MASON CITY | It was like an amusement park ride with so many twists and turns not even the drivers could pretend to know what was going to happen next.
From the front to the back then back to the front, nearly every driver in Sunday’s Stock Car feature at I-35 Speedway tasted some good and bad over the course of 15 laps.
Nobody left with a better taste in his mouth than Randy Killen, although he still wasn’t quite sure how he wound up in victory lane after a chaotic Stock Car feature.
“I think I was back to 10th or 11th on a restart,” said Killen, who calls Des Moines home.
With every passing lap, the race toward the front featured three-wide racing, drivers sticking their noses into tight spaces and the occasional bump and run.
For the majority of the race all the craziness occurred behind Jesse Brown. That was until Joe Willier got into the back of Brown’s No. 11 machine as the two raced for the lead, causing each to spin out just before the white flag flew. Killen was the beneficiary, holding off Kevin Opheim and Heath Tulp in a sprint to the finish.
“I didn’t notice what started it,” Killen said of the incident between Brown and Willier. “I was just trying to watch the guy ahead of me. It looked like somebody got in too hard and the other guy got sideways. We were just lucky enough to get around it.”
Opheim said a rough track added to the excitement Sunday night.
“The track is tearing up equipment, but it held two lanes of driving, which is pretty rare here,” said Opheim, who has finishes of fourth, first and second in three I-35 Speedway starts in 2015. “I love it but all the guys with expensive equipment, they don’t like it.”
From a fan's perspective, this feature had a lot to like.
A short time later, one of the most decorated Modified drivers in the country took another step toward a milestone.
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Kelly Shryock captured his 399th career feature Sunday, scoring the Modified checkered flag after Rich Lewerke and Josh Ruby, who were running first and second, each pulled off due to mechanical problems within a half a lap of each other.
Just after Ruby pulled his No. 30 machine into the infield, Lewerke dropped a drive shaft on his No. 97 machine down the backstretch. That allowed Shryock to inherit a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
“I thought maybe third wasn’t too bad, then one pulled off and the other pulled off,” Shryock said. “That’s rough race track stuff. And that stuff is hard to keep together. You have to drive a little conservative. Me maybe being a little older and maybe just a little wiser, you learn to keep stuff together here.”
Nick Meyer raced to his second Sport Mod feature in as many weeks, beating Levi Chipp to the finish, while Chanse Hollatz parked his new Hobby Stock in victory lane on its first night on track.
He held off a hard-charging Cory Gansen, the 2013 Hobby Stock track champion, in the waning laps as Gansen tried to make the top groove work.
“I didn’t see him but I heard him,” Hollatz said. “I wasn’t expecting anybody to come out of the top like that. The first night in the car, I couldn’t ask for anything better, honestly.”
Steve Fields raced his car to the Sport Compact feature, holding off Oliver Monson.
Sport Compacts – Steve Fields, Oliver Monson, Trey Anderson, Ken Winkowitsch, Sam Winkowitsch, Taylor Fields, Ryan Bryant, Dalton Kron, Chad Porter, Devin Jones.
Hobby Stocks – Chanse Hollatz, Cory Gansen, Scott Dobel, Andrew Borchardt, Derek Hodges, Malik Sampson, Weston Koop, Jason Asbe, Zac Smith, Spencer Cole, Wade Gilliland, Tanner Green, Derek Willert, Megan Sandvig, Joel Showalter, Blaine Hanson, Jake Jacobs, Travis Johnson, Steven Crees, Nathan Forey.
Sport Mods – Nick Meyer, Levi Chipp, Alex Zwanziger, Austin Schrage, Ty Griffith, Nate Whitehurst, Kyle Germundson, Jerid Ratzke, Chet Ragan, George Nordman, Cody Knecht, Nate Chodur, Dan Tenold, Jeremy Grantham, Lyle Sathoff, Autum Andreson, Coby Bangasser, Kevin Bohner, Zach Smidt.
Stock Cars – Randy Killen, Kevin Opheim, Heath Tulp, Luke Sathoff, Rob Bougher, Brandon Hare, Jesse Brown, Aaron Benz, Devin Kuehne, Kellie Schmit, Dan MacKenthun, Tyler Pickett, Blake Cole, Travis Shipman, Joe Willier.
Modifieds – Kelly Shryock, Chase Ellingson, Clint Wendel, Jerad Fisher, Bryce Carey, Rich Lewerke, Josh Ruby.