On Saturday, April 21st 34 Raceway hosted the 10th Annual "Slocum 50", a race that honors the late Bent Slocum. The 2018 event would have a couple of first. The first being, that Brad Steven and Jessi Mynatt, who are the masterminds behind creating the Slocum Foundation and the "Slocum 50" race back in 2009, are now the new owners of 34 Raceway. The second being, that this event was sanctioned by the Midwest Late Model Racing Association (MLRA) for the first time in it's ten year history.
The huge crowd in attendance got to witness 37 Late Models, 19 IMCA Stock Cars, and 17 305 Sprint Cars that signed in to do battle in hopes of putting their name in the history books of winning during the "Slocum 50" race night. Since it's beginning there has only been one repeat winner in the Late Model feature, and that was Bobby Pierce in 2014 and 2016. 2018 continued that streak, as Shannon Babb put his name on the list of winner's of the "Slocum 50". And I do believe Brayden Gaylord and David Brandies also became first time winner's of feature events on "Slocum 50" night.
Chad Simpson got the night started by setting fast time in Group A Late Model qualifying and the overall fast timer, with a time of 15.715 seconds around the 3/8th mile oval. Group B qualifying went to Shannon Babb, who got around the track with a time of 15.722. This would set up the four heat races, in which the top 4 out of the each of them went straight to the feature event....Heat race one saw Chad Simpson use his pole starting spot to his advantage, by grabbing the lead on the drop of the green and then going on to pick up the win. Which also earned him the pole in the 50 lap feature, that paid $10,555 to the winner. Will Vaught started third and crossed the line in 2nd. Jesse Stovall, who started outside the front row, slid back to a 3rd place finish. While Mason Oberkramer took the last qualifying spot in 4th....Heat two pole starter Dave Eckrich grabbed the lead on the drop of the green and never looked back, as he took the checkered flag. Mitch McGrath, who started 3rd, would cross the finish line in 2nd. Payton Looney passed three cars from his sixth place starting spot to come home in 3rd. While Tad Pospisil took the last qualifying spot in 4th....Heat three saw pole starter Shannon Babb shoot out into the lead, and then led all 10 laps to pick up the win. It also earned Babb the outside of the front row for the 50 lap feature. Billy Drake finished 2nd. Jordan Yaggy was 3rd. With Tony Jackson Jr. claiming the 4th and final transfer spot....Heat four saw pole sitter Chris Simpson, who has won two MLRA races in a row and is the defending champion of the "Slocum 50" jump out into the lead and then go on to lead all 10 laps to claim the win. Ryan Unzicker, who won this event back in 2015, crossed the line in 2nd. Frank Heckenast Jr. finished 3rd. While Jason Feger grabbed the 4th and final transfer spot.
Two 12 lap B-Mains were used to determine who the final six, top 3 out of each B-Main, driver's would earn a guaranteed starting spot into the 50 lap "Slocum 50". B-Main number 1 had Joe Godsey lead the field to green, but it was Brian Shirley from the outside of the front row who grabbed the lead on lap 1. Shirley would lead all 12 laps to claim the win. Godsey held on for 2nd, with Jake Neal getting by Raymond Merrill late in the race to earn the third and final transfer spot....B-Main number 2 pole sitter Spencer Diercks grabbed the lead on the drop of the green and never looked back, as he picked up the win. Rob Toland was 2nd. While Kolby Vandenbergh held off several challenges from Tyler Bruening over the final laps to hold on for the third and final transfer spot....Add the two points provisionals, J.C. Wyman and Jeremy Grady, and the three emergency provisionals, Bruening, Jeff Roth and Cole Wells, and the 27 car field was set for the "Slocum 50'.
