Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Racing's worst four-letter word

Disclaimer: The following blog is not for those race fans who are faint of heart or superstitious when it comes to talking about the "R" word on race day. If this is you, I recommend that you click the little red "X" in the upper right-hand corner of your screen or direct your browser window elsewhere. However, if you're one of those who unloads your green #13 from your hauler on race night while munching on peanuts and taking part in casual chat with fellow racers about the dark clouds and swirling winds moving in, by all means, read on...

While preparing for this weekend's season opener at Independence, like any curious race fan, I've been keeping my eye on the weather forecast. Having noticed that the forecast hasn't changed over the past 48 hours or so, I admit, the chance of opening the 2010 season this Saturday seems slim, at best. That got me thinking, "We always get rain at some point during the season that forces us to cancel (with the lone exception of rain-free 1997), but when exactly HAVE we rained out at Independence?" (To make it easier, for purposes of this blog, all cancellations are referred to as rainouts, although Nick Wroten reminded me of a night in 1998 when racing was canceled after the electricity went out during heat races.)

I opened my file of results from Independence and set out to determine the rainout trends of the past 43 years. While most all of it was interesting, there were a few items that literally astounded me.

To set this up, there are a total of 14 different calendars; seven that include leap years and seven that do not. These calendars rotate on a yearly basis as I'm sure you're all aware. Afterall, I would assume that most everyone knows our birthdays normally fall one day later in the week each passing year except when that pesky leap year messes things up and we go from a Friday birthday one year to Sunday the following year. In short, due to the four-year span between leap years, combined with the seven days of the week, the cycle of calendars repeats itself every 28 years. That means 1982 is the same as 2010 and 1983 will repeat itself in 2011, etc. Yes, dust off your parachute pants and Members Only jackets and don't forget to "phone home" as you try to outrun Roscoe P. Coltrain...

The reason I bring this up is because I went back and listed every scheduled race date at Independence from the first Saturday of May through the final Saturday in August from 1967 through the 1985 season. The first April race at Independence was on April 26, 1986. From 1986 through last season, I included dates from that final week in April through the end of August. There have been years since 1986 that racing was scheduled a week prior to the final Saturday in April, however I wasn't confident that I had all those rainouts so I omitted them from my plan.

In short, the 28-year calendar cycle has repeated itself approximately one-and-a-half times since Independence began racing, meaning every date from May 1 through August 31 has appeared anywhere from five to seven times in the last 43 years. Every date will have had an equal number of eight appearances on the Independence schedule following the completion of the 2022 season, assuming the current scheduling pattern remains in place. This is with the exception, of course, of August 31 during years the Late Models have been I.M.C.A. sanctioned. Traditionally, the points season for Late Models ends during the last full weekend in August, meaning championship night is generally scheduled for August 24 when race day would otherwise be scheduled on the 31st.

With that said, I broke down every date of every year and entered events that were scheduled for those dates, along with events that were rained out on those dates. Here are some samples of what I found. Remember, these numbers include only weekly Saturday night racing at Independence.

* Of the 123 calendar days from May 1 to August 31, there have been 35 calendar days that the races have never been canceled in Independence. Of those 35 days, two are in May, nine are in June, 14 are in July and 10 are in August.

* There is not a single date that has rained out every year it's been scheduled. Independence has raced at some point in time on every calendar day from May 1 to August 31 over the past 43 years. The date with the worst track record as far as rain goes has been May 7. The races have rained out four out of five Saturdays at Independence. Coincidentally, the only time Indee has seen races on May 7 was the last time they were scheduled, in 2005. Fear not, May 7 is not a race date in 2010. We can try to battle those odds when it reappears on the schedule in 2011. The only other dates that have had more rain than racing have been May 22 and June 2. Those two dates are each only 2-for-6 when it comes to beating the rain. All other 120 race dates have had at least 50% of their shows completed over the years. On a side note, the April 26 and May 31 "rainouts" in 2008 weren't really a result of rain on race day, rather a result of the spring storms that destroyed the grandstands. If we'd have been able to race on those days, we'd be a perfect 4-for-4 on April 26 and 7-for-7 on May 31 (assuming, of course, it didn't actually rain on either of those days).

