Rust shines in race to Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational checkers

Joel Rust
Joel Rust topped the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational, leading all 30 laps of the Modified feature during the Friday night program at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. (Photo by Nick Woolley)

BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 6) – Joel Rust had a year to think about his disappointing end to last year’s Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational.

He’ll have a lifetime to remember how the 2019 event played out.

Rust, from Grundy Center, led all 30 laps of the Modified special during Friday’s IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s program. The win was good for $1,000, plus another $750 in lap money.

“We’ve been racing a Modified for six years. This is one of the biggest races you can win and we can finally say we did it,” Rust exclaimed from victory late at Boone Speedway. “This definitely ranks right up there.”

Tanner Black of Otis, Kan., took over the second spot following back-to-back cautions on lap five and chased Rust to the finish. 

The race stayed green the last 26 circuits, with Jesse Sobbing of Malvern, 10th starting Steven Bowers Jr. of Topeka, Kan., and Richie Gustin of Gilman completing the top five. 

Rust moved to a higher line after Sobbing challenged early.

He pulled away from Black on the top side of the track, getting a lapped car ahead with five circuits to go and taking the checkers better than half a straightaway ahead of the runner-up. 

“We have been coming here the last month or so and trying different things,” said Rust, who’d picked up his 19th win of the season at Boone’s Saturday night Prelude to the Super Nationals. “We did some testing and that helped pay off.” 

Rust had been leading last year’s All-Star race when contact with a lapped car helped open the door for Hunter Marriott. 

“You can watch the video over and over. There’s a what if factor,” Rust said. “This is (IMCA’s) biggest stage. It means a lot to us that we can win here.” 

Drivers from 15 states competed in the 16th annual All-Star Invitational. Hard charger Cayden Carter of Oskaloosa motored from 27th starting to ninth. 

Rust was already on the ballot for next year’s event. 

Feature results – 1. Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 2. Tanner Black, Otis, Kan.; 3. Jesse Sobbing, Malvern; 4. Steven Bowers Jr., Topeka, Kan.; 5. Richie Gustin, Gilman; 6. Tom Berry Jr., Newburg, N.D.; 7. Tim Ward, Harcourt; 8. Zane DeVilbiss, Farmington, N.M.; 9. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 10. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 11. Collen Winebarger, Corbett, Ore.; 12. William Gould, Calera, Okla.; 13. Jeff Larson, Freeport, Ill.; 14. Collen Thirlby, Traverse City, Mich.; 15. Clay Money, Penokee, Kan.; 16. Jeffrey Abbey, Comanche, Texas; 17. A.J. Ward, Ionia, Mich.; 18. Drew Armstrong, Alexander, Ark.; 19. Braxton Yeager, Green River, Wy.; 20. Brad Smith, Columbia Cross Roads, Pa.; 21. Larry Adams, Van Alstyne, Texas; 22. Jimmy Gustin, Marshalltown; 23. Chris Abelson, Sioux City; 24. Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice, Neb.; 25. Ricky Alvarado, Delta, Colo.; 26. Kelly Shryock, Fertile; 27. Kyle Brown, Madrid; 28. Ricky Thornton Jr., Adel; 29. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls.