Halstead, Howes, Mather become new winners at Lee County

Sam Halstead won his first IMCA Sunoco Late Model feature of the season Friday at Lee County Speedway. (Photo by MF Photography)

By Brian Neal

DONNELLSON, Iowa (July 23) – After having a week off for the fair and another week off thanks to mother nature, Lee County Speedway was able to get back to racing action on Friday. Conn Communications provided all fans going into the grandstands a chance to take in the night’s racing action for only $3, with many fans taking advantage of the discounted prices. 

At the end of the night the great crowd on hand got to witness three drivers earn their first win of the season at the track, while two others continued their winning ways.

Up first on the night was the Mach-1 Sport Compact feature, with Justin Stevenson and Patrick McKasson leading the field to green. Fourth place starter Kaycee McGregor grabbed the lead over Stevenson and Luke Fraise. The race was slowed for the first and only time by a yellow on lap three. 

On the restart, McGregor jumped back out front, but now had Kimberly Abbott, who started eighth, and Brandon Reu, who started ninth, following her. Reu worked past Abbott for the runner-up spot on lap six and went to work on McGregor.

Coming out of turn four to complete lap nine, McGregor drifted too high, which allowed Reu to shoot under her for the lead. Reu then held off McGregor over the final laps to claim his fifth win of the season at the track. Abbott was third. 

The IMCA Modified feature was up next, with Austin Howes and Cody Bowman making up the front row. Howes took advantage of his starting spot to grab the lead over Dennis LaVeine and Jeff Waterman.

Action up front was slowed on lap three when LaVeine slowed with troubles to bring out the yellow. On the restart Howes jumped back out front, with Waterman and Mitch Boles close behind. Howes, who was working the bottom of the track, had to work to hold off Waterman, who was running the top of the track, over the next five laps.

After the second and final caution appeared on lap 10, Howes again grabbed the lead on the restart, with Waterman and Boles still following. While Howes paced the field out front, Mark Burgtorf, who started 10th, was working his way up to challenge him for the lead.

Coming to the white flag, Burgtorf was able to pull up to Howes’ back bumper, but Howes was able to hold him off to pick up his first win of the season at Lee County Speedway. Waterman was third.

When Beau Taylor elected to start at the tail for the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature, it moved Chad Krogmeier to the front row alongside Peter Stodgel. Krogmeier moved into the lead over Jake Wenig and Jerry Jansen. On an early restart, Wenig grabbed the lead with John Oliver Jr. following him into the runner-up spot. 

The lead for Wenig lasted until lap four, when Oliver got under him. While most of the field followed Oliver around the bottom of the track, Mather, who was sent to the rear from the contact on lap 1, went to the top of the track to try and work himself back up front. The move paid off as he climbed his way into third on lap 11, when his momentum was slowed by the final yellow.

Oliver moved back out front, with Mather overtaking Wenig for the runner-up spot. Oliver and Mather raced laps 13, 14 and 15 side-by-side, with Mather being scored the leader on lap 15. Oliver tried to work back under Mather over the final laps, but Mather was able to hold him off to score his first win of the season at the track. Chris Wibbell was third.

Ray Raker and Sam Halstead led the field to the drop of the green in the IMCA Sunoco Late Model feature, with Halstead grabbing the lead over Raker and Matt Strassheim. While Halstead set the pace out front, Mark Burgtorf was slowly working his way towards the front. 

On lap nine, Burgtorf was able to take over the runner up spot and then went to work to cut into Halstead’s lead. Coming to the white flag, Burgtorf pulled up to Halstead’s back bumper. But Halstead held him off to claim his first win of the season at Lee County. Strassheim was third.

The final feature to take to the track on the night was the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod main, with Dave Kraus and Josh Holtman on the front row. Jadin Fuller jumped into the lead over Tom Bowling Jr. and Brandon Lambert. Fuller held the top spot until lap three, when Bowling got by him. 

Fuller came back on the next lap to regain the top spot, staying there until lap six, when Austen Becerra, who started 10th, edged him at the line.

Just after the lap was scored complete, back-to-back cautions appeared. Becerra jumped back out front, with Sean Wyett and Fuller following. Just as Becerra started to enter heavy lapped traffic, the third caution of the race appeared. Becerra again grabbed the lead on the restart, with Wyett and Fuller close behind. One more lap was scored when another caution came out.

Becerra would move back out front, with Wyett and Fuller close behind. Wyett tried to challenge Becerra over the final laps, but Becerra was able to hold him off for his fifth win of the season at the track. Fuller was third.

Coming up next Saturday, July 31, will be the sixth round of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and Hinkle Auto Sales Drive For 5 qualifying nights, presented by Ideal Ready Mix, Floyd’s Waste Systems, J.J. Nichting Company Case IH, Triple Seven Trucking, Woodworth Attorney at Law, Triple R Performance Engines, Old Barn Taxidermy, Mike Campbell’s Body Shop & Towing, Donnellson Tire & Service, KQ92, and Big Country 103.1. Both the IMCA Sunoco Late Models and IMCA Modifieds will be racing for $1,000 to win, while the Late Models have a possibility to race for $1,250 to win with the Sunoco Race Fuels $250 bonus up for grabs.

Gates open at 4:30 p.m. with hot laps at 6 p.m. and racing to follow.