WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa — California’s Kyle Offill took a quick liking to 34 Raceway in his first visit and endured a two-hour rain delay and several restarts Sunday night to claim his first career win with the Sprint Invaders.
The victory, aboard the Country Builders Construction No. 88w, was worth $2,000 and was his fourth career sprint car win.
The event took place without fans in the stands per Iowa law in relation to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Mother Nature tried to throw another curve when rain fell before the feature could get underway. Work by the track crew saved the track and the 30-lap main event.
Brayden Gaylord streaked to the early lead in the feature, with Offill and Paul Nienhiser on his heels. 2018 IRA champ Jake Blackhurst suffered a flat left rear four laps in, ending his night. Gaylord led Offill, Nienhiser, John Schulz and Chris Martin back to green.
Offill, who won the Shake-Up Dash with a last lap pass, used a similar low line to gain the point from Gaylord on lap ten. Five laps later, he was navigating lapped traffic. The California youngster put some distance between himself and his pursuers.
On lap 16, Nienhiser worked by Gaylord for the runner-up spot, and Martin followed him into third two laps later. Dustin Selvage stopped his car on the front straight with eight laps to go, bringing caution. Nienhiser applied huge pressure on the restart, but things were slowed again when Carson McCarl turned over in turn four.
Nienhiser hit the high side of one and two and applied pressure again to the leader, but Offill maintained his low line before Josh Higday and Ricky Montgomery tangled with four to go. Offill was able to pull away the last four laps for the win, ahead of Nienhiser.
Austin McCarl put on the show of the night. After his car would not fire for his heat race, he won the C. Starting 15th in the B, he stormed to pass for the win on the 12th and final lap. He was the hard-charger in the feature, driving from 17th to third.
Martin and Gaylord were fourth and fifth.
“I was able to find the bottom early, and in the heat race we were able to go from ninth to third,” said Offill. “We won the Dash on the bottom, but it started going away before we went out for the feature. Then the rain came. It was brought back. I knew we were fast down there, and I knew we’d have to win on the bottom. That’s what happened. The motor stumbled on the first restart, and that opened the door a little for (Nienhiser). Luckily, the last two restarts it didn’t stumble and we were able to get going.”
Feature (30 laps): 1. 88w, Kyle Offill, Tracy, CA (4) 2. 50, Paul Nienhiser, Chapin, IL (6) 3. 17A, Austin McCarl, Altoona, IA (17) 4. 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA (8) 5. 13, Brayden Gaylord, Wever, IA (2) 6. 55, McKenna Haase, Des Moines, IA (1) 7. 11, Colton Fisher, Mediapolis, IA (10) 8. 99, John Schulz, West Burlington, IA (3) 9. 23s, Stu Snyder, Waverly, NE (7) 10. 53, Joe Beaver, Knoxville, IA (21) 11. 9, Daniel Bergquist, Burlington, IA (20) 12. 81, Tanner Gebhardt, Burlington, IA (18) 13. 83, Rob Kubli, Milo, IA (16) 14. 66M, Ricky Montgomery, Lakewood, CO (5) 15. 35, Josh Higday, Des Moines, IA (22) 16. 27, Carson McCarl, Altoona, IA (9) 17. 45, Monty Ferriera, Fresno, CA (12) 18. 88, Dustin Selvage, Indianola, IA (19) 19. 24N, Nate Mills, Bondurant, IA (13) 20. 6R, Ryan Bunton, Morton, IL (14) 21. 5J, Jamie Ball, Knoxville, IA (15) 22. 99J, Jake Blackhurst, Hanna City, IL (11). Lap Leaders: Gaylord 1-9, Offill 10-30. Hard-charger: A. McCarl. KSE Hard-charger: Bergquist.