by Brian Neal
Donnellson, IA (Friday, June 26, 2020) – Mother nature tried on multiple occasions to force the officials at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa to have to cancel the debut of the MARS Racing Series at the track on Friday, June 26th. But for some reason the rains went just 5 miles north of the track, which allowed the entire night to be completed. Bobby Pierce would go into the record books as the winner of the MARS Racing Series debut at the 3/8th’s mile track.
Just after the IMCA Late Model heats were completed the decision was made to move the MARS Racing Series feature first, as the skies brightened up to the north with lighting. Frank Heckenast Jr. and Brian Shirley led the field to the drop of the green, with Shirley powering off the top of turn 2 to lead lap 1 over Heckenast Jr. and Ryan Unzicker. The fast pace that Shirley was setting would put him into lapped traffic by lap 9, which allowed Heckenast Jr. to close back to his back bumper by lap 12. Heckenast Jr. would look low under Shirley coming off turn 2 to complete lap 13, but Shirley was able to hold him off at the line. The following lap, lap 14, Heckenast Jr. drifted to high off turn 4, which allowed Bobby Pierce to shoot into the runner up spot. Pierce then went to work on Shirley for the top spot. On laps 20 thru 23 Pierce was able to get up beside Shirley going into turn 1, but Shirley was able to use the momentum off the top of turn 2 to keep the lead at the line each lap. On lap 26 the heavy lapped traffic in front of the lead duo was racing two and three wide for positions, which made for a couple of interesting laps for them to get by those cars. On the final lap Pierce again used the low line in turns 1 and 2, as he and Shirley raced into turn three side-by-side. Shirley would use the momentum off the top of turn 4 to hold off Pierce at the line. But Shirley would roll across the scales 40 pounds light, given Pierce the win and the $5,000 top prize to go with it. Heckenast Jr. was moved up to 2nd, Unzicker was moved to 3rd, Chris Simpson was moved to 4th, with Daryn Klein moved to 5th.
Up next was the 20 lap Sonny’s Super Market IMCA Modified feature, with Daniel Fellows and Jerad Fuller making up the front row. Fellows took advantage of his starting spot to grab the lead on lap 1 over Jeff Waterman and Bill Roberts Jr. While Fellows paced the field out front, Waterman, Dennis LaVeine, and Michael Long, who started 7th, battled for the runner up spot. On lap 12 coming off turn 4 LaVeine, Waterman and Long raced three wide, with Long trying to pinch between the wall and Waterman. Long ended up getting into the frontstretch wall and threw some sparks off the right rear. LaVeine, who was using the bottom of the track, was able to pull up even with Fellows coming off turn 4 to complete lap 16. The following lap, lap 17, Fellows drifted to high in four, which allowed LaVeine to shoot by for the top spot. One lap later, lap 18, Long broke a hose going into turn 3 and would spin from the fluids it put down to bring out the only yellow of the race. On the restart LaVeine jumped back out front, with Fellows and Waterman battling for the runner up spot. This would allow LaVeine to go on to claim his first win of the season at the track, Waterman got the runner up spot on the final lap, Fellows crossed the line in third but was too light at the scales. This moved John Oliver Jr., who started 9th in Bill Baker’s #03B machine, up to third, Roberts Jr. was moved up to 4th, with Levi Smith being moved up to finish 5th.
The Roberts Tire Center IMCA SportMods had trouble getting their 18 lap feature going, as six caution flags within the first 5 laps slowed the pace early. Barry Taft, who started outside the front row, led the field for the first 3 laps, before Adam Birck, who started 6th, edged him out at the line on lap 4. As Birck paced the field out front, Brandon Dale and Blaine Webster, who started 9th, raced hard for the runner up spot. Their battle would allow Birck to go on to pick up his first win of the season at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway. Webster won the battle for 2nd, Dale was 3rd, Tanner Klingele finished 4th after starting in 8th, with Taft rounding out the top 5.
