Third time is a charm for opening night at Marshalltown

By Joyce Eisele

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (May 3, 2024) – After two prior weeks of rainouts at the Karl Auto Group Marshalltown Speedway, the third time was the charm, and the regular points season got underway for the UAW Local 893 Cliff Chambers Memorial.

One hundred and fifty-eight cars were on hand for the evening’s program.

Tripp Gaylord took the honors in the Friesen Performance IMCA Modified division and it was Jeff Mueller taking the win in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars. Calvin Dhondt took the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature in a thrilling event. Matt Avila led flag to flag in the Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods and Jon Padilla dominated in the IMCA Stealth STARS Mod Lites.

Also on tap were the Mach-1 IMCA Sport Compacts, and Mitchell Bunch won out in a tight back and forth contest.

Feature racing kicked off with the Mod Lite 15-lap feature. Polesitter  Bryan Zehm held the top spot for the first lap.  A caution flew with just one lap in, and it was Padilla taking over at lap two in a race that would then continue caution-free.

It was all Padilla as he motored off and won easily as the checkers flew. Alex Eischeid started sixth and took the runner-up position. Third went to Zehm.

Avila led the entire 20-lap SportMod feature but it was a close finish for second with Cam Reimers dogging him constantly in the closing laps.

There was a good battle behind the leaders most of the race as cars swapped places and at the finish line it was Logan Anderson taking third.  

The 20-lap Hobby Stock feature had fans on their feet as Dhondt and Eric Stanton went lap after lap nearly side-by-side.

Solomon Bennett had taken the immediate lead from his pole starting spot.  Most eyes were then on Dhont, who started back in 12th and was flying on the topside of the high banks. Dhondt took command on lap seven and a couple of laps later, Stanton took over second spot and was throwing challenge after challenge at the leader.

From lap 11 to the checkers flying, the two would run nearly side by side in an exciting run to the finish. Dhondt was able to withstand all that Stanton threw at him, however, and took home the trophy on this night. Following Stanton’s second place finish was Bradly Graham in third.

Jimmy Gustin and Mueller put on quite a show in the early laps of the 20-lap Stock Car feature.

Gustin held down the top spot until lap seven when Mueller was able to get under him.  Mueller never gave up that lead then the rest of the way to the checkers and sealed the win. A tight battle ensued behind the leader in the closing laps with Buck Schafroth taking second and Gustin going third.

The IMCA Modifieds saw a visitor from Mooresville, N.C., stop by for a little racing at the Marshalltown Speedway. Matt Crafton, who races in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and was in the region for his race at the Kansas Speedway this weekend, started on the pole of the 20-lap feature.

He was leading at lap six when a big pile up stopped racing action on the front stretch. This eliminated numerous cars when the race went back to green and just a few laps later, Crafton also exited.

By this time, it was Gaylord as the leader of the pack, and from there on to the flying checkers, it was all Gaylord. He took the win by a lengthy margin over second place finisher Jake McBirnie. Johnathon Logue started 10th and took third.

The night ended with 15 laps of Sport Compact racing. This, too, was a close one at the checkers.

Tenth place starter Cristian Grady and 11th place starter Bunch made it interesting the final handful of laps as they raced nearly side-by-side. Bunch was able to take the lead at lap 10 but Grady never went away and the closing moments was anyone’s guess as to who would be the winner.

Bunch won out as he took the lead for good on the final circuit and took home the win. Grady had to settle for second place. Third went to hometown driver John Gill.

Thursday night, May 9 will be Thursday Night Thunder at the Marshalltown Speedway and no racing on Friday night. All six IMCA classes will be in action. Hot laps are 6:45 p.m. and racing at 7:30 p.m.  

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply