RECAP: Champions Crowned on Season Finale

On the final night of racing at Hawkeye Downs, presented by Iowa Beverage Company, the drivers had one more chance to win for the year, and the champions were crowned in six different classes. After the races, the champions were celebrated and fans were able to see the cars up close during the post-race party.


The Skinny

In the Schaeffer Oil Hornet Series, Drew Nickell captured an impressive 11th win on the way to celebrating his championship. After starting 6th, Nickell made his way around the top-5 in points to take the lead. With four runner-up finishes this year, Troy Scott finished second overall in the points.


Despite the hungry drivers behind him, Jim Hanson went to victory lane for the 10th time this year, propelling him to the track championship. Hanson held off Kurt Bohnsack and Logan Clausen for one last time. Grabbing two wins this season, Clausen finished second in the final standings for 2019.


For the second week in a row, Jason Doyle came on strong late and made a pass around Sean Vogt to win another feature in the Cassill Motors Sport Mods. It was the 7th win of the year for Doyle, who really showed strength as the season went on. Mike McDonald was consistent all year long, which helped him capture second place in the standings.


With a breakout year in the Bulltown Legends Series, Austin Slabaugh earned his fourth feature win of the year on Friday night, which secured a second place overall for 2019. Slabaugh battled with Jacob Tiegen, who earned a career best 2nd-place finish. The championship was off the table, however, and was captured by Kevin Korsmo, who finished 3rd and ended with two wins this year.


While Matt Hudspeth and Scott Fridley battled each other out for the points championship in the AIRS Vintage Hawkeye Downs Series, Bart Miller sped away with the win. Hudspeth ran a solid second, while Fridley battled his tail off to get towards the front. In the end, Hudspeth is the champion by just three points.


We all knew the Coca-Cola Sportsmen race would be exciting, and it did not disappoint. On the final lap, Greg Hentrich led as Braxton Franks and Cory Houdek battled behind him. Coming to the checkered, contact was made between Houdek and Hentrich. This prompted officials to declare Hentrich the winner and disqualify Houdek for rough driving. At the end of it all, Franks was the 2019 champion.


A group of late models showed up for season championship night, and although there were no points involved, fans were excited to see them take the track. Mark Greb won the heat race, but in the race it was all Brody Willett. Brian Gibson stuck to the back bumper of Willett, but just didn’t have enough to get around him.


With the season being over, Hawkeye Downs would like to thank all of our fans, sponsors, and drivers for all of your support this season, and for making it another one to remember. See you all next year!


Photos by Ed Siems


RECAP: Fridley Defeats Hudspeth Late

Just one week before the season championships, emotions run high and drivers realize it is one of their last chances to win before the year is over. With the intensity hyped up, a couple drivers rose to the occasion while others will have to wait until next week to try again for the final time of the year.


The Skinny

Lucas Foster was the one on top of the Schaeffer Oil Hornet Series at the end of the night. This was Fosters second win of the season, and he has been the only one to outrun Drew Nickell all year. After contact mid-race sent Nickell spinning, he was only able to rebound to second place at the bitter end. With the effort Nickell has put forth this season, he has clinched the 2019 season championship.


Thanks to a good starting position and a fast car, Kurt Bohnsack was able to go the distance and hold off the field for his first victory of the year in the Anderson Automotive Hobby Stocks. Bohnsack crossed the line ahead of Matt LaCoursiere and Jim Hanson. After a strong season, Hanson has clinched the 2019 season championship.


It was a photo finish in the Cassill Motors Sport Mods, which came down to a difference of a couple feet. Scott Williams led the race until Jason Doyle grabbed the momentum on the high side and had just enough to cross the line as the leader. With his 6th win, Doyle will be the 2019 season champion.


Another first time winner this week, this time Kacey Korsmo took his first visit to victory lane in the Bulltown Legends Series. Holding off his father at the end, Kacey led the entire feature on his way to the win. Despite having the most wins on the season, Dave McCalla will not have a chance at the championship with a hard incident that will likely end his year early. With just enough points, Kevin Korsmo will clinch the 2019 season championship one race early.


The battle that everyone is keeping their eye on got almost as tight as possible heading into the final race. With a heat race & feature sweep, Cory Houdek made up seven points on Braxton Franks–which leaves the championship to just one point between the two. Houdek grabbed his 5th win of the season, and it was enough to keep him right in the title fight.