The reason I started doing the rainout research was because it has seemed especially apparent in recent years that half of the first half of the season is ultimately rained out while we get away (nearly) scot free after mid-season championships. Here are some numbers relating to the time of year we get rained out:

* Of the 163 rainouts over the past 43 years, a whopping 64 (39.3%) of them have come in May. As for the rest of the summer, 35 (21.5%) have come in June, 25 (15.3%) in July and 29 (17.8%) in August. The remaining 10 (6.1%) came in the final week of April.
* When breaking down the season in half (and not counting the April dates), 64.7% of all rainouts have come in May and June, while just 35.3% have come in July and August.
* To expand it a little more, consider the end of June as the cutoff for the first half of the season. In track history, only three times has a season gone rain-free throughout the first half of the season - 1981, 1985, 1997. If you limit it to just May and June, you can add 1992 and 1999 to that list as April's events rained out that year while May and June went without a rainout. By contrast, there have been 11 seasons that both July and August have run without a single cancellation. Those years were 1975, 1976, 1984, 1986, 1991, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2005, 2006 and 2008.

If you take a look at what we can expect in 2010, here is an historical breakdown of each race date on this year's schedule and how they have fared in the past:

April 24: Raced 1 time, rained out 2 times (Raced 33% of the time, the only time being 1993 if you caught this week's trivia question on the facebook page! Ironically, although we raced on April 24, 1993, that season tied for the record with the most rainouts ever in a single season at Independence. Of 19 scheduled race nights, eight were canceled that year due to weather. This does not include the nine cancellations due to the storm damage from 2008.)
May 1: Raced 4 of 7 nights, including the last two times scheduled (57.1% overall)
May 8: Raced all 6 nights (100%)
May 15: Raced 4 of 6, including the last two (67%)
May 22: Raced 2 of 6 and rained out 4 of the last 5 times scheduled (33%)
May 29: Raced 3 of 6 (50%)
June 5: Raced 6 of 6 (100%)
June 12: Raced 5 of 6, including the last 5 straight (83.3%)
June 19: Raced 6 of 6 (100%)
June 26: Raced 5 of 6, including the last 2 straight (83.3%)
July 3: Raced 4 of 6, although the last 2 have rained out (66.7%)
July 10: Raced 3 of 6, including the last 2 (50%)
July 17: Raced 4 of 6, including the last 2 (66.7%)
July 24: Raced 6 of 6 (100%)
July 31: Raced 5 of 6, including the last 2 (83.3%)
August 7: Raced 5 of 6, including the last 5 straight (83.3%)
August 14: Raced 5 of 6, including the last 2 straight (83.3%)
August 21: Raced 6 of 6 (100%)
August 28: Raced 5 of 6, but rained out the last time scheduled, in 2005 (83.3%)

Despite the fact that two of the only three dates with less than a 50% success rate fall on the calendar this year, I'd say the odds are with us to have a pretty good season. Overall, racing has won out over rain 78.99% of the time, meaning we race approximately four nights for every rainout. Based on those averages, we should be able to get 15 nights of racing in this season. One plus, this year's calendar works in our favor as there are two months with five Saturdays, allowing for a 19th night on the schedule. The schedule will return to 18 nights for each of the next two seasons after this year if races are scheduled in the same patterm.

To expand on the five-week months, there have been 64 racing months with five Saturdays in the past 43 years. Of those 64 months, an amazing 25 of them went completely rain-free. Overall, 320 race nights were scheduled during those months with 205 racing to completion. On average, that means we normally get at least three-plus nights in during a five week month, with the occasional perfect month thrown in the mix.

Okay, enough talk about the weather, it's time to prepare for the weekend's opener. If you're heading to Indee, let's hope there's more than a 33% chance we'll see you there!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hull annihilates field in Sprint Invaders opener

Jerrod Hull walked away from the field, lapping up to the fifth place finisher, on his way to the season opening win for the Sprint Invaders series at 34 Raceway.

Starting outside the second row, Hull settled into third place at the drop of the green while pole sitter Ryan Jamison paced the field for the first three laps. Running the high side, Hull swept past Joey Moughan for second just prior to a lap three caution. On the restart, Hull went back to work up top and passed for the lead one lap later.

