By: Eric Huenefeld
For the first time ever, the ‘Best Weekly Warriors in the Country’ take to the half mile at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids Iowa this Friday night June 5 for the inaugural Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs.’ The event is the second of 2015 for the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, following the season opening ‘Spring Classic’ at Rockford Speedway April 12.
An impressive list of nearly 30 entries will take to the track this Friday evening at the 90 year old facility located in the heart of Eastern Iowa. Leading the way is hometown favorite and current NASCAR Xfinity Series racer Joey Gase. The 22 year-old Gase looks to make his first Big 8 Series start on Friday at the track where he became the youngest ever track champion in 2009, claiming the Late Model crown at the age of 16.
Besides Gase, the state of Iowa is also represented by the reigning Hawkeye Downs Late Model champion Tim Plummer. The Norway Iowa native is one of the winningest drivers at the historic half mile over the last several years, winning his share of features not only in the Late Model class, but also with the now-defunct Modified class. Other top-notch local favorites include Griffin McGrath, winner of the most recent Late Model feature at Hawkeye Downs on May 22 and a familiar name in the Midwest Super Late Model ranks. Walcott Iowa teen Caleb Adrian is coming off of his first ever Late Model feature win three weeks ago at Hawkeye Downs and is ready to take on the Big 8’s best, as is former Hawkeye Downs track champion Brad Osborn aboard his familiar orange number 72 car.
A strong contingent of Big 8 racers from across the Midwest are also aiming for victory this Friday evening at Hawkeye Downs, led by Beloit Wisconsin’s Bobby Wilberg. The 2015 Spring Classic champion rolls into Cedar Rapids fresh off his first ever win in Big 8 Series competition at Rockford in April while also entering Friday night’s event in Iowa as the Series point leader. 2014 Rockford Speedway track champion ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr also plans to make the trip to Iowa on Friday, along with two-time LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway champion J Herbst, 2011 Slinger Speedway champion ‘Insane’ Wayne Freimund and former Dells Raceway Park champion Rich Schumann Jr.
Some of the top young talent in asphalt Late Model racing will also be on display in Iowa Friday, led by last year’s Big 8 Series runner up Austin Nason. The Roscoe Illinois resident won three features on last year’s Big 8 tour and is also currently in the top five of the ARCA Midwest Tour point standings. South Beloit Illinois’ Michael Bilderback sails into Cedar Rapids as hot as any driver in the field. Bilderback currently sits second in Rockford Speedway points and has picked off two straight feature wins and two straight fast times at his hometrack. Other youthful challengers entered for Friday’s show at Hawkeye Downs include 2014 Big 8 Late Model Series Rookie of the Year Collin Olson along with 2015 rookie candidates Cole Anderson and Adam Bendzick, 2014 Rockford Speedway Rookie of the Year Dana Czach, Minnesota teenager Michael Ostdiek, Missouri youngster Logan Mitchell and Wisconsin’s Adam Peschek, who has won feature races on both asphalt and dirt already this spring.
Qualifying begins this Friday evening at 6 PM at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids Iowa, with the green flag waving at 7:30 PM. The Big 8 Late Model Series will run a full program, including the 48 lap Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs.’ Along with the Big 8 Late Model Series, a full evening of racing with the Mountain Dew Sportsman, Barron Motor Supply Hobby Stocks, Dublin City Pub Legends and Miller Time Hornets is on tap. Adult admission for Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs’ this Friday evening is just $12 per person.
For additional information regarding the Inaugural Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs’ and Hawkeye Downs Speedway and Expo Center, please visit www.hawkeyedowns.org or call 319-365-8656.
For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, please visit www.big8series.com.
Big 8 Late Model Series
Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs’
Expected Entry List
2- Michael Bilderback South Beloit, IL
5- Dave Edwards Salem, WI
X- Jon Reynolds Jr Rockford, IL
14- Austin Nason Roscoe, IL
17- Eric Connell Ft Atkinson, WI
17- Brian Gibson Walford, IA
18- Michael Ostdiek Lakeville, MN
21- Adam Bendzick Elko, MN
21- Mike Lloyd Davis, IL
27- Collin Olson Maplewood, MN
28- Bobby Wilberg Beloit, WI
29- Caleb Adrian Walcott, IA
33- Dana Czach Wauconda, IL
35- Joey Gase Cedar Rapids, IA
43- Scott Siems Cedar Rapids, IA
45- Michael Bachaus Whitewater, WI
49- Tory Adams Madison, WI
52- Brian Allen Hiawatha, IA
54- Rich Schumann Jr Portage, WI
64- Griffin McGrath Cedar Rapids, IA
66- Adam Peschek Oconomowoc, WI
72- Brad Osborn Janesville, IA
74- Tim Plummer Norway, IA
76- Chad Siems Shellsburg, IA
82- J Herbst West Salem, WI
95- Wayne Freimund Elkhorn, WI
97- Cole Anderson Northfield, MN
99- Jack Litsheim La Crosse, WI
99- Logan Mitchell Palmyra, MO