By Brad Grupe & Eric Huenefeld

(Cedar Rapids, IA  06/02/2016)—Anticipation is building for the return of the Big 8 Late Model Series this Friday night for the “ Clash at the Downs II” at Cedar Rapids’ Hawkeye Downs Speedway.

Around 30 Big 8 Series Late Models are expected for their second visit to Hawkeye Downs.

Leading the way is reigning Big 8 Late Model Series champion Michael Bilderback, winner of the first Big 8 event of 2016 back in April. On that sunny Sunday at Rockford Speedway, Bilderback was the man to beat, lowering the Rockford track record in qualifying and later dominating the 88 lap “Spring Classic.” Last June, Bilderback was one of the contenders for victory at Hawkeye Downs, before settling for third following a frantic battle for second place with eventual runner-up J Herbst. So far in 2016, Bilderback has lowered the Rockford Speedway track record three more times and has pocketed one feature win and two runner ups at his hometrack, where he leads the point standings.

Last year’s “Clash at the Downs” winner Caleb Adrian and runner up J Herbst have also filed their entries for Friday night’s event. Adrian, who was a multi-time winner at Hawkeye Downs in weekly competition in 2015, makes his first Late Model start of 2016 this Friday night but is considered one of the favorites to win. Herbst is primed for his first-ever Big 8 Series triumph following a strong 2015, which saw him on the podium multiple times with the Big 8 Late Model Series campaign despite running just a limited schedule.

Four-time Big 8 Late Model Series champion Jeremy Miller has thrown his hat in the ring for Friday’s “Clash at the Downs” as well. Miller, a former winner with the now defunct ASA Late Model Series at Hawkeye Downs, is geared up not only to return to victory lane in Eastern Iowa, but to also shake off his tough start to the season in Rockford, which saw him fall out of the 88 lap Spring Classic during the race’s first 20 laps. Cedar Rapids native Griffin McGrath has his sights set on victory in front of the hometown faithful Friday night. McGrath, who set fast time in last years event, looks to improve on last years result at “Clash at the Downs,” which saw him destroy his race car during an incident midway through the 48 lap affair. Always a contender, watch for McGrath to be among the top runners this Friday night.

Other top notch entrants for Friday night’s “Clash at the Downs II” include former Big 8 Series and Rockford Speedway champion “Driver X” Jon Reynolds Jr, reigning Hawkeye Downs champion Brian Gibson, former Dells Raceway Park champions Rich Schumann Jr and Mike Ehde, former Slinger Speedway track champion ‘Insane Wayne’ Freimund, central Wisconsin racing veteran Lyle Nowak and former Hawkeye Downs champion Brad Osborn.

The field at Hawkeye Downs will be filled with great young talent too, including; Minnesota racers Michael Ostdiek, Michael Beamish and Jared Duda, Iowans Brody Willett and Zach Less, former Big 8 Late Model Series Rookie of the Year Jesse Bernhagen, former Rockford Speedway Rookie of the Year Mitch Garfield, 16 year-old Wisconsinite Tyler Hromadka and Oconomowoc Wisconsin’s Adam Peschek, who also campaigns an IMCA SportMod on the dirt along with his Big 8 Late Model Series schedule.

Joining the Big 8 Late Models are the Mountain Dew Sportsmen,  who will finish the remainder of their feature from last week immediately following Late Model qualifying. The Sportsmen will return later in the evening to run another full feature.

The Anderson Automotive Hobby Stocks, Miller Time Hornets, and Dublin City Pub INEX Legends are also set to run a full program of heats and features.

The Dodge Street Tire Lil’ Racer Car Club will have their Clubhouse open under the main Grandstand and kids and fans are encouraged to meet some of the drivers in an autograph session tentatively scheduled for 6:45-7:15pm near the flagstand.


            Hawkeye Downs and Hy-Vee have again teamed up to offer a new and improved concessions menu this season along with the return of Pepsi Products for 2016. Your favorite adult beverages are available as well!

            The Front Gate and Concessions open at 6:00 pm .   Big 8 Series Qualifying also starts at 6pm. Pre-Race Ceremonies will begin at 7:20pm with the first race at 7:30.

Don’t forget “Happy Hour at Hawkeye Downs” with 2 for 1 Tallboys from 6-7pm!

.Adult admission for this event  (ages 18-61)  is $12, Senior Citizens (62+) are $7, Students (Ages 11-17) are $7, and Children 10 and Under are absolutely FREE with a paid Adult!

The full schedule for the 2016 season is available on the Hawkeye Downs Website ( or www.

Hawkeye Downs will again be using in 2016 to notify fans by text or email of weather related announcements for the speedway. Sign up at

Fans can also keep in touch by visiting the Hawkeye Downs Speedway and Expo Center Facebook page.