Cedar Rapids, IA (Saturday, August 19, 2023) – Gabe Sommers has been close most of the season until Saturday night where he picked up his first victory of the season in the ASA Midwest Tour.
The Plover, Wisconsin driver came from 12th to win the Cassill Motors Hawkeye 100 at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The victory, third overall in the Midwest Tour, allowed him to grow his point lead over Justin Mondeik, who finished fifth, and Levon Van Der Geest, who finish third.
“Yeah, fast time and good feature points. We should be in good shape,” Sommers said in victory lane who came into Saturday night with a 66-point lead over Mondeik.
Sommers came from his sixth row starting position and methodically worked his way up to the front. It took him 59 laps as he got by Bryan Syer-Keske for the lead on lap 60. The final of five lead changes in the race.
The only caution flew on lap 69 when Joe Valento spun in turns three and four while battling for the sixth position. He was not able to re-fire his engine and was done for the night.
On the restart, Sommers was able to hold off a hard side-by-side challenge from Riley Stenjem for the lead, until Sommers was able to pull away from the Kulwicki Driver Development competitor with 25 laps to go in the race.
At the checkers, it was Sommers with the win by 0.706 seconds over Stenjem.
“I knew we had a good long run car, but he (Stenjem) had a better short run car,” Sommers said. “At the beginning of the race, we were able to pull away quite a bit and I knew we had a good long run car. It was a good battle. It was a lot of fun. He did a really good job there.”
Stenjem was pleased with his second place run.
“No I can’t complain. There are definitely some good teams that show up at every one of these races,” Stenjem said. “Gabe had a good car tonight. I was kind of managing there, and I kind of let him go. My lap was 40 to go and he went a little bit earlier, and I got free on that long run.”
Van Der Geest finished the night with a strong podium finish after starting 11th.
“I was hoping I could stay ahead of Sommers, but he had a real good car and it showed at the end,” Van Der Geest said. “I’m really happy with the podium. Third is always good, especially clawing your way through the pack starting 11th. I like long runs, especially when I have a good long run car. We had a pretty good race.”
Brent Edmunds finished fourth with Mondeik in fifth.
Mondeik won the odd heat over Dean Cornelius and Joe Valento. Syer-Keske won the even heat with Harley Jankowski in second and Barrett Polhemus in third.
Sommers was also the fast qualifier with a time of 18.740 seconds.
The ASA Midwest Tour will be back in action this Friday night at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wisconsin for the Howie Lettow Classic 100. The Midwest Truck Series will also be in action. Tickets are on sale now at midwesttour.racing.
You can watch a replay of all of the ASA Midwest Tour races at midwesttour.tv.