With all the qualifying events, which included 2 305 Sprint Cars heats and 3 IMCA Stock Car heats, complete it was time to go feature racing. The first to take to the track was the 20 lap 305 Sprint Cars, with Jarrod Schneiderman and Toby Gebhardt drawing the front row. But just as the green flag waved the caution light came on, as Ryan Jamison spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the original restart Harold Pohren got upside in turn 2 and collected Dave Getchell, who tipped on his side to bring out the red flag. At the same time Nick Guernsey slid into the wall off the exit of the track to avoid the wreck. Pohren would climb from his car okay, but done for the night. While Getchell and Guernsey went to the pits to make quick repairs and return to start at the back. The following restart saw Brayden Gaylord, who started 4th, use the top of the track to grab the lead on lap 1 over Schneiderman and Daniel Bergquist, who started 6th. Gaylord was setting such a fast pace out front that by lap 7 he got to the back of the field. which allowed Schneiderman to close to his back bumper. Coming off turn 4 to complete lap 8 Schneiderman looked under Gaylord for the lead, but Schneiderman felt something going wrong and pulled into the infield.
On lap 10, Nathan Murders spun in turn 4 to bring out the caution and slow Gaylord down. On the restart Gaylord jumped back out front, with Gebhardt and Ben Wagoner, who started 7th, now close behind. Once again Gaylord was setting such a fast pace out front, that on lap 17 he came up on the back of the field. This would allow Gebhardt to close in on his back bumper. Gebhardt would look under Gaylord coming off the corners over the final laps. But Gaylord was able to hold him off to claim the win and the $1,000 top prize to go with it. Gebhardt settled for 2nd, Wagoner was 3rd, Bergquist was 4th, with Guernsey recovering to come back up to take home a 5th place finish.
Brayden Gaylord of Wever, Iowa won the 305 Sprint Car feature on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa during the "Slocum 50"
The start of the 20 lap IMCA Stock Car feature was delayed by about 45 minutes, as they decided to do a little track work in the corners. Once the work was complete John Oliver Jr. and Kirk Kinsley led the field to green, with Kinsley grabbing the lead on lap 1 over David Brandies, who started 4th, and Oliver Jr. The lead for Kinsley last for one lap, as Brandies slipped past him on lap 2 to take over the top spot. Four laps later, lap 6, Ethan Allen spun in turn 4 to bring out the caution and slow the action. On the restart Brandies jumped back out front, with Oliver Jr. edging out Kinsley for the runner up spot. While Brandies paced the field out front, Oliver Jr. Kinsley and Abe Huls battled for the runner up spot. That was until lap 11, when Blaine Dopler got into the turn 3 wall hard and brought out the red. He would climb from his car okay.
On the restart Brandies once again grabbed the lead, as Oliver Jr., Huls and Kinsley continued their battle for second. The action up front was slowed for the third time of the race on lap 15, when Drake Fenton spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. Brandies jumped back out front on the restart, as Oliver Jr. edged Huls out at the line for second. Just as Brandies started to put some distance between himself and the battle for second going on behind him, another caution appeared to bring the field back to his back bumper. This time Chad Krogmeier and Jake Powers spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Jake Wenig went around in turn 4 to bring the yellow light back on. The following restart saw Brandies jumped back out front, with Huls finally clearing Oliver Jr. for the runner up spot. Coming off turn four to get the checkered flag, Huls would look under Brandies for the win. But Brandies was able to hold him off to claim the win and the $555 check to go with it. Huls settled for 2nd, Oliver Jr. was 3rd, Brandon Rothzen came from 19th to finish in 4th, with Kinsley holding on for 5th.
Wilton, Iowa's David Brandies scored the win in the IMCA Stock Car feature on Saturday, April 21, 2018 during the "Slocum 50" event at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa
The final event to take to the track was the 50 lap MLRA Late Model "Slocum 50", with Chad Simpson and Shannon Babb leading the field to the drop of the green flag. But it was fourth place starter Chris Simpson who went three wide to grab the lead on lap 1 over Babb and Chad Simpson. Just after lap 2 was scored complete the first of two cautions in the race appeared, as a tire was clipped onto the track in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Chris Simpson jumped back out front, with Babb and Chad Simpson close behind. While Chris Simpson worked the bottom to the middle of the track, Babb pounded the top side to put pressure on Chris for the lead. The work paid off for Babb, who used the momentum off the top of turn 4 to grab the top spot away from Chris Simpson on lap 5. Then four laps later, lap 9, the second and final caution of the race slowed the fast pace. This time Jordan Yaggy, Jason Feger, and Joe Godsey spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow.
