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Clear Lake’s Kody King clinches Hawkeye Downs Late Model crown
Teen driver also races in North Carolina
CEDAR RAPIDS — Hawkeye Downs Speedway has crowned its first 2022 champion.
Clear Lake’s Kody King, 15, took the season points championship in the Late Models division on Aug. 5. The 2022 campaign was King’s first full season driving Late Models at Hawkeye Downs.
“It feels great,” King said. “This season, we had a few hardships during a couple of the races, just kind of struggling with the car a little bit. Overall, we were able to hold it together pretty well over the duration of the season.
“I’m just really proud of myself and the crew for being able to win the championship.”
With one win and five top-five finishes in five starts, King edged Swisher’s Mark Ironside by 12 points and Hiawatha’s Greg Hentrich by 15.
“It was really hard to run with these guys,” King said. “It was a really good field this year. There are a lot of talented drivers out there.”
Last year, King spread his racing participation between Hawkeye Downs, Elko Speedway (Minnesota) and various racetracks in North Carolina.
While he still competes in North Carolina, this year he wanted to invest in the full season at Hawkeye Downs.
“We ran Elko a little bit last year and we decided this year to go full-time with Hawkeye Downs, seeing as my dad (Brian) hopped on board for the late models as well,” King said.
The Late Models division is sponsored by King Enterprises, a transportation company out of Clear Lake. King Enterprises is owned by Kody’s father, Brian.
“The fact that he (Kody) is learning and maturing every race is probably the most satisfying part of his success,” Brian said.
King also is already more than halfway through a full racing season in North Carolina this year.
“I’m a Lee Faulk Racing and Development driver,” King said. “We run 12 races down here (North Carolina) in the Pro Late Model.”
The increased repetition, change of environment and variety of competition are elements King believes will give him an added edge as a driver.
“It’s great to be in a car more times in a year than just at home,” King said. “It’s good for staying in the car and also the diversity of getting out here and racing with different drivers and a different car package.”
While 2022 was King’s first full season in the Late Models division, he previously participated in one Legends race in 2020 and ran about a three-quarters season in Late Models in 2021.
His experience in his shortened 2021 season prepared him for success this year. Particularly with his closest competitor Ironside, the former Iowa national wrestling champion.
“Last year we were running right with him (Ironside) all year,” King said. “I don’t know where we ended up in points last year, but I think we were fairly close. It was just great to be able to get the advantage over him this year.”