Ten laps into the event, Hull built a straightaway advantage. Despite entering lapped traffic three laps later, Hull continued to build on his lead, extending it to half of a lap by the 19th circuit of the 34-lap feature event. Although a late race caution bunched the field, Hull took charge on the restart, blistered the field once more and took the checkers by a straightaway ahead of Jamison. Jim Moughan Jr., Kaley Gharst and Jon Agan completed the top five, the only finishers on the lead lap.

Bobby Mincer pulled off early from his heat race and was forced to qualify through the B feature. He snuck into the feature field and started 18th. Mincer made a good run through the field and, with help from a few caution periods, came home sixth.

The top two finishers in each of the four heats raced a six-lap Shakeup Dash. Hull won that event and pulled the number five from the bag of chips, leaving him to start the main event from inside the third row. That left Johnny Anderson on the pole, with Jamison and Joey Moughan left to fill out the first three starting spots. Those three drivers were offered the chance to double their money by starting at the back if they could race through the field to a top-three finish. Anderson was the only driver to accept the challenge, however mechanical problems prior to the feature forced him to sit out the main event.

Justin Newberry and Seth Wilke were involved in separate incidents that resulted in each driver rolling their sprinters in dramtaic fashion. Newberry went end-over-end at the end of the front stretch eight laps into the race while Wilke took a wild ride on the high side of turns three and four with nine laps remaining. Although their machines suffered heavy damage, both drivers walked away uninjured.

In companion action, Jeff Mueller scored his second win of the season at 34 in the I.M.C.A. Stock Car division. After starting outside the second row, Mueller engaged in a thrilling battle out front with a quartet of drivers as the pack of five pulled away from the field. Pole-sitter Nathan Wood, Corey Strothman, Chris Webb, John Oliver Jr. and Mueller broke away from the pack early with Wood leading the early proceedings.

Running one groove lower than than Wood, who was running the high side, Mueller engaged in nose-to-nose and side-by-side battles with the leader in the early going. The leaders swapped the lead numerous times until Mueller snuck under Wood and snared the lead for good on the 13th of 20 laps. Webb and Strothman completed the top four and Kirk Kinsley, who started 10th, came home fifth.

Bryce Bailey motored around the high side of John Whalen five laps into the 4-Cylinder feature to drive to top honors in that 12-lapper. Coming home second, about 8 car-lengths back, was Geoffrey Theobald. Tyler Whalen, Bill Whalen and Dakota Fenton completed the top five.

A number of people who knew I went to Davenport on Friday for the Deery Series race have asked why they hadn't seen my recap of that event. In short, we didn't make the decision to head to that race until late and didn't make it there until shortly before 8 p.m. The final heat was on the track when we arrived and, since I hadn't been to Davenport in a number of years, I didn't realize the pit entrance was to the east of the grandstands. I spent much of my time walking through the pits and didn't catch much of the racing until feature time so I just took in the races as a fan without the notebook on Friday.

For those who haven't already heard, Ray Guss won going away in the Deery Series event in a race that saw many big names drop out early. Among them were Terry Neal, Rob Toland and then-unbeaten Mark Burgtorf. Most disappointing to me was seeing Jason Rauen drop out with severe front end damage late in the event. He appeared to be the only driver who might have had anything for Guss and it would have been neat to see him challenge in the waning laps.

I was a bit disappointed that the view from the pits was less than desirable. I remember races on the half-mile down there when the action was right in front of you. Since they race primarily on the 1/4-mile now, the view from the pits wasn't the best and there were no bleachers from which to view. Making the l0ng trek back to the grandstand side, it wasn't the most user-friendly of situations, although there was some good Late Model racing.

Up next for me is the season opener at Independence next Saturday night. With guardrail and fence work nearing completion around turns one and two, along with the new concession stand fully operational and the new grandstands that were introduced toward the end of last season, it should be a great season opener. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Burgtorf battles to Deery Series opener win at 34

An impressive field of 64 I.M.C.A. Late Models signed in for the Slocum 50 at 34 Raceway on April 10, the 2010 series opener for the Deery Brothers Summer Series. A pair of bad draws didn't deter Mark Burgtorf from driving to the $3,000 winner's share in the event, which honored Brent Slocum, who lost his life in the pits at the speedway a few years ago.

Burgtorf, who drew the largest number out of the hat for his heat race, came from the back of the field to take the win in his qualifier. He then drew 11 out of 12 on the redraw and had to drive from the sixth row to score the victory in the 50-lap feature.

At the on-set of the 50-lap event, outside front row starter Ryan Giles took the lead and paced the field for the first three laps. Nate Beuseling, who started right behind Giles, dropped to the inside and took command on the fourth circuit. Beuseling then went to work on the high side of the speedway, running it to perfection, pulling away from the field.

Just seven laps into the race, Beuseling extended his advantage to over half of a straightaway while Giles ran second ahead of pole-sitter Todd Malmstrom and Shawn Mulvany. Beuseling built up a straightaway lead by the time he first encountered lapped traffic on lap 11. Although he continued to maintain a large lead, the leader had trouble negotiating the lapped car of Mark Preston, taking five laps to get around Preston's #57, finally making the pass on lap 16.

One lap after Beuseling made his way around Preston, Burgtorf worked his way into the second position as Beuseling entered heavier lapped traffic. On lap 22, Burgtorf cut the lead in half and pulled to within a couple of car-lengths of the leader by the time the yellow flag waved at the midway point on lap 25.

On the restart, Burgtorf ran the low groove and stayed close with Beuseling, who was dialed in on the top side, but struggled to make a solid pass for the lead. Burgtorf pulled even with the leader on lap 29 and the duo swapped the lead over the next five laps, running side-by-side the entire time. Finally, on lap 42, Burgtorf pulled ahead of Beuseling to drive away to the win.

Beuseling drove to a career best series finish by coming home second. Rob Toland was the big mover on the night. After needing a provisional to get into the 25-car starting field, Toland powered through traffic to finish third after a 22nd place start. Tom Goble ran fourth at the line and Matt Strassheim, a B feature qualifier, finished fifth after starting 16th.

In the Modified division, the old saying "cautions breed cautions" was overheard a couple times during that feature race. Scheduled to be 20 laps, the event was cut back to 12 laps when it timed out after four lengthy caution periods. Pole-sitter Dusty Kraklio was victorious as he led the event in its entirety after holding off early challenges from Darin Duffy. Brandon Rothzen, Rich Smith and Scott Hogan completed the top five.

Randy Wachter was quite possibly the happiest man in town after he scored his first win in the Hobby Stock division. Dan Wenig took the lead from his pole position start and paced the field until Wachter made his way to the front on lap four. Wachter withstood the challenges from Tanner Thomann to score his first-ever victory by half of a car-length at the line. Ray Raker came from 14th to finish third.

Despite a headache midway through the day, it was a great night of racing. Thanks to Sue McDaniel for the Tylenol, which took the edge off for the rest of the night. I was able to watch the qualifying events with McDaniel and the features with fellow blogger Jeff Broeg. It was great to catch up with old friends early in the season. It was also good to meet some new folks at the races last night. For a long time, I've been a member of various Internet message boards. For message board users, there are always a select few people you've always wanted to meet based on what they have to say online. I was glad to be able to finally put the face to the name of one of those folks last night when "72fan" Warren Busse introduced himself following last night's show. Thanks for saying hi, Warren, I hope to see you at a few other events this year.

Prior to the races Saturday night, track owner Amy Laue asked if I would be willing to help watch the pit gate before the security guard arrived for his shift. I gladly accepted the duty of checking for pit passes as everyone passed through the gate. While I had a few chuckles with some folks from back home in Waterloo who weren't expecting to see me greeting them at the pit gate, not everyone was too thrilled when they got to the track. The high car counts and large number of big haulers in the pits limited what would normally be parking for street vehicles in the pit area. The other gentleman and I working the gate were asked to inform everyone wishing to park their cars in the pits that the pits were full. I tell you what, I've scored, announced, been the track steward, pit steward and spotter at a race track before, but I don't think I've ever had my butt chewed as much as I did last night by the lazy folks who felt a sense of entitlement. Parking personal vehicles in the pits is a luxury at 34 Raceway, something very few tracks offer. It was unfortunate to see a number of fans already in mid-season form by the expletives I heard last night. Don't take for granted the facility and program you have in Burlington!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Delayed opener in the books at Marshalltown Speedway

After the originally scheduled season opening Frostbuster event was washed out April 2, Marshalltown Speedway was hoping to complete its first event of the season on Friday. The proceedings were delayed after the first six qualifying heats, however, when a fuse blew on a transformer in the infield leaving the track without lights. After a delay of over an hour and a call to Alliant Energy, it was worth the wait as those in attendance were treated to an exciting program that included five exciting finishes.

