No Fans, Plenty of Excitement at Rapid Speedway Season Opener!
A beautiful sunny day and a cool evening made for a great night of racing as the 2020 season kicked off at the Rapid Speedway. Things were a little different at the raceway Friday night as there were no spectators allowed in the grandstands due to the COVID-19 guidelines. 76 Drivers checked in at the backgate and were limited to 10 crew members per car and fans were able to watch via pay per view online.
The Lem’s Auto Recycler Sportsmans got the night going Marni DeBoer of Little Rock, Iowa took her front row starting spot and shot out to the lead from the get go. Defending champion Brian Kroon tried the high side in the first corner to attempt to come to the front, but ran out of room and fell off the backstretch and lost a ton of ground on the leaders. Deboer would hit her marks lap after lap and take home the first feature of the season. “My dad said my brother won the first night on his new car so I’d better do the same with mine, and here I am.” Kroon would battle back to take home 2nd ahead of Bill Kroon, Tyler Bradley, and Leon Sneller. Brian Kroon picked up the heat race win earlier in the night.
Feature #2 of the night saw the Sybesma Graphics Hobby Stocks come to the track and it took a few tries to get things going in this one with multiple restarts. When the dust finally cleared two familiar faces emerged at the front as the last two champions Dustin Gulbrandson and Tyler Schlumbohm battled. There was some great pack racing throughout the field seeing Eric Gaul come from the B feature all the way to 2nd halfway through the feature, but Gulbrandson would stay out front and grab his first win of the season at the raceway. “The track was smooth and I’ve been racing around the area a few times already so I have some more laps than some of these guys already and I think that helped”, said the driver from Sioux Falls. Gaul charged from the 18th starting position to take home second in front of Schlumbohm, Logan Fitzpatrick, and Dawson Deboer. Heat races belonged to DeBoer, Schlumbohm, Levi VanderWeide, and Landon Krohn.
The J&L RV Sales B-Modifieds saw a first time winner on opening night as Kaleb Modder of George, Iowa would start from the pole and never looked back. Modder was chased by Tyler Tesch throughout the race. Tesch would continue to look inside lap after lap, but could never get the edge of Modder until the last lap with a finally attempt Tesch would spin on the bottom of turn 1. Modder would pick up the first win of his career. “It’s Awesome, but being out front is stressful.” Tracy Johnson would follow Modder to the line ahead of Trevor Tesch, Cole Christensen, and Brock Hess. Heat race winners were Christensen, Dustin Kruse, and Dereck VanVeldhuizen.
The race of the night saw another familiar face in Pizza Ranch victory lane as Elijah Zevenbergen of Ocheyedan, Iowa grabbed the top spot on lap 3 and drove away from the field in the Precision Auto Body Stock Cars. Zevenbergen made his move from 3rd and split the leaders making it 3-wide to take the lead from Dustin Larson of Rushmore, MN and Jon DeBoer of Little Rock. A few cautions and a red flag during the race would keep Larson close, but in the end the 66z was able to pull away for his first win at Rapid Speedway this season. Larson would finish second ahead of Chad Lonneman, while Scott Overgaard charged from 15th to finish 4th and Brad Tegrotenhuis would round out the top 5. Earlier in the night heats went to Larson, Jason Fisher, and Travis VandenTop.
Article Credit: Joel Vis
Submitted By: Geoff Kruse