by Brian Neal
Donnellson, IA (Friday, May 22, 2020) – If it wasn’t the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling races, then it was mother nature. As the Pepsi Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa has tried two other times to get two night’s of racing completed. Finally mother nature co-operated on this Memorial Day weekend, as both Friday and Saturday night’s racing events were put into the books. Picking up wins on Friday night were Micheal Long (Modifieds), John Oliver Jr. (Stock Cars), Austen Becerra (SportMods), and Jason Ash (Sport Compacts).
The first feature to take to the track was the 15 lap Sport Compacts, with Larry Miller and Colton Keck drawing the front row. Miller took advantage of his draw to grab the lead on lap 1 over Jason Ash, who started 5th, and Keck. The lead for Miller only lasted for 1 lap, as Ash was able to get by him to grab the top spot on lap 2. Just as Ash started to pull away the first caution of the race appeared on lap 4, as Quinton Shelton and Brandon Crawley spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Ash jumped back out front, but now had Brandon Reu, who started 7th, glued to his back bumper. Reu tried the low and high grooves over the next 5 laps to try and get the lead away from Ash. The battle up front was slowed on lap 10, as Robert Sturms spun in turn 1 to bring out the yellow. Ash once again grabbed the lead on the restart, with Reu going back to work on him for the top spot. Coming out of turn 4 for the checkered flag, Reu was able to get under Ash. But Ash was able to edge him out for the win. Jared Heule was 3rd, Adam Christy came from 8th to finish 4th, with Miller holding on for 5th.
Up next was the 18 lap SportMod feature, with Blaine Webster and Tanner Klingele leading the field to green. But just as the green flag waved the caution light came on, as Kaleb Nevers spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. On the original restart Nicholas Profeta and Kyle Olson spun in turn 4 to void a stacked field to bring the yellow light back on. A third attempt of a start allowed Webster to grab the lead on lap 1 over Austen Becerra and Klingele. Then just after lap 1 was scored complete another caution appeared, as Draython Schanfish spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Steven Berry, who was running 4th, spun in turn 1 and collected Sean Wyett, Jim Powell, Cory Kemkes, and Cody Benjamin to bring the yellow light back on. Webster moved back out front on the restart, with Becerra and Klingele following close behind him.
The action was slowed on lap 3, when Schanfish spun in turn 2 to bring out his second caution to end his night. Once again Webster grabbed the lead on the restart, with Becerra and now Tom Bowling Jr., who started 11th, following. Just after the lap was scored complete another yellow appeared, as Dakota Anderson spun in turn 2 to bring out the caution. On the restart Webster jumped back out front, with Becerra and Bowling Jr. close behind. Becerra would grab the lead away from Webster on lap 6, as Webster stayed glued to his back bumper over the next 7 laps. The action up front was slowed for the final time of the race on lap 13, as a tire was clipped in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. Becerra grabbed the lead on the restart, with Webster working on him for the top spot. But Becerra was able to hold him off on the final laps to claim his first win in a car he built himself over the off season. Bowling Jr. was 3rd, Michael Goodwin was 4th, with Barry Taft finishing 5th after starting in 9th.
Jason Cook and John Oliver Jr. led the field to green in the 18 lap Stock Car feature, with Oliver Jr. edging out Cook to lead lap 1. While Oliver Jr. and Cook worked the bottom of the track, David Brandies went to the top. That moved paid off, as Brandies was able to get the runner up spot on lap 3. Brandies then went to work on Oliver Jr. for the lead. Coming off turn 4 for lap 6 Oliver Jr. and Brandies came off turn 4 side-by-side, with Oliver Jr. keeping the lead by inches. As the two battled side-by-side for the lead, this allowed Cook to close back in to make it a three car battle. When Brandies and Cook started battling side-by-side for the runner up spot, this allowed Oliver Jr. to go on to pick up the win. Cook edged out Brandies at the line by inches to finish 2nd, Abe Huls was 4th, with Jeremy Pundt rounding out the top 5.
The final feature of the night was the 20 lap Modifieds, with Austin Howes and Levi Smith drawing the front row. Howes used his draw to his advantage by grabbing the lead on lap 1 over Mark Burgtorf, who was behind the wheel of Bill Baker’s #03B machine, and Smith. The action up front was slowed for the first time on lap 4, when Brandyn Ryan slowed in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Howes jumped back out front, with Michael Long over taking Burgtorf for the runner up spot. Just as Long and Ethan Braaksma, who started 8th, went to work on Howes for the top spot, the second caution appeared. This time Scott Bryant spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. Howes grabbed the lead on the restart, with Long and Braaksma close behind. On lap 11 Long was able to slide in front of Howes coming off turn 4 to grab the top spot. Long then started to pull away, when the final yellow of the race came out on lap 18. Austin Paul would spin in turn 2 to bring out the caution, and set up a two lap shootout. Long would grab the lead on the restart and then held on to claim his second win of the season at the track. Howes was 2nd, Braaksma was 3rd, Burgtorf was 4th, with Denny Eckrich coming from 12th to finish 5th.
