Harker, Grossenbacher, Kiihne, Cronin & Grabouski win on Driver Appreciation Nighteagle
by Greg Soukup
Eagle Raceway’s annual Driver Appreciation Night, presented by Great Clips, was held Saturday night. Despite the long morning rains, Eagle’s crack track prep crew worked the track to be sure that the 167 teams on site had a place to race and to give the overflow crowd a fabulous night of racing.
The heats and preliminary features were held without significant happenings.
The Hoosier Tire IMCA Sport Modified Feature saw Trevor Noonan lead lap #1 in the 66 followed by the 35 of Kevin Kloke, Ken Eckhoff’s 5 and the 18 of Dion Kovar. Eckhoff passed Kloke for second on lap 2 as Trent Roth moved up to fourth in the 14T. Roth wasted no time and snagged the lead on lap 3, moving Noonan to second, Eckhoff to third and Kloke to fourth. Lance Borgman’s 76 stopped in turn 4 after heavy contact to the engine compartment and ended up being towed to his pit on lap #4. Lap 6 saw Shawn Harker jump up to third in the 40 as Kloke held onto fourth. Joe Feyen put the 25X into fourth the next time around and Harker passed Eckhoff for second after another circuit. Lap 9 saw Troy Sanford’s #12 stop in turn 4. Feyen moved up to third with 9 to go and Harker snagged the top spot 3 laps later as Matthew Andrews’ 22A took fourth. Andrews moved up to third with 3 to go making the final top 4 Harker, Roth, Andrews and Feyen.
This was Harker’s 3rd Eagle Raceway victory on the year. Harker said “The track was as good as could be expected. It was a little rough, but with all of the rain that we’ve had lately, and it raining this morning, it is what it is. I know that Roger can only do so much with it. I had to come from the B Feature. I started 14th in that and then started 16th in the A. The A was good though. We had 2 cautions, so I had the chance to make my way up through there and I got some breaks when I needed them. The crew gave me a good car tonight. I want to thank Speedway Engines, Speedway Shocks, Zach Woods and Kyle Vanouver at Speedway Motors for helping sponsor my equipment. Also Tex Cattle, Patriot Crane and Rigging, Jet Race Cars and Lakeside Landscaping who came on board this year. We’ll be back here next week and hopefully do it again”.
The Valentino’s IMCA Hobby Stock A lap #1 was led by the 115 of Albert Kiihne with Brett Saathoff’s 11B and the 01 of Allyn Shiveley close behind. Shiveley got past Saathoff on lap 3, but gave the spot back on lap 7. The next lap saw Roy Armstrong’s 6R end up with its right side tires on top of the 16T of Tyler Saathoff
in turn 2. When it was finally brought down on all four wheels it had to be taken to the pits but Tyler was able to continue. There were 8 laps left when Jeff Ware put the 83 into third. 3 laps later Ware slipped badly, allowing Brett Saathoff to regain third temporarily before Ware took the spot back the next lap. The final circuit saw Ware move up to second and Jeff Watts grab fourth making the top 4 Kiihne, Ware, Shiveley and Watts.
This was Kiihne’s first Eagle Raceway win. “This was a lot of fun. I’m the mechanic for all 3 of these cars (the 02, 04 and 115). Last week I was driving Chantel Bade’s 02, but this week I was back in my own ride. It was nice to start out front, and I’m just glad to win. I don’t have any sponsors; it’s just me” stated Kiihne. Hopefully, this win will lead to someone stepping up and helping him out.
Next was the A Main for the Kaplan University IMCA Modifieds. The first car back to the flag stand on lap 1 was Justin Wulf’s 86. Jeff Schroyer put the 007 into fourth on lap 2 and moved to third the next lap with Bob Zoubek advancing the 5S to fourth. Jordan Grabouski passed Zoubek after another lap with Tracy Harr getting past Wulf on lap 5 to put the 5T into first. 1 more circuit saw Grabouski snag second moving Schroyer to third and putting Wulf fourth. Wulf lost his spot to Zoubek after another lap. Grabouski took over the lead with 9 to go as Chad Andersen leapt past Schroyer and Wulf to take third, putting Schroyer into fourth. Zoubek again moved past Schroyer 2 laps later. Schroyer and another racer tangled in turn 3 with 4 laps left to bring out a caution. Andersen used the restart to move up to second with Zoubek following him into third the next time around. The final top 4 were Grabouski, Andersen, Zoubek and Harr.
