Opening night of the 2020 dirt track racing season Sunday at Randolph County Raceway in Moberly was cause for celebration for Mexico native Cole Campbell.
The 22-year-old had the checkered flag wave in his honor as Campbell led the B-Modifieds feature from start to finish, winning a $300 paycheck. Moberly's Dakota Girard received $200 for second place and Tyler Lewis of Columbia took home the $150 third-place prize.
"There were a lot of entries (24) and competition in this race. I was at the pole position, got off to a quick start and did not look back. This is my third win out of nine races so it's been a pretty good year for me so far," Campbell said. "The No. 0 car (Girard), a No. 12 (Lewis) and No. 9 (Chad Hickam, Centralia) really challenged me as they both showed me a nose upon different restarts. I was able to keep my momentum wound up at the top and power around them."
Vance Wilson of Quincy, Illinois, placed fourth and Hickam fifth.
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Campbell, whose racing interest spurred at the age of 5 while driving go-karts, said over the past three years he averages 30 races. Sunday was his ninth event of the 2020 season, and Campbell has captured the checkered flag three times now.
"I raced here two to three years ago so I was familiar in what changes I needed to make with my car for this track compared to others that I race," Campbell said. "I had some stagger taken out of the car, moved some bars and made some changes in the front end to keep the car from diving into the dirt on the turns."
A 92-degree temperature welcomed 73 registered drivers among the five feature events and an estimated 700 people seated in the grandstand. Sunday was opening night of the 2020 dirt track racing season and the reopening of Randolph County Raceway since the last race was held two years ago.
Jason Goble, owner of Quincy Raceway, is leasing the Moberly facility for 19 scheduled racing dates since the state of Illinois is prohibiting such competition tentatively through the end of September due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The top-five drivers in other feature races Sunday include the following:
– David Wietholder of Liberty, Illinois, was first among 12 entries in the A-Modified race and he won $600. Tyler Shaw of Mexico took second and was followed by Brandyn Ryan of Carthage, Illinois, Scott Bryan of Baring and Craig Spegal of New London.
– Stock Car champion and the $300 prize was handed to Larry Winn of Hallsville. Cody Agee of Huntsville won the $200 second-place award, and he was followed to the finish by John Ketterer of Marthasville, William Dahl of Rush Hill and Novelty's Butch Bailey.
– Justin Reed of Camp Point, Illinois, took home $1,000 as he won the Late Model feature among five entries. David Melloway of Columbia was second, 11-year old Kayden Clatt of Edina was third, Ben Ballard of Centralia earned fourth and fifth place went to Jon Melloway of Columbia.
– The Sport Compact (4-Cylinder) had 21 drivers and the champion was Craig Bangert of Golden, Illinois, who won $150. The next four finishers were Ricky Miller Jr. of Gorin, Jordan Ohaver of Kirksville, Kyle Burton of Clark and Isaiah Penton of Huntsville.
Weather permitting, races are scheduled at 6 p.m. every Sunday evening through Oct. 3. There is a special MLRA Super Late Model racing event being held Friday.