May 16th the pit gates will open at 4 PM, with hot laps at 6 PM, and racing at 6:30 PM. Pit cost each night is $200 per car, which comes with 10 pit passes. That brings the average pit pass per person down to a minimum of $20 each. There is no walk up pit passes being sold. You must be part of a race team in order to get into the pits. The grandstands will NOT be open either night. If you watch to catch the action check out www.speedshifttv.com to see how to purchase the pay-per-view for both nights.
For more information about the Pepsi Lee County Speedway, please like their Facebook page or visit the tracks website at www.leecountyspeedway.com.
Pepsi Lee County Speedway, Donnellson, Iowa
Saturday, May 2, 2020 – Darkside Promotions Spring Fling
A-Feature: 1. Michael Long, Fowler, IL; 2. Chris Simpson, Oxford, IA; 3. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa, IA; 4. Tom Berry Jr., Newburg, ND; 5. Denny Eckrich, Tiffin, IA; 6. Bryce Garnhart, Shannon, IL; 7. Kollin Hibdon, Pahrump, NV; 8. Austin Howes, Memphis, MO; 9. Spencer Diercks, Davenport, IA; 10. Ethan Braaksma, Newton, IA; 11. Cody Schroeder, Manitowoc, WI; 12. Eric Barnes, Colona, IL; 13. Tyler Madigan, Dubuque, IA; 14. Daniel Fellows, Keokuk, IA; 15. Rick Wages, Colona, IL; 16. Chris Snyder, Waterloo, IA; 17. Travis Denning, Sterling, IL; 18. Jeff Larson, Freeport, IL; 19. TJ Patz, East Moline, IL; 20. Joel Rust, Grundy Center, IA; 21. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls, IA; 22. Steve Johnson, Camanche, IA; 23. Chris Lawrence, Colona, IL; 24. Troy Cordes, Dunkerton, IA
B-Feature 1: (Top 4 to A) 1. Steve Johnson; 2. Austin Howes; 3. Chris Snyder; 4. Rick Wages; 5. Jed Freiburger, Dubuque, IA; 6. Kory Meyer, Dixon, IA; 7. Scott Bryant, Baring, MO; 8. Bill Roberts Jr., Burlington, IA; 9. Dustin Wilwert, Dubuque, IA
B-Feature 2: 1. Ethan Braaksma; 2. Tyler Madigan; 3. Jeff Aikey; 4. Troy Cordes; 5. Mark Schulte, Delhi, IA; 6. Ray Cox Jr., Maquoketa, IA; 7. Brandon Durbin, Colona, IL; 8. Jaden Fryer, Freeport, IL; 9. Kyle Madden, Oxford, IA
Heat 1: (Top 4 to A) 1. Spencer Diercks; 2. Bryce Garnhart; 3. Eric Barnes; 4. TJ Patz; 5. Chris Snyder; 6. Scott Bryant; 7. Jed Freiburger; 8. Rick Wages; 9. Dustin Wilwert
Heat 2: 1. Denny Eckrich; 2. Cody Schroeder; 3. Cayden Carter; 4. Chris Lawrence; 5. Troy Cordes; 6. Tyler Madigan; 7. Brandon Durbin; 8. Mark Schulte; 9. Jaden Fryer
Heat 3: 1. Tom Berry Jr.; 2. Joel Rust; 3. Michael Long; 4. Kollin Hibdon; 5. Kory Meyer; 6. Steve Johnson; 7. Austin Howes; 8. Bill Roberts Jr.
