Blessington Returns to Victory Lane
Story by Josh Reynolds
Stuart, IA (July 17) – Stuart Speedway welcomed back fans, drivers and crews to the hottest Sunday of 2011 for a night of fast-paced racing. Jordan Peters, Nick Roberts, Brian Blessington, Andy Forcht, Brandon Pruitt and Randy Havlik were the feature winners on Ron Bragg Improvements/PBM Performance Products Night at the Races.
First up were the IMCA Sport Compacts with Jordan Peters and Adam Kralik on the front row. Kralik, the heat race winner, took control at the drop of the green flag, leading over Peters. Everything looked great for Kralik until coming through turn three to the white flag when his right front wheel came off. That handed the win to Peters with Kralik second and Devan Stuve third. It was an emotional win for Peters as his grandfather Carl passed away last week. Carl was a long-time racer around Iowa and won many features at Stuart Speedway. He was honored with a moment of silence before the races started and will be missed greatly by his family.
Following the Sport Compacts, Joe Simbro and Cole Ferguson led the IMCA Northern Sportmods to the green flag. Ferguson and Austin Paul came together in turn four, bunching up the field and allowing fifth starting Jerry Hinton to lead lap one. Hinton looked to sail to the win until two cautions bunched the field, the last one on lap nine. Hinton’s teammate, Nick Roberts, moved into second on lap ten and then moved past Hinton to take the lead on lap eleven. Mike Pruitt passed Hinton for second on the next lap and set out to track down Roberts, but it was not to be as Roberts took the checkered flag. Pruitt wound up second, Hinton third, David Schlicht fourth and Ferguson fifth. Pruitt and Ferguson were the heat race winners and Schlicht won the Trophy Dash.
IMCA Stock Cars were next up with Michael Walrod and Joe Zadina leading the field. Zadina set the pace for fourteen laps until Jeff Anderson brought out the yellow with a spin in turn one. Brian Blessington took over the top spot on the restart and one lap later Zadina hooked the wall coming out of turn two flipping violently and landing on his wheels atop the back stretch wall. Zadina was OK but the same could not be said of his car. Blessington took off on the restart, pulling away from Jeremy Gettler to pick up his first win of the season at Stuart. Gettler hung on for second with Bryan Snell third, Marcus Fagan fourth and Steve Campbell fifth. Snell and Zadina were the heat race winners.
6 Cylinder FWD’s came out next with Jordan Peters and Andy Forcht on the front row. Forcht would set the pace for the first six laps until a caution flag for debris on the front stretch brought the field together. Forcht would lead to the white flag with Jim Britton on his bumper, setting up a race to the checkered flag. Britton drove as hard as he could into turn three but the rookie, Forcht, wouldn’t be denied in picking up his first-ever feature win. Britton crossed in second with Peters third, Devan Stuve fourth and Jake Coughennower fifth. Forcht said in victory lane “I just turned off the air conditioner for the last couple of laps and it gave me enough power to win!”
An unusually small field of ten IMCA Hobby Stocks was led to green by Gina Gruebel and Mike Hansen with Hansen leading the first two laps. That’s when point leader Brandon Pruitt took over the top spot and began to walk away from the field. That lead was erased as Nyle Godwin rode over the turn one wall and down the hill. Godwin was able to drive around the track and back on under his own power and after changing a tire, rejoined the field. This set up a green-white-checkered finish, and as the cars came out of turn four Pruitt’s car stumbled. A shot in the bumper from second-place Jason Kohl re-ignited the 10B and Pruitt took off. As they came through the white flag, Gruebel broke a ball joint and slammed the front stretch wall, ending the race under a yellow-checkered finish. Pruitt took the win over Kohl, Nate Lange, Godwin and Gruebel. Austin Luellen and Hansen were the heat race winners.
Last up for the night were the IMCA Modifieds with Ed Seibert and Tony Hilgenberg on the front row. Fourth starting Randy Havlik rocketed into the lead on the back stretch and led lap number one. The caution came out for a spin by Devon Havlik and bunched the field for lap two with Alison Quick close behind R. Havlik. When the race went back to green, R. Havlik went right back to his domination, leading all the way to the finish to pick up the win. Quick finished in second with Josh Gilman third, Rex Parkison fourth and Scott Bash fifth. R. Havlik also was the heat race winner.
Thanks to all of the drivers and fans who came out and supported the track on an extremely warm Sunday evening. Please join us next week for Haley Equipment Inc. Night at the Races!