Martin over Martin as Winged Sprints Debut at Stuart
Story By Jeff Broeg, Back Stretch at PositivelyRacing.com
With Winged Sprints Cars making their first ever appearance at one of my favorite tracks, plans were made to pick up photographer Barry Johnson along the way on my two hour and forty-five minute trek and spend a hot, sunny evening at the Stuart International Speedway. Well at least I hoped that it would remain hot and sunny as when I was leaving Mount Pleasant we were under a severe thunderstorm warning from a cell that was moving from east to west, a weather phenomenon that we don't normally see here in the upper Midwest. Future radar showed that the storms would chase me west, but fizzle out before reaching my final destination, but more on that later.
Nineteen Malvern Bank 360 Sprint Cars signed in, just one shy of the car count that we had predicted, but for whatever reason the car count in the four regular divisions on the card for the night was very light considering that this was a track point race. Owner/Promoter Mike Van Genderen noted that the five division total of 52 was the lowest since he had taken over the facility a few years ago and suggested several possible reasons, the most likely being that drivers were coming off a very busy Memorial Day weekend, including a two day show here at Stuart that drew nice counts, and that they were just plain tired.
Never the less, on this small quarter-mile a low car count does not stand out as much and the racing in all five divisions was very entertaining, so let's start with the headliners who were the third feature on the schedule. Back to the weather though, as predicted the storms that originated in eastern did fizzle out as they reached Des Moines, but one tiny new cell developed just east of Stuart as the heat races were coming to a close that looked like it was going to wash us out for sure with a slow westward drift. The Sport Mod and Modified mains were run off in a quick manner and Van Genderen made the tough decision to stick with his plan to farm the surface prior to the twenty-five lap headliner knowing that, if he didn't, the track would likely rubber up early and turn into a one lane freight train.
I'm sure that many of the fans in attendance were questioning that decision as you could see the rain shaft just to the east, but as the farming was completed this cell had too dissipated with only a sprinkle or two and we were ready for a Sprint Car feature on a newly groomed surface.
Young Cam Martin would start from the pole position, just in front of his older brother Chris, but it would be outside front row starter John Klabunde that would race out to the early lead. with Jason Martin, no relation to the two Martin's previously mentioned, taking up the chase. The red flag would fly on lap five when Austin Miller climbed the barriers in turn one and went over one time and once back to racing Klabunde would continue to lead the field for two more laps before he also went too high in turns one and two and went for a tumble.
Martin, Martin and Martin (no, there was no sighting of "Crazy Martin" in the stands on this night) would bring the field back to green and two more laps would be completed before Chase Brown would spin in turn four collecting eastern Iowa visitor Colton Fisher. The green would fly again with just one more lap in the books when Fisher would spin in turn two, perhaps because of the wing damage that he had suffered during his contact with Brown, and with four stoppages in the first ten laps I was having flashbacks to my previous encounter with this series back in April at Harlan.
Thankfully the final fifteen laps would be caution free giving us a good race to the checkers with Jason Martin leading the way and Chris Martin giving chase. While the two leaders would pull away, both riding the top, there was a good battle going on behind them with Stu Snyder now creeping the bottom and making up ground from his seventh starting spot. When he reached lapped traffic all of them were running low so Jason was not impeded, but now with just a handful of laps left the car of Josh Higday was ahead of the leader and running the same high line.
Knowing that the finish was near, it almost looked like Jason was trying to time it so that he would protect his line, but not reach Higday until the checkers waved even coming a bit down from the cushion in turns one and two after scoring lap twenty-one. Chris was now ready to pounce and just after lap twenty-two went in the books he dove to the bottom in turn one, and then slid up the track to catch the cushion off of turn two. Jason was unable to crossover the near perfect slider and Chris Martin would lead the final three laps to take the victory. Jason Martin finished second, Snyder took the third position, Don Droud Jr. picked his way through the field to come from eleventh to fourth while fifth row starter Joey Danley completed the top five.
Once it could stay under green, this was an entertaining race that saw the drivers literally using every inch of the groomed surface. Thank goodness that the rain stayed away, or that would have been a much maligned decision!
The Sport Mods kicked off the five features with a fifteen lap affair that saw Mike Dullard lead until lap four when Garrett Nelson took the point. A caution would wave on lap eleven and on the restart, the front of the field would jumble up off turn four with the leader Nelson suffering enough damage that he would not be able to continue. That handed the point over to Cam Reimers and he would close out the final four laps to take the win over tenth starting Shawn Kralik. Last Monday's feature winner Mitchell Morris was third, David Schwartz started third, faded to eighth and then rallied back for fourth place money while Bryan Morris closed out the top five.
Just five IMCA Modifieds were on hand tonight with Todd Shute taking the lead from Josh Gilman on lap three and then cruising to his seventh win on the 2023 season. Gilman was second, Chase Rudolf finished third with Izac Mallicoat and Scott Bash next in line.
Danny Foster would pace the Hobby Stocks for the first two laps before yielding to Luke Ramsey and then hometown favorite Skylar Pruitt would power to the front on lap five. There would be no catching him over the final nine circuits as Pruitt scored the victory over Ramsey and Solomon Bennett. Rusty Bates and Christian Cook would fill out the top five.
The Stock Cars would close out the evening and the nine car field would stay tightly bunch throughout. Austin Meiners would grab the lead from his pole position and would drive a mistake free race as drivers raced two and three wide behind him. At the checkers it would be Meiners scoring his first career feature win ahead of veteran drivers Mike Albertson and Todd Van Eaton. Buck Schafroth would race the final ten laps with a broken left tie rod to finish fourth and ninth starting Rowdee Van Genderen would nip Brandon Pruitt by inches to take fifth.
