September 17-19, 2004
Rob Toland was a double winner on Saturday night, September 18 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. After taking the front spot back from Terry Schlipman of Mendon, Ill., on lap 62, Toland stayed in charge to the checkers in the Pepsi USA Late Model Nationals/Susan Pallister Memorial. The $10,000 victory was also more than enough to give the Hillsdale, Ill., driver the Deery Brothers Summer Series’ championship, 42 points ahead of Lonnie Bailey of Quincy, Ill. Schlipman held on for second followed by Brent Slocum of Burlington, Boone McLaughlin of Mediapolis, Iowa, and Jay Johnson of West Burlington, Iowa.
Three drivers earned their first-ever WISSOTA 100 titles Saturday night at Cedar Lake Speedway in Richmond, Wis. The final night of the 19th annual event kicked off under sunny skies and comfortable temperatures with eight races on tap, including the three main events for late models, modifieds and super stocks. Don Drew became the fourth and final leader of a destructive WISSOTA super stock finale that saw multiple caution flags and only 10 of 25 drivers still on the track when the checkered waved. Dave Cain would grab the lead midway through the modified contest and then remain untouchable as he roared to his first career WISSOTA 100 championship. John Kaanta would grab the lead at the beginning of the late model main event and keep the field in his rear-view mirror to score his first WISSOTA 100 championship. A total of 443 cars competed over the four-day weekend.
Denny Eckrich of Tiffin, Iowa, won his second career Yankee Dirt Track Classic on Saturday night at Farley (Iowa) Speedway. Eckrich scored his first “Yankee” victory in 2001. Ray Guss Jr. of Milan, Ill., led the 28-car grid to the green but was involved in an early-race accident that gave the lead to Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky. Francis led until 22nd-starting Dan Schlieper of Pewaukee, Wis., grabbed the top spot. He would lead until lap 64 when Eckrich was able to put his “Flyin’ 50” into the top spot for good. Eckrich would hold off Schlieper’s late race charge to collect the $15,000 top prize. Eckrich and Schlieper were followed to the finish line by Curt Martin of Independence, Iowa, Ron Barker of West Liberty, Iowa, and Brian Harris of Davenport, Iowa.
Cool temperatures produced a heavy racing surface as the IRA Outlaw Sprint Series visited the Dodge County Fairgrounds in Beaver Dam, Wis., for the final time of the 2004 season. Thirty-five cars went after Travis Whitney’s long-standing track record which fell soon after qualifying started when Scott Young shaved over a tenth of a second off the old record. However, Young’s record would be short-lived as Travis Whitney would drop another tenth of a second off to reclaim the record at 16.239 seconds (110.8 mph). In the 25-lap A-main, Mike Reinke would score his fourth IRA win of the season, holding off a hard-charging Whitney at the checkers.
Donny Schatz swept the One-Third Mile Short Track Nationals Saturday night at Eagle (Neb.) Raceway. The Fargo, N.D., driver took the lead on lap 16, and then hold off a trio of drivers to win the 40-lap A-main. Jason Sides and Steve Kinser would fight for the top spot when Sides slightly jumped the cushion, getting his car sideways. Kinser tapped Sides’ machine, allowing Schatz to slide underneath the two drivers for the lead. Schatz would then fight off Kinser, Brian Paulus and Sides to the very end to seal the victory.
By virtue of a tie-breaker, Bill Kirk of Salix, Iowa, was named late model champion at Park Jefferson (S.D.) Speedway on Saturday night. Kirk blew a tire on lap 12 of the championship feature bringing out a yellow. On the green flag restart, Kirk charged from the rear of the pack, giving chase to Greg Golden of Sioux City, Iowa, in search of the point’s title. Cass Burkhart of Salix would win the feature race, but the championship was determined in fourth and fifth place, where Golden and Kirk finished. Their finish created a tie atop the points heap but Kirk, because of his four feature wins compared to Golden’s three feature wins broke the tie-breaker and gave him the championship.
Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., scored his third Xtreme Dirt Car Series main event of the season Saturday pocketing the $10,000 win in the 22nd annual Pepsi Nationals at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. Starting ninth, the “Real Deal” grabbed the lead from Earl Pearson Jr. while working heavy lapped traffic on lap 18 and never looked back, puling out a 25-car length lead at the finish. Matt Miller , who led laps 11 and 12, finished in the runner-up spot while 14th starting Jimmy Mars finished third.
Shelby County Speedway in Harlan, Iowa, held the 13th annual Tiny Lund Memorial on Saturday night and 195 cars reported for five divisions. Barry Sorenson of Harlan would take the lead early on in the IMCA late model feature and lap more than half of the field on his way to an easy victory. Jay Noteboom of Orange City, Iowa, out-dueled Brian Foote of Essex, Iowa, in the final few laps to win the IMCA modified title. Hometown driver Mike Nichols passed David Smith of Lake City, Iowa, with just a few laps remaining to win the IMCA stock car main event. Dustin Smith of Lake City, Iowa, won the IMCA hobby stock contest while Galen Grabill of Harlan score the victory in the pro-am feature.
Damon Murty of Chelsea, Iowa, won the 2nd annual Stocksville Nationals at the Knoxville Raceway on Saturday night. A field of 53 IMCA stock cars were on hand to contest the event. Clayton Deppe jumped from his front-row starting position to take the lead but would spin before exiting turn two, giving the lead to Mike McClure down the backstretch. That would be the only lap McClure would lead as Murty would charge by McClure exiting turn four on the second lap to take the lead - a spot he wouldn’t relinquish for the remaining 23 circuits. Despite a half-dozen cautions, Murty would hold on for the $1,250 pay day. Rick Brown, Jay Schmidt, Cliff Gray and Jarod Weepie rounded out the top five finishers.
Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, captured the $12,000 to win 13th annual Illinois Fall Nationals on the Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Sunday, September 19. The event was co-sanctioned by Xtreme DirtCar Series and United Midwestern Promoters. Stating fourth, Birkhofer roared into second place as the field exited turn two on the first circuit of the 35-lap event. Birkhofer then shot past polesitter Ray Cook on the backstretch of lap 5 and never looked back in winning handily. Darren Miller of Chadwick, Ill., who set a new track record in qualifying (130.203 mph), finished second followed by Steve Shaver, Justin Allgaier and Earl Pearson Jr.