By Brad Grupe

PHOTOS: Jim Wittke/Speedway Souvenir

(Cedar Rapids, IA 04/29/2011)—After a one week weather delay, Hawkeye Downs Speedway opened its 86th season of racing on Friday night with a mix of old and new divisions. Drivers will once again compete for points in the Papa John’s Cup/I-Wireless Championship Series.

A revamped Coca-Cola Sportsmen division, modeled after the ASA Sportsmen Series car, along with weekly appearances by the McGrath Powersports Legends join Performance Concepts Late Models, Budweiser Modifieds, Barron Motor Supply Hobby Stocks, and Sunline Hornets in 2011.


Nathan Ballard picked up right where he left off from the 2010 season, scoring both heat and feature wins in the Barron Motor Supply Hobby Stocks. Ballard, the defending division champion, started inside row two and chased Roland Bohnsack for the first nine circuits before lapped traffic closed the gap between the two and Ballard was able to make a pass. Bohnsack stayed on Ballards’ bumper through the remainder of the 15-lap feature but couldn’t draw close enough to challenge for the lead.

 Matt Petrzelka, a familiar name from the Two-Man Cruiser ranks finished third while former Hornet driver Dakota Dains was fourth. Scott Siems crossed the stripe in fifth.


The new Coca-Cola Sportsmen division was inspired by the ASA Sportsmen division which appeared at Hawkeye Downs in 2010 and is also slated for an appearance this season. The cars, which resemble cars from last year’s Stock Car division, run on the quarter-mile and while interest is strong not many cars are ready yet.

Friday night saw a familiar name in a familiar looking car win both the heat and feature for the new division. Cory Houdek started outside the front row and had little trouble building a commanding lead early in the race. Caution slowed the action on lap 8 when the number 87 car of Al Jarvis spun.

When racing resumed Houdek again pulled away from the pack with Dave Ballstaedt his closest pursuer. Ballstaedt did narrow the gap in the final laps but Houdek prevailed for the inaugural win in the division. Ballsteadt, Greg Hentrich, and Jarvis completed the running order. Malena Betzer was scheduled to start the feature but didn’t make the start.


After running several successful events at Hawkeye Downs in 2010, the McGrath PowerSports INEX Legends are part of the weekly program in 2011. A core group of regular drivers is expected each week with many other drivers dropping in to race from time to time.

Friday night’s action saw a pair of Minnesota based drivers dominate the action. Elko Speedway driver Tim Brockhouse led the opening laps of the 30-lap Legends feature before LeSueur, Minnesota driver Kyle Hansen took the point just past the halfway mark. Those two held the first two positions until the checkered flag with Warren Ropp of Kalona finishing third. Ropp was instrumental in bringing the division to Hawkeye Downs.

Marty Diercks, who ran in the late model division at Hawkeye Downs a number of years ago, crossed the stripe in fourth while Ben Schaitel, a LaCrosse, WI area driver finished in fifth.


Just because Tim Plummer picked up a relatively easy feature win in Budweiser Modifieds Friday night doesn’t necessarily mean the 2011 title will be his. Plummer is planning on running some dates on the ASA Tour in a late model so he will miss some Friday night’s at Hawkeye Downs this season. One driver that figures to challenge for the title is a familiar name- Brian Gibson. The Cedar Rapids firefighter chased Plummer for much of the race after passing Ryan Luedtke to take the second slot. Luedtke finished third while Craig Bender and Arlo Becker filled out the top of the order.


The Sunline Hornets division is back in 2011 and so apparently is “team Chandler.”  Brad Chandler took the lead early and survived some early cautions to secure his first win of the season Friday night. However, Chandler did say during the Victory Lane interview that he might be competing elsewhere some nights this season which keeps the championship up for grabs for a host of other drivers, including his brothers Nate and Dallas.

Finishing behind Brad Chandler Friday night were Derek Parrott, Nate Chandler, Dallas Chandler and Jamie Witham.


Kyle Hinrichs of Swisher ran a strong first half of the 30-lap Performance Concepts Late Model Feature before Joey Gase of Cedar Rapids snagged the lead at the halfway mark and then pulled away from the pack to score an emotional win. Gase recently lost his mother, Mary, and this win was certainly in her honor. He also carries a tribute to her on the car.

Hinrichs maintained his hold on second to the checkers while Brad Osborn finished third. West Des Moines driver Mason Mitchell crossed the stripe in fourth with Travis Thompson also recording a top-five finish.

