Hughes hustles to Modified feature win on opening night at Marshalltown

By Joyce Eisele

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (April 21) – Marshalltown Speedway held its 2017 season opener on Friday night. The 122 race cars on hand gave the fans some outstanding racing on a chilly, breezy evening.

Nate Hughes snagged his first local win in the IMCA Modified division. He battled with Jesse Hoeft and Clint Luellen in the early portion of the race, while they tried to catch then leader Nick Rob­erts. Hughes swung to the top side and snatched the lead at lap fourteen of the 20-lap event.  He held off second place finisher, Hoeft in the closing laps to seal the win.  Roberts followed in third place, fourth went to Clint Luellen and Adam Larson took fifth place.

The 18-lap Karl Northern SportMod feature found defending track champion Jared VanDeest back in victory lane. VanDeest started fourth, took to the topside as the race went green, and had the lead coming out of turn two. He was pestered early by Sam Wieben and Jake McBirnie, but as the checkers flew, he took the win by a comfortable margin.  Wieben held on to second place, Doug Smith came from eighth spot, to finish third, McBirnie was fourth, and Austin Luellen was fifth.

Jay Schmidt put his ride into the winner’s circle in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car 20-lapper. He chased leader Jeff Mueller, who made the long haul from New London, until finally making the pass into the lead at lap 12.  From there on, Schmidt never looked back and took the comfortable win.  Eleventh place starter Trent Murphy took second, Donavon Smith was a close third, Mueller finished fourth and Michael Jaennette completed the top five.

Shannon Anderson took the win in the 15-lap IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock main.  Anderson and Eric Knutson ran side-by-side for the lead for several laps, with Eric Stanton throwing his hat into the ring in the final moments.  The final corner was the determining factor as Anderson surged ahead to take the checkers.  Stanton snuck into second at the checkers, just ahead of third place Knutson.  Fourth went to Justin Wacha and veteran racer Bill Bonnett was fifth.

On Friday night, April 28, the IMCA Late Models will begin their weekly points racing at Mar­shalltown. The green flag drops at 7:30.