Friday May 1st saw me visit the Marshalltown Speedway once again as the racetrack held double features in three classes. After receiving several inches of moisture earlier in the week, promoter Toby Kruse and crew did an outstanding job of preparing the track as it held up very well throughout the night.
IMCA hobby stocks were the first to run their makeup feature. Eric Knutson took command early but received heavy pressure from Dustin Elliott throughout the race. Coming to the checkered flag, Elliott drove to the outside and used that momentum to just edge out Knutson at the finish line for the win. Chad Koch held off Trenty Murphy and Terry Shaffar at the line as five cars were battling for third place at the end of the race.
IMCA stock cars were up next as twenty-two cars set out to do battle. Point leader Dustin Smith and Steve Meyer made contact in turn one, but only Smith was still sitting when the caution flag waved. Sean Johnson took the lead from Clay Deppe on lap eight after a restart and would never look back as he went on to the victory. Deppe settled for second, Jeff Wollam finished third, Trent Murphy fourth, and Don Vis rounded out the top five. Smith battled back to finish sixth.
IMCA modifieds hit the track next for the final "extra" feature of the evening. Brett Ladehoff and Richie Gustin sat on the front row. It was Gustin who took command early in a borrowed Tim Murty's car. The race went flag to flag as Richie Gustin led every lap and took home the hardware. Ladehoff finished second, Troy Cordes third, Adam Larson fourth, and Joey Schaefer fifth.
On to the "regularly scheduled program". It would be the fourth weekly race night and fifth on the season at the track. Two drivers were trying to stay undefeated on the year at the track as both sportmod driver Kevin Sather and mod-lite driver Mike Morrill looked to maintain their unblemished marks. Morrill would see his opportunity first as the dwarf cars/mod-lites were first to race their feature event. Jimmy May took the lead at the start of the race, but all eyes were focused on Morrill as he started 11th on the grid and quickly made his way to the fourth spot by lap two. Morrill would take the lead on lap seven and go on to take the easy win. Mike Kennedy was glued to Morrill's bumper on a late restart, but Morrill's car was just too strong. Kennedy finished second, Eric Hendrickson third, Andy Hennigar fourth, and Jimmy May fifth. The win by Morrill extends his undefeated streak to five as he also won the frostbuster event.
Next up were the IMCA sportmods. Ryan Ashton and fourteen-year old Joel Rust paced the field of twenty-four to the green flag. Rust would lead the first two laps until Geoff Olson made the pass for the lead on a lap two restart. Kevin Sather, who had started twelfth, had already made his way up to fifth by the first restart. Sather would make the pass on Olson on lap seven, but would receive challenges from Olson as the race progressed. Olson was unable to mount anything serious for Sather and in the process gave up the second spot to Scott Davis. Sather would go on to take the win, Davis second, Olson third, David Schlicht fourth, and Brad Iverson rounded out the top five. Sather also extends his undefeated streak to five that also included the frostbuster victory.
IMCA stock cars took to the track next for their feature. They had a hard time adapting to the track conditions as the yellow flag waved numerous times throughout the event. In fact, the race ended under a yellow and checkered as they eclipsed the time limit. Brian Irvine started twelfth on the grid and quickly made his way towards the front. He would hang on for the win as Steve Meyer pressured him. Beings the race ended under caution, I'm not sure of the official top five results as Sean Johnson was running third at the white flag lap, but got spun around after contact from Trent Murphy's machine in turn two. If Johnson wasn't penalized, he should have finished third, Murphy fourth, and Dustin Smith fifth. I'm not sure if Johnson was stopped when the yellow came out or if he got going. Have to wait for the official results on that one.
Twenty-five IMCA modifieds hit the track next for their twenty lap main event. Brett Ladehoff took advantage of his pole starting position and jumped out to the early lead. Meanwhile, Adam Larson and Mike O'Lear were making their way through traffic deeper in the field. A caution flag came out, putting O'Lear on the back bumper of Ladehoff on the restart. Ladehoff appeared to slide up the track a little in turn one, opening the door for O'Lear. Suddenly Ladehoff's car slowed in turn two as he ducked to the infield as a result of losing the driveshaft. On the ensuing restart, Larson dove to the inside of O'Lear coming out of turn two to snatch the lead away. Larson would pull away for the win while Troy Cordes took the second spot away from O'Lear. Point leader Jon Snyder finished a solid fourth place after starting fifteenth and youngster Nate Caruth rounded out the top five.
IMCA hobby stocks finished the night off with their twelve lap feature. Adam Gebel took the lead early on but Jennifer Hulin took the lead away a few laps later. Contact was made as Hulin's car had the front bumper sticking straight forward, thus resulting in her exiting the track to the work area to have that taken care of. Gebel took advantage of Hulin's misfortunes as he went on to the race win followed by Gary Pfantz, Terry Shaffar, Dustin Elliott, and Mike Timm.
Races were done at 11:35. Considering the amount of rain the track received earlier in the week, I didn't notice too many ruts. The track looked to be ironed in very well and by the end of the night the dust was flying and accumulating in the grandstand. Hats off to Toby's crew for that!! Also on hand tonight was Zach VanderBeek as he was helping to promoter the upcoming USMTS modified race on Wednesday, May 20th. He hot lapped a couple times in between races to get a feel for the track. Don't miss the May 20th race as it will be the first ever trip to the 1/4-mile speedplant for the USMTS!!
- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!!