Taking the lead in 209 of the 250 laps in Sunday’s NASCAR Nationwide race at the Iowa Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. claimed his third straight win on the short oval. In a post-race interview, Stenhouse noted that he found it to be a lot of fun leading that many laps and that it felt good to win three in a row. His 209 laps lead tied the track record set in 2010 by Kyle Busch, while his three-in-a-row win at the same track was the first by a Nationwide driver since Busch set that record at Texas in 2009-2010. Stenhouse’s victory also extended his point lead to 28 over second-place winner Elliot Sadler. Michael McDowell finished third with rookie Austin Dillion and Kurt Busch coming in fourth and fifth respectively.
While Elliot Sadler started on the pole, Sam Hornish Jr. soon took the lead, holding it for thirty laps before losing it to Stenhouse. Cole Whitt, Kyle Busch and Justin Allgaier each had a short stint in the lead, but were unable to hold Stenhouse back for more than a few laps. Having worked his way to second place, Sadler commended his team for coming back from the previous week’s disappointment with a car worthy of winning the race.
For the second time this season, Danica Patrick failed to finish the race. Starting ninth, Patrick fell back to 16th place before her tire reportedly blew, and she drifted wide slamming into the wall on her 115th lap of the 250-lap event. The damage suffered by the No.7 car was too extensive for Patrick to continue the race. Admitting that she was disappointed, particularly in light of the fact that they were having the best short track weekend ever, Patrick noted that there are 34 weekends of racing where anything could happen.
Driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, 18-year old Darrell Wallace Jr. Started eighth in his first Nationwide series career start, and finished in ninth place. Wallace is sponsored by NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program. This initiative was started in 2004 and has experienced a measure of success in increasing participating by women and minority groups in this fast-paced sport.
It’s already been a gruelling season but things are looking up for Dario Franchitti after his win at the Iowa 250 this past weekend. The triumph marks his second victory so far this season and gives Franchitti an edge over many fellow competitors.
Dario Franchitti’s winning streak started earlier this year in April at Long Beach where he walked away with the winner’s trophy for the ninth time in his career. But it seems things weren’t about to end there for Franchitti – just this weekend he managed to take home another trophy at the Iowa Corn Indy 250. The achievement also marks his second victory at the Iowa Speedway.
However the win wasn’t easy. With the race barely underway, a number of accidents and cautions brought the race to an almost unbearably slow pace. By halfway as many as seven cars had been eliminated from the running – knocked out by other drivers who were also no doubt doing their best to stay on course. One of those eliminated was Tony Kanaan who had been leading the pack for the first 48 laps. With Kanaan out of the way it was easy for Briscoe to move into first place and continue leading the pack for 85 laps. However Franchitti slowly made his way to the head of the pack, eventually overtaking Briscoe with just 50 laps to go and forcing Briscoe to finish second for the third time in a row. The two were followed over the finish line by Hideki Mutoh and Dan Wheldon respectively. Hardly anyone could have expected pole-sitter Helio Castroneves to finish only seventh.
After Sunday’s race Franchitti now has ten career wins under his belt and no doubt he has set his cap on getting more. Fans will be watching closely for the rest of the season to see if he can race well enough to gain any more victories before the season ends. However, opposition will be fierce if this race was anything to go by, since spectators were treated to some of the best competition the IndyCar Series has seen so far this season.
Fans of the Ideal Ready Mix Sprint Invaders should make sure that they get themselves to the CJ Raceway on August 31st for the next installment of this action packed racing series. The event is set to take place at the 4/10 mile raceway in Columbus Junction, Iowa, for the first time this year under the guidance of promotional agency Checkered Flag Promotions.
Getting the venue ready for the event hasn’t been easy. Just a few months ago in June the Louisa County Fairgrounds were completely underwater and it has taken hours of hard work by numerous volunteers to get them back into shape. They are now ready to host all the fast-paced, dirt-slinging action that has become a trademark of the Sprint Invaders. This isn’t the first time that the Ideal Ready Mix Sprint Invaders will be visiting the area. Last year they hit West Burlington where Nick Eastin took his first career feature win after beating Kaley Gharst in an exhilarating race. This year all eyes are on Bobby Mincer who had already been on a role, winning his second Ready Mix Sprint Invaders race of the season on August 16. The two wins have combined with three hard charger efforts to put him at the top of the standings. He is followed by John Schulz, who is just eleven points behind and also has two wins to his credit so far this season. He is followed even more closely by Matt Rogerson who is just three points behind. Rogerson won the season opener at 34 Raceway and is ready to battle his way to the top. Only time will tell if Mincer will continue to increase the gap between himself and Schulz or if the standings will experience a bit of a reshuffle after the weekend’s race.
The old pros will be joined by the rookies who are already showing their stuff in the series. Austin McCarl may only be fifteen years old, but he is providing a bit of a threat to the top ten contenders in the race. He’ll get a further chance to prove what he’s made of when he joins the more mature drivers at the CJ Raceway oval on the weekend. Fans will be able to enjoy plenty of great food, amazing racing action and will even get the chance to meet their favorite drivers after the race. So make sure that you don’t miss out on this fabulous opportunity! Get yourself to the CJ Raceway this weekend for some amazing racing.
Racing fans in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will soon be getting ready to enjoy a night of festivities when ten more people are inducted to the Hawkeye Downs Speedway Wall of Fame. The induction ceremony is set to take place on Friday night, August 22.
The inductee line-up starts with Chris Economaki, a world-renowned race commentator who has enjoyed many great years in the industry. He is joined by Steve Kosiski, a Dirt Late Model driver that hails from Omaha, Nebraska. Third on the list of inductees is Mike Schulte, a 12-time Modified track champion from Norway, Iowa. And that’s just the start of the list!
Economaki may be known today on a national level, but he started his work as an announcer with the IMCA’s traveling series during the 1940s and 1950s. He was so dedicated to his work that he spent the night after his wedding in the Hawkeye Downs Speedway announcing booth at an IMCA-sanctioned event. Economaki later went on to expand his work as a commentator, slowly making a name for himself as a color commentator who regularly featured at the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. He has also since managed to become the Editor of National Speed Sport. Clearly this man is worthy of being honored on the wall of fame.
Kosiski has likewise enjoyed a stellar career, driving his Late Model to victory on more than one occasion on the Â½-mile dirt oval. He was particularly successful during the late 1980s when he managed to rack up multiple wins at HD while participating in the NASCAR/Busch All-Star Tour. Today he is a well known name in the area. Kosiski was also the last person to win the Yankee Dirt Track Classic before the Hawkeye Downs Speedway changed their surface from dirt to pavement.
Schulte is known for his skills behind the wheel in the Modified division from the late 1980s and well into the 1990s. He was the first Modified person to win the IMCA Super Nationals in 1983 and this driving champ is still going strong, taking to the racetrack in a Modified again this season.
Other names on the list are Larry Kelley, a former Hawkeye Downs Late Model Champion, Johnny Beauchamp, a legendary NASCAR star who also happens to be an IMCA champion, Dale Gegner who was once a track promoter, Leo Pfeiffer, a fair board member, Lou Holland and Cliff Blundy, who were both exceptional Sprint/Midget drivers, and Gary Gramblin, who has spent many years working hard ensure that the Hawkeye Downs Speedway continued to be a success. All ten of the inductees will be invited to the ceremony wherein they will be awarded plaques in honor of their induction. The event will also be an opportunity to rub shoulders with past inductees.