Thornton is extremely good on Xtream Night at Marshalltown

By Joyce Eisele

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (July 5, 2024) –  It was Xtream Powered by Mediacom Night at the Marshalltown Speedway on Friday night, along with Iron Horse Aviation giving some a different perspective of the races from high above with helicopter rides.

A strong field of 134 cars checked in to entertain fans who saw Dylan Thornton capture his first local feature in the Friesen Performance IMCA Modified division.

Austin Kaplan also took his first trip to victory lane in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars. Matt Avila looked strong with his win in the Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods and Bradly Graham got his first weekly win in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks. Jason Masengarb snagged feature win number two on the year in the Stealth Racing IMCA STARS Mod Lites, and Mitchell Bunch made it two in a row in the Mach-1 IMCA Sport Compacts.

The evening’s feature racing kicked off with 15 laps for the Mod Lites.

Masengarb started on the pole and never looked back on his way to the checkers. The race went caution-free after an initial call back for a spinning car before lap one was scored. Masengarb had no issue with the heavy lapped traffic on his way to victory.

Charlie Brown chased him for much of the race until 11th place starter Jon Padilla made the pass late in the race to take second at the finish. Brown took third.

The Sport Compacts went 15 laps for their main event, which went flag-to-flag.  

Bunch jumped to the immediate lead from his pole starting position and it was all his race from there on.  By lap three, Cristian Grady had moved into second place after starting ninth but that would be all he could muster as he finished as the runner-up. Michael Gardner took third.

The Hobby Stock 20-lap feature had some issues with cautions halting the racing action.

Kale Hemsley jumped to the lead as the race went green.  He was still leading when the yellow flew at lap six.  One more lap got in before the caution flew again with Hemsley still holding down the top spot. Yet another yellow flew at lap eight as Hemsley continued to lead, but by this time, Eric Knutson was right on his bumper.

Two more laps got in the books before the yellow flew once again, Hemsley still in command, Knutson out of the competition, and now Briar Kriegel running in second and Graham had worked himself up to third.

The final laps ran caution-free allowing the cars to get back into their racing rhythm and with six laps to go, it was Graham at the helm, Knutson was eliminated with a tire going down and Kriegel was back in second place. Graham went on to take the win, Kriegel finished as the runner up and early leader, Kale Hemsley took third.

The Northern SportMods ran a 16-lap feature.

Zander Kelland, the Bakersfield, Calif., native, led the opening laps but it was Avila moving from seventh and into the lead by lap three.

Three cautions flew before the finish of the race, but they were no issue for Avila as he went home to the flying checkers and the win. Ninth place starter Brayton Carter took second and third went to Kyle Olson.

Next it was 20 laps of feature racing for the Stock Cars. 

Kaplan started on the outside front row and claimed the lead immediately. It would be a spot he would never relinquish the entire 20 laps to take the win. Twelfth place starter Jeff Mueller came on strong as he dug around the bottom and took the runner-up spot as the checkers flew. Third went to 10th place starter Michael Jaennette.

The final event rolled out onto the track with the Modified 20-lap feature.

Jacob Murray took advantage of his pole starting spot and leaped into the lead as the race went green. He continued his run at the front until just before the halfway mark when Thornton was able to make the pass and take over the lead.

Thornton then put some distance between himself and the pack and take the comfortable win.  Zack Rawlins had one of his best runs of the season and took second. Third went to 13th place starter Zack VanderBeek.

This week, races will be on Thursday, July 11 for the Minute Man Printing Night during the Central Iowa Fair. There will be no racing on Friday night.  All six regular IMCA divisions will be on tap with $1,000 to win for the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars.  Hot laps at 6:45 p.m. with racing at 7:30 p.m.

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