Tuesday, April 11, 2023

1981 – Moyer captures ‘Spring Fever’ at Cedar Rapids

The Moyers, Bill Jr. (left) and Bill Sr., had plenty of reason to smile after Bill Jr. drove to victory in the Spring Fever Opener at Hawkeye Downs Speedway.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (April 11, 1981) – Despite threatening skies, the second annual Spring Fever season opener was held Saturday night at Hawkeye Downs Speedway with a pair of Des Moines, Iowa, drivers and a brother combo from Omaha, Neb., providing the fans most of the thrills.

Billy Moyer Jr. won the late model feature race when he took over from fellow townsman Don Hoffman midway through the 50-lap feature when Hoffman fell out of the action with mechanical issues.

Hoffman had passed both Moyer and Steve Keppler of Marion, Iowa on lap 10 to take the lead. He paced the 25-car field for the next 19 laps before heading to the sidelines.

Meanwhile, the Kosiski brothers were working their way through the field of cars. Older brother Joe started eighth and younger brother Steve had started in ninth. Late in the race they began a charge after Moyer, but ran out of time and laps, finishing second and third respectively.

Keppler took fourth place and Gary Webb of Davenport, Iowa, rounded out the top five.

When Hoffman took the lead, passing both Moyer and Keppler, the most surprised person of all was Moyer.

“I knew he was going to have to try the high groove sooner or later,” Moyer said. “I was running second and I sure wasn’t going to try it. I figured as soon as I got up high and made a move, I’d be running third. Then, Don flew by us both and I’d knew I’d better get outside or forget it.”

Hoffman built a five-second lead by lap 14 when action was red-flagged after Tim Murray of Des Moines and Ken DeGood of Hills, Iowa, collided in turn three.

On the restart, Moyer became glued to Hoffman’s bumper and the pair roared off a seven second lead over Keppler, who held down the third spot at the time.

On lap 29, Hoffman slowed leaving turn four, pulling abruptly into the infield, retiring for the night. Moyer steadily pulled away from the field, building his lead to eight seconds over Keppler by lap 31.

Steve Kosiski took over second place on lap 33 and his brother Joe followed into third place a couple of laps later. They closed the gap between themselves and Moyer but could not mount a serious challenge in the final 16 laps of the race.

Defending champion Leon Plank of Eau Claire, Wis., had a rough night, falling out of his heat race with mechanical issues, missing the semi-feature while undergoing repairs and then exiting the main event after only six laps. Plank was added to the feature as a champion’s provisional.

Despite heavy rains in the area for two days prior to the race, the track held up well under the onslaught of cars and an estimated 2,200 fans were on hand to witness the action.

Results –

Heat #1 – Johnny Johnson, Morning Sun
Heat #2 – Steve Keppler, Marion
Heat #3 – Billy Moyer Jr., Des Moines
Semi-main – Ken Walton, Viola
Feature –
1. Billy Moyer Jr.
2. Steve Kosiski, Omaha
3. Joe Kosiski, Omaha
4. Steve Keppler
5. Gary Webb, Davenport
6. Johnny Johnson
7. Bill Zwanziger Waterloo
8. Ray Guss Sr., Milan, Ill.
9. Gary Crawford, Independence
10.Dennis Hovinga, Pocahontas
11.Lance Matthees, Winona, Minn.
12.Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
13.Rick Wendling, Hazelton
14.R.J. Bruggeman, Dubuque
15.Ken Walton
16.Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
17.Don Hoffman, Des Moines
18.Greg Hunter, Independence
19.Ken DeGood, Hills, Iowa
20.Denny Miller, Cedar Rapids
21.Ron Prochnow, Menomonie, Wis.
22.Ron Jackson, Burlington
23.Gary Henderson, Independence
24.Tim Murray, Des Moines
25.Leon Plank, Eau Claire, Wis.

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