Smith takes Hawkeye Challenge victory, Mills, Lopez, and May see checkers before Mother Nature winsJoyce Eisele
June 10, 2023
The Boone Speedway held its Hawkeye Challenge on Saturday night. It is one of the most unique races in the country pitting six different classes of cars all racing at one time. The over all winner was young Mike Smith in the Hobby Stocks. In the regular weekly racing features, it was Jeremy Mills winning for the second week straight in the IMCA Friesen Performance Modifieds. Kaylin Lopez took the IMCA Friesen Performance Northern SportMod victory, and Josh May won for the third consecutive week in the IMCA STARS Mod Lite class. Mother Nature would then call a halt to the racing action with two features remaining….the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, and the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks. Those classes will run double features next week.
The Hawkeye Challenge was run before feature racing time, and it pitted six different classes of cars racing at one time on the track. Twenty-one cars were scheduled to start, qualified through track points, and through heat racing earlier. The classes were staggered by lap count, with the lone Sprint Car of Mike Houseman needing to complete 25 laps, the Modifieds 23 laps, SportMods and Mod Lites 22 laps, Stock Cars 21 laps, and the Hobby Stocks 20 laps. When the dust cleared in the race that went non-stop, it was young Mike Smith in his Hobby Stock taking the over all win and pocketing the $1,000 prize. Other class winners were Josh May in the Mod Lites, Johnathon Logue in the Stock Cars, Jeremy Mills in the Modifieds, Kaylin Lopez in Northern SportMods, and Mike Houseman in the Sprint car. The class winners took home $500 each.
Weekly feature racing kicked off with the IMCA STARS Mod Lite’s 15 lap A main.
It was appearing as if there would be a new first time winner in the class as David Bailey took advantage of his pole starting position, flew to the lead immediately and pulled away from the field. With just a couple of laps remaining however, Josh May had been closing the gap, and with a lap remaining, was on his tail. Just after the white flag flew, May rose to the top of the track and around Bailey, and into the lead. May successfully picked Bailey’s pocket, and went home to the flying checkers, Bailey having to settle for second. Bryan Zehm took third, fourth went to Austin Gray, and Cory Sonner was fifth. May, who started in eighth, made this his third win in a row, and his fourth of the season. The race went flag to flag.
The IMCA Friesen Performance Northern SportMods came to the track next for their 18 lap feature. It was looking as if there could also be a first time winner in this event as well, as fourteen year old Gage Hilgenberg looked strong out of the gate, flying to the lead from his outside front row starting spot, and holding off his competition. Yellows would plague this race, but did not seem to hinder Hilgenberg on the restarts as he continued his lead. At lap fourteen the fifth caution flew, and the drivers were then placed under a time limit….the race would be called complete at the next caution or the checkers, whichever came first. Hilgenberg still retained his lead when the race returned to green, but Kaylin Lopez, who had dogged him the entire race, was now just waiting for his opportunity to rattle the youngster’s cage. Lopez showed him his nose, and that was all it took for him to get past with one lap remaining. Lopez then went home to take the win, Hilgenberg crossing the line in second. His disappointment on the night continued however, when he was docked two spots in post race inspection for deck height…thus dropping him to finish in fourth. This handed second position over to Braden Richards, and Jackson Harpole started thirteenth, and was awarded third place. Eleventh place starter Cory Pestotnik completed the top five.
The IMCA Friesen Performance Modified quickly came to the track for their 20 lap main event….as sprinkles were now becoming a nuisance.
Joel Bushore jumped to the lead from his outside front row starting spot as the green flag flew. He still had a comfortable lead going when Jimmy Gustin had a motor let go on lap twelve, bringing out a yellow. This bunched the field for the restart, with veteran Denny Pittman holding down second, and Jeremy Mills had moved from eleventh starting spot, to run in third place. Just a lap later, Pittman broke and was out of the competition, with Mills taking over second and then reeling in leader Bushore. The last lap of this race would also be the undoing for Bushore, as on the final lap, Mills went to the topside, and flew around Bushore to take the lead and the subsequent win. Bushore had to be content with the runner up position, third went to Johnathon Logue, Izac Mallicoat was fourth, and thirteenth starter Russ Dickerson took fifth. Mills repeated his win from last week.
The IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars came to the track, but before their feature could start, the pesky rain drops would not cease. The decision soon came to call it a night, and Mother Nature won out.
Next Saturday night, June 17, will be another weekly racing series with all classes in competition. Double features will be run in the IMCA Stock Cars and Hobby Stocks. Pits open at 4:30, grandstands at 5:30, hot laps are 6, with racing at 7.