With Mother Nature finally cooperating, race fans flocked to Mineral City here Sunday for opening night of the 2013 season.
Despite heavy rains soaking the area again on Friday and Saturday, the track was deemed solid enough to compete on thanks to sunny skies and 80-plus degree temperatures yesterday.
Wet grounds forced postponements in the previous four weeks before Father's Day, which also doubled as Kids Night.
Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Boone’s Eric Elliott takes first in Heat 2 of the Limited Modifieds on Sunday at Mineral City Speedway. For more photos, please visit CU?at www.messengernews.net
Nearly 750 spectators - 500 in the stands and 250 in the pits - attended the first event of the year. A total of 48 cars participated in the field.
"We still haven't had a chance to work the track to get it the way we want it, but it's going to take some warm, dry weather to kind of firm things up," co-owner and track promoter Kit Hovey said. "(Race director) Chuck (Crimmins) feels the track is in pretty good shape right now. Two weeks ago, it was kind of like Play-Doh. You could work it all you want, which is called pumping in the business, but if we forced the issue, it would've created bigger problems.
"It's frustrating for everyone involved, but you've got to live with it and deal with it. I farm, run a construction company and a race track, so if I let the weather bother me, I'd probably be in a home somewhere."
MINERAL CITY SPEEDWAY
1. Nate Evans, Fort Dodge; 2. Joe DeBoer, Fort Dodge; 3. Mike McFarland, Clare; 4. Denny Sassman Jr.; 5. Gary Carlson, Fort Dodge; 6. Kalan Guthrie, Fort Dodge; 7. Scotty McNeil, Fort Dodge; 8. Nick Hogan, Barnum.
1. Butch Peterson, Otho; 2. Jason Roper, Paton; 3. Brad Babb, Fort Dodge.
1. Cody Nielsen, Fort Dodge; 2. Myles Michehl, Fort Dodge; 3. Cory Roe, Webster City; 4. Jeremy Morriss, Clare; 5. Matt Mundt, Callender; 6. Kevin Berger, Otho; 7. Jack Marsh, Fort Dodge; 8. Colby Davis, Lake City; 9. Justin Patterson, Fort Dodge; 10. Jeff Lyon, Duncombe.
1. Eric Elliott, Boone; 2. Jeried Ratzke, Williams; 3. Logan Scott, Odebolt; 4. Brandon Toftee, Webster City; 5. Keagan Scott, Odebolt; 6. Rocky Caudle, Webster City; 7. Donovon Kerrebeck, Sac City; 8. Cody Wirt, Otho; 9. Gerald Curry, Lu Verne.
1. Lance Deal, Fort Dodge; 2. Jeff Deal, Fort Dodge; 3. Calvin Lange, Humboldt; 4. Randy Watnem, Humboldt.
1. Brad Williams, Lytton; 2. Brett Meyer, Lytton; 3. Curt Badker, Clear Lake; 4. Bill Crimmins, Fort Dodge; 5. Cole Hall, Sheffield; 6. Jason Minnehan, Churdan; 7. Devon Havlik, Iowa Falls; 8. Ron Pope, Mason City; 9. Randy Havlik, Waukee.
This season marks the first time Mineral City has hosted races on Sunday evenings, which is a positive change according to Hovey.
"I really do think the move to Sunday nights will be a good one for us," said Hovey. "Six other race tracks (within a 100-mile radius of MCS) race on Friday nights, and two others on Sunday nights. It takes cars to draw a crowd, and if you split them up seven ways, I just don't believe there's enough to go around.
"Several people told me (last night) that next week they're going to bring their cars, so I know (the car count) will pick up."
Hornets, Econo Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Stock Cars and A and B Modifieds are all being featured weekly. Pits open at 4 p.m. - an hour earlier than in the past. Hot laps follow at 6 p.m.
Hovey appreciates the backing from loyal racing enthusiasts.
"We've had people come out (to MCS) and volunteer their time to do some painting, and I thank the community for all their support," Hovey said. "The most important part is the fans. Without them, none of this would even be possible."
Other special events set for later this summer include Bike Night (July 21) and the annual Bruce Sommerfeld Memorial (Sept. 20-21). The season points championship will be determined on Aug. 25.