Another great fall day greeted a great crowd Saturday as the Southern Iowa Speedway put the wraps on the 2011 racing season with the thrilling conclusion to the 25th Annual Musco Lighting Fall Challenge.
While the format was two complete shows on Friday and Saturday, the top 8 finishers in Friday night’s features were locked into Saturday night’s main events … that is unless a driver opted to take a chance on pocketing some big money out of a mystery envelope Friday night.
Ron Ver Beek (USRA RHS Modifieds), Steve Jackson (USRA Karl Chevrolet Stock Cars) and Jared Timmerman (USRA Karl Performance Parts B-Mods) took their chances and forfeited their starting spot, requiring each of them to re-qualify into Saturday’s feature races.
Following heat races and last-chance features, four 24-car fields were set for the quadrupleheader of $1,200-to-win championship features.
The USRA RHS Modifieds hit the big half-mile oval to follow up the Hobby Stock thriller as Friday’s winner Colt Mather and multi-time track champion Zack VanderBeek brought the field to the green flag. VanderBeek got the edge from the start as the top side appeared to be the preferred line in the early going.
Mather settled into second with Bob Timm and two-time track champion Steven Blattler giving chase. VanderBeek set a fast pace as he encountered lapped traffic by the sixth circuit, but the red flag came out on lap 15 as apparently somebody in the infield had been injured and needed to be transferred to a medical facility.
On the restart, Timm’s Modified got a little too high in turn 2 and he lost a couple of spots. The caution flag would wave a bit later as Mather tagged the guardrail to end his great run. That put Ron Ver Beek and Blattler on VanderBeek's rear bumper on the restart.
The outside line got the advantage when racing resumed as Blattler got by Ver Beek and Kurt Kile made the pass on Timm for fourth. Nobody had anything for VanderBeek, however, as he motored home to the win by a straight-away. Blattler finished second, Ver Beek was third, Kile finished fourth and Timm secured the fifth spot.