Nick Marolf and Andy Nezworski drew the front row for the 25 lap IMCA Late Model feature, which was also the second qualifying night of the Shottenkirk Parts Express “Drive For 5”, presented by Ideal Ready Mix, Floyd’s Waste Systems, J.J. Nichting Company Case IH, Woodworth Attorney at Law, Triple Seven Trucking, Triple R Performance Engines, KQ92, and Big Country 103.1. Marolf used his draw to his advantage by leading lap 1 over Dustin Griffin and Nezworski. While Marolf paced the field out front, Griffin and Nezworski battled side-by-side on many occasions for the runner up spot. On lap 13, Nezworski was able to get by Griffin for the spot, and then went to work on Marolf for the lead. Late lapped traffic would allow Marolf to pull away for his first win of the season at the track, which was worth $1,000. Nezworski was 2nd, Griffin was 3rd, Tommy Elston was 4th, with Sam Halstead coming home in 5th.
The Pepsi Lee County Speedway will be off for the next two weeks, and will return to action on Friday, July 17th. It will be the third qualifying night for the Shottenkirk Parts Express “Drive For 5”, presented by Ideal Ready Mix, Floyd’s Waste Systems, J.J. Nichting Company Case IH, Woodworth Attorney at Law, Triple Seven Trucking, Triple R Performance Engines, KQ92, and Big Country 103.1, for the IMCA Late Models. Also on the card will be Sonny’s Super Market IMCA Modifieds, Donnellson Tire & Service IMCA Stock Cars, Roberts Tire Center SportMods, and Discount Tire & Service IMCA Sport Compacts. A regular points invert will be used for all classes, except the IMCA Late Models will be draw / redraw.
Gates open at 5:30 PM, Hot Laps at 7 PM, and Racing to follow. Grandstand admission will be Adults $10, Seniors (60+) $9, Students (11-17) and Veterans $5, and Kids 10 & under FREE! Pit passes will be $30, ages (7-13) $20, ages (4-6) $10, and ages (3 & under) $5.
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.
Pepsi Lee County Speedway, Donnellson, Iowa
Friday, June 26, 2020 – Midwest Performance & Power and Pilot Grove Savings Bank Night
MARS Racing Series Late Models
A-Feature: 1. Bobby Pierce, Oakwood, IL; 2. Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, IL; 3. Ryan Unzicker, El Paso, IL; 4. Chris Simpson, Oxfford, IA; 5. Daryn Klein, Fairview Heights, IL; 6. Spencer Diercks, Davenport, IA; 7. Tim Manville, Highland, IL; 8. Jason Feger, Bloomington, IL; 9. Brandon Queen, Keokuk, IA; 10. Rich Bell, Sheffield, IL; 11. Steve Stultz, Peoria, AZ; 12. Jay Johnson, West Burlington, IA; 13. Jason Wagner, East Peoria, IL; 14. Chad Holladay, Muscatine, IA; 15. Matt Mickerson, Keokuk, IA; 16. Rickey Frankel, Quincy, IL; 17. Brian Shirley, Chatham, IL (DQ)
Heat 1: 1. Frank Heckenast Jr.; 2. Ryan Unzicker; 3. Chris Simpson; 4. Daryn Klein; 5. Chad Holladay; 6. Spencer Diercks; 7. Jason Feger; 8. Brandon Queen; 9. Tim Manville