“We didn’t have any plans. Usually on Memorial Day we have plans to go to the lake or something, but I had to work today. My guys wanted to go racing, so I asked them where they wanted to go and they said ‘Let’s go to Eagle’. We didn’t have any idea that it was driver appreciation night or anything, so we pulled into the gate and saw all of the people and thought “This is crazy!”. It’s really cool to see this many people here. The track was definitely challenging tonight, but that’s nobody’s fault but Mother Nature. I want to thank everybody who helps me out. All of the guys on my crew wanted to go race. It’s always fun when you win, so it all worked out great” stated Grabouski.
The Mountain Dew Kick Start IMCA Sport Compacts Feature had Shawn Hein’s 5H, the 42G of Kyle Grobeck, Larry Cronin in the 70SS and Erica Krichau’s 30 the top 4 after 1 circuit. Larry Cronin jumped up to first on lap 2 and Erica Cronin took over the third spot on lap 4. There were 8 laps left when Zach Bohlmeyer looped the 24Z on the back stretch. Cole Krichau took over the fourth spot on the restart and jumped up to second the next time around. Grobeck stopped in turn 4 the next lap. Hein moved back to fourth on the restart, but hit the implement tire guarding the back stretch pit entrance VERY hard with 3 to go. The 5H ended up flipping and spinning to a halt in turn 3 with severe damage. Hein climbed from his racer under his own power. That put the 32 of Spencer Pavey III into fourth. The top four ended up being Larry Cronin, Cole Krichau, Erica Krichau and Pavey III.
2 weeks ago Larry was leading the A Feature and with 2 laps left he made contact with a slowing car who was attempting to get to the infield. Cronin ended up flipping and smashing into the turn 1 wall. This week he had more of a challenge, but ended up with the win. Cronin stated “The car was actually in better shape than the week that I rolled it, so I was really happy with it tonight. I noticed the hole down in turn 1, but I avoided it so everything was okay. Otherwise the track was great. I want to thank my sponsor, Larry’ s Auto Recycler and Moonlight Ranch for letting us park our vehicles out there. Of course, I have to thank all of my crew. We’ve got 7 cars out here this year, so it’s a battle just keeping them going. It’s just Cole and I that keep them all going”.
The finale was the A Feature for the Racesaver IMCA Sprint Cars. Tyler Drueke’s 12 and the 03 of Shayle Bade made contact in turn 3 on the initial lap, sending Drueke flipping into turn 4. As the red lights were lit Matt Richards was slowing to stop the 1R and had a used spindle break. The front end dug in and sent him flipping in turn 1. When a lap was finally in the books the 17 of Dan Satriano, Gene Ackland’s 14G, the 35 of Trevor Grossenbacher and Shon Pointer’s 20P were the top 4. Ackland moved to the lead on lap 2. Lap 4 saw Grossenbacher take over second. Pointer advanced to third on lap 9 as Grossenbacher moved to the lead. The next lap saw Joey Danley put the #14 into fourth. Pointer took over the third spot with 11 laps remaining. The final change in the top 4 came with 8 to go as Danley moved up to second, making the final top 4 Grossenbacher, Danley, Pointer and Ackland.
Grossenbacher said “We’re finally on a roll. The season started out kind of slow for us, but now it’s picking up. Hopefully it will carry over to the Sprint Series of Nebraska show Sunday. We haven’t had the best luck at that track, but maybe we can knock that one off of the list. A lot of people don’t like the track the way it was tonight here, but that’s my favorite kind of track. It was rough and fast, and I like that! You have to just pony up and go. Even with the rain Roger does a great job of giving us a good track every night. Two weeks ago I told him we need to have more tracks like that, and we lucked out, having another one tonight. That fits my driving style, so it worked out good”. Grossenbacher’s sponsors include Lincoln.org, Lincoln Winnelson, Stop and Shop, SkyTop Towers and WC’s South.
Next weekend is Student Burn Out Night, sponsored by Budweiser. Happy D Klown will be there from 5:30 to 7:30 for the kids and Celerion will be in the courtyard. After the regular racing is complete, there will be school bus races! All 5 regular classes will be there competing. The Racesaver IMCA Sprints, Kaplan University IMCA Modifieds, Hoosier Tire IMCA Sport Modifieds, Valentino’s IMCA Hobby Stocks and Mountain Dew IMCA Sport Compacts will be there as usual. Front gates open at 5:15, hot laps kick off at 5:30 and racing will start at 6:30. Adult admission is only $10, youths 6-12 are $5 and children 5 and under are free.
Pit gates open at 4:00 with pit passes being $25.
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