Wednesday, September 14, 2011

1980 - West Virginian wins finale at Hawkeye Downs

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 14, 1980) - Rodney Combs of Lost Creek, W.Va., slipped past Leon Plank of Eau Claire, Wis., on the home stretch of the 100th and final lap to capture the third annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic Sunday night in the Winston NASCAR Racing Series season finale at Hawkeye Downs Speedway.

It was the second win at the Downs this year for the 30-year old Combs, who pocketed a check for $5,000 with the win.

The 12-year racing veteran, who had coasted to a first-place finish in the Miller 100 earlier this year, battled 29 other drivers in his run to the checkered flag in his third trip of the summer to Cedar Rapids.

Lisbon's Roger Dolan, driving a new black Olds, took an early lead and held his first-place position for 48 laps before Plank sidestepped both Dolan and Combs on the first turn of lap 49.

By the 78th lap, Plank had built up a fairly comfortable lead and it looked like the Wisconsin veteran was headed for the pay station when Combs, who was running fourth at the time, started to make his move. He passed Waterloo's Dick Schiltz and the veteran Dolan to move into second place.

It was then a cat-and-mouse chase, with Plank holding the lead until the 94th lap when Combs put on his spectacular last-ditch effort.

The two out-of-state drivers were running side by side with just two laps to go and when the white flag was dropped. It remained that way until Combs put on the afterburners to sneak by the startled Plank on the final leg of the race.

Wilton's Tom Hearst, the Downs regular season point leader, finished tenth and Waterloo, Iowa veteran Ed Sanger checked in at the number twelve spot.

Results -

Heat one: Kevin Gundaker, St. Louis, Mo.
Heat two: Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
Heat three: Dick Potts, Morocco, Ind.
Heat four: Don Hoffman, Des Moines, Iowa
Heat five: John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
Heat Six: Leon Plank, Eau Claire, Wis.
Consolation: Dave Chase, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Feature —
1. Rodney Combs, Lost Creek, W.Va.
2. Leon Plank, Eau Claire, Wis.
3. Roger Dolan, Lisbon, Iowa
4. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
5. Kevin Gundaker, St. Louis, Mo.
6. Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
7. Dave Chase, Council Bluffs, Iowa
8. Kenny Walton, Viola, Iowa
9. Rusty Wallace, St. Louis, Mo.
10. Tom Hearst, Wilton, Mo.
11. Dick Potts, Morocco, Ind.
12. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa

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