Elliott pulls off rare double at Hamilton County Speedway
WEBSTER CITY – A few bumps and bruises weren’t going to stop Webster City veteran driver Mark Elliott from accomplishing the rare double at his home track – the Hamilton County Speedway – in front of an enthusiastic crowd on the final night of the regular season on Saturday.
The pain would subside. The accomplishment will last forever.
For the first time in his 26 years behind the wheel, Elliott seized season track championships in both the Modified and Stock Car classes. He piled up 439 points in his Modified to pull away from runner-up Devin Havlik (412) by 27 points, and then prevailed in the Stock Car division by a measly one point over Grundy Center’s Steve Meyer, 451-450.
Elliott’s first tour of the track began from the third row of the Modified feature as he attempted to catch eventual winner Tyler Prochaska of Iowa Falls. But Elliott’s No. 15 car spun out coming out of turn one and the restart put him at the back of the pack.
Elliott maneuvered back towards the front and by mid-race he occupied the second slot when again he ran into trouble. Big trouble.
“We were all racing tight in the No. 1 turn when the car in front of me started to skid,” Elliott said. “I put on the brakes; there was nothing else I could do and then another car hit me.
“They tell me I rolled at least twice before I landed on four wheels.”
Elliott – already the Modified track champion regardless of the outcome – was shaken up, but refused medical treatment. He had approximately 30 minutes to shake out the cobwebs in time for the Stock Car feature.
Just two points separated Elliott and the leader entering the evening – Steve Meyer of Grundy Center. They started side-by-side in the fourth row of the feature.
Jason Vansickel of Webster City jumped to the lead at the start and held it until Damon Murty of Chelsea came from row five to lead. Elliott, Meyer, Ryan Leeman and John Campbell all gave chase.
The top runners hit lapped traffic over the final three laps, as Murty went on to take the checkers ahead of Vansickel. Elliott grabbed third, Leeman fourth and Campbell fifth. Meyer could not maneuver through the pack and had to settle for sixth.
It was a Hollywood movie ending in the Hobby Stock class, as 18 points separated the top three drivers – Randy Embrey of Granger and Webster City drivers Corey Roe and Craig Graham.
All three started in rows four and five, but were running at the front by the fifth lap. From then on it was a duel to the finish with the three running high and low on the track trying to gain the advantage.
Graham and Embrey ran together on the final lap as they dashed for the finish line. Embrey got the bumper width win as Graham’s car suffered mechanical failure just as they crossed the line. Roe took third.
Embrey added a second track championship trophy to his mantel by four points over runner-up Roe.
Webster City’s Ryan Griffith wasted no time in taking the lead and the win in the Late Model feature. He zoomed from the fourth row and into the top spot by lap No. 4. Behind him in second was Webster City’s Jason Hahne; Nick Marolf of Moscow placed third.
It was Griffith’s sixth feature win of the season at the historic half-mile. He picked up the season title by 18 points over Marshalltown legend Darrel DeFrance. Hahne was third.
With a 49-point lead entering the night, it was a given that Roland’s Matt Lettow would win the Sport Mod title. It didn’t matter that he placed near the back of the 23-car field on Saturday.
Joel Rust of Grundy Center – the 2012 track champion – won for the third time this summer. Rocky Caudle was second.
Adam Strunk, another Webster City driver, drove to victory lane for the seventh time this season in the Sport Compact class. Awaiting him was a second track championship trophy.
The speedway was the host of 183 drivers from 78 Iowa towns and the states of Kansas, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin during the 2013 regular season.
The final racing event of the year – the Fall Special – is slated for Sept. 28.