Hamilton Co. Speedway crowns track champions
WEBSTER CITY – As the drivers eased their race trailers down the Hamilton County Speedway’s pit road Saturday evening you can bet they had two questions on their mind – how fast was the track and how would they finish out the evening?
One look and the racers knew that track promoter Al Uhrhammer had the racing surface in perfect condition – fast. Now it was up to the drivers and their cars to deliver.
The evening’s Fair Classic generated the final points’ races of the season with four of the six class championships still up for grabs. The enthusiastic fans who packed the grandstand cheered on their favorites during the drivers’ introductions.
The action was fast-paced with close quarter racing that included multi-car tangle-ups and rollovers. All of the drivers walked away injury-free.
Webster City’s Ryan Griffith, piloting his No. 15x Late Model, came up one point short in his bid for another track championship. Starting from the fourth row, he worked forward to place third in the feature race behind winner Al Johnson of Story City and second-place finisher Jason Hahne, another Webster City driver.
Griffith placed second in his heat race and that cost him the one point he needed to take the laurels. Late Models are the only class to receive points for heat races.
The Late Model track championship went to Des Moines driver Todd Cooney. He clinched the honor with a win in the first heat race; he ended the season with 401 points after placing fifth in the feature.
Cooney stands in second place in the national IMCA standings; Griffith is third and Hahne ranks fourth.
Stock Car championship honors were decided by a two-point margin, as Lance Deal of Fort Dodge prevailed over Belmond racer John Campbell. Deal placed third in the night’s feature, while Campbell struggled to a sixth-place result.
The stock cars ran in tight packs during the feature and that caused several cautions and one red flag stop after Adam Klocke of Carroll rolled his No. 02 car multiple times.
Mark Elliott garnered the 271st feature win of his career in a three-car dash to the finish. Churdan driver Jason Minnehan took second and Deal finished third.
Jared VanDeest, Holland, cruised to a sixth-place feature finish and the Sport Mod track championship. He topped Matt Lettow by only four points in the final count.
Lettow, who started in row No. 7, was on his way to a feature win when mechanical problems slowed his car momentarily. It allowed eventual winner Taylor Musselman of Norwalk to take the lead.
Lettow settled for second with hard-charging Ty Griffith, Webster City, in third.
Multi-time Hobby Stock track winner Randy Embrey added to his haul with an 11-point championship win over Craig Graham of Webster City. The Granger driver placed third in the feature from his fifth-row starting spot. Graham ended the night with a fifth-place finish.
Topping the evening’s feature for the second time this season was Myles Michehl of Fort Dodge. Callender’s Matt Mundt wound up in second.
The Modified feature was the final race for Scott Williams, as the Steamboat Rock driver has opted to retire after a 28-year career inside the car. He went after the win and was leading the first half of the race until his car developed mechanical problems that limited him to a fourth-place finish.
Inheriting the lead from Williams and taking the checkers was Rob Rose of Iowa Falls. Fellow townsman Tyler Prochaska came in second with Mark Elliott in third.
The race was red flagged early on, as the No. 28 car driven by Cole Hall of Sheffield rolled in turn No. 2.
Elliott won another Modified season championship by 22 points over Nick Roberts of Des Moines. This was Roberts’ first year driving in the Modified class after several successful years in the Sport Mod group.
Not wanting brother Matt Oberhelman to get too far ahead of her in accomplishments, Fort Dodge high schooler MacKenzie Oberhelman led from start to finish to take her first Hamilton County Speedway feature victory in the Sport Compact class. In Victory Lane it was hard to tell who was more excited – MacKenzie or Matt.
Danny Sassman Jr., of Fort Dodge, took second and also claimed the season point’s crown.
The Fair Class race featured prizes and car rides for the kids, along with driver introductions. Bill Haglund, Dick Hahne, Whit Hemingway and John Hemingway were inducted into the Hamilton County Speedway Racing Association Hall of Fame during the evening’s activities.
An IMCA points-only race is set for Saturday at the track with hot laps beginning at 6:30 p.m. It will be the last chance for race fans to attend an event until the Fall Special on Sept. 27.