Heat 2: 1. Brian Shirley; 2. Bobby Pierce; 3. Rich Bell; 4. Steve Stultz; 5. Jason Wagner; 6. Jay Johnson; 7. Rickey Frankel; 8. Matt Mickerson
Shottenkirk Parts Express IMCA Late Models
A-Feature: 1. Nick Marolf, Moscow, IA; 2. Andy Nezworski, Buffalo, IA; 3. Dustin Griffin, Quincy, IL; 4. Tommy Elston, Keokuk, IA; 5. Sam Halstead, New London, IA; 6. Matt Ryan, Davenport, IA; 7. Denny Woodworth, Mendon, IL; 8. Matt Strassheim, Yarmouth, IA; 9. Ron Boyse, Kalona, IA; 10. Jay Johnson, West Burlington, IA; 11. Darin Weisinger Jr., Mendon, IL; 12. Ray Raker, Burlington, IA; 13. Mark Burgtorf, Quincy, IL
Heat 1: 1. Andy Nezworski; 2. Tommy Elston; 3. Matt Ryan; 4. Nick Marolf; 5. Sam Halstead; 6. Jay Johnson; 7. Ray Raker
Heat 2: 1. Dustin Griffin; 2. Matt Strassheim; 3. Ron Boyse; 4. Mark Burgtorf; 5. Darin Weisinger Jr.; 6. Dennis Woodworth (DNS)
Sonny’s Super Market IMCA Modifieds
A-Feature: 1. Dennis LaVeine, West Burlington, IA; 2. Jeff Waterman, Quincy, IL; 3. John Oliver Jr., Danville, IA; 4. Bill Roberts Jr., Burlington, IA; 5. Levi Smith, Donnellson, IA; 6. Chad Giberson, Richland, IA; 7. Todd Bates, Canton, IL; 8. Scott Bryant, Baring, MO; 9. Michael Long, Fowler, IL; 10. Jerad Fuller, Memphis, MO; 11. Mitch Boles, New London, IA (DNS); 12. Daniel Fellows, Keokuk, IA (DQ)
Heat 1: 1. Daniel Fellows; 2. Dennis LaVeine; 3. Levi Smith; 4. Jeff Waterman; 5. John Oliver Jr.; 6. Todd Bates
Heat 2: 1. Michael Long; 2. Bill Roberts Jr.; 3. Chad Giberson; 4. Jerad Fuller; 5. Scott Bryant; 6. Mitch Boles (DNS)
Roberts Tire Center IMCA SportMods
A-Feature: 1. Adam Birck, Canton, MO; 2. Blaine Webster, Ottumwa, IA; 3. Brandon Dale, Arbela, MO; 4. Tanner Klingele, Quincy, IL; 5. Barry Taft, Argyle, IA; 6. AJ Tournear, Quincy, IL; 7. Josh Holtman, Quincy, IL; 8. Bob Cowman, Quincy, IL; 9. Michael Benjamin, Montrose, IA; 10. Cody Benjamin, Hamilton, IL; 11. Joe Roller, Morning Sun, IA; 12. Brian Bergheger, Keokuk, IA; 13. Nicholas Profeta, Keokuk, IA; 14. Jace Morrow, Memphis, MO; 15. Kaleb Nevers, Burlington, IA; 16. Jim Powell, Hannibal, MO; 17. Derek Goble, Burlington, IA; 18. Logan Cumby, Quincy, IL; 19. Kyle Hamelton, Keokuk, IA; 20. Tom Ruble, Ft. Madison, IA; 21. Ryan Moore, Kahoka, MO; 22. Bobby Six, Warsaw, IL (DNS); 23. Jim Gillenwater, Keokuk, IA (DNS); 24. Michael Goodwin, Quincy, IL (DNS); 25. Austen Becerra, Bowen, IL (DNS)
Heat 1: 1. Barry Taft; 2. AJ Tournear; 3. Bob Cowman; 4. Nicholas Profeta; 5. Logan Cumby; 6. Kaleb Nevers; 7. Kyle Hamelton; 8. Brian Bergheger; 9. Ryan Moore
Heat 2: 1. Adam Birck; 2. Blaine Webster; 3. Jim Powell; 4. Cody Benjamin; 5. Bobby Six; 6. Jim Gillenwater; 7. Michael Goodwin; 8. Austen Becerra
Heat 3: 1. Tanner Klingele; 2. Brandon Dale; 3. Derek Goble; 4. Josh Holtman; 5. Joe Roller; 6. Michael Benjamin; 7. Tom Ruble; 8. Jace Morrow (DQ)
Pierce Inherits MARS Racing Series Debut Win
by Brian Neal