Considering the effect of the moisture provided by the recent days of heat and humidity, the theme of Wednesday night’s special event races at Off Road Speedway could have been: Proceed with caution.
More than 20 stoppages occurred during the program’s five “A” features as drivers struggled to keep their cars under control, with frequent spin-outs and collisions the result, and damage forcing several entrants out of contention.
But those circumstances added to the action, and race winners were able to conquer both the conditions and the competition.
One of those winners — who won for the second time in just three tries at Off Road Speedway — was York’s Cory Dumpert, who took first place in the IMCA Late Models feature.
“I raced here last year in Ben Sukup’s car at the Ray Haase Memorial Night, and we won. Then early this year we were back, started 10th and got to fourth, but a rear shock broke and we couldn’t finish,” Dumpert said.
“So this is the third time I’ve been here. I usually race at McCool Junction on Saturday nights, but if they rain out or there’s a special event here, I’ll always come here.”
For Dumpert — who started racing go-karts 22 years ago at the age of 7, then moved up through the Hobby Stocks and Stock Cars divisions before advancing to Late Models in 2012 — this was his ninth win of the season and contributes to his pursuit of the IMCA points championship. To that end, he races “three or four nights per week” and recently held the seventh spot in the IMCA Late Models national points list.
“The season is going good. We’re trying to do the IMCA national points thing, but we try not to watch the points too close,” he said. “It’s better to just go race, run good and the rest will take care of itself.”
In Wednesday’s victory, Dumpert started in the middle of the field, then chased down race leader Zach Zentner of Cedar Rapids, taking the lead following a caution with nine laps remaining and winning by several car lengths. Zentner finished second, while Travis Dickes of Madison took third place for the second week in a row.
“Zach is fast, and I knew I had to be really aggressive but also patient at the same time,” Dumpert said. “It was definitely intense. The track was fast, and I got a couple breaks — including that yellow (caution), which bunched us up, and we were off to the races.”
Dumpert said he had watched the earlier feature races in the other divisions to analyze the track, which he described as having “character, which made it fun.”
“We set up to be a little tighter, which was good in turns three and four, but we were too tight in one and two,” he said. “So I really had to kind of muscle (the car) around, but it worked.”
In the IMCA Sport Compacts feature, Pierce driver Ramsey Meyer, a two-time national champion who is also in contention in the national points race (currently second), won his sixth race in seven attempts at Off Road Speedway.
“That (third national championship) dream is still out there, but we’re just taking it one race at a time at this point,” Meyer said. “It’s been a good year. We got second in a big ‘Memorial’ race at the Stuart Iowa Speedway last night — one of those crown jewel races in Iowa, a bucket list item. We were right there; it was door-to-door, but we just didn’t quite get there.”
In a repeat of last week’s finish, Parker Vollbrecht of Stanton and Bo Cleveland of Norfolk followed Meyer across the finish line to finish second and third, respectively.
Kyle Prauner of Norfolk won his first IMCA SportMods feature of the season at Off Road Speedway, taking advantage of an opportunity to start in the pole position to lead the entire race — despite seven cautions that kept the rest of the field close behind him. Brian Osantowski of Columbus took second place, with last week’s winner, Wes Hochstein of Randolph, finishing third.
Norfolkan Shawn Primrose also won for the first time at Off Road Speedway this season, taking first place in the IMCA Stock Cars feature.
Primrose started in the fourth row of the 13-car field and worked his way into a duel for second place with Wakefield’s Chad Bruns with six laps left, then broke away from Bruns to pass race leader Jason Wilkinson of Neligh with two laps to go for the win. Wilkinson and Bruns finished in second and third place, respectively.
Norfolk drivers took the top three finishes in the IMCA Hobby Stocks feature, with Lance Mielke taking first place — his first win this season at Off Road Speedway — in a green-white-checkered finish ahead of Shannon Pospisil and Wyatt Lehman.
Racing returns to the track on Sunday as Off Road Speedway hosts the Lynn Langenberg Classic.