By Joyce Eisele
MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (Aug. 18, 2023) – It was North 3rd Avenue Dairy Queen Larry Wollam Season Championship Night at the Marshalltown Speedway on Friday.
Feature wins went to Todd Shute in the Friesen Performance IMCA Modified division. It was Austin Kaplan winning the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car main event and Logan Anderson took the honors in the Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods. Bradly Graham won the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature, and Joe Glick won the Stealth Racing IMCA STARS Mod Lites and Mitchell Bunch saw checkers in the Mach-1 IMCA Sport Compacts.
Only one feature winner of the night was also crowned a track champion, that being Shute in the Modifieds.
Sport Compacts were the first on the track for their 15-lap feature and Mitchell Bunch led all 15 laps on his way to the checkered flag. He had pulled away from the field when a yellow flew at lap 10. This put Kolby Sabin on his tail for the restart. Bunch maintained his lead when the race went green, but a couple of laps later, he drifted a bit up the track, allowing Sabin to draw close and ready for his chance.
It wasn’t to be, however, as Bunch would take it home to the checkers and seal the win, his second of the year at the track. Sabin, who claimed the track crown, had to settle for second place. Third went to Blake Driscol, Chad Larson came home in fourth and John Patterson was fifth.
Mod Lites ran next and went 15 laps for their feature. Since they had missed a night of racing, their track championship will be decided at next week’s race.
William Nobles led lap one but on lap two it was Glick in command. The following laps saw a great battle up front as Glick, Jason Masengarb, and Jon Padilla jostled back and forth. Masengarb got to the front on lap seven, only to have Glick regain the lead on lap nine.
From there on out, Glick would rip the lip and take his ride home the rest of the way to the flying checkers. Masengarb finished as the runner-up, third went to Padilla, Josh May was fourth and Cory Sonner rounded out the top five. This was Glick’s first trip to victory lane at the speedway this year.
The Hobby Stocks were next on the docket for 20 laps of racing.
Ben Newhouse led the troops through the first six laps until Tucker Richardson took over at lap seven. Richardson stretched out his lead until a caution flew at lap 12, which then saw Graham setting in second spot and anxious for the restart.
When the race restarted, Graham kept looking under for a way around, time after time. When those peeks didn’t pay off, he opted for a slider out of turn four, and was scored the leader when lap 16 went in the books.
He held that lead, stretching it out and taking the comfortable win. Eric Knutson got around Richardson in the closing laps as they went second and third, respectively. Fourth went to Sam West and Calvin Dhondt came all the way from 24th starting to finish fifth.
This was Graham’s first feature win of the year. The track championship for 2023 went to Corey Van Der Wilt.
The Northern SportMods ran a 20-lap main event.
There was a lot of moving and shaking in this race the entire time. Zach Hovell led the opening two laps, but it was Jenae Gustin taking over on lap three. Gustin then had Logan Anderson to contend with as he hounded her lap after lap. Meanwhile, Brayton Carter had moved into third place and was challenging for position.
Gustin held her lead as more drivers joined in the chase, among them Matt Avila, and Tony Olson. Gustin was still leading when a caution flew with just two laps remaining. On the restart, there was contact as they exited turn two, causing Gustin to falter and Anderson took advantage, flying into the lead.
Anderson kept the top spot in the closing moments and took the win, his first of the year. Matt Avila took the runner-up spot, Carter was third, Gustin recovered nicely and took fourth, and Travis Peterson was fifth. Kyle Olson would claim the track title crown in the division for 2023.
The 20-lap Stock Car feature was no less exciting. Cars were going three, four, and five wide in the opening laps, with Dave Atcher leading the mass.
Austin Kaplan, who started 10th, gained the upper hand at lap nine, as Atcher, Michael Jaennette, Tyler Pickett and Steve Meyer duked it out behind him. Kaplan would never give up his lead, however, and went home to the win.
Meyer finished in second, Pickett was third, Jaennette was fourth and Scott Rice rounded out the top five. This was Kaplan’s third win of the year. Meyer claimed the track championship.
The finale of the night was 25 laps of Modified racing. Two drivers, Shute, and Joel Rust, were separated by only two points going into the race. Both drivers were offered extra money to go to the tail on the start, Shute choosing to stay at his seventh starting spot as point leader, Rust turning down his eighth place starting position, for a chance at the extra cash.
Polesetter Dustin Kroening leaped into the lead as the race started but by lap four, he had Shute on his tail. Shute managed to get under Kroening going down the back stretch and grabbed the lead on lap eight.
It was all Shute’s race from there on out as he distanced himself from the pack, rim-riding flawlessly on his way to the checkers. Tripp Gaylord took second, Rust fell a bit short, but put on a great show to finish in third place, fourth went to Ronn Lauritzen and Maguire DeJong came on strong in the closing moments to finish in fifth.
This was Shute’s fourth win of the year and he is the 2023 Modified track champion.
There will be racing Friday, Aug. 25 at Marshalltown Speedway where it will be KIX 101.1 KFJB Night. The Mod Lites will have their season championship and a track champion will be crowned. It will be a draw/redraw show for all other classes. Hot laps are 6:55 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m.