Although the AIRS Vintage Series has seen Matt Hudspeth crazy fast in the last couple races, a late-race battle put Scott Fridley in contention for the championship heading into the final race. Fridley made the pass on Hudspeth to capture his first win of the year. This puts three drivers in the hunt mathematically, but just two points separates Fridley from Hudspeth heading into this week.


Next week is the season finale which includes features only from all of our 2019 weekly series, a champions celebration, post-race party on the track with the opportunity to see all the stars and cars up close, and more!

Admission is only $5 for adults/seniors, and children 8 & under are FREE!


Photos by Ed Siems


RECAP: Hudspeth Wins Another, Takes Point Lead

Wall of Fame Night has come around once again, bringing the past to meet the present and allowed us to honor some special people that have been a part of Hawkeye Downs over the years. As a tradition, fans also got to see the AIRS Vintage Series along with our other racing series as well.


The Skinny

The Schaeffer Oil Hornet Series was won once again by Drew Nickell, who seems to have things figured out. The battle between Elliott Vogel and Troy Scott remains tense as they are tied once again for the runner-up spot in the points. All eyes will be on the Hornet Series the next month, as you never know who will try to spoil the riches of Nickell in the final races.


In the Anderson Automotive Hobby Stocks, it was a special night for the Clausen camp. Well-known driver, Larry Clausen, came out of retirement and drove to a 3rd place finish while watching his son, Logan, battle for the lead and win his second feature of the season. It was a win that just slipped away from Matt LaCoursiere who looked like he had it early on, but could not hold off Logan.


Fans were on their feet after the Coca-Cola Sportsmen race. At first it looked like Cory Houdek was going to run away with another one, but Braxton Franks closed in just a little bit each lap until he got to the bumper of Houdek. As the two raced with mere laps to go, contact was made, giving Franks just enough momentum to make the pass on the outside, taking the lead. It would be Franks’ second feature win of the season, putting him just 3 points out of the standings lead.


The Cassill Motors Sport Mods saw another new winner head to victory lane this week, Richard Nelson. Nelson started on the front row after the invert, and walked away from the rest of the field during the feature. By the end of the race, Nelson had half a lap on the other cars, leaving them scramble to catch up. The standings have shifted over the past couple weeks, but KC Ansel remains at the top.


For the second time this year, Matt Hudspeth emerged as the winner of the AIRS Vintage Series race. Hudspeth made the pass around Bart Miller mid-race, and was never heard from again. This is the second AIRS feature win in a row at Hawkeye Downs, which has given him a 4-point lead over Scott Fridley.


Next week is the make-up of Gazette Free Night. No tickets are needed, and it is free admission to all. Sport Mods, Legends, Sportsmen, Hornets, and double feature Hobby Stocks are on the schedule.


Photos by Ed Siems


Hanson Starts Championship Run on Season Opener

On the first night of the 2019 racing season, seven different classes of racing brought some tight racing for the lead. While some feature winners like Brody Willett and Ryan Braseth were just there to snatch a trophy, others like Jim Hanson and Lucas Foster grabbed a trophy while also getting ahead in the journey to a championship.


The Skinny

In the Schaeffer Oil Hornets, Lucas Foster ended up grabbing his second career feature win by getting around leader Drew Nickell towards the end.


Last years AIRS Vintage Hawkeye Downs champion, Chris Rollinger, started the season out with a win. Despite being the overall points winner last year, Rollinger did not have a win at the track in 2018.


Holding off Cory Houdek is never easy, but Braxton Franks managed to do just that in the Coca-Cola Sportsmen feature. The two battled side-by-side for the majority of the race.


Dirt racer KC Ansel from Dubuque became the first winner of the Cassill Motors Sport Mods since the return of the series. Ansel battled it out with fellow dirt racer Jarett Franzen for the victory.


The “Minnesota Mafia” ended up with the edge over the Hawkeye Downs regulars in the Bulltown Legends Series when Ryan Braseth took the checkered flag. 2017 track champion Austin Slabaugh finished runner up.


Brody Willett avoided the leaders making contact in the McGrath Auto Late Models to take the win on night #1. Brian Gibson and Chad Whalen made contact while battling for the lead, sending Gibson hard into the turn one wall. Willett went on to pass Whalen for the win.


Working hard on the outside lane in the Anderson Automotive Hobby Stocks, Jim Hanson slowly made his way around Logan Clausen to win. The two raced next to each other cleanly for the majority of the race, but Clausen could not keep Hanson at bay in the end.


Friday, May 10th includes more racing from the Sportsmen, Hobby Stocks, Hornets, Legends (double feature), and Late Models*

*tentative, may change.