Wow, what a Saturday Night of Racing at I-35 Speedway! Excitement was in the air for the Super Late Model Racing Association (SLMR) Late Models, the group started by racing legend and numerous Hall of Fame former driver Joe Kosiski. The Kosiski family has been stalwarts in the racing community for several years competing in the Late Model division at numerous Midwest tracks and now running this series and I-80 Speedway. While Joe was hoping to have 18 to 20 racecars in competition, 15 were in attendance and what a race they delivered!
Andrew Kosiski, Joe’s son, won his first Super Late Model feature. Everyone was expecting three time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series regional championship Kyle Berck to be the man to beat, and he probably would have been, if not for jumping the cushion in turn 3 and 4 early in the race and then having to race back to second place. For those who have followed Late Models for several years, how great it was to see the familiar #53 leading the way and taking the checkered flag.
Andrew’s on track interview was also quite complimentary to the track prep crew of I-35 Speedway as he compared the track to a little Corning Iowa with long straights and time to build up lots of speed before entering the tight turns. If you use Google Earth and their measuring tools you will see he is correct, I-35 Speedway has the longest straights of any of the local area tracks.
We can see the changing of the guard in racing as some of us have enjoyed the pleasure of watching Bob Kosiski win locally followed by his sons, Joe and Steve, and now their sons, Andrew and Brian. I was stopped by five different fans in my travels and they all had the same theme, they want to see this late model series back in competition at I-35 Speedway.
One thing we do a little different than some tracks is we accommodate our guest classes when we can. The Late Models were in the middle of the racing order because this allows them an opportunity to get back on the road headed home earlier than being the last feature of the night. After all they traveled the furthest to race for us.
It is also great to see we are adding youth into our sport in all areas at I-35 Speedway. Eighteen year old Austin Johnson had a great run in the A Modifieds, at one point taking the lead, until he copied Kyle Berck and jumped the cushion in the same spot losing two positions. He is not the only youth story though, we were blessed with a new worker this past week, Isaac Ives, who accepted one of the more mundane jobs at the track, actually working in the background and seeing very little racing. However, at the end of the night to be part of the excitement of racing and to become a part of the I-35 team, he expressed he desires to come each week and help us, because just being part of the sport is exciting!
Finally, we need to thank all the teams and their crews who come every week to make the racing the fun we all enjoy. This year in particular there has been great camaraderie among all the classes. Seeing how people compliment each other in the tech area is a welcome sight. Racers are getting out of their cars going to each other and talking about the competition and the great time they have had racing! Fun has returned!
That fun extends to each of us from arriving at the track and seeing how well it is maintained (grass mowed, trash removed, everything clean) to a properly prepared track, to officials welcoming racers and assisting with parking, to Hula Hoop/dancing/foot racing contests, to the I-35 Staff welcoming everyone with a smile, to the racing on the track, I-35 Speedway has become the fun place to be on Saturday night.