Luke Wanninger warms up his IMCA Modified during hot laps at Marshalltown. - Kyle Ealy Photo
With no plans to go anywhere specific on Friday night, I had narrowed it down to two tracks, Columbus Junction and
Cliff Chambers was a key figure in the development of grass-roots racing at the Central Iowa Fairground in the 70’s and 80’s. Cliff performed about every duty there including promoting the track for a few years. The extremely popular Chambers passed away from cancer in 1989 and every year the track has one night in which they honor Cliff and his contributions.
Josh Zieman, grandson of the legendary Ted Zieman, won the vintage race at Marshalltown Speedway. Zieman drivers a 1956 Pontiac, which is a tribute car to another legendary driver, Charley Hart. - Kyle Ealy Photo
A couple of things you can always count on during your visit to
; lots of cars and great racing. Everyone was treated to both, despite a gusty wind, which dried out the track in no time. By the time hot laps were finished, the dust was flying in abundance. Marshalltown
Thankfully, it didn’t seem to make a difference in the racing action. With the exception of the Modified contest (a Jimmy Gustin cake walk), the Stock Car, Hobby Stock and SportMod features produced solid racing from top to bottom with down to the wire finishes.
Brian Irvine of
Starting 10th in a very tough and talented field,
A little chilly, a little gusty and dusty, but overall, it was a solid night of racing at the house that Toby K built. Benton County Speedway may be the birthplace of affordable racing, but Marshalltown Speedway is where they perfected it.
Tyler Droste (92) three-wheels it around Coby Bangasser on his way to winning his USRA B-modified heat at Highway 3 Raceway on Saturday night. - Kyle Ealy Photo
Saturday night took me in a northerly direction to the Butler County Fairgrounds in
In the past few years, the big half-mile has played host to “special only” events such as the USMTS Modifieds and Deery Brother Late Models (the now-defunct World Dirt Racing League had a few races there) and keeping it to six or eight events for the season. I (and I’m sure others) thought this was a pretty good idea; You get some laps turned on the big half-mile once in a while, without committing one’s self to a weekly program and a lot of dinero.
Somebody else thought differently…in February it was announced that Highway 3 Raceway was unveiling a 17- race program, running A-Modifieds, B-Modifieds, Stock Cars and Hobby Stocks, all under USRA Weekly Racing Series sanctioning.
Competition for cars and crowds at race tracks is becoming more and more problematic, and with three other Saturday night programs (Decorah, Independence and Webster City) with in 50 miles of Allison, they'll have their work cut out for them. But the facility is in good hands with new track manager Larry Flaws and the Butler County Fairboard seems to be 100 percent behind the idea and that's a good start.
The season opener, which had been washed out two weeks straight, promised a little extra coin to the winners with a cool $1,000 going to the A-Mod and Stock Car winners and $750 to the B-modified victor.
As with any opening night, Highway 3 had a few glitches as far as getting the program going. Packing the track took a little longer than anticipated but the short delay was well worth it. The racing surface was nice and tacky from top to bottom and the action throughout the night was first-rate.
The car counts weren’t great for the season opener, with only 10 A-modifieds, 19 B-modifieds, 18 Stock Cars and 10 Hobbies signed in for the inaugural race, but the next day as I looked at scorecards from other tracks that ran on Saturday nights, Allison's figures were right on par with other competing programs. But I'll take quality over quantity any night and it appeared that I made the right choice for my Saturday night entertainment.
I was curious to see if some of the regulars from other Saturday night programs would show up at Allison and sure enough, there was a mix of cars from neighboring tracks in attendance tonight. One driver who I was told would be there was young hotshot Tyler Droste from
Droste showed that he was quite comfortable on the big half-mile, winning his heat easily and dominating the feature. Different track, same results for the third generation racer. Tonight, with the added purse for the season opener, Droste pocketed $750 for the victory.
The Stock Car feature proved interesting with Jason Minnehan of
The A-modified feature had the most excitement of the evening when Doug Hilson of Blooming Prairie,
Doug Hilson's Modified - Before
Doug Hilson's Modified - After
The other “moment” in the race involved Rod Scheuermann of Scranton, Iowa. I had noticed Scheuerman during his heat race, “exhibiting” an unusual, yet aggressive driving style, bobbing and weaving through traffic. He carried that style of racing to the A-main where he got involved in some bumping and jostling with some of his fellow competitors until race officials decided that too much was too much. On a restart, they ordered him to start at the back of the pack. Of course, like any competitive driver, Scheuerman didn’t think he should have to go to rear of the field. Again, officials nicely asked Scheuermann to either go to the rear or leave the track. Scheueremann sat there on the front stretch for a minute, proceeded to do a burnout and then drove around the track with extending the middle finger to every official on the track. Scheuermann was disqualified immediately and went home with empty pockets. Kudos to the officials…Remember guys and gals, those officials on the track are only the messengers.
Tim Murty of
The Hobby Stock feature was much the same as Chris Hovden, Steve Holthaus and Stac Schroeder hooked up in a tremendous battle for the top spot. Schroeder, who started fifth, got a good run on Hovden and Holthaus and just as he was going in for the kill on the identical looking cars, he and Holthaus touched, sending them both spinning. Schroeder was sent to the back while Holthaus was given his spot back. Hovden, with no further competition after that, sailed to the win. After the checkers flew, Schroeder showed his dissatisfaction with Holthaus by getting into a little extracurricular activity in turns one and two while heading to post-race tech.
Just another Saturday night at Highway 3 Raceway…Now I remember why this place appeals to me so much.
There were a few setbacks for the season opener, but it was a good night of racing overall. The track was fantastic all night and despite the limited amount of cars, the racing was exceptional. The fans in attendance seemed to enjoy themselves immensely and hopefully, as word spreads, more drivers in the area will make Allison there Saturday night destination.
A special thanks goes out to track manager Larry Flaws and the Butler County Fairboard for their hospitality during my visit. I’ll make a few return trips there this season.
Thanks for picking us up,