Racing returns next Friday night as Innovative Signs presents action in the Papa John’s Cup/I-Wireless Championship Series.








HEAT- 1. Nathan Ballard, Marengo; 2. Matt Petrzelka, Cedar Rapids; 3.Roland Bohnsack, Clutier; 4.Dakota Dains, Marion; 5.Jeremy Robbins, Swisher; 6.Dan Remsburg, McCallsburg; 7.Frank Auen, Cedar Rapids; 8.Scott Siems, Cedar Rapids.

FEATURE (15 laps) - 1.Ballard 2.Bohnsack 3.Petrzelka 4.Dains 5.Siems 6.Robbins 7.Remsburg 8. Auen



HEAT-1.Cory Houdek, Marion; 2.Dave Ballstaedt, Marion; 3.Greg Hentrich, Hiawatha; 4. Al Jarvis, Center Point  DNS-Malena Betzer, Cedar Rapids

FEATURE (20 laps) - 1.Houdek 2.Ballstaedt 3.Hentrich 4.Jarvis 5. Betzer



HEAT-1. Tim Brockhouse, Elko, MN; 2.Marty Diercks, Bettendorf; 3.Warren Ropp, Kalona; 4.Kyle Hanson, LeSeur, MN; 5.Ben Schaitel, LaCrosse, WI; 6.Al Diercks, Davenport; 7.Matt Blake, Cedar Rapids; 8.Brogan Fiala, Fairfax; 9.Bryce Bailey, Cedar Rapids

FEATURE (30 laps) 1. Hansen 2.Brockhouse 3.Ropp 4.Marty Diercks 5.Schaitel 6.Al Diercks 7.Fiala 8.Bailey 9.Blake


HEAT- 1. Tim Plummer, Cedar Rapids; 2.Brian Gibson, Cedar Rapids; 3.Ryan Luedtke, Norway; 4. Craig Bender, Cedar Rapids; 5.Arlo Becker, Norway; 6.Jason Beauregard, Cedar Rapids; 7. Tim Dains, Marion; 8.Jim Dixon, Cedar Rapids

FEATURE (20 laps) 1.Plummer 2.Gibson 3.Luedtke 4.Bender 5.Becker 6.Beauregard 7.Dains DNS- Dixon


HEAT 1-1. Hallie Hanson, Marion; 2.Jamie Witham, Cedar Rapids; 3.Jose Dejesus, Cedar Rapids; 4.Derek Parrott, Marion; 5.Todd Ness, Cedar Rapids; 6.Steve Miedke, Cedar Rapids; 7.Prestin Witham, Cedar Rapids; 8.Jacob McVay, Cedar Rapids

HEAT 2- 1.Brad Chandler, Cedar Rapids; 2.Nate Chandler, Cedar Rapids; 3.Dallas Chandler, Cedar Rapids; 4.Casey Bilden, Cedar Rapids; 5.James Yochum; 6.Aaron Jarvis, Center Point; 7. James Stevens, Cedar Rapids; 8. Joe Bean, Cedar Rapids; DNS- Kurt Bohnsack, Iowa City

FEATURE (30 laps) 1. Brad Chandler 2. Parrott 3. Nate Chandler 4.Dallas Chandler 5.Jamie Witham 6.Miedke 7.DeJesus 8. Ness 9.Bilden 10.Stevens 11.Bean 12.Prestin Witham 13.Hanson 14.McVay 15.Yochum 16.Aaaron Jarvis DNS- Bohnsack



HEAT 1- 1. Brad Osborn, Janesville; 2.Joey Gase, Cedar Rapids; 3.Andy Edwards, New Hartford; 4. Mason Mitchell, West Des Moines; 5. Travis Thompson, Cedar Rapids; 6. Scott Siems, Cedar Rapids

HEAT 2- 1. Kyle Hinrichs, Swisher; 2.Justin Jennings, LaGrange, MO 3. Chad Siems, Shellsburg 4.Brian Allen, Hiawatha; 5.Tucker Cory, Quincy, IL; 6.Jay Jaspers, Steamboat Rock

FEATURE (30 laps) 1. Gase 2.Hinrichs 3.Osborn 4.Mitchell 5. Thompson 6.Allen 7. Chad Siems 8.Jaspers 9. Scott Siems 10. Jennings 11. Edwards 12. Cory