Elliott takes 2 checkers in honor of friend

WEBSTER CITY – It was Mark Elliott’s night at the Hamilton County Speedway Saturday evening, as the Webster City driver topped the Stock Car and Modified classes, a great accomplishment in itself, but the wins were in honor of Bob Keller, one of Elliott’s crew members who died in January.

Elliott is running both his Stock Car and Modified as the No. 15 cars this season as a tribute to Keller. Other Webster City drivers, including Ryan Griffith in the No. 15X Late Model, will remember Keller, their friend and crew member, throughout the year with the No. 15 on their race cars.

Elliott started seventh in the 18-car Stock Car field, working his way to the front of the pack by the fifth lap to take the win. In second spot was the No. 94 driver by Steve Meyer of Grundy Center. Third went to No. 7 Jason Minnehan of Churdan, with Gary Bass, No. 27 of Des Moines, in fourth and Travis Prochaska, No. 21T of Iowa Falls, taking fifth. The race had three caution flags.

The lead in the Modified race changed hands three times before Elliott, starting in the seventh spot in the No. 15, took control on lap No. 12 en route to the checkered flag. From then on, second-place finisher, Richie Gustin of Gilman in the No. 19G, was right on his tail. Greg Elliott, No. 47 of Webster City, was third. Scott Olson in the No. 8X of Blairsburg was fourth and Racer Hulin of Laurel in the No. 505 was fifth.

Hulin moved up to the Modified class this season after a successful 2012 run in a Sport Mod.

Race fans watched a thrill-packed 28-car Sport Mod feature with the first yellow thrown on the start lap when a spinout in turn one created a 12-car pile-up. All but one rejoined the race.

Carter Vandenberg, No. 7 of Oskaloosa, starting in the eleventh spot, Rocky Caudle, No. 99 of Ellsworth from the seventh spot, and No. 321 Andy Tiernan of Madrid from the pole traded the lead in the race from start to finish. Vandenberg edged out Caudle for the win at the finish line. Tiernan placed third.

The Sport Mod race was red flagged on lap nine when the No. 100 driven by Chris Teel of Webster City tangled with another car in front of the grandstand and flipped up-side-down. Teel was shaken up, but walked away from the incident.

Randy Embrey, No. 40 of Granger and the 2012 Hobby Stock track champ, came from row three to lead the Hobby Stock feature by mid-race. The veteran racer was pushed the entire way by second-place finisher Myles Michehl of Fort Dodge in the No. 21 machine.

Michehl started from the front row and led the first six laps.

In third place was No. 29N Cody Nielsen of Fort Dodge with No. 20N driven by Justin Nehring from Storm Lake taking fourth. Webster City’s Cory Roe in the No. 8R was fifth.

Darrel DeFrance, No. 99D out of Marshalltown, used his front row start in the Late Model feature to garner his second win of the season. He led the entire race followed by second-place finisher Craig Jacobs, No. 95 of Des Moines. In the third slot was Jason Hahne, No. 76 of Webster City. Curt Schroeder, No. 15C, Ames, was fourth with the No. 29 driven by Nick Pedersen of Rutland claiming fifth.

Six Sport Compacts started the feature with Dustin Haggard, No. 37 out of Humboldt, taking the honors. Webster City’s Adam Strunk, No. 85S, was second and Fort Dodger Kalan Guthrie, No. 50K, finished third.

There were racers from 43 Iowa towns and Tonganoxie, Kan., at the track Saturday evening.

Racing resumes this Saturday with hot laps beginning at 6 p.m. Heats and feature races will follow.