Monday, May 25, 2009

Ruter Finds Victory Lane at Mason City

A picture-perfect evening was in store for everybody at the I-35 Speedway in Mason City on Sunday. A great field of cars packed the pit area as a few travelers were on hand to get a little track time before the special on Monday. Before the races even got started, I was pleasantly surprised by's webmaster Sue McDaniel and her daughter. Sue's husband Bert was racing as the family made the long trip north. Bert plans to race at Mason City every week as long as things go okay. Hard to believe a driver is willing to pull from three hours away to race, but I'm glad he has decided to do so. It was fun spending the night catching up with Sue and I can't wait until she is able to make another trip up again.

Ten junior hornets kicked off the feature action as newcomer Blair Schultz took home the trophy. There were also ten senior hornets that provided a little action that saw Jesse Harang get into the back of Patrick Barrett. Barrett got sideways before regaining control as Harang received the black flag for questionable driving. This turn of events allowed Nate Coopman to take home the win.

Twenty-two hobby stocks were up next as Scott Dobel took the lead early on. Right behind him saw a three-car battle for second spot in which Wayne Landheer would prevail. Landheer would not settle for second as he made the pass for the lead shortly afterwards. During this shuffle Mick Meyers went from second back to fifth, just the start of his downhill slide as his machine would show smoke and he would be forced to retire his machine to the pits. Before that turn of events, another caution preceded Meyer's and Chad Gentz would use it to his advantage as he got passed Landheer on the restart. Gentz would go on to take the win as Robert Black, Heath Tulp, Wayne Landheer, and Terry Litwiler rounded out the top five. Litwiler started 14th for an impressive run!

Twenty-five bmods took to the track next for their twelve lap main event. George Nordman would take command early on from the pole. Zach Patterson kept within striking distance the first part of the race, but he made his move at the halfway point to challenge for the top spot. His efforts would be denied, however, as Adam Ackerman charged from his 12th starting spot to take the second position away with just two laps to go. Ackerman would not be finished as he grabbed the lead away from Nordman on the following lap to take home the impressive win. Patterson got by Nordman for second in a close finish while Matt Hoeft and Shane Swanson rounded out the top five.

Mike Jergens jumped out front from the front row to set the pace early on in the IMCA stock car feature. Jergens was distancing himself from the field when he pulled off the track after sparks were seen under his car from a motor mishap. Kevin Hoeft would inherit the lead, but would be hotly contested by Ryan Hiscocks and Joe Willier. A late caution bunched the field up, which would set up a major turn of events on the restart. As the field entered turn three, Kevin Opheim would dip his car to the bottom side of the racetrack. His car did not stick, however, and it drifted up into the side of Larry Portis' machine. Opheim quickly received the black flag for questionable driving and would come to a stop in turn three the following lap. While under caution, Portis displayed his displeasure to Opheim and he too would receive the black flag for retaliating. After that excitement, Ryan Hiscocks added to it as he took advantage of Kevin Hoeft's car drifting up the track in turn two as Hiscocks took home top honors. Hoeft settled for second, Kevin Paca was third, Bert McDaniel fourth, and Joe Willier completed the top five.

Twenty-two IMCA modifieds graced the track for the final event of the night. Ryan Ruter's season has been a tough one thus far at Mason City, but he turned that around as he sailed to the easy win. Jeremy Mills tried to keep pace with Ruter during the middle part of the race, but Ruter's car was set up perfectly and would have no trouble making it to victory lane. Shane Monson finished in third, Rob Rose fourth, and J.J. Wise rounded out the top five. Wise started 19th and made his way to the front in a rebuilt race car as he suffered major damage a week ago in a crash in Webster City. I'd say whatever they did to the car worked pretty well!

Lots of action Sunday night was only a taste of what might be on tap for Monday as the I-35 Speedway hosts another night of racing. All classes will be running for a higher purse, including the modifieds racing for a $1,000 top prize. Along with the trophy, the winner will go on the ballot for the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational race held annually at the IMCA SuperNationals in Boone during the week of Labor Day. After witnessing a good field of cars Sunday night, one can only assume the same field of drivers along with some other travelers will be in attendance on Monday night. Hot laps get under way at 6pm with racing to follow.

I personally will not be in attendance as I plan to visit the Boone Speedway for the "SuperNationals Shakedown". The event is headlined by the IMCA Deery Brothers late model series along with IMCA modifieds, IMCA stock cars, IMCA sportmods, and IMCA hobby stocks. Hot laps are slated for 4pm with racing planned for 5pm.

- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!!

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