Although the skies looked threatening throughout the day Saturday, rain was never really an issue in southeast Iowa. The overcast skies allowed for a tacky, fast race track and for a fantastic night of racing at 34 Raceway.
In the I.M.C.A. Modified division, Dennis Laveine was hoping to check out early on the field in the 20-lap event. Laveine held the advantage while Bill Roberts and Scott Hogan made their way through the field.
Swapping between the high and low grooves, the second and third place cars ran down the race leader only to see Laveine retire to the pits with mechanical problems around the midway mark.
With Roberts out front and Hogan close behind, racing resumed and points leader Josh Foster started to make some noise. From a deep start in the field, Foster worked his way through traffic and eventually into an exciting three-car battle out front with Roberts and Hogan.
Foster shot beneath the leaders as the field worked through lapped traffic late in the event. Foster went on to score the exciting win ahead of Hogan and Roberts. Jeff Waterman and Jeff Schroyer completed the top five.
Up next was the 12-lap four-cylinder feature. From his front row starting position, Geoffrey Theobald assumed command with Travis Yakle settling in behind him. The lead pair started to pull away from the field with Yakle glued to Theobald's rear bumper. Yakle tried numerous times to make his way around the race leader, however his efforts to pass on both the high and low sides of the No. 33 were denied each time.
Mechanical problems sidelined Yakle late in the event, allowing Travis Demint to restart hot on Theobald's heels following a late caution. When racing resumed, Theobald remained too strong to beat as he drove to the apparent victory. A rules violation concerning his wheels, however, gave the win to Demint after Theobald was disqualified. Brian Tipps and Brett Vanous ran second and third. Tyler and John Whalen finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Thrilling four and five-car battles at the front of the pack highlighted the I.M.C.A. Stock Car 20-lapper. Front-row starter Cole Simmons received heavy pressure from a quartet of drivers throughout the event, including Rod Staats, Jeff Mueller, Abe Huls and Jim Redmann.
Two and three-wide battles throughout the early stages of the event kept the field close. Mueller was able to sweep below his competitors just past the midway point to take the advantage and drive to the thrilling win. Following him across the line were Simmons, Staats, Huls and Redmann, respectively.
Colby Springsteen set sail early in the 25-lap I.M.C.A. Late Model headliner. While Springsteen led, fellow front row starter Joey Gower settled into second. After only a few laps, Springsteen extended his lead to nearly a straightaway over Gower, who was half of a straightaway ahead of the rest of the field.
A caution just prior to the midway point of the race bunched the field. On the restart, third-running Mark Burgtorf worked his way past Gower, then set his sights on Springsteen. A few laps later, Burgtorf powered to the inside of Springsteen to take the lead as he drove to the win. Tom Goble, who started eighth, came through traffic to finish second. Gower, Lonnie Bailey and Jay Johnson rounded out the top five.
In the nightcap, Dane Fenton appeared to be on his way to victory in the Hobby Stock feature when a miscue exiting turn four on the 12th lap forced him to the tail of the field. On the restart, Ray Raker and Randy Wachter engaged in an exciting two-car battle for the win. The lead pair remained wheel-to-wheel over the final laps with Raker edging ahead at the line for a photo finish victory. Derek St. Clair, Rob Wilsey and Tanner Thomann completed the top five.
A great field of 122 cars was on-hand and the show was in the books by 10:20. As always, a great night of racing at 34. Special thanks to promoter Amy Laue and track announcer Rich Adams, along with facilities director Jason Goble, for giving me the opportunity to call a few of the races behind the mic. It was also nice to visit with the track crew following the races; some of the friendliest, most dedicated folks involved in local racing anywhere!