The final checkers waved at 9:44 p.m. and the drive home was illuminated with a big, bright strawberry full moon with no hint of the clouds and rain that had roamed the area earlier, other than some nasty ground fog just north of Eddyville.
A big thanks to MVG for the hospitality and don't forget that Joe Kosiski and his Malvern Bank crew will be back at Stuart this coming Sunday night with the SLMR West Late Model series. As for me, I am toying with the idea of making another three hour trip on a night before a work day this Thursday for night two of the $7,500-to-win B-Mod Shootout at the Mason City Motor Speedway. Then on Sunday the plan is for a trip to the Benton County Speedway in Vinton for the weather delayed debut of the PRO Late Model Tour.
Malvern Bank 360 Sprint Cars
Malvern Bank A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 44-Chris Martin; 2. 36-Jason Martin; 3. 23S-Stuart Snyder; 4. 1M-Don Droud Jr; 5. 35L-Cody Ledger; 6. 14-Joey Danley; 7. 4-Cameron Martin; 8. 45-Monty Ferriera; 9. 1E-Josh Higday; 10. 91-Brandon Stevenson; 11. 55-Chase Brown; 12. 32-Riley Valentine; 13. 57B-Boyd Peterson; 14. 11-Colton Fisher; 15. 23J-Ethan Jones; 16. 77-John Klabunde; 17. 10J-Justin Jacobsma; 18. 83A-Austin Miller; 19. 99-Braydn Greubel
Abes Trash Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 4-Cameron Martin; 2. 45-Monty Ferriera; 3. 55-Chase Brown; 4. 11-Colton Fisher; 5. 91-Brandon Stevenson; 6. 57B-Boyd Peterson; 7. 32-Riley Valentine
Mid Nebraska Land Developers Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 44-Chris Martin; 2. 77-John Klabunde; 3. 23S-Stuart Snyder; 4. 1M-Don Droud Jr; 5. 83A-Austin Miller; 6. 99-Braydn Greubel
Predator Custom Trailers ESI Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 35L-Cody Ledger; 2. 36-Jason Martin; 3. 14-Joey Danley; 4. 10J-Justin Jacobsma; 5. 1E-Josh Higday; 6. 23J-Ethan Jones
VIP Contractors Karl Chevrolet of Stuart A Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 5-Todd Shute; 2. 83G-Josh Gilman; 3. 8R-Chase Rudolf; 4. 11-Izac Mallicoat; 5. 14B-Scott Bash
VIP Contractors Karl Chevrolet of Stuart Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 5-Todd Shute; 2. 83G-Josh Gilman; 3. 8R-Chase Rudolf; 4. 11-Izac Mallicoat; 5. 14B-Scott Bash
IMCA Stock Cars
Affordable Quality Roofing Exteriors A Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 8M-Austin Meiners; 2. 3-Mike Albertsen; 3. V31-Todd VanEaton; 4. 92-Buck Schafroth; 5. 57VG-Rowdee Van Genderen; 6. 10B-Brandon Pruitt; 7. (DNF) 14B-Austin Bouzek; 8. (DNF) 3S-Bryan Snell; 9. (DNF) 54-Robbie Merkle
Affordable Quality Roofing Exteriors Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 92-Buck Schafroth; 2. 3-Mike Albertsen; 3. 8M-Austin Meiners; 4. V31-Todd VanEaton; 5. 14B-Austin Bouzek; 6. 3S-Bryan Snell; 7. 10B-Brandon Pruitt; 8. 54-Robbie Merkle; 9. (DNF) 57VG-Rowdee Van Genderen
IMCA Sport Mods
Spangler Automotive A Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 21-Cam Reimers; 2. 0-Shawn Kralik; 3. 18-Mitchell Morris; 4. 57S-David Schwartz; 5. 0LD-Bryan Morris; 6. 34N-Thomas Nelson; 7. 4-Gage Hilgenberg; 8. 26-Mike Dullard; 9. F18-Nate Friesen; 10. (DNF) 95N-Garrett Nelson
Spangler Automotive Heat 1 (7 Laps): 1. 57S-David Schwartz; 2. 95N-Garrett Nelson; 3. 21-Cam Reimers; 4. F18-Nate Friesen; 5. 18-Mitchell Morris
Spangler Automotive Heat 2 (7 Laps): 1. 4-Gage Hilgenberg; 2. 0-Shawn Kralik; 3. 0LD-Bryan Morris; 4. 26-Mike Dullard; 5. 34N-Thomas Nelson
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Ricks Towing A Feature 1 (14 Laps): 1. 96-Skylar Pruitt; 2. 17-Luke Ramsey; 3. 11B-Solomon Bennett; 4. 84B-Rusty Bates; 5. 01-Christian Cook; 6. 19DD-Danny Foster; 7. 14B-Keith Burg; 8. 17A-Andy Peck; 9. (DNS) 5B-Brandon Behle
Ricks Towing Heat 1 (7 Laps): 1. 84B-Rusty Bates; 2. 19DD-Danny Foster; 3. 17-Luke Ramsey; 4. 11B-Solomon Bennett; 5. 96-Skylar Pruitt; 6. 01-Christian Cook; 7. 14B-Keith Burg; 8. 17A-Andy Peck; 9. (DNF) 5B-Brandon Behle
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