Auto Racing

Family traditions begin at Hawkeye Downs

Vintage cars help Cedar Rapids racetrack kick off 94th season of racing

CEDAR RAPIDS — A little bit of the old rang in the 94th season of racing Friday night at Hawkeye Downs.

The American Iron Racing Series (AIRS) Vintage Cars Series made its first of four appearances this season at the track, leading off the night of racing before an enthusiastic crowd on a perfect weather night for racing.

And like the older cars rekindling memories for fans, Tiffany Egan of Marion has passed her love of the sport to her 13-year-old daughter, Tabetha Thompson.

“I remember my dad bringing me all the time when I was younger,” said Egan. “I was little, as little as I can remember. He took us every Friday.”

Egan and her husband Brad started coming back to the track regularly last year with Tabetha. They enjoyed it so much, they purchased season passes for 2019.

“We really enjoyed it last year,” said Brad Egan. “They provide some great entertainment and we love to watch the cars compete.”

There isn’t a favorite driver for any of the family members.

“I like to look at all the different colors,” Thompson said. “Sometimes that’s how I decide who to root for.”

It wasn’t a tough sell for the Egans to get their daughter out to the track.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“She is on the edge of her seat all the time,” said Brad Egan. “She really gets into the races.”

Friday night’s crowd was treated to a look at cars from past years in the AIRS Vintage Cars Series.

“They travel all over, but, as far as I know, this is the only asphalt track they race on,” said Hawkeye Downs Media Manager Caleb Slouha. “They are here for opening night, Wall of Fame night, midseason championship and our season finale.

“They are here for all our big nights. They basically just race for fun at various dirt tracks. Sometimes you get guys in vintage series races that really don’t want to race, they just want to show off their cars. The guys here tonight definitely want to race.”

In addition to the AIRS series, other touring series will be part of the Downs lineup this year along with a new weekly Sports Mods division.

The Clash at the Downs Big 8 Series of late models will be run on May 31, when the weekly Downs drivers will challenge some of the Midwest’s best drivers.

On June 28, the Midwest Dash returns, bringing 4-Cylinders to the 1/2 mile to determine the Iowa state champion. They will join the Mid-Am Series, which will put sportsman on the 1/2 mile as well that night.

The Bandit Big Series will be back for a third year on a special Sept. 14 date where semi trucks will take to the 1/2 mile.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

Numbers of cars and fans in the stands have been steady, but Slouha is looking for increased numbers in 2019.

“Obviously, adding the Sports Mods will increase our car count this year,” Slouha said. “We’ve been at a steady rate the last couple of years in cars and attendance. We hope to increase both as we get further into the season.”

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.