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: Ballstaedt Gets Two In A Row

The final free night of the year has come and gone after several attempts due to weather. Gazette Free Night was a success with many bikes given out to children and intense racing on the track before the season comes to an end.


The Skinny

In the craziest Schaeffer Oil Hornets race yet, Drew Nickell was still victorious. A total of 12 Hornets were on track, which provided three and four-wide racing at times. It was no match for Nickell, who beat Troy Scott to the front. Several new drivers emerged on the scene which included Adam Weller (6th), Harold Scott (7th), and Steven Schmitz (9th).


While sparks flew between a couple drivers in the Anderson Automotive Hobby Stock feature, it was all behind Jim Hanson once again. Kurt Bohnsack held onto second for most of the race until going for a spin on the last lap. Jason Sherman ended up with the runner up spot. It was the 9th win of the year for Hanson.


Eight Cassill Motors Sport Mods competed in the feature, but Jason Doyle was the class of the field and captured his 5th win on the season. Doyle had to hold off a group of cars which included the cousin trio of Creston, Jonny, and Scott Williams.


Besting his total from last year already, Austin Slabaugh captured his 3rd Bulltown Legends Series victory. After starting on the outside of the front row, Slabaugh was able to keep just enough space between himself and Dave McCalla when the checkered flag flew.


For the second week in a row, nobody could get around Dave Ballstaedt to defeat him. Despite it being close, as the rest of the field battled behind him, Ballstaedt continued to keep control of the Coca-Cola Sportsmen race. With Cory Houdek winning the heat race and Braxton Franks finishing 2nd in the feature, no points were gained by either driver for the championship.


Next week is the final week of racing before our season championships. The Lil Racer Car Club will be having Big Wheel Races in addition to action from our regular weekly series.


Photos by Joe Reese


RECAP: Ness Claims First Legends Victory

On ImOn Communications Night, there was candy to be seen on the track all over during the annual Candy Dash. And when the races got started, a couple drivers powered to get their first win of the year, and in one case, their first series victory ever. Just a few weeks remain on the 2019 racing schedule, so drivers will be giving it everything they have.


The Skinny

No surprise that Drew Nickell ended up in victory lane in the Schaeffer Oil Hornets, but it wasn’t without a fight from Cristian Grady who led early on. When Nickell got to Grady, the two traded some paint until the checkered flag flew with Nickell coming out ahead.


For a special $500-to-win Anderson Automotive Hobby Stock feature (courtesy of Cancun Mexican Grill & Bar and DS Disposal), Kurt Bohnsack arrived on the scene to be Jim Hanson’s biggest competition. However, Bohnsack just didn’t have enough at the end for Hanson.


In the first of two Coca-Cola Sportsmen features, CJ VanHorn captured his first victory on the season in just his second start on the year. Cory Houdek finished runner up, which helped him gain some ground in the points.

In the second feature, Dave Ballstaedt started at the front and stayed there, outrunning the rest of the field. Braxton Franks made his way around Greg Hentrich late in the race but couldn’t make up the ground to Ballstaedt. With a second place, Franks grew his point lead to eight markers.


From the back to the front, Jason Doyle raced to his 4th Cassill Motors Sport Mod win of the season. A late battle between Scott Williams and Doyle set for a good finish, with Williams ending up in the second finishing spot. Doyle now sits just 5 points ahead of Mike McDonald, who was unable to finish the race with car issues.


Todd Ness held his line and kept the competitors at bay to earn his first Bulltown Legends feature. This is a big win for Ness after not having the season that he wanted up to this point. It all came together, though, as he put together a perfect race holding off Dave McCalla, Kevin Korsmo, and Brian Gibson at the end.


Next week is the makeup of Gazette Free Night, and we will be giving away bicycles for the kids to go with it!


Photos by Joe Reese