Wednesday, September 27, 2023

1980 – Gundaker takes Cornhusker – Hawkeye Challenge

Kevin Gundaker won the annual Cornhusker-Hawkeye Challenge at the Shelby County Fairgrounds. Gundaker is joined by promoter John Beaman in victory lane.


Harlan, Iowa (September 27, 1980) – Shelby County Speedway closed its books on another season, Saturday night, with the successful Cornhusker- Hawkeye Challenge Cup feature event.

The 75-lap feature was won by Kevin Gundaker of St. Louis. The main event was run with only one caution flag.

Mike Niffenegger of Kalona took the early lead from his outside front row starting position. On the ninth lap, Dave Chase of Council Bluffs took over the lead until the 19th lap when he got caught in some slower traffic, and in the process of trying to get around them, suffered a flat tire.

At this point, Niffenegger regained the lead and held it until lap 55 when Gundaker passed him on the low side. Niffenegger took the lead one more time on lap 58 but Gundaker passed him on the next lap and held the lead the rest of the way.

Niffenegger pushed him for the top spot on lap 61 until his motor let go, thus ending his chances of being the second driver in the history of the event to win it a second time.

Gundaker proceeded to lap the rest of the field except second-place Billy Moyer of Des Moines. Dick Schiltz of Waterloo was third, followed by Ken Walton of Viola and Tom Hearst of Wilton.

Don Hoffman of Des Moines finished sixth after starting in the last row. Hoffman started there because of some bad luck in his heat and the consolation. He lost a tire in the heat and suffered from a broke axle in the consolation. He later found a cracked head on his motor which necessitated a trip back to Des Moines overnight to replace it. A second-place finish in last year’s race guaranteed Hoffman a spot in the feature even if he failed to qualify for this year’s main event.

Results –

1. Kevin Gundaker, St. Louis, Mo.
2. Billy Moyer Jr., Des Moines
3. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo
4. Ken Walton, Viola
5. Tom Hearst, Wilton
6. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
7. Em Fretheim, Decorah
8. Bill Martin, Council Bluffs
9. Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
10.Kenny Fenn, Washington
11.Rob Taylor, Fremont, Neb.
12.Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
13.Keith Leithoff, Omaha, Neb.
14.Pat Wancewicz, Omaha, Neb.
15.Bill Beckman, Monticello
16.Craig Spetman, Council Bluffs
17.Al Humphrey, Giltner, Neb.
18.Steve Keppler, Marion
19.Terry Buresh, Bellevue, Neb.
20.Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
21.Willy Kraft, Lakefield, Minn.
22.Dave Chase, Council Bluffs
23.Steve Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
24.Mike Niffenegger, Kalona
25.Rocky Hodges, Des Moines
26.Gary Hopp, Harlan
27.Kent Tucker, Aurora, Neb.
28.Glen Robey, Omaha, Neb.

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