Heat 4: 1. Chris Simpson; 2. Daniel Fellows; 3. Jeff Larson; 4. Travis Denning; 5. Ethan Braaksma; 6. Ray Cox Jr.; 7. Kyle Madden; 8. Jeff Aikey
A-Feature: 1. John Oliver Jr,; Danville, IA; 2. Cole Mather, Oelwein, IA; 3. Todd Reitzler, Grinnell, IA; 4. David Brandies, Wilton, IA; 5. Jay Schmidt, Tama, IA; 6. Dallon Murty, Chelsea, IA; 7. Jeremy Pundt, Donnellson, IA; 8. Tom Cannon, West Branch, IA; 9. Mitchell Evens, Independence, IA; 10. Jim Redmann, Lockridge, IA; 11. Tobie Talk, Hawley, TX; 12. Donnie Pearson, Oskaloosa, IA; 13. Erick Knutsen, Cedar Rapids, IA; 14. Leah Wroten, Independence, IA; 15. Jordan Ross, Oshkosh, WI; 16. Kenzie Ritter, Keystone, IA; 17. Scooter Dulin, Cedar Rapids, IA; 18. Russell Damme Jr., Waterloo, IA; 19. Brandon Ross, Oshkosh, WI; 20. Robert Thompson, Colchester, IL
Heat 1: 1. David Brandies; 2. Tobie Talk; 3. Tom Cannon; 4. Jeremy Pundt; 5. Donnie Pearson; 6. Kenzie Ritter; 7. Jordan Ross
Heat 2: 1. Jay Schmidt; 2. John Oliver Jr.; 3. Cole Mather; 4. Jim Redmann; 5. Dallon Murty; 6. Brandon Ross; 7. Erick Knutsen
Heat 3: 1. Todd Reitzler; 2. Scooter Dulin; 3. Mitchell Evens; 4. Russell Damme Jr.; 5. Robert Thompson; 6. Leah Wroten
A-Feature: 1. Brayton Carter, Oskaloosa, IA; 2. Cody Thompson, Sioux City, IA; 3. Logan Anderson, Oskaloosa, IA; 4. Carter VanDenBerg, Oskaloosa, IA; 5. Ben Chapman, Clarence, IA; 6. Tyler Soppe, Sherrill, IA; 7. Gage Neal, Ely, IA; 8. Dylan VanWyk, Oskaloosa, IA; 9. Tony Olson, Cedar Rapids, IA; 10. Tyler Inman, Altoona, IA; 11. Shane Paris, Muscatine, IA; 12. Blaine Webster, Ottumwa, IA; 13. Austin Kaplan, Ankeny, IA; 14. Adam Birck, Canton, MO; 15. Vern Jackson, Waterloo, IA; 16. Ryan Walker, Wilton, IA; 17. Scott Busch, Cuba City, WI; 18. Jarett Franzen, Maquoketa, IA; 19. Bryan Moreland, Durango, IA; 20. TJ Fortmann, Dubuque, IA; 21. Maguire DeJong, Montezuma, IA; 22. Kyle Olson, Cedar Rapids, IA; 23. Colton Livezey, New Sharon, IA; 24. Jim Gillenwater, Keokuk, IA
B-Feature 1: (Top 2 to A) 1. Vern Jackson; 2. Jarett Franzen; 3. Justin Becker, Bernard, IA; 4. Kevin Goben, Sherrard, IL; 5. Kyle Bentley, Fairbank, IA; 6. Jared Coppejans, Hillsdale, IL; 7. Jared Miller, Iowa City, IA; 8. Randy Butterbrodt, Olin, IA; 9. Brandon Tharp, Vinton, IA, 10. Robert Perry, Plymouth, IL
B-Feature 2: 1. Austin Kaplan; 2. Adam Birck; 3. Braison Bennett, Neenah, WI, 4. Jason Doyle, Marion, IA; 5. Ed Mills, Freeport, IL; 6. James Roose, Grand View, IA; 7. Andrew Swailes, Ainsworth, IA; 8. Kevin Rasdon, Bennett, IA; 9. Joel Payne, Muscatine, IA; 10. Austen Becerra, Carthage, IL
B-Feature 3: 1. Maguire DeJong; 2. Ryan Walker; 3. Jacob Arp, Donahue, IA; 4. Chance Huston, East Moline, IL; 5. Bradley Ivy, Williamsburg, IA; 6. Josh Starr, Tipton, IA; 7. Barry Taft, Argyle, IA; 8. Nicholas Profeta, Keokuk, IA; 9. Kaleb Nevers, Burlington, IA; 10. John Renier, Ursa, IL
Heat 1: (Top 3 to A) 1. Carter VanDenBerg; 2. Colton Livezey; 3. Tony Olson; 4. Jarett Franzen; 5. Kevin Goben; 6. Chance Huston; 7. Josh Starr; 8. Austen Becerra
Heat 2: 1. Tyler Soppe; 2. Gage Neal; 3. Shane Paris; 4. Austin Kaplan; 5. Braison Bennett; 6. Jared Coppejans; 7. Randy Butterbrodt; 8. Ryan Walker
Heat 3: 1. Blaine Webster; 2. Bryan Moreland; 3. Logan Anderson; 4. Maguire DeJong; 5. Barry Taft; 6. James Roose; 7. Kevin Rasdon; 8. Brandon Tharp
Heat 4: 1. Tyler Inman; 2. Kyle Olson; 3. Jim Gillenwater; 4. Vern Jackson; 5. Justin Becker; 6. Jacob Arp; 7. Nicholas Profeta; 8. Adam Birck
Heat 5: 1. Dylan VanWyk; 2. Scott Busch; 3. TJ Fortmann; 4. Ed Mills; 5. Joel Payne; 6. Robert Perry; 7. Kaleb Nevers; 8. Bradley Ivy
Heat 6: 1. Brayton Carter; 2. Cody Thompson; 3. Ben Chapman; 4. John Renier; 5. Jason Doyle; 6. Andrew Swailes; 7. Jared Miller; 8. Kyle Bentley
Long, Oliver Jr. and Carter Score Wins
by Brian Neal