The first feature of the night was the Mod Lite 15-lapper. Tim Hennigar assumed command in the early stages, but received heavy pressure from Jimmy May and Eric Hendricksen. Josh May entered the mix out front just prior to a lap four caution. On the restart, Hennigar continued to hold the top spot while Josh May was working the high side in his #99. While the leaders battled, Mike Morrill made his way through traffic and into the top three just prior to the midway point.

Over the final half of the event, the top three engaged in a terrific three-car, side-by-side battle, swapping both positions and racing grooves. Although Morrill took charge with only a couple of laps left, May used the high side to his advantage to come away with the win. Hennigar came home third.

In the most dominant performance of the night, Geoff Olson scored the win in the I.M.C.A. SportMod division as they ran 15 laps without a caution. Olson took charge at the drop of the green and quickly distanced himself from his pursuers. Eric Larson settled into second in the early going, but could not catch the leader despite his attempts to gain ground in lapped traffic. Olson took the win by half of a straightaway ahead of Larson. Eric Flander came home third. An impressive 41 SportMods signed in to compete during opening night action.

Pole-sitter Tracy Geinger held the point at the start of the 18-lap I.M.C.A. Stock Car main event. Geinger paced the 23-car field while Michael Jeannette gave chase. Damon Murty, who started a few rows deep in the field, worked the high line into third by the third lap. He continued to run the top groove and made his way into the lead just two laps later.

While Murty led, Trent Murphy and Steve Meyer challenged Jeannette for second. Both drivers worked around Jeannette just prior to a lap nine caution. On the restart, Murty again started to pull away while Dustin Smith began making his way through the field. Smith moved into fourth just before the yellow flag waved one last time three laps later. Smith powered past Meyer and Murphy when racing resumed and pulled within a car-length of Murty, but ran out of time as Murty motored to the victory. Meyer, Jeannette and Murphy completed the top five.

Luke Wanninger took advantage of his pole position start to take the early lead in the 26-car I.M.C.A. Modified feature. Running the middle and low grooves, Wanninger quickly distanced himself from the field as Scott Simatovich, Jay Schmidt and Richie Gustin battled for position behind him. Gustin motored into second on the seventh circuit and started to cut into Wanninger's lead. He pulled even with the leader at the halfway point of the 20-lapper when the leaders encountered lapped traffic. After running the lower grooves of the speedway for the entire event up until this point, Wanninger was forced to try the high side when a trio of backmarkers slowed his pace, allowing Gustin to pull to his inside. Exiting turn four on lap 13, Wanninger got loose on the high side and collected Gustin's #19G sending both into the front stretch wall to put an early end to both of their nights.

Simatovich inherited the point for the restart, followed by Schmidt, Vern Jackson and Jon Snyder. Simatovich held on to the lead while Snyder ran low and Jackson ran high to get around Schmidt, who spun in turn two on the 16th lap to bring out the final caution. Simatovich held off Snyder's challenges during the final four laps to take the win. Jackson, Jimmy Gustin and Todd Conrad completed the top five.

New father Josh Irvine scored his first win of the year in the 12-lap I.M.C.A. Hobby Stock feature. From his pole position start, Irvine took the early lead despite heavy pressure from Nick Murty and Todd Reitzler. Irvine paced the field running the low groove while Murty ran the top of the track and into a challenge for the lead four laps into the event. Murty took the point one lap later and remained out front until his car came to a stop on the back straightaway after the race had already gone to caution on lap seven.

With Murty in the pits, Irvine once again found himself out front as he led the final five circuits to take the win. Reitzler, who remained glued to Irvine's rear bumper throughout the race, finished second. Michael Murphy finished third ahead of Devin Smith and Dustin Elliott.

Despite the unexpected lighting problems and lengthy delay, promoter Toby Kruse and crew did a great job moving the show along as an impressive 139 cars signed in to do battle in 24 events, with the final checkered flag falling at 11:50 p.m.

