CJ Speedway opens 2023 season with packed house 

By Jerry Mackey

COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa (April 14, 2023) – The racing season at CJ Speedway opened Friday and 93 race teams competed in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd on a beautiful night for racing.  

The Friesen Performance IMCA Modifieds took the green flag for their 20-lap main event with a strong field of 18 drivers taking the initial green flag. Steve Gustaf Sr. took the lead from the pole but his time at the front was short lived as Drew Janssen used the very fast high line of the track to take the lead. 

Janssen went on to pick up the win but it was anything but easy as Jarrett Brown applied pressure late in the race as lapped traffic came into play. Chris Zogg held off Kurt Kile late as these two talented drivers finished second and third, respectively.  

The IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, branded as The Class Too Tough To Tame, proved once again that when they hit the track, hang on because there will be excitement. 

Nathan Ballard drew the number one pill and started the 18-lap feature from the pole. Ballard is a very strong competitor and he was able to lead every lap to take the win. Dustin Griffiths drove his sharp looking 10G to a second place finish after battling with defending track champion Kirk Kinsley, who scored a solid third place finish.  

Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods had the largest field of all classes with 25 entries on opening night. The 16-lap feature took the green with Ryan Walker setting the pace.

Walker was running the extreme high side and unfortunately got too high in turn three, slipped off the track and had to rejoin the field from the tail. The main took the green once again with Colton Livezey and Shane Paris up front locked in a good battle for the lead. 

The 16th starting Dylan VanWyk was steadily working to the front and was able to move into the lead as the feature crossed under the flags with the halfway mark being posted. 

VanWyk went on to score the win ahead of Paris and Livezey. 

The IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock 15-lap feature saw Trevor Tanner break a nine-year winless streak with a win in his beautiful looking number 33T. Tanner drove a very smooth race and held off perennial front runner Randy LaMar in scoring the hard-fought win.

Tanner was joined in victory lane by his eight-year-old daughter who got to witness her dad win his first race for her. LaMar and Brett Vanous rounded out the top three. 

The Mach-1 IMCA Sport Compacts ran their 12-lap feature caution-free. Darin Smith advanced from his third row start to take over the lead after early leader Seth Meinders retired with mechanical issues. Smith went on to hold off a late race charge by Alex Hayes to score the win.  

Racing will continue every Friday at CJ Speedway with hot laps at 7 p.m. and racing to follow.