Auto Racing

Eastern Iowa auto racing season having mixed results

Benton County Speedway in great shape, Farley not so much

Racing has begun at Benton County Speedway in Vinton, with the first weekly race scheduled for Sunday. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette),
Racing has begun at Benton County Speedway in Vinton, with the first weekly race scheduled for Sunday. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette),

Mike Van Genderen may have said it best.

“All of it is timing,” he said Wednesday, just days before the start of the weekly points races at Benton County Speedway in Vinton.

This extended winter has been hit and miss for Eastern Iowa dirt tracks. Most of the season openers are scheduled for this weekend or next and the forecast looks favorable.

Benton County Speedway opened last Thursday with its “Frost Buster” event and had “great track conditions, great racing.

“We’ve been kind of lucky,” said Van Genderen, who helps run the races in Vinton with promoter Mick Trier. “The track was the best it’s ever been in the preseason.”

Weekly points race start Sunday in Vinton. Independence Motor Speedway has a non-points race scheduled for Saturday with the season-opener April 28. Brooklyn Raceway’s limited schedule begins Friday with the two-day “Spring Nationals.” The Fayette County Speedway in West Union opens April 27. The Upper Iowa Speedway in Decorah doesn’t open until May 5.

Good timing.

Farley Speedway hasn’t been so lucky. The track was supposed to open Friday, but that’s unlikely after Wednesday’s snowstorm.

Bad timing.

“We’re a long ways away,” promoter Joe Hayes said. “We’re going to be really lucky ... to do it next week.”

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Hayes said the weather has been so bad in northeast Iowa, he hasn’t been able to turn the water on in Farley.

“We just haven’t had the opportunity to get on it,” he said. “It’s a terrible spring, that’s what it is.”

But, he added, “we’re not in any panic.” That’s because the brunt of the racing season can be salvaged and weekly races are only part of the program in Farley.

“We’re not in the week-to-week-to-week grind,” said Hayes, who also promotes races at Dubuque Speedway.

Farley will host the “Farley Modified Super Weekend” May 11-12, will have the World of Outlaws sprint cars on the track June 22 and the late models Aug. 6, plus the annual Yankee Dirt Classic Aug. 30-Sept. 1.

Benton County Speedway also has several special events planned this season, including the annual Urbana 5 (June 10) and Hogan Memorial (July 3). The Hawkeye Dirt Tour makes a stop on May 27-28 and the Deery Brothers Late Model Summer Series rolls into town on June 28.

“I can’t remember the last time there was a Deery Brothers show in Vinton,” Van Genderen said.

The Deery Brothers series is at Fayette County Speedway July 25.

Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids opens its weekly racing schedule on May 4.

l Comments: (319) 368-8696; jr.ogden@thegazette.com

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