My racing weekend has just started as the Independence Motor Speedway car show begins at 9 a.m. today (now that it's officially 2 a.m. Saturday), although the practice session scheduled for 2-6 p.m. this afternoon has been canceled. The fairboard and CJ Promotions have been working on replacing fence and guardrails around the outside of the track, however wet spring weather has slowed that process. The guardrails along the fence in turns one and two have not been completed despite the crew's steadfast efforts to get them done by this weekend. Due to that safety hazard, the practice session has been canceled, however it may be made up next weekend. Details about the possible make-up date will be coming in the near future.

After the morning car show, I plan to head south to 34 Raceway in Burlington for the season-opening event of the Deery Brothers Summer Series for I.M.C.A. Late Models. Talking to various drivers and fans, it appears most people expect to see anywhere from 50-70 cars at that show. Also competing will be I.M.C.A. Modifieds and Hobby Stocks. See you there!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

2010 season opens at 34 Raceway, Benton County Speedway

I hit my first two races of the 2010 season over the Easter weekend. I traveled south for the Brian Hetrick Memorial season-opening event at 34 Raceway in Burlington on Saturday, then stopped by my old stomping grounds in Vinton for Benton County Speedway's season-opening Frostbuster on Sunday afternoon.

It was questionable Friday night if racing would be an option on Saturday as southeast Iowa was pounded with an inch and-a-half of rain during the evening and overnight hours. Jeff Laue and the crew spent much of Saturday working the 3/8-mile oval to ensure area race fans that the racing season would get underway as scheduled.

The 25-lap Brian Hetrick Memorial 305 Sprint feature was the highlight of the Saturday night program and the highlights started at the drop of the green flag. Andy Huston took a wild ride in the middle of turns one and two on the first lap as his sprinter went end-over-end a number of times before coming to a rest on the high side of the speedway. Huston walked away uninjured, however his night came to an unfortunate, premature end. Collected in the mishap was Bobby Mincer, who set a track record during qualifying earlier in the night, blasting the 3/8-mile surface in under 14 seconds. Mincer suffered only a flat tire and was able to rejoin the race at the tail of the field before racing resumed.

When the green flag waved once more, John Draper assumed command with Justin Newberry, the winner of the night's fast dash, settling into second. Matt Krieger worked his way through traffic and into a challenge for the lead just prior to the 10-lap mark while Kevin Hetrick was also battling for position, reaching as high as third place.

While the leaders battled, the forgotten Mincer was busy maneuvering through traffic. Combined with a couple more stoppages, Mincer was able to keep the leaders in his sights. With only three laps to go, Mincer made his bid for the lead to drive away to the win. Draper and Hetrick completed the top three, while Jarrod Schneiderman and Newberry ran fourth and fifth.

I.M.C.A. Stock Cars also joined the opening night festivites as 19 drivers signed in to the pits. Defending track champion Abe Huls held the early lead in the 20-lap feature event. From his front row start, Huls took the lead while Jeff Mueller, who unluckily drew the 12th starting spot, raced through the field. Only a handful of laps into the event, Mueller found himself in the top five and quickly reeled in the leader. Just past the midway point, Mueller stuck the nose of his #77M to the inside of Huls to steal the lead. Mueller led the remainder of the event to score the win in his first night out in a new race car. Jim Redmann survived a series of mishaps in front of him to sneak through the pack and finish second. Dave Warth, Kirk Kinsley and Jason Cook completed the top five.

Josh May started the mod lite feature on the front row, led much of the event, then had to make an exciting pass to regain the lead after a late restart to score the thrilling win. May led the event early and started distancing himself from the field when a number of stoppages tightened the field. During this time, Mike Morrill was making his way through the field from a sixth row start and into a challenge for the lead with only a few laps left.

Morrill assumed command just prior to the race's final caution with only a couple of laps left. Despite being hurt by the previous cautions, May took advantage of the final restart and made the pass for the lead entering the final lap. May held off a charging Morrill to score the win. Eric Hendrickson, Johnny Mordock and A.J. Fike rounded out the top five.

Although the track did become choppy throughout the night, hats off to Jeff Laue and the gang for making opening night a success. Up next at 34 is the Slocum 50 when the Deery Brothers Summer Series for I.M.C.A. Late Models opens its season next Saturday night. Modifieds and Hobby Stocks join the Late Models on the ticket.

