MASON CITY — For almost two years, Alex Zwanziger has been trying to find himself at the Mason City Motor Speedway.
The driver from Nashua was track champion in the Sport Mods (now B-Modifieds) in 2014 before nabbing his last win at the track on July 19, 2015.
Through all the ups and downs, Zwanziger finally appears to be heading back into form. He took second in his last time out at MCMS on June 25, and on Sunday, Zwanziger held on for his first victory in nearly two years.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve won here, but it’s great,” Zwanziger said. “This USRA thing, these guys have a lot faster cars and they’ve got a lot more momentum and everything so trying to get to their level with a crate motor … it’s pretty tough to pass sometimes.”
Since the switch to USRA at the track at the start of last season, Zwanziger has struggled to find his footing. His best finish last year was fourth, which he nabbed twice.
Results this year have been mixed as his only top 5 prior to Sunday was the second-place finish. The next closest was ninth.
“These guys have an open engine that’s pretty darn competitive so just trying to get that speed initially is kind of tough,” Zwanziger said.
But on Sunday, the night belonged to him.
Starting in the seventh position, Zwanziger worked his way through traffic before he pulled up to the rear of pole-sitter Dan Tenold. It took a few tries, but Zwanziger finally made the pass stick out of Turn 4 at the halfway mark.
“I just knew I had to change my line because the bottom is sometimes tough to pass with a crate to have the power to get off the corner like we need to, so I knew I had to try something to get him,” he said.
With four to go, Zwanziger held off a charge from Jim Chisholm going into Turn 1, and cruised through the final three laps for the win.
“Hopefully we can continue to do good things. That’s all I ask for,” Zwanziger said.
J.D. Auringer has had one of the fastest cars in Mason City all season long in the Modifieds class.
He raced to his first win of the season on the second weekend, and on Sunday, he started from the pole and led the whole race on the way to his second victory of the season.
With a few cautions throughout the feature, Auringer had to hold off the field more than he would’ve liked.
Coming out of Turn 4 with four laps to go, Jason Cummins pulled his 71 machine to Auringer’s bumper, but the slightest bit of contact ruined the run for Cummins, who settled for second.
“I wasn’t driving nearly as hard as I was in the beginning,” Auringer said of the waning laps. “When you get down to those last six laps it’s like ‘OK. I’ve got to make sure I’m perfect and I don’t miss my marks.’ Usually then you slow down instead of speed up.
“But I didn’t see him (Cummins). I had tunnel vision. I wasn’t looking anywhere but straight forward.”
Jesse Brown earned his first feature victory of the year in the Stock Cars when he surived a flurry of early cautions, plus a late test from Scott Jackson, to drive into victory lane.
In the Hobby Stocks feature, Andrew Borchardt, who started sixth, grabbed an early lead and never let go as he drove to his second win of the year in Mason City.
Oliver Monson grabbed his first win of the season in the Tuners feature.