Marshalltown season opener wins to Rust, Jaennette, Olson, Schluetter, Huggins, Gill

Luke Schluetter was a first-time IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock winner in the three-times rescheduled season opener May 13 at Marshalltown Speedway. (Photo by Jordan Hanisch)

By Joyce Eisele

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (May 13, 2022) – After three straight weather outs, the Marshalltown Speedway finally got its season opener in the books on Friday night. It was also API Solutions Salute to the Military night, and all veterans and active service members were admitted free to a full night of racing action.

It was Joel Rust taking the honors in winning the Friesen Performance IMCA Modified main event and Michael Jaennette pulled off a spectacular late-race move to take the win for the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars. Kyle Olson won the Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod “A” main, and Luke Schluetter was a happy camper after winning his first-ever feature in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks. Joel Huggins made it back-to-back wins in the IMCA STARS Mod Lites, albeit nearly a month in between since his win at the April 15 season preview special, and hometown driver John Gill won in the Mach-1 IMCA Sport Compact division.

Feature racing kicked off with the 15-lapper for the STARS Mod Lites and this one would be led from start to finish by Huggins, who was untouched in his race to the checkers, leading all laps and finishing well ahead of second place Randy Bryan. Dustin Ford was the third place finisher.

The Northern SportMods had a little difficulty getting their 20 lap “A” main off and running, having it called back twice. When it did get underway, it was Brian Schrage leading the field. Schrage easily weathered two more cautions, one at lap eight, and another at lap nine, but just a few laps later, he had Olson knocking at the door.

Schrage was able to fend off Olson’s advances until two laps to go, when Olson flew around on the topside to take command. He held it the rest of the way to the checkers and the win. Schrage finished second, with his son, Austin Schrage coming home in third place.  Olson also scored the hard charger award of an extra $100, advancing eight spots.

Sport Compacts came to the track next and it was Gill and Colby Sabin duking it out from the get-go. Soon joining the fray was Blake Driscol. Those three ran nose to tail for several laps until Sabin’s ride gave up the ghost on lap 11, spreading oil on the track and bringing out a yellow. 

When the race restarted, it was Driscol now in the lead and Gill running in second. Gill made his move in turn one just after lap 12 was scored and hung on to take the win with Driscol a close second at the flagstand. Tyler Fiebelkorn came home in third place.

There was a happy camper in victory lane when Schluetter took his first-ever feature win in the Hobby Stocks.  Schluetter got the lead at lap three and looked smooth as butter as he skillfully maneuvered through traffic like a veteran.

He pulled away from the pack, and took the win by a comfortable margin. Following a distant second was Bradley Graham who had started 12th and third went to 11th place starter John Watson.  

The Stock Cars never disappoint and they put on a show for the fans once again Friday evening. Taylor Kuehl led the opening laps but Randy Brands, a two-time winner of the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s, grabbed the lead away on lap four and then looked poised to finding himself in victory lane. 

However, ninth place starter Jaennette had other ideas. He had drawn himself to the runner-up position just after the halfway mark of the race and was wanting more. The final few laps of the race were slider after slider. Brands held his ground until the final corner when he slid just a bit high and Jaennette seized the moment and won the charge to the checkers.

Brands had to be content with the runner-up spot on this night. Kaden Reynolds was the hard charger in the Stock Cars, advancing 13 spots to grab the extra $100 of the night and finished third.

The finale of the night was 20 laps of ground-pounding Modifieds. This was a back and forth race the entire time between Richie Gustin and Rust. Gustin held the upper hand to claim the lead on lap one, Rust took over on lap two, and Gustin returned the favor on lap four. 

It was a tight race from there on out, with Rust establishing the top spot on lap nine, but Gustin right on his tail.  Rust was the victor on this night, flashing across the finish line to take his first win at Marshalltown for 2022.  Gustin had to settle for second place. Tim Ward took third.

The next racing at the Marshalltown Speedway will be a mid-week special on Wednesday, May 18. IMCA Modifieds will also be racing for $1,000 payout and IMCA Stock Cars will have a chance at $750, with All-Star qualifying eligibility at stake for both divisions.