North Central Iowa's Figure 8 Racing

Exciting Racing Makes it Worth the Drive to Northwood

June 19, 2022    | by Shawn Dietz

It was a Happy Father’s Day at the track!  The weather was hot and so was the racing action on Sunday evening at the Worth County Fair in Northwood.  In our second trip north, attendance seemed higher in the stands, the excitement level was up and so was the car count.  Last year’s first attempt yielded 24 cars while this year jumped up to 30.  That included eight cars in the Old School class, doubling last year’s turnout.  We appreciate the effort of all of these racers to make the haul, especially to some of the more distant tracks and help put on a good show!

All eight Old School cars kicked things off in the first heat race of the evening, but the start was slow as there was plenty of moisture left over from track preparation that caused a bit of a greasy effect as the drivers slid around for 10 laps.  The Old School heat would culminate with the 02 of Jason Van Wert earning the win.  In the next heat race, it was time for the Small Cars to make their way to the track.  Grafton’s Sarah Tweeten had the support of many in the crowd in her purple #17 as she was racing to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, committing to donate winnings to their efforts to research and find cures for all types of cancer.  Tweeten drew number one and led the heat to the green flag, but drew a red flag almost immediately for missing the turn to make the figure 8, creating a potentially dangerous situation.  Ten laps following the red flag, Small Car points leader Rob Cretsinger earned the first place finish in the heat.

The wet track continued to cause slower racing throughout the remainder of the heats on the shortened track design.  Continued track work would cause longer delays in between heat races, giving us a little bit of time to catch up with 2022 Worth County Fair Queen, Teegan Johnson of Northwood who told us about her high school activities and her favorite parts of the fair.  When the cars were on the track, Mitch & Kyler Grummitt of Allison took first place in the Cruiser Car heat race.  A stoppage was created in the Stock Car heat when the stack of tires that created the inner part of the “8” was knocked down.  Many drivers continued to struggle with the track conditions, including points leader Kennedy Reynolds of Hampton who was able to overcome those challenges to finish third in the heat while Jesse Zander of Coulter earned first place.  In the final heat race, two Stock drivers moved up to also race in the Pro Stock heat.  Jesse Zander enjoyed some success moving up a class, finishing 3rd in the heat, while #34 Aaron Meyer struggled and ultimately pulled off after lap five.  The heat was won by Dumont’s Zach Lewis in his #104.

During the intermission, the issues with track condition seemed to get worked out as the speed and intensity of the feature races picked up noticeably from the heat portion of the night.

With Cruiser Car 22z of Duane & Jesse Zander of Coulter off for the night, the father-son duo in car 29J of Mitch & Kyler Grummitt were able to take a larger lead in the Cruiser points race following their feature victory at Northwood.  Father-daughter combo, Anthony Marshall & Kendall Bailey Pint finished in second place, followed by Ryan Mittelstadt and Josh Roosa in third.  It was a bit of a Father’s Day moment following the race as two fathers were able to finish first and second with their kids.

In the Stock Feature, there was a battle after two restarts coming to the checkered flag between the 198 of Kennedy Reynolds and the 22z of Jesse Zander.  Reynolds led for 10 out of 12 laps (shortened from 15 after two cars left the race, leaving only five to finish).  Zander took a brief lead, coming across the line first in lap nine, but Reynolds battled back and led the next two laps, only to have Zander cross the finish line and earn the checkered flag when it counted.  James Sprung in car #35 finished third.  At this point, Reynolds holds a 32 point lead over Zander for the Stock Car points lead.

Jesse Zander held his car on the track to finish his night out in the Pro Stock feature after earning third place in the heat race earlier in the evening.  Nashua’s Anthony Marshall would earn the checkered flag, followed by points leader Zach Lewis of Dumont in second and Zander earning third.  Lewis currently holds a 48-point lead over Marshall in the Pro Stock points standings; 322-274.

Prior to the next race, our Nation’s Veterans in attendance were honored with a parade of flags, presented by the Small Car feature drivers, to the playing of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA”.  Gunderson Racing conducts this tradition at every County Fair race, and it’s always a sight to see and a special moment to be part of.  In another special moment, we mentioned the efforts of Sarah Tweeten earlier in this article to raise money for Relay for Life, and later the following was shared on Facebook, “Car 009 Riley Ehman was in line for third place but pulled off the track when he saw the checkered flag.  He told Sarah later that he did it to encourage her to stay in the sport.”  Sarah’s motivation being to raise funds for the Relay for Life, shared that through sponsorships, donations and race winnings, she was able to raise $1,650 for the effort!  As for how the feature race went, Chris McDonald of Nashua earned the checkered flag with points leader Rob Cretsinger coming in second and Sarah Tweeten taking home third place.  Cretsinger now holds a 40-point lead over Riley Ehman in the Small Car points race.

In the nightcap, there were seven Old School cars left to race in the feature.  The #12 of Deven Heitland earned another checkered flag followed by the #62 of Blayne Woltjer and Hampton’s Jason Van Wert earned third place.

Next week, it’s a 1 p.m. start time in Nashua on Saturday, followed by the Butler County Fair in Allison at 6 p.m. on Sunday.  Be a friend, and tell a friend!  We’ll see you at the races!