Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gustin Protects Home Turf With Hawkeye Dirt Tour Win

The first night of the 4th annual Havoc on the Highbanks took place last night at the Marshalltown Speedway. The JR Motorsports Hawkeye Dirt Tour was also on hand, and will be again tonight (weather permitting), as they close in on crowning their series champion next week. A great field of cars in all classes filled the pit area, including 40 modifieds. Also on the slate were mod-lites, hobby stocks, sportmods, and stock cars.

The first class to run their feature were the mod-lites. Mike Morrill jumped out front from his inside row two starting spot, but he would receive plenty of pressure from pole sitter Tim Hennigar with Joel Huggins sitting just behind them. With Morrill out front, the rest of the top five got strung out and were racing in single file formation. Morrill would lose the handle on his machine on lap seven just prior to the red flag coming out when Colby Oberembt and Cliff Barber took a couple of hard rolls on the frontstretch. Both drivers were able to walk away seemingly uninjured. The yellow flag waved as the leaders were set to take the checkers, so that set up a green-white-checkered finish. Tim Hennigard was able to fend off Joel Huggins for the win with Mike Morrill recovering to finish third, Dusty Masolini was fourth, and Josh May rounded out the top five.

A stellar field of 48 IMCA sportmods were on hand to try their luck at the Havoc, but the starting grid would only hold half of those competitors. Jason Purvis and Cory Rose paced the field to the green flag with Purvis snatching the lead. It didn't take long for track champion Scott Davis to make his way to the front as he climbed to the top of the scoring tower by lap three after starting sixth. A lap three caution slowed the pace, but when the green flag waved again Davis rocketed out to a great lead. Cayden Carter was on the move as well as he worked forward from the ninth starting spot to third before another caution on lap nine. Carter found the top side to his liking on the restart as he powered by Danny Dvorak for the runner up spot. Following the final caution, Carter again built up some momentum and passed Davis for the lead at the two laps to go signal. Carter would go on to take the win ahead of Davis with Danny Dvorak finishing third, Eric Flander fourth, and Josh Sherbon completed the top five.

IMCA hobby stocks took to the track next for their main event. Pole sitter Rob Allison paced the field ahead of Terry Shaffar. Two early cautions kept the pace at a minimum, but when the green flag waved again Scott Pippert would advance a couple spots to the third position. Pippert would methodically work his machine to the front as he hammered the cushion to get by Shaffar and later Allison with five to go to take the lead. Scott Pippert would take home the win ahead of Rob Allison, Terry Shaffar, and Bill Bonnett.

Twenty-two IMCA stock cars made their way to the track for their finale. Mike Goldsberry took control in the early going, but Mike VanGenderen ducked under him to snag the lead away on the third circuit. After starting tenth, track champion Dustin Smith sliced his way to the third spot in just five trips around the track. On the next lap Smith would use the slingshot move to advance past Dave Atcher to take the second position. The lapped car of Keith Miner lost the handle of his machine and Smith had nowhere to go. Smith spun his car sideways, but contact was still made. Fortunately for Smith the caution came out after he had got moving again, so he would restart at the front of the pack again. Mike VanGenderen would suffer a flat right front tire on the restart and end his night prematurely. That allowed Smith to build up a comfortable lead and take his 10th win of the season at Marshalltown. A full straight away behind Smith, Damon Murty and Robert Stofer got by Dave Atcher for second and third. Atcher was fourth and Jay Schmidt completed the top five.

The JR Motorsports Hawkeye Dirt Tour modifieds were set to roll off for their thirty-lap feature event to bring a close to the opening night of the Havoc on the Highbanks. The field of forty cars were narrowed to starting field of twenty-four, and it would be pole sitter Scott Simatovich jumping out to the early lead. After starting fifth, Richie Gustin wasted no time in climbing up top on the cushion to try his luck. Gustin made it work as he quickly moved into the third spot behind Simatovich and Jon Snyder. Those three drivers would put on a great battle for the fans with Simatovich down low and Snyder and Gustin up high as they pulled away from the field. Snyder would slowly gain enough momentum to take over the lead from Simatovich with Gustin squeaking by a couple laps later for second.

The leaders would encounter lapped traffic just prior to the halfway point in the race. I noticed at that point that Jeff Morris, who had started 20th, had worked his way up to eighth as he was catfishing it on the bottom. Lap seventeen proved to be the turning point of the race as Gustin performed a slidejob on Snyder in turn four to assume command of the race. Meanwhile Todd Shute was also digging hard a bit further back as he climbed into the third position around Simatovich with ten laps remaining. Shute would work under Snyder for the runner up position in the closing laps, but contact between the two drivers sent Shute spinning in turn two on the final lap. Richie Gustin would grace victory lane for the third time this season on the inaugural season of the JR Motorsports Hawkeye Dirt Tour and his 15th overall win this year. Jon Snyder would finish second, Scott Simatovich third, Josh Gilman fourth, and Jimmy Gustin completed the top five. Jeff Morris would finish sixth.

Points leader Mike Jergens had a good car early on, but broke a brake floater and back peddled to 15th. He still holds the point lead, but that margin has now shrunk as Gustin sits just one point behind. With Marshalltown cancelling the second night of the Havoc on the Highbanks, the points championship will come down to the final night next Saturday at the 34 Raceway near Burlington. For more information on that event, check out or

My schedule for next week may get a big hectic. As of right now I'm planning to hit all 5 of the upcoming USMTS shows. This next week will determine who gets crowned the 2010 National Champion as it culminates at the Deer Creek Speedway during the Fall Jamboree. So here is my schedule for next week:

Monday - USMTS @ Southern Iowa Speedway (Oskaloosa)
Tuesday - USMTS @ Highway 3 Raceway (Allison)
Thursday - USMTS Fall Jamboree @ Deer Creek Speedway (near Spring Valley, MN)
Friday - USMTS Fall Jamboree @ Deer Creek Speedway
Saturday - USMTS Fall Jamboree @ Deer Creek Speedway

This is an outside chance that I may go to the special at the I-35 Speedway in Mason City on Sunday. Time and sleep (or lack there of) will determine that.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment