VINTON, Iowa (Feb. 8) – IMCA’s Hawkeye Dirt Tour will have a new title sponsor when the series opens on Memorial Day at Benton County Speedway.Arnold Motor Supply has signed on as sponsor of the eighth annual Modified tour and will provide a portion of $5,650 point funds to be paid each of the next three seasons. The champion takes home $1,000 along with a Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite Pellet Grill, valued at $700, courtesy of Arnold Motor Supply, the Spencer-based auto parts supplier.Nine dates, all paying a minimum of $1,000 to win and $150 to start, are on the 2017 schedule and are qualifying events for the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot.The Monday, May 29 event marks the sixth occasion the tour has opened at Vinton, where the first-ever IMCA Modified event was held in 1979.The Miller Lite 30 date June 6 at Marshalltown Speedway and the June 13 show at West Liberty Raceway are part of midweek doubleheaders with the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models.Hancock County Speedway at Britt hosts the June 27 Salute to Veterans program. The tour is at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa on July 19 and then at Knoxville Raceway along with Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods for the July 20 Dirt Duel.Next up is the county fair show at Dubuque Speedway on July 25. Concluding the series are dates Aug. 7 at Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer and Aug. 9 at Buena Vista Raceway in Alta.Joel Rust, Justin Kay, Corey Dripps and Hunter Marriott were all double winners over the course of the 2016 Hawkeye Dirt Tour but it was Chris Abelson who saw the long tows from his home in Sioux City pay off with the series championship.Abelson became the seventh different HDT champion in as many seasons.There will be no change in procedures for the upcoming tour and entry fee at all events remains $50.“We have never experienced a repeat champion and went quite a few races without a repeat winner before last season,” IMCA President Brett Root said. “The quality and competitiveness of the Modified division in the State of Iowa is obvious in the number of different Hawkeye Dirt Tour champions and feature winners.”“Having Arnold Motor Supply, which has a store or machine shop in nearly every town on the schedule, as title sponsor will help market the tour to racers and race fans,” he added.Top 10 point fund amounts will be paid in their entirety to drivers with perfect tour attendance and also include $900 for second, $800 for third, $700 for fourth, $600 for fifth, $500 for sixth, $400 for seventh, $300 for eighth, $250 for ninth and $200 for 10th. The tour champion must also attend the national banquet in November to receive their full point fund share and grill.2017 Arnold Motor Supply IMCA Hawkeye Dirt Tour schedule – Monday, May 29 at Benton County Speedway, Vinton; Tuesday, June 6 at Marshalltown Speedway; Tuesday, June 13 at West Liberty Raceway; Tuesday, June 27 at Hancock County Speedway, Britt; Wednesday, July 19 at Southern Iowa Speedway, Oskaloosa; Thursday, July 20 at Knoxville Raceway; Tuesday, July 25 at Dubuque Speedway; Monday, Aug. 7 at Clay County Fair Speedway, Spencer; Wednesday, Aug. 9 at Buena Vista Raceway, Alta.
Ghana’s bid team were left licking their wounds after losing out on hosting Afcon 2017 following an announcement in Gabon’s favour on Wednesday.However, Randy Abbey, a member of the Ghana team that traveled to Cairo to witness the landmark announcement alleges underhand dealings.He made the serious allegations while speaking to Joy Sports editor Nathaniel Attoh on Sports Today.”We will like to congratulate Gabon for being declared the winner. But there was something and in the coming hours or days you will hear, I’m sure, from especially the Algerians.”Abbey methodically detailed how the final moments of the voting went on, intoning how bizarre the entire Executive Committe felt the procedure had gone.”Even the Executive Committee members who cast their vote did not know the result of the vote. Only two of them, with Issa Hayatou were called to look at the vote,” Abbey alleged hours after the vote on the primetime afternoon show aired on Multi TV. He went on: “After that they were all ushered into the conference room where the media and the other three countries were.”Issa Hayatou, according to Abbey, then proclaimed Gabon as the winner, but how it happened was fishy.Procedure According to Joy Sports sources, the draw had been slated to be shown live around Africa via pay TV broadcaster, Supersport, but had been cancelled at the last minute, with no reasons given. Randy explains that till date, no one knows how the voting patterns panned out. The procedure is that after the vote, all delegates must know what majority the winner scored. As an example, when Ghana won the 2008 bid the country got a clear 9-3 berth. “What the votes were we don’t know. There were 14 members of Executive Committee who voted,” Abbey explains. “What the rules say is that there must be an outright winner, with a minimum of eight votes.””In this case we didnt know how Gabon won – whether they got five, [or] eight, [or] 10, [or] 13 [or] 14, nobody knows. Even the Executive Committee members weren’t told the results of their votes!””Everybody was brought to the conference room and the Caf president just took a paper that said Gabon had won.”Abbey, a former Communications Director of the Ghana FA said he was sad at the development. “And I found that quite embarrassing, [that this happened] in 2015. Maybe that is the value and culture here. Like they say in strategic management, that is how business is run here.”As at the time of writing this report, CAF have still not made details of the voting immediately available.Strong contendersAlgeria, the other country also in for the bid, are said to be readying an appeal, although it would have to come with the backing of its FA.Sources say Gabon won not only because of their bid’s promise to build on the legacy of 2012, when they last hosted, but due to the well-known relationship between President Ali Bongo Ondimba and Issa Hayatou. Caf is yet to respond to these allegations by Mr. Abbey, but a rep of the football-governing body tells Joy Sports there is no comment on the claims at this time.–Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith