Thornton Jr Dominates Opening Night
Story by Josh Reynolds

Stuart, IA (May 8) – Stuart Speedway kicked off season 55 with winners new and old taking home the hardware! Clint Luellen, Jake Benischek, Mike Nichols, Shannon Anderson and Ricky Thornton Jr took the wins on First State Bank Night at the Races.
Jake McBirnie and Shawn Cooney led the IMCA Northern SportMods to the green flag with McBirnie getting the jump to lead lap one. Clint Luellen moved into the runner up spot on lap two as Cooney and newcomer to SIS, Adam Armstrong, ran third and fourth. Armstrong passed Cooney on lap six for third, but out front McBirnie was inching away. Just past the halfway point Luellen began to reel in McBirnie and as they came to the white flag it was apparent that this was going to be a close one! Luellen swung wide coming out of turn two and low into three as McBirnie stayed true to the top side. Luellen would have the drive he needed out of turn four and took the win! McBirnie settled for second with Armstrong third, Cooney fourth and Austin Luellen fifth. Austin Luellen and Kody Havens were the heat race winners.
IMCA Sport Compacts were up next with Curtis Miller and Jake Benischeck on the front row. Benischeck took advantage of his pill draw and drove off into the sunset to take the win. John Gill finished second with Miller third, Jacob Reiter fourth and Steven Pruisia fifth. Benischeck made it a clean sweep with the heat race win as well.
Mike Nichols and Tyler Brauckman drew the first two chips for the IMCA Stock Cars, and Nichols wasted no time in getting out to the lead. Brauckman, Robert Merkle and Chris Pruitt put up a spirited battle for second with Pruitt getting the best of them on lap seven, but there was nothing slowing down Nichols on this night as he went on to take the win. This was Mike’s 11th consecutive win in 2016! Pruitt finished a strong second with Merkle third, Brian Blessington fourth and Marcus Fagan fifth. Nichols and Fagan were the heat race winners.
IMCA Hobby Stocks were up next with David Simpson and John Watson leading the pack to the green flag. Watson led over Ryan Grochala until a lap six caution for James Phillips going up and over the wall in turn two. Phillips was ok, but his night would be over. After a quick yellow on the next lap, Watson picked back up as the leader, but lurking in third was Shannon Anderson. Anderson moved by Grochala for second on lap eight, and two circuits later snagged the lead. Anderson went on to take the win over Watson, Buck Schafroth, Grochala and Jamie Schirm. Anderson and Grochala were the heat race winners.
Last but not least, the IMCA Modifieds came to the track with Matthew Webb and Dylan Book on the front row. Book led the first three laps before Josh Gilman moved into the top spot. Gilman held the lead until a lap eight caution slowed the field. Gilman would stay at the front for two more laps, and that’s when Ricky Thornton Jr took over. As Thornton Jr. was pulling away, a terrific battle for second was put on with Tim Ward coming out on top. The Arizona transplants went on to take the top two spots with Thornton Jr winning, Ward second, Todd VanEaton third, Webb fourth and Jacob Murray fifth. Murray and Thornton Jr were the heat race winners.
We’d like to thank all who came out to support the race track at our first event of the year. Next week will be T&T Siding & Scott Concrete Night at the Races. We will have our 5 regular IMCA classes and the MADCRA Mod Lites will be back in town! See you then!


Modifieds - Feature

Finish Start Car Driver Hometown  
1 7 20RT    Ricky Thornton Jr    Harcourt , Ia  
2 6 4TW    Tim Ward    Harcourt , Ia  
3 8 V31    Todd Vaneaton    Orient , Ia  
4 1 51X    Matthew Webb    Des Moines, Ia  
5 9 48J    Jacob Murray    Hartford , Ia  
6 4 83G    Josh Gilman    Earlham , Ia  
7 14 71    Jeff James    Stanton , Ia  
8 2 B00K    Dylan Book    Adel , Ia  
9 11 14B    Scott Bash    Windsor Heights, Ia  
10 5 5D    Devon Havlik    Iowa Falls, Ia  
11 10 131S    Ed Seibert    Dexter , Ia  
12 3 15M    Shane Demey    Denison , Ia  
13 12 5G    Gatlin Leytham    Ames , Ia  
14 13 23JR    Nick Roberts    Bangor , Wi  

Stock Cars - Feature
Finish Start Car Driver Hometown  
1 1 63    Mike Nichols    Harlan , Ia  
2 3 22    Chris Pruitt    Stuart , Ia  
3 4 54    Robert Merkle    Van Meter, Ia  
4 10 92B    Brian Blessington    Breda , Ia  
5 6 1F    Marcus Fagan    Adair , Ia  
6 9 10B    Brandon Pruitt    Stuart , Ia  
7 5 78P    Terry Pruitt    Dexter , Ia  
8 7 25J    Josh Daniels    Carlisle , Ia  
9 11 98    Derrick Rohe    Audubon , Ia  
10 12 12    Adam Hagen    Des Moines, Ia  
11 8 7K    Andrew Knode    Adel , Ia  
12 2 77X    Tyler Brauckman    Carroll , Ia  

SportMods - Feature
Finish Start Car Driver Hometown  
1 3 3L    Clint Luellen    Minburn , Ia  
2 1 82    Jake Mcbirnie    Boone , Ia  
3 4 6A    Adam Armstrong    Carlisle , Ia  
4 2 30    Shawn Cooney    Des Moines, Ia  
5 7 3A    Austin Luellen    Minburn , Ia  
6 6 8R    Chase Rudolf    Prole , Ia  
7 9 99K    Kody Havens    Wiota , Ia  
8 8 99RE    Arie Schouten    Blair , Ne  
9 11 93N    Colton Nelson    Osceola , Ia  
10 10 34    Jerry Hinton    Adel , Ia  
11 5 8    Dusty Masolini    Des Moines, Ia  

Hobby Stocks - Feature
Finish Start Car Driver Hometown  
1 5 78    Shannon Anderson    Des Moines, Ia  
2 2 4W    John Watson    Des Moines, Ia  
3 11 92    Buck