Elliott shines brightest at Night of 1,000 Stars

BRITT – Mark Elliott exorcised a lot of race demons here Thursday night.

The Webster City driver led every lap and won the Night of 1,000 Stars special for IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modifieds at the Hancock County Speedway. His share of the purse totaled $7,000 – $3,500 for the victory and $2,500 in lap money, plus another $1,000 for leading at the halfway point.

The top-paying event of the 2014 XSAN Hawkeye Dirt Tour drew 84 entries from 10 states and Canada.

What really helped us win (Thursday night) was a long month of July,” Elliott said. “We did the Dakota Classic Tour, then Speedweeks and missed five of the shows. We went back to work on the car and everybody – my crew, my family and my sponsors – stayed focused on winning.

“Maybe the stars aligned. We had the right amount of luck and it all worked out for us.”

Also the 2006 and 2009 race winner, Elliott won his heat race despite a back row start. He drew the outside front row spot for the main event.

Elliott drew past Kevin Stoa and Clayton Christensen and was still in front when the race was stopped for the mandatory front stretch pit stop halfway through the 50-lap event.

“We were prepared to change everything but the kitchen sink,” Elliott said. “I’ve got a veteran crew that’s been with me a long time. They added fuel, checked my tires and told me I was good. I didn’t even get out of the car. I sat there thinking that we’d had a pretty good first half of the race and wished it had been the second half.”

Benji LaCrosse pressured Elliott before the break, but wound up repeating as the Night of 1,000 Stars runner-up. Ryan Ruter, 2013 race winner Kyle Strickler and hard-charger Jeremy Mills completed the top five.

Mills made the main event field as a provisional starter and advanced 26 positions.

Elliott – the 2011 Hawkeye Dirt Tour champion – became the seventh different winner in as many tour events this season. It was his fifth career win in the series.