Almost a decade ago, Landon Cassill’s career began to gain momentum as he raced at his home track, Hawkeye Downs (IA), and then took on the rest of the country.
In those days he was a teenager, now almost thirty, but came back to his home track Friday for the first time since first annual “Drop and Give Me 50” Military Appreciation race which paid $1000 to win.
Overall, it felt like a “changing of the guard” as it was teenager Brody Willett who was the class of the field and made two last lap passes for the lead, one before the halfway break, and one on the final lap, to get the most meaningful win of his career so far.
The 50-lap feature would be split up into a 25 lap segment with a halfway break and a partial field invert, then the last 25 laps would be run. The field was set by a draw/re-draw, which left track champion, Brian Gibson, and Cassill on the front row to start the race.
As Cassill struggled throughout the race, Gibson controlled the field until Caleb Adrian, a two-time feature winner this season, took the lead and showed the way. Willett made his way to the bumper of Adrian, but could not get the momentum on the inside, so he took to the outside and made the pass just before the halfway break.
The field was then inverted, leaving Brad Osborn at the front. He would lead just two laps until Griffin McGrath took over. Osborn and Adrian proceeded to battle for second when the two drivers made contact sending Adrian into the turn one wall with heavy damage.
McGrath had a strong restart with 20 laps to go, and looked like he could possibly hold a couple car lengths on Willett, but as soon as 10 laps to go hit the scoreboard, Willett was immediately on the bumper of the leader.
The two leaders battled hard and clean, with McGrath able to maintain the lead in the high groove. On the final lap, Willett drove into turn three a little deeper than before and made it stick to grab the victory.
“Every single week my guys give me such an awesome car,” Willett said afterwards. “It’s such a privilege to be out here and I am so proud of what we have accomplished so far this year.”
This year, the 15-year-old partnered up with Left Hander Chassis and Dan Lensing, which so far has produced and early feature win and top-10 efforts in the opening Big 8 Series races so far.
McGrath finished second after posting the fastest time of the race, and Cassill brought it home third after battling some issues with the car throughout the race.
1 00 Brody Willett Alburnett, IA
2 64 Griffin McGrath Cedar Rapids, IA
3 10L Landon Cassill Cedar Rapids, IA
4 17 Brian Gibson Walford, IA
5 72 Brad Osborn Janesville, IA
6 71 Mark Greb Coralville, IA
7 76 Chad Siems Cedar Rapids, IA
8 43 Scott Siems Cedar Rapids, IA
9 29 Caleb Adrian Davenport, IA
Hawkeye Downs Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Hawkeye Downs Speedway