Pepsi Lee County Speedway, Donnellson, Iowa
Friday, May 22, 2020 – COVID-19 Return To Racing Night 1
A-Feature: 1. Michael Long, Fowler, IL; 2. Austin Howes, Memphis, MO; 3. Ethan Braaksma, Newton, IA; 4. Mark Burgtorf, Quincy, IL; 5. Denny Echkrich, Tiffin, IA; 6. Bill Roberts Jr., Burlington, IA; 7. Jeff Waterman, Quincy, IL; 8. Dave Wietholder, Liberty, IL; 9. Dalton Simonsen, Fairfax, IA; 10. Mitch Boles, New London, IA; 11. Mitchell Hunt, Kent City, MI; 12. Todd Bates, Canton, IL; 13. Levi Smith, Donnellson, IA; 14. Blake Woodruff, Knoxville, IL; 15. Austin Paul, Newton, IA; 16. Kevin Anderson, London Mills, IL; 17. Scott Bryant, Baring, MO; 18. Brandyn Ryan, Coatsburg, IL; 19. Keith Siegel, Elmwood, IL; 20. Daniel Fellows, Keokuk, IA
Heat 1: 1. Michael Long; 2. Denny Echkrich; 3. Austin Paul; 4. Dalton Simonsen; 5. Scott Bryant; 6. Kevin Anderson; 7. Keith Siegel
Heat 2: 1. Ethan Braaksma; 2. Daniel Fellows; 3. Mitchell Hunt; 4. Bill Roberts Jr.; 5. Mitch Boles; 6. Dave Wietholder; 7. Todd Bates
Heat 3: 1. Mark Burgtorf; 2. Jeff Waterman; 3. Austin Howes; 4. Levi Smith; 5. Brandyn Ryan; 6. Blake Woodruff
A-Feature: 1. John Oliver Jr., Danville, IA; 2. Jason Cook, Mt. Pleasant, IA; 3. David Brandies, Wilton, IA; 4. Abe Huls, Carthage, IL; 5. Jeremy Pundt, Donnellson, IA; 6. Tyler Moore, Lockridge, IA; 7. Tom Cannon, West Branch, IA; 8. Jerry Jansen, Plainville, IL; 9. Erick Knutsen, Cedar Rapids, IA; 10. Jake Powers, Plainville, IL; 11. BJ Thompson, Colchester, IL
Heat 1: 1. Jason Cook; 2. John Oliver Jr.; 3. Tom Cannon; 4. Jeremy Pundt; 5. Jerry Jansen; 6. Erick Knutsen
Heat 2: 1. Abe Huls; 2. David Brandies; 3. Jake Powers; 4. Tyler Moore; 5. BJ Thompson
A-Feature: 1. Austen Becerra, Bowen, IL; 2. Blaine Webster, Ottumwa, IA; 3. Tom Bowling Jr., Danville, IA; 4. Michael Goodwin, Quincy, IL; 5. Barry Taft, Argyle, IA; 6. Josh Holtman, Quincy, IL; 7. Dakota Anderson, Basco, IL; 8. Bob Cowman, Quincy, IL; 9. Logan Cumby, Quincy, IL; 10. Reed Wolfmeyer, Quincy, IL; 11. Tanner Klingele, Quincy, IL; 12. Kaleb Nevers, Burlington, IA; 13. Draython Schanfish, East Moline, IL; 14. Nathan Bringer, Lewistown, MO; 15. Steven Berry, Ottumwa, IA; 16. Sean Wyett, Danville, IA; 17. Jim Powell, Hannibal, MO; 18. Cory Kemkes, Appleton, WI; 19. Cody Benjamin, Hamilton, IL; 20. Nicholas Profeta, Keokuk, IA; 21. Kyle Olson, Cedar Rapids, IA; 22. Derek Goble, Burlington, IA (DNS); 23. Kyle Hamelton, Keokuk, IA (DNS)
Heat 1: 1. Michael Goodwin; 2. Dakota Anderson; 3. Barry Taft; 4. Josh Holtman; 5. Nicholas Profeta; 6. Jim Powell; 7. Cody Benjamin (DNS); 8. Logan Cumby (DNS)
Heat 2: 1. Tom Bowling Jr.; 2. Reed Wolfmeyer; 3. Bob Cowman; 4. Steven Berry; 5. Draython Schanfish; 6. Kaleb Nevers; 7. Kyle Hamelton (DNS); 8. Derek Goble (DNS)
Heat 3: 1. Blaine Webster; 2. Sean Wyett; 3. Tanner Klingele; 4. Austen Becerra; 5. Nathan Bringer; 6. Kyle Olson; 7. Cory Kemkes
A-Feature: 1. Jason Ash, Burlington, IA; 2. Brandon Reu, Donnellson, IA; 3. Jared Heule, Keokuk, IA; 4. Adam Christy, Ft. Madison, IA; 5. Larry Miller, Burlington, IA; 6. Colton Keck, Mt. Pleasant, IA; 7. Robert Sturms, Burlington, IA; 8. David Prim, Elvaston, IL; 9. Ashton Blain, Burlington, IA; 10. Landon Neisen, La Grange, MO; 11. Quinton Shelton, Quincy, IL; 12. Tim Schnathorst, Burlington, IA; 13. Brandon Crawley, Burlington, IA; 14. Brady Wissinger, Burlington, IA; 15. Luke Fraise, Houghton, IA (DNS)
Heat 1: 1. Jared Heule; 2. Jason Ash; 3. Larry Miller; 4. Robert Sturms; 5. David Prim; 6. Ashton Blain; 7. Quinton Shelton
Heat 2: 1. Brandon Reu; 2. Adam Christy; 3. Colton Keck; 4. Tim Schnathorst; 5. Landon Neisen; 6. Brandon Crawley; 7. Brady Wissinger
by Brian Neal