Sunday afternoon marked the final day for the originally scheduled three-day Frostbuster swing in Iowa. Friday night's program at Marshalltown Speedway fell to rain forcing the weekend trifecta to be turned into a double-header. Races were held at Boone Speedway on Saturday before closing the holiday weekend in Vinton on Sunday. An impressive 105 cars were on-hand for the Easter Sunday program.

The I.M.C.A. Stock Cars opened feature action as 19 cars took the green flag for the 15-lapper. Damon Murty took advantage of his second row start to sweep past front row starters Paul Shepherd and Bob Ahrendsen to grab the early lead. Justin Temeyer, after starting in row three, followed Murty and settled into second prior to the race's first caution on lap two.

When racing resumed, Murty remained glued to the bottom of the speedway as Temeyer tried both high and low to get the advantage. Temeyer and Scooter Dulin remained glued to the leader while Mueller, looking for a repeat performance from Saturday night, raced through traffic from a fifth row start. Mueller motored into the top five in just seven laps and underneath Shepherd for fourth one lap later.

With only a handful of laps to go, Temeyer moved to the outside, allowing Dulin to sneak under him for second. Mueller followed suit and not only made his way by Temeyer, but also Dulin for second. As Mueller pressured for the lead, Murty slowed in turns one and two on the smooth, slick track, causing the field to bottle up. Both Murty and Mueller, along with Brian Irvine, who made his way into the top three after starting 11th, were collected, bringing out the race's final caution. As the result of all three being involved, all three were sent to the rear, allowing Dulin to take control for the final restart. Dulin held of Temeyer's challenges to score the exciting victory. Ahrendsen, Jason DeShaw and Shepherd completed the top five.

Eighteen I.M.C.A. Modifieds took the green flag in the $1,000-to-win 20-lapper. After three unsuccessful attempts to get a lap in, the field was aligned in single file formation. Pole-sitter Adam Johnson held the point early before Richie Gustin powered to his inside just two laps into the event. Gustin pulled away from the field and led the remainder of the event to take home the impressive win. Mark Elliott ran second, nearly a straightaway behind the leader, and Troy Cordes finished third. After suffering a blown engine (his second in as many weeks) during hot laps, Scott Hogan started last in the feature and made an impressive run to come home fourth ahead of Jeff Waterman. Jerry Luloff, Ronn Lauritzen, Darin Duffy, Tony Olson and Joe Docekal completed the top 10.

Defending I.M.C.A. Hobby Stock track champion Scottie Pippert blistered the field to take the win in that 15-lapper. From his outside front row start, Pippert led from green to checkers to take the opening night win. Nick Murty ran the high line to a runner-up finish after a hard-fought battle for second. Wes Stanek, Jerome Wilson and Matt Brown completed the top five.

From his outside second row starting spot, Chris Luloff vaulted into the lead at the drop of the green in the I.M.C.A. SportMod feature. Pole-sitter Danny Dvorak settled into second, but applied heavy pressure to the leader throughout the first half of the event. Following a mid-race caution, Dvorak went to work on the low side of Luloff to secure the lead. Dvorak held on to win the time-shortened event ahead of John Whitman and Joel Rust. Luloff and Drew Fish rounded out the top five.

Justin Wacha was the fourth and final leader in the 12-lap I.M.C.A. Sport Compact feature. Wacha took command with only four laps to go when he passed Brett Vanous for the top spot in an exciting three-car battle out front. Brad Chandler edged Vanous at the line for second after Wacha took the checkers. Steve Miedke and Jerry Ostby completed the top five.

It was a good night at BCS. Due to the cool spring temperatures, promoter Mick Trier scheduled an early start to the event; hot laps were at 4 p.m. with racing at 4:30. The show was completed just prior to the 8 p.m. hour which made for an early night. It also greatly accommodated all of the out-of-state drivers who came to Iowa for the Frostbuster events. Great job, as always, to Mick and the crew for running a very efficient program. The regular points season gets underway next Sunday. Although it won't start quite as early as this weekend's program, starting times are a little earlier than normal. Hot laps will start at 4:30 with racing to follow.