116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Chad Vozenilek might see himself as a “rookie,” but he’s certainly not racing like one.
More like a seasoned driver who’s on a mission.
“They call me a veteran, but I consider myself a rookie out there still since it’s been so long,” Vozenilek said.
Vozenilek, 47, competed in Enduro races at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in the early 1990s and later raced Hobby Stocks. In 2006, he stepped away from racing because he’d “lost drive and the fun portion of it.”
Now, in his second year back at Hawkeye Downs following a 15-year hiatus, Vozenilek has his sights set on the grand prize — the 2022 points lead.
Vozenilek, a Cedar Rapids resident, entered Friday’s races as the points leader in the Hornets division, holding a one-point lead over Elliot Vogel and a two-point lead over Ian Pate, both of Cedar Rapids.
“My goal coming into the season was to be competitive every night in and out,” said Vozenilek. “As the season’s gone on, we’ve been up there. So now, yeah, that’s the goal.
“That’s one thing that alluded me was that points title. That’d be kind of special to pull off.”
Vozenilek started and finished Friday’s feature race in third.
The track was tight as cars bunched up around the corners, at times lined up three, even four cars deep.
“You just have to buy your time because you’re getting pinched off and you can’t let the car drift coming out of corners,” Vozenilek said.
Vozenilek was pushed as far back as eighth before making his way back toward the front.
“We fell back a little bit and that was tough,” Vozenilek said. “But we’re running consistent times and that’s all we have to do.”
Pate took the checkered flag Friday.
With Pate’s win and Vozenilek’s third-place finish, the two now sit tied atop the points leaderboard with just three weeks to go.
It’s a challenge Vozenilek is up for. He believes his previous racing experience, along with his adjusted approach, will help him down the stretch.
“I’ve kind of gotten wiser in my years,” Vozenilek said. “I don’t push the envelope as much as I used to. I let the race come to me a little bit more.”
Following Friday’s contest, Vozenilek now has seven top-five finishes, 10 top-10 finishes and one win in 2022.