CORNING — For the first time in a number of years the weather cooperated, making for a magnificent night of racing at the Adams County Speedway. Ninety cars signed in at the pit gate in five classes of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action.
Coors Light Silver Bullet late mode defending track and state champion Jason O’Brien started his title defense with a bang, coming from his starting position inside of row four to capture the win. Omaha’s Leon Zeitner led the first 10 laps with Massena’s Chris Spieker battling for the lead until O’Brien muscled his way through traffic to take the lead. O’Brien never looked back dominating the 16-car field for the win. Leon Zeitner finished second, followed by Justin Zeitner, Spieker, and John Hampel.
A long five years had passed since Corning’s Ryan Peckham had visited victory lane at ACS. Peckham had spent the last several years racing in touring series and only occasionally racing in Corning.
On this opening night, Peckham’s Poet Biorefining modified had the field covered. Starting on the pole, he was never challenged, eventually winning the race by a margin exceeding 12 seconds, or nearly half a lap. Creston’s Todd Van Eaton followed in second with Jesse Dennis of Corning, Brian Foote and Blain Petersen, both from Essex, close behind.
The Northland Oil pro-stocks are notoriously the most hard charging, competitive group of drivers to take the track at ACS, and 2014 looks to be no different than the past years. Perennially strong drivers, including eight-time track champion Greg Miller, defending champion Tony Hardisty and past champion Joe Zadina were all on hand to battle for the 18-lap feature event.
At the drop of the green flag by new flagman Jim Tull, defending champion Tony Hardisty used his outside row front row starting spot to lead the first lap, but Bedford’s Brad Derry needed just one more circuit to pass Hardisty and take the lead. Two laps later, Corning’s Joe Zadina got around Hardisty for second. While Zadina was able to post the fastest single lap of the race, he was never able to take the lead from Derry.
At the checkers it was Derry, Zadina and Miller, with Creston’s Kevin Sharp fourth and Hardisty in fifth.
A full field of 24 Stalker Chevrolet b-mods made the call for their feature event and 15 laps of mayhem. As multiple drivers struggled to negotiate the turns, the caution flag was thrown three times before the first three completed laps were on the books. By the end, it was seven total caution periods with only14 of the 24 cars still on the lead lap.
Red Oak’s Jerod Weston took his black and green number 86J to the lead by the end of the second lap and was able to stay ahead of the mayhem for the duration. Defending class champion Jon Plowman was able to move up to second early in the race, but never made a serious play for the lead. A hard-charging Josh Sink managed to move from starting eighth to finish third, followed by Cody Werner and Matt Webb in the top five.
The Chat Mobility hobby stocks had 21 entries for their feature event with Bedford’s Andy Davison leading from flag to flag in the feature event. But the victory was not without its battles, as defending track and national champion Jeremy Purdy was on Davison’s rear bumper for most of the race. A final margin of just a half second separated the two at the finish. Bedford drivers took the top three positions with Luke Ramsey finishing third, followed by Waukee’s Matt McAtee in fourth and Walnut’s Kurt Hansen in fifth.
Racing will resume at the speedway on April 26 with a full night of NASCAR action. Gates open at 5 p.m., with hot laps at 6:30 and racing to follow. A family pass is $25, letting two adults and all the children living in the home into the grandstands,