Auto Racing

Dragsters to hobby stocks: Campbells enjoy switch to Hawkeye Downs

Father-son duo racing in first season at Cedar Rapids track

Clint Campbell, Anamosa
Clint Campbell, Anamosa
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Clint and Keegan Campbell wanted a new challenge.

The father-son racing duo from Anamosa were involved in drag racing, but decided to switch to the circle-track. They settled on an affordable, entry-level division for 14-year-old Keegan.

The Campbells are in their first season and were on the track Friday night, competing in the hobby stock division of the weekly points races at Hawkeye Downs Speedway.

The model of choice is a Chevy Monte Carlo. Keegan’s ride is light blue with darker blue his number (14), choosing his own stickers. His father has a sea foam green car with 31 in pink.

“We like racing the pavement,” said 55-year-old Clint Campbell. “We’re drag racers and he outgrew the Junior Dragster thing and got tired of racing them, so we threw a couple of hobby stocks together.”

Clint is originally from California, moving to Iowa about 21 years ago. He has raced various divisions, dating back to modified figure-8 cars in 1989. Campbell has raced since he was about 7. The family’s matriarch, Lacy, has also raced. They have bonded through auto racing.

“We build engines for a living,” said the elder Campbell, who owns C & L Engine and Machine. “That’s our business. He does a lot of work on the car and it is fun to watch him grow and learn. It’s a good time.”

Keegan devotes a lot of time working, burning any free time at the shop and his part-time job at McDonald’s. He enjoys the time spent with his father and appreciates the knowledge that is passed on to him.

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“It’s helpful,” said Keegan, whose immediate goal is to beat his dad. “It’s a lot easier if someone is telling you what to do and teach you.”

The family rented the track in the preseason, so Keegan could gain some experience in his new ride and get a feel for the track. He ran about 150 laps before the season, making his debut last week. Keegan finished eighth in the opener.

The corners have been the toughest transition from drag racing.

“It’s a process,” Keegan said. “I’m kind of getting a feel for it.”

The goal is to compete at this level for a couple years and move on to Sportsman class. Clint said he thought his son handled his first race well, but dad still placed one spot ahead of the teenager. Clint wouldn’t mind seeing that change.

“I hope he beats me someday,” Clint said. “I think he will.”

Kurt Bohnsack won the hobby stock feature, maintaining the lead after a restart with five laps remaining. He improved last week’s seventh-place finish.

Veteran Dave McCalla captured the feature victory in the Legends division. McCalla zipped to the lead with about 22 laps left, holding off the field to finish ahead of runner-up and last year’s points champ Austin Slabaugh.

Cory Houdek opened the season with two features in as many weeks. Houdek took his first lead, going three-wide with about eight laps left. Once he got out front, he pulled away from the field and coasted to first.

In Hornets, Nathan Ballard claimed his first feature win of the season.

The late model feature was wiped out due to rain.

LATE MODELS

Heat winner — Griffin McGrath.

Feature — Rained out.

SPORTSMEN

Heat winners — 1st: Drew Nickell; 2nd: Greg Hentrich.

Feature — 1. Cory Houdek, 2. Braxton Franks, 3. C.J. Van Horn, 4. Nickell, 5. Hentrich.

LEGENDS

Heat winners — 1st: Austin Slabaugh; 2nd: Sammy Smith.

Feature — 1. Dave McCalla, 2. Slabaugh, 3. Cole O’Brien, 4. Warren Ropp, 5. Todd Ness.

HOBBY STOCKS

Heat winners — 1st: Quinn O’Brien; 2nd: Kurt Bohnsack.

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Feature — 1. Bohnsack, 2. Jason Sherman, 3. Jason Freeman, 4. Logan Clausen, 5. Jim Hanson.

HORNETS

Heat winners — 1st: Troy Scott; 2nd: Dallas Chandler.

Feature — 1. Nathan Ballard, 2. Chandler, 3. Scott, 4. Curt Gibbs, 5. Elliott Vogel.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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