Heckenast Wins Series Opener at Davenportmars
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Burbank, IL (June 24, 2020) – Thursday night the Mars Racing Series presented by Rip It Energy Fuel got the 2020 race season underway. The long awaited opener for the series’ 21st season was long overdue. Being plagued by restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic the series has no been able to hold events early in 2020. That all changed last night at the quarter mile of Davenport Speedway. Twenty-one super late models checked in for competition with their eyes on that $5,000 payday that awaited the winner on Thursday night.
A strong field of cars assembled in Davenport that represented thirty-one past Mars Racing Series victories. Due to technical issues with the tracks wiring of the scoring loop system qualifying was not able to take place and drivers had to draw for starting spots in the three heat races that would help set the field for the night’s 40 lap feature event.
Heat race number on the night was led straight through by Allen Weisser the driver out of East Peoria, IL. Allen is a mainstay in the Central Illinois area and made the last minute trek over to Davenport to compete in Mars Series action. Coming home second was Iowa driver Brian Birkhofer who put on a show for the fans after starting 6th at the drop of the green flag. Lincoln, Il driver Myles Moos came home third, Jason Feger fourth and Rich Bell rounded out the top 5.
In the second heat race of the night Bobby Pierce got some redemption. After blowing a motor during hot laps Bobby was forced to get out the back up car for the nights remaining action. Pierce started fifth and put on a show for the Pierce Posse wining heat race number two. Local driver Jonathan Brauns took the second spot with Daryn Klein finishing third after starting sixth. Brian Shirley and Ryan Unzicker finished out your top five.
The final heat race of the night was all hometown driver Spencer Diercks. Starting on the pole Spencer was able to hold off a charging Chris Simpson to take the heat race win. After starting seventh, Frank Heckenast Jr came home third with Bob Gardner and Jason Wagner your top 5.
The top two drivers from each heat race went the the redraw where drivers drew for their starting spots in the 40 lap feature event paying $5,000 to win. Muscatine, IA driver Jonathan Brauns drew the pole with Bobby Pierce drawing the outside pole position. Chris Simpson and Allen Weisser drew the second row. Spencer Diercks and Brian Birkhofer the third row. This set the starting lineup for the Rip IT Energy Fuel main event.
Bobby Pierce & Frank Heckenast battle for the lead. (Ryan Roberts Photo)
After an exciting IMCA Late Model feature event the stars of the Mars Racing Series took to the track and saluted the fans with a four wide salute. At the drop of the green flag is was Bobby Pierce who jumped out the the early race lead over Jonathan Brauns and Chris Simpson. Pierce started to distance himself in the opening laps from the rest of the field. The hot battle on the race track early was between Chris Simpson and Allen Weisser for the runner up spot. Drivers were searching around the quarter mile for the fastest way around. Cars ran top to bottom as they tried to move towards the front of the field. The mover early on was the 99 machine of Frank Heckenast Jr who started back in the ninth position. Ten laps in and Heckenast Jr had asserted himself into the three way battle for the runner up spot. Just as Pierce was beginning to deal with lap traffic Chris Simpson and Frank Heckenast were putting on a show side by side lap after lap trying to claim second. On lap thirteen the caution flew and things had to be reset.
On the restart Pierce once again was able to jump out to the race lead. On the restart several drivers tired to make their presence known as they jumped on the outside line. Brian Birkhofer was able to drive the high line as he positioned himself up in the mix of the top three. The fine line between fast and over the cushion bit several drivers as they slipped over the berm and gave up spots. Birkhofer was one of the first the jump the berm and slide back several positions. Bobby Pierce held the lead as the race went past halfway with Heckenast and Simpson continuing to swap spots for the runner up position.
With 15 laps remaining Heckenast was able to take over the second spot and reel in Pierce. With 13 to go Heckenast was able to get around Bobby on the backstretch and take the lead into turn 3. Pierce went back up to the top side to see if he could muster some speed to reclaim the lead. He was able to stay with Heckenast until he jumped the berm off turn four with around ten to go and slip back into the sixth position. This allowed for a new cast of characters to come in to play for the top spots. Allen Weisser had started in the four spot and quietly remained in the top 5 all night long. After Pierce misfortune on the cushion he was able to take over the second spot and looked to be closing in on Heckenast in the closing laps. With a couple laps to go Brian Shirley who started 11th made his presence known as he slid into the final podium spot at the checkered. Frank Heckenast Jr won his first career Mars feature and his first career win in the state of Iowa. Fourth place went to Chris Simpson and Brian Birkhofer rallied for a fifth place finish. The hard charger for the night was Chad Holladay who started seventeenth and improved ten spots to seventh.
Frank Heckenast Jr poses with family in victory lane Thursday night. (Mike Ruefer Photo)
The Mars Racing Series presented by Rip It Energy Fuel will invade Lee County Speedway Friday night for round two of the 2020 Season. Hot laps are slated to kick off at 7pm and for those who cant make it, all the action will be LIVE on MarsRacingTV
For more information and news concerning the Rip it Energy Fuel Mars Racing Series, please visit us at www.marsracingseries.com
1 9 Frank Heckenast Jr Frankfort, IL 99JR
2 4 Allen Weisser Peoria, IL 25W
3 11 Brian Shirley Chatham, IL 3S
4 3 Chris Simpson Oxford, IA 32S
5 6 Brian Birkhofer Muscatine, IA 15B
6 2 Bobby Pierce Oakwood, IL 32
7 17 Chad Holladay Muscatine, IA 32C
8 8 Daryn Klein Fairview Heights, IL 6
9 13 Rich Bell Sheffield, IL 21B
10 20 Justin Kay Wheatland, IA 15K
11 10 Jason Feger Bloomington, IL 25F
12 5 Spencer Diercks Davenport, IA 29
13 14 Ryan Unzicker El Paso, IL 24
14 1 Jonathan Brauns Muscatine, IA 22B
15 12 Bob Gardner Washington, IL 4G
16 19 Matt Furman Iowa City, IA 51
17 15 Jason Wagner East Peoria, IL J12
18 18 Jake Miller Mendota, IL M28
19 7 Myles Moos Lincoln, IL 84
20 21 Tegan Evans Clinton, IA T22
21 16 Joel Callahan Dubuque, IA 40
1 1 Allen Weisser Peoria, IL 25W
2 6 Brian Birkhofer Muscatine, IA 15B
3 2 Myles Moos Lincoln, IL 84
4 4 Jason Feger Bloomington, IL 25F
5 3 Rich Bell Sheffield, IL 21B
6 5 Joel Callahan Dubuque, IA 40
7 7 Matt Furman Iowa City, IA 51
1 5 Bobby Pierce Oakwood, IL 32
2 2 Jonathan Brauns Muscatine, IA 22B
3 6 Daryn Klein Fairview Heights, IL 6
4 4 Brian Shirley Chatham, IL 3S
5 7 Ryan Unzicker El Paso, IL 24
6 1 Chad Holladay Muscatine, IA 32C
7 3 Justin Kay Wheatland, IA 15K
1 1 Spencer Diercks Davenport, IA 29
2 3 Chris Simpson Oxford, IA 32S
3 7 Frank Heckenast Jr Frankfort, IL 99JR
4 2 Bob Gardner Washington, IL 4G
5 4 Jason Wagner East Peoria, IL J12
6 5 Jake Miller Mendota, IL M28
7 6 Tegan Evans Clinton, IA
(Ryan Roberts Photos)