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CEDAR RAPIDS — In this era of racing, especially at the local level, racer participation is a major component to keeping racetracks open and healthy.
That may seem obvious, but as car counts and crowd counts dip at so many tracks across the country, pieces of racing history are going by the wayside.
So that makes what some of the Legends racers at Hawkeye Downs Speedway are doing all the more admirable. Racers like former Hawkeye wrestler Mark Ironside, Austin Kunert and Kevin Korsmo have made trips to Elko Speedway in Minnesota and Dells Raceway Park in Wisconsin, and in turn brought racers from those tracks back to Cedar Rapids.
It’s as much a goodwill effort by those traveling as it is fun and challenging for guys who are competitive and want a new challenge.
“It’s really, really important, in this day and age, that not just in the Legends cars but all cars to come together and run different tracks,” said Ironside, who ran at Knoxville Raceway on Thursday night, Hawkeye Downs on Friday night and Dells Raceway Park Saturday night. “The Legends cars are pretty neat, because it’s a tight-knit group, but very competitive at the same time.”
The guys from up north who also run in the Legends class feel the same way.
There are go-to men and women at the various tracks for the Legends cars. Kalona’s Warren and Denise Ropp are that for Hawkeye Downs, while Tony Moyer fills that role for Dells Raceway Park and Tim Brockhouse for Elko Speedway.
Moyer’s son Aaron was at Hawkeye Downs on Friday night, finishing third. Brockhouse was in action as well, surviving a wild main event and making a pass for the lead with two laps to go that won the race. Both echoed what Ironside said about the Legends community helping each other out. Brockhouse especially hearkened to keeping tracks people love alive and going.
“Everybody is suffering for car counts all across the country, and if we don’t all pull together, racetracks are closing,” Brockhouse said. “We just lost the Raceway Park in Shakopee (Minn.). It was there for 50-some years and it’s gone because people didn’t go. I see that happening here (at Hawkeye Downs) a little bit, and I see these guys are trying real hard to turn it around.
“I decided we’d pull down here a few times and help these guys out, and vice versa.”
While Brockhouse said Elko isn’t hurting as bad as some others — especially in Legends — Moyer said he’s reached out for some help in the past to boost the count at the Dells.
A few weeks ago, Ironside, Korsmo and Kunert all made the trip to Wisconsin to run at the high-banked 1/3-mile track, and Moyer was welcoming. He and Aaron both said they enjoy having new and different guys to race every week to test their mettle.
And despite what you might think about a home-track advantage, Moyer said he shared all the information he could to the Hawkeye Downs troop to ensure they’d at least have a basis for information and better their experience.
A better experience could mean a driver and team are more likely to make the trip again, after all.
“It’s a competition thing, too. It’s nice to race different guys every week,” Moyer said. “The Hawkeye Downs guys came up to help us out — I put a help call out — and five of them turned up, so we returned the favor.
“The best thing about it (the Legends community) is it really makes the drivers come out. And if everyone’s running similar equipment, usually the best driver wins.”
Other winners included Kurt Bohnsack in Hornets, Dave McCalla in Sportsmen, Mike Schulte in Modifieds, Nathan Ballard in Hobby Stocks and Griffin McGrath in Late Models.
1. Kurt Bohnsack, Ely; 2. Dallas Chandler, Cedar Rapids; 3. Brad Schmidt, Cedar Rapids; 4. Todd Ness, Cedar Rapids; 5. CJ Van Horn, Marion; 6. Drew Nickell, Cedar Rapids; 7. Troy Scott, Cedar Rapids; 8. TJ Aimers, Cedar Rapids; 9. Kaden Reynolds, Cedar Rapids.
1. Dave McCalla, Cedar Rapids; 2. Greg Borchardt, Prior Lake, Minn.; 3. Greg Hentrich, Hiawatha; 4. Jim Hanson, Cedar Rapids; 5. Craig Stepanek; 6. Ben Glascock, Indianola; 7. Dave Ballstaedt, Marion; 8. Cory Houdek, Marion; 9. John Johnston, Victor; 10. Bob Ahrendsen, Cedar Rapids.
1. Mike Schulte, Norway; 2. Jake Griffin, Quincy, Ill.; 3. Ryan Luedtke, Norway; 4. Craig Bender, Cedar Rapids; 5. Steve Lindell, Marion.
1. Nathan Ballard, Norway; 2. Matt Petrzelka, Norway; 3. Jim Hanson, Cedar Rapids; 4. Adam Petrzelka, Norway; 5. Kurt Bohnsack, Ely; 6. Jason Sherman, Marengo; 7. Jacob Floyd, Cedar Rapids; 8. Malena Clement, Cedar Rapids; 9. Brian Bries, Norway; 10. Sonny Parker, Cedar Rapids; 11. Matt Lacoursiere, Cedar Rapids; 12. Kani Floyd, Cedar Rapids.
1. Tim Brockhouse, Minneapolis; 2. Cory Tulasca, Campbellsport, Wis.; 3. Aaron Moyer, Monroe, Wis.; 4. Brady Fox-Rhode, Loretto, Minn.; 5. Robbie Carter, Burnsville, Minn.; 6. Austin Kunert, Batavia, Ill.; 7. Bryce Bailey, Cedar Rapids; 8. Al Diercks, Davenport; 9. Mark Ironside, Swisher; 10. Mark Greb, Coralville; 11. Cole O’Brien, Cedar Rapids; 12. Matt Blake, Cedar Rapids; 13. Danny Lehmkuhl, Cedar Rapids; 14. Dennis Diercks, Eldridge; 15. Fred Hefti, LaCrosse, Wis.; 16. Gary Dyer, Blue Grass; 17. Brody Willett, Cedar Rapids; 18. Tim Goettsch, Bettendorf.
1. Griffin McGrath, Cedar Rapids; 2. Tim Plummer, Norway; 3. Michael Ostdiek, Lakeville, Minn.; 4. Brian Gibson, Walford; 5. Chad Siems, Shellsburg; 6. Brian Allen, Hiawatha; 7. Scott Siems, Cedar Rapids; 8. Logan Mitchell, Palmyra, Mo.; 9. Tom Rayl, Mitchellville.
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