Babb grabbed the lead on the restart, with Chris Simpson and Ryan Unzicker, who started 8th, over taking Chad Simpson for third. Early on it looked like Unzicker had something for Babb and Chris Simpson. But Chad Simpson would get back by Unzicker for third on lap 13. On lap 18 Babb came up on the back of the field, which helped Chris Simpson and Chad Simpson stay in his tires tracks. The lapped traffic would allow the lead trio to pull away from the rest of the field. By the midway part of the race Babb was able to put a couple of lapped cars between himself and the Simpson brothers, who were battling for the runner up spot. With about 5 laps to go Chris Simpson found his groove and would close in on Babb. But would run out of laps, as Babb went on to claim his first "Slocum 50". The win was also worth $10,555. Chris Simpson settled for 2nd, Chad Simpson was 3rd, Billy Drake was 4th, with Dave Eckrich rounding out the top 5.
Moweaqua, Illinois' Shannon Babb added his name to the list of winner's of the "Slocum 50" by claiming the checkered flag on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa
Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa finished 2nd in the "Slocum 50"
Third in the "Slocum 50" went to Mount Vernon, Iowa's Chad Simpson
Bloomington, Illinois' Billy Drake drove to a fourth place finish in the "Slocum 50"
Dave Eckrich of Oxford, Iowa crossed the finish line in 5th at the "Slocum 50"
Notes from 34: Raymond Merrill, Rich Bell, Jamie Wilson, Justin Zeitner, Reid Millard, Rickey Frankel, Austin Siebert, Jonathan Brauns, Mark Burgtorf, and Dave Wada were among the 10 driver's who didn't make the feature for the "Slocum 50"....Mason Oberkramer started 13th and finished 10th....Brian Shirley, who won the first B-Main, started 17th and finished 11th....Tyler Bruening took a provisional and started 25th. He would pass 13 cars to come home in 12th, to earn the hard charger of the race....Spencer Diercks finished 14th after starting in 18th....J.C. Wyman started 23rd after taking a provisional, and would come up to finish 17th....Cole Wells was another driver who too a provisional. He would start 27th and brought home a 21st place finish......Dan Keltner started the 305 Sprint feature in 16th. He would come home in 6th to earn the hard charger award....Wyatt Wilkerson finished 7th after starting in 14th....Dave Getchell who took a light roll onto his side before a lap was scored, came back up to finish 9th....Nathan Murders recovered from his spin on lap 10 to come back up to finish 10th....Joe Laue had troubles after his heat that forced him to scratch from the feature......Corey Strothman finished 6th in the Stock Car feature after starting in 12th....Cody Washburne passed 8 cars from his 16th place starting spot to come home in 8th....Wayne Landheer started 18th and finished 9th....Tom Bowling Jr., who was battling in the top 5, got a flat on the lap 18 restart. He would get it changed and came back out to come up to finish 10th....Ethan Allen, who started 15th, recovered from his spin on lap 6 to come back up to finish 11th....Jake Powers recovered from his spin on lap 18 to come back up to finish 12th....Scott Jordan was scheduled to start 7th in the feature, but troubles after his heat forced him to scratch from the feature.
I would like to say THANK YOU to Brad Stevens and Jessi Mynatt for allowing me to cover the racing action at 34 Raceway, and especially the "Slocum 50'. I look forward to a few more visits to the track as the season moves along.
One other thing, please think about hitting the post button before you go to post on social media. I know everybody has the freedom of speech. But think of this the next time you want to post something. How would you feel if your local track you race at or go to watch the races closes the gates because they are loosing money from many things, including negative posts. Would you be happy having to travels hundreds of miles or several hours to catch some racing action? My guess probably not. More than likely you would find something else to do with your time. So until next time, let's get out and support our local tracks in a positive manner!