Jay Mensink of Harmony races in the four-cylinder Hornets class at Upper Iowa Speedway.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->
Jay Mensink of Harmony races in the four-cylinder Hornets class at Upper Iowa Speedway.

For racers just starting out, taking the track in a four-cylinder can make sense.

"It's a cheaper way to get into racing," Jay Mensink said as he awaited his Hornets heat. "We're required to use stock motors, but we can add some aftermarket things like tires and suspension."

Mensink knows what he's talking about. As this season's Upper Iowa Speedway (UIS) four-cylinder Hornets points leader with 855, the Harmony native extended his margin over nearby rivals in the July 28 feature race, picking his way through the field with his Smurf-painted Honda to the second spot after starting in eighth.

He has won five of nine points races at Upper Iowa Speedway this season and taken second three times.

Last Saturday, small-car enthusiasts representing 14 entrants joined Mensink in the pits.

"We just want to race," one driver said. "We like to compete, even if we don't have a lot of money to tie up in a car."

"We can basically gut a car and install a roll cage, make a few small changes and race," another added.

"The rule says we have to run a stock four cylinder OEM (original equipment manufacturer) engine for the make, model and year of the car," Mensink said.

"Displacement isn't limited, except by that rule. Our drive train has to be OEM for the year, make and model and engine. We have to attach to OEM factory suspension mounts (in factory chassis locations)... We have to have functional OEM factory drum or disc brakes."

In other words, there's a lot of stock in the little four-cylinder stock cars.

Holmen, Wis., resident Ryan Happel edged Mensink on Saturday in his second UIS appearance of the season (He took fifth on June 16).

Eleventh went to Caledonia native Christopher Schansberg. Brandon Rask of Caledonia rounded out the field.

Other racing highlights

Twelve drivers competed in 600cc Mod-lites on Saturday. The checkered flag went to pole sitter Cole Denner of New Hampton, Iowa, his second win this year at UIS.

Gregory Wohletz of Winona finished second. Todd Kiehne of Harmony took third followed by Caledonia's John Griffin.

Chris Eide of Rushford finished ninth, and Corey Whalen of Harmony rounded out the top 10.

Curt Luhman of Rushford just missed out in 11th, however he still holds the top spot on the leader board with 824 points. He is followed by Griffin with 798 and Eide with 704 in third.

A field of 19 Hobby Stocks showed up to stir up a little dirt, with a "30-lap Dash for Cash" adding to the feature purse.

Dillon Anderson of Rudd, Iowa, won the feature, followed by Decorah native Dan Hovden.

Chad Olson of Harmony took 11th, while Justin Bigler of Dorchester, Iowa, finished in 14th. Adam Sveen of Lanesboro was 16th.

The B-Mods class was also well represented with 23 entrants. Bryan Webb won the points final, followed by Junior Boyer of Calmar, Iowa. Casey Knutson of Spring Grove took 13th while neighbor Jon VanMinsel snagged 15th. Mike Kelly of Lanesboro took 17th.

Brian Mahlstedt holds bragging rights on the leader board with 908 points. Jason Schlangen is in second with 823. Austin Schrage is in third at 763, followed by VanMinsel with 744 in fourth.

Thirteen Stock Cars lined up for Saturday's feature. Decorah natives Mitch Hovden and Kevin Donlan finished first and second, followed by Matt Jones of Waukon. Spring Grove's Pete Solum placed a respectable seventh, and Jake Lampert of Caledonia rounded out the top 10.

Hovden leads in the points race with 930. Jones is second at 893, followed by Donlan (883), Kyle Falck (837) and Solum (833).

There will be no races on Aug. 4, however on the 11th, weekly point races return with hot laps at 6 p.m. and racing at 6:30 at the semi-banked quarter-mile clay oval track in Decorah, Iowa.