Hawkeye Challenge win goes to Donavon Smith, Mike Houseman is RaceSaver Sprint track champion

Hawkeye Challenge win goes to Donavon Smith, Mike Houseman is RaceSaver Sprint track champion

July 27, 2019

It was a blast from the past on Saturday night at the Boone Speedway when the Hawkeye Challenge returned.  It was also the RaceSaver Sprint Season Championship, along with the other regular weekly classes in competition.

The Hawkeye Challenge pitted four drivers from each of the six classes taking to the track at one time.  This event was previously held from 1987-1993.  Each class point leader was locked into the feature, with the other three qualifying through a passing points system from their earlier heat races.  The over all winner went home $1,000 richer, and a Snap-on Tools Tool Box/Grill combo.  Every other class winner took home $500.  At the end of the race which saw the classes starting at different intervals on the track, it was Stock Car driver Donavon Smith winning the over all championship. The other winners were Tim Ward in the Modifieds, Cam Reimers in the SportMods, Mike Houseman in the Sprints, John Watson in Hobby Stocks, and Mike Kennedy in the Mod Lites.

The IMCA RaceSaver Sprints closed out their season with their championship race and the crowning of the first of the 2019 track champions. This all played out with some strange circumstances.

Point leader Mike Houseman, who was piloting his brother’s car due to a major incident with his ride the night before, discovered he had issues with his rent a ride just before feature time. It looked bleak for him to be able to hold on for the title, and anticipated only making a few laps before heading to the pits.  However, fate stepped in, and Tyler Thompson, who was just six points behind in the chase for the track title, was involved in an incident just as the race began….sending him to the pits and out of the game! This was enough for Houseman to retain his point lead, and take the title of track champion for 2019.

The RaceSaver Sprint feature for the night went to a first time winner at the track, when Kade Higday swept home to the checkers first.  He finished nearly a half a lap ahead of second place Joel Thorpe.  DJ Palmer, Ryan Navratil and Shadrach Sporaa rounded out the top five.

The Mod Lite feature saw a first time visitor to victory lane when Travis Stensland took the checkers.  Stensland led all 15 laps on his way to the win.  Terry Brown finished a distant second, Tanner Gannon was third, fourth went to visiting Pleasant Hill, Missouri racer Ed Griggs and Randy Bryan was fifth.

Jake McBirnie powered by early race leader Ronnie Hults on lap seven of the 18 lap IMCA Northern SportMod feature, finishing well ahead of runner up Dustin Lynch.  Hults took third, Cory Pestotnik started ninth, and finished fourth, and twelfth place starter Chris Burke was fifth.  McBirnie came from tenth starting spot, to capture his fifth feature of the year.

Joel Bushore and Jeremy Mills made contact at lap fifteen of the 20 lap IMCA Modified A main.  This allowed third place runner Tim Ward to sweep around both and take command.  Bushore soon exited the track and was out of the running.  Ward kept a tight hold on that top spot the rest of the way to the flying checkers, and scored his first victory at the track this season.  Jeremy Mills took second after starting eleventh, Joel Rust started next to Mills in the starting grid and finished third, Jimmy Gustin, who is in the points race for the track title was fourth, and Ronn Lauritzen started fifteenth and finished fifth.

Josh Daniels was dominate in taking the win in the IMCA Stock Cars.  He finished comfortably ahead of runner up Jeff Mueller.  Scott Davis came from starting tenth to finish third, Troy Jerovetz was in the hunt most of the race and finished in fourth place, and David Smith rounded out the top five.  Daniels won for the third time at the speedway this season.

The IMCA Hobby Stock feature did not start well as veteran racer Shaun Wirtz got tangled up in a situation which sent him rolling before even one lap was scored. Thankfully, he was okay. When racing got underway, Eric Knutson took the immediate lead, soon to have John Watson relentlessly pestering him for a way around.  Watson’s persistence paid off on lap ten of the 15 lap event when he took over.  Knutson wasn’t done however, as he surged back ahead in the closing moments to seal his trip to victory lane.  Watson had to be content with second place, Jack Phillips was third, Greg Sidles from Fairmont, Minnesota made the trip down and scored a fourth place finish, and fourteen year old Mike Smith was fifth.

The two-person Cruisers cars once again had the #00 car winning with the duo of Donny Mason and Carl Agan.

Next Saturday, August 3 will be the Watermelon Classic Triple Crown night at the races.  It’s $2,500 possible to win for the IMCA Modifieds, $1,000 to win the TiLUBE Challenge, and each heat winner in all classes wins a watermelon!