The forecast didn't sound good for Tuesday, August 31. Rain throughout much of the morning had fans, drivers, and officials eagerly waiting to see what the afternoon would have in store for the Marshalltown Speedway as it was hosting its second annual USMTS visit. Four support classes were also on the card, and the show would get started on time.
As lightning got closer and the winds began to pick up, the feature action started with the mighty mod-lites/dwarf cars. Bobby Harris would grab the lead at the drop of the green flag, but Mike Morrill soon made his presence be known as he passed Harris for the lead on the next lap utilizing the low line. Unfortunately for Harris that was the start of a bad lap as he spun in turn three on the following lap to bring out the caution. At that point season points leader Tim Hennigar was positioned in fourth, but he quickly disposed of Joel Huggins on the next green flag lap to advance to third before powering by Ivan Guerra for second. With just a couple laps remaining Hennigar made his move on the inside of Morrill to wrestle the lead away exiting turn two. From that point on it was all Tim Hennigar as he captured the first checkered flag of the evening. Mike Morrill was second, Joel Huggins was third, Ivan Guerra finished fourth, and Mike Kennedy rounded out the top five.
The B-modifieds quickly rolled onto the track next for their feature event. Cousins Carter Vandenberg and Cayden Carter paced the field of sixteen cars to the green flag with Carter getting the advantage off the high side. A caution on lap one quickly brought things to a slower pace, and on the restart Matt Lettow powered by Vandenberg for the runner up position. The caution quickly waved once again on lap two, but neither Lettow or Vandenberg could keep pace with the great restart that Carter got. Carter quickly put six carlengths on his competitors and appeared to slowly widen the margin with every passing lap. Cayden Carter would take home the win by a straight away advantage over Danny Dvorak, who got by Matt Lettow in the closing laps. Carter Vandenberg finished fourth and Tyler Droste rounded out the top five.
With threatening weather quickly approaching, officials bumped up the USMTS modified feature to the track. Darin Duffy and Jon Tesch, last year's winner, sat on the front row with Duffy setting the pace in the early going. Normally an IMCA driver, Duffy and JD Auringer were present to help promote Karsyn's Krusaders, an organization attempting to "Kick Cancer's Butt, One Lap at a Time". Duffy enjoyed the lead until Tesch began to pressure him on lap eight. As Tesch looked to the outside, the caution flag slowed things down a lap later. Jason Hughes was looking to extend his points lead as he worked his way by Rodney Sanders for the third spot on lap thirteen. Meanwhile Tommy Myer was on the charge as the Minnesota driver got by Mark Elliott for fifth after starting twelfth. Duffy's time at the front would end prematurely on lap seventeen when his machine slowed to a stop in turn four, handing the reigns over to Tesch.
When racing resumed Tesch would now have to fend off challenges from Hughes and Sanders as both competitors were chomping at the bit for the lead. Mike Spaulding drove in a little too hot in turn one and made contact with Dereck Ramirez. Spaulding's right side then dug into the ground and began to roll a couple times before landing on all four wheels. Spaulding was not injured, but while cleanup was in progress the rain came. Officials tried to pack the track back in, but the persistent rain was too much as officials had to pull the plug on the show. With half the race scored complete, Jon Tesch was awarded the victory as he repeats last year's win. Jason Hughes, Rodney Sanders, Tommy Myer, and Mark Elliott rounded out the top five.
Local standout Ryan Gustin had a tough night. After starting sixth in his heat, he was only able to advance one position. That meant he had to run a b-main. He passed Nate Caruth on the white flag lap to win that, giving him the thirteenth starting spot in the feature. Gustin searched every lane imaginable in the early parts of the forty-lap feature, but was unable to charge through the pack as he has in other races. He finished eighth, but gave up more points to point leader Jason Hughes. Hughes now holds a 46-point advantage going into Thursday night's event at the Highway 3 Raceway in Allison after Wednesday night's show in Oskaloosa got rained out. For all the latest news and point standings, check out www.usmts.com.
I'd like to thank Todd Staley and his staff for their hospitality Tuesday night. I was a little disappointed to have five classes on the card for a mid-week special, and considering the outcome with the rain, I think the rest of the packed crowd was as well. Perhaps the powers-that-be will take that into account for a potential next time.
Tuesday night's show also was my 70th race of the season. It's a far cry from my count at this point last year, but considering a lot of things are different I'd say it's pretty good. Right now my tentative schedule includes Allison Thursday, Marshalltown Friday night, and maybe Deer Creek Saturday. Then next week begins "America's Racing Vacation", the IMCA Supernationals. I plan to attend Monday's show, but skip Tuesday. Then I'll be at the Boone Speedway the rest of the week.
- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!!