BARROWS — A vacation to the upper midwest has been very productive for Hobby Stock driver Jesse Vanlaningham.
The native of Beatrice, Neb., has been part of the four-day Hobby Stock Mid-Summer Shootout and he owns two wins in three nights of racing.
Starting Thursday night at Kassuth County Speedway in Algona, Iowa, the Mid-Summer Shootout then moved Friday night to Princeton Speedway. It finished Saturday and Sunday at North Central Speedway.
Vanlaningham secured a second-place finish in Algona with local driver Tim Gonska claiming the seventh spot in the 24-car feature event.
Friday night's race on the short track at Princeton allowed Vanlaningham to erase bad memories from last year's event as he raced to a victory. Dave Johnson finished third with Gonska again getting the seventh spot.
Saturday, Vanlaningham and his crew arrived at North Central Speedway with a game plan.
"I am always searching around and looking," he said. "I am never not looking outside. When we pull onto the race track we are getting a game plan together as we go. You can learn a lot from watching the other classes in front of us and try to take a little bit of what they are doing. You can pick out the fast guys pretty quickly and make a game plan, but making sure that we finish is the key. And we also want to run clean and be able to shake hands with everyone and that has been the case here."
24 cars participated in Saturday night's race and a draw system was used to gain position for the feature race. As a result of the draw, Vanlaningham started on the front row. Gonska, who trails Johnson by just four points in the NCS points race, drew a start on the front row with Johnson starting on row 6.
Vanlaningham drew on his experience and made a move early in the race to challenge Gonska, who was looking for his first career win in the Shootout on his home track. The strategy proved effective for Vanlaningham as he finished first in front of Gonska, with Johnson taking the third spot.
He also avoided the carnage as seven cars were unable to finish the feature race.
"Where I come from we have produced a lot of national champions and I come from racing with guys who are very good and very fast," Vanlaningham said. "I am the most impatient person you have ever met so my mindset is that I want to go while the cars are stacked up. That is the easiest time to pass guys when they are trying to learn and feel things out, so I want to go right away. I appreciate everyone coming out and it was a good time.
“I came up and ran the tour last year and started 16th and got third so we were looking for a little redemption. Princeton slipped through our fingers last year so we got that one back on Friday and I got this one back. But we are here on vacation and here to meet a few people and drink a few beers."
Billy Kendall III came through with his second Modified feature victory in another duel with points leader Aaron Johnson. Although he was not standing on the winner’s podium at the end of the night, Johson increased his points lead to 28, finishing in second place to Kendall III.
There was more twisted metal in the Sportmod class as five cars were knocked out in the first five laps of the 20-lap feature. That included both David and Tim Siercks, who were locked in a tight battle for points with Jake Hagemann. Hagemann drove through the cautions unscathed and finished in third place behind winner Jason Vejtruba and Mark Martini. Martini led the race heading into the final lap and Vejtruba caught him just short of the checkered flag.
Hagemann leads David Siercks by two points, Tim Siercks by 18 and Martini by 25.
Nathan Kohl won his second race of the season for the Sport Compact class and Tommy Bawden notched his fourth win in the Mod Four feature.
Jenna Hagemann leads the Sport Compact class points race and Bawden holds a 78-point lead for the Mod Four class.