CORNING — Scattered thunderstorms in the area dodged the Adams County Speedway, allowing the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series to start off the season with four consecutive nights of racing action.
Chris Spieker, Jon Plowman, and Ryan Peckham all captured their second win in the young season, while Joe Zadina got his first win and Dusty Van Horn, a relative newcomer to the track, took home the trophy in his hobby stock feature.
The speedway phone rang constantly as anxious race fans checked to see if racing would actually happen at ACS when downpours criss-crossed southwest Iowa, but the track was spared and racing ensued.
Eighteen Chat Mobility hobby stocks staged for their feature event with Walnut’s Kurt Hansen pacing the first five laps until last week’s winner, Luke Ramsey, buzzed by on the inside. Ramsey’s time out front was short lived when Dusty Van Horn, a 33-year-old driver out of Atlantic, took the lead just before the half-way point.
Van Horn’s lead was never slowed by the caution flag, as he finished just more than a second ahead of Glenwood’s Tom Myers. Hansen followed in third, with Ramsey and defending champion Jeremy Purdy rounding out the top five. With four points nights in the books, Purdy holds a slim seven-point margin over Andy Davison with Tom Myers just three points further back in third.
Next on the track were the Stalker Chevrolet b-mods for their 15 lap feature. Defending champion Jon Plowman from Woodbine needed just three laps to take the helm after starting inside on the fourth row. But Clearfield’s Cody Werner, who had started on the outside of the front row was not about to let Plowman run away and hide.
With the field bunched by cautions on laps 10, 11, and 12, Werner was poised to take the lead should Plowman stumble, but ended the race still .07 seconds behind the leader.
Cumberland’s Darrin Hardisty had his best finish of the year coming in third, followed by Red Oak’s Jerod Weston and Creston’s Shawn Kralik. Weston holds a 16-point lead over Plowman in the championship chase with Hardisty four points further back in third.
The Northland Oil pro-stock field has suffered with smaller car counts this year, but that hasn’t taken anything away from the on-track action. Week-in and week-out, these full-bodied stock cars, most of them piloted by veteran drivers, put on some of the best side-by-side racing.
This week it was Joe Zadina’s turn to hoist the trophy and smile in victory lane. Following a caution on lap number six, Zadina re-started in third, behind Lorimor’s Greg Miller and Bedford’s Brad Derry.
Seeing an opening at the entrance to turn one Zadina drove in hard and emerged on the back stretch with the lead. The Corning driver survived one late race caution and went on to win with Derry just .15 seconds behind. Miller followed in third, still within a second of the leader, with Kevin Sharp and Tony Hardisty in fourth and fifth.
The pro-stock point race is shaping up nicely with Derry in the lead with 95 points, but Sharp, Zadina, and Hardisty all tied for second with 81 points.
It’s been a number of years since Corning graduate Ryan Peckham raced his Poet Biorefining modified at ACS regularly, as his racing program had him focusing on touring series events. This year, Peckham has three starts on Adams County’s big oval and he has two wins and a third place finish to show for his efforts. Starting 12th in a field of 15, he used the very top of the racetrack to his advantage, roaring into the lead just two laps into the race.
The 18 lap feature was interrupted by only one caution flag and in just over nine minutes from start to finish, it was Peckham with the win, followed by Maryville’s Eric Hanna, Stanton’s Jeff James, Corning’s Jesse Dennis and Essex’s Brian Foote. Dennis’s fourth place finish kept him in the current class points lead with Peckham 18 points back in second and Creston’s Todd Van Eaton in third.
Eight-time track champion Chris Spieker may not have had the fastest car on the track for the late model feature race – that car may have been Sterling Perkins’ number 8 machine – but he showed how experience and racing savvy can still get you to victory lane.
On a track where the top groove was the fastest way around, Perkins took the lead on the second circuit and held a comfortable and consistent lead for the first 10 laps.
While Spieker moved into second right behind Perkins, it appeared that passing for the lead would be problematic. A caution on lap 10 gave Spieker the opportunity he needed.
On the restart, Spieker dove low into turn one while Perkins stayed high, drifted up cleanly in front of the younger driver, and emerged with a lead he would never relinquish. A slip by Perkins later allowed two Omaha drivers, Leon Zeitner and Billy Leighton Jr., to move into second and third, with Perkins finishing fourth followed by defending champion Jason O’Brien in fifth.
Spieker’s win brought him within three points of O’Brien as they battle for track and state champion honors. The son/father duo of Justin and Leon Zeitner are third and fourth in the point chase.
May 17 is Iowa State Savings Bank at the speedway with another action filled night of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action. Check out the ACS website at www.acspeedway.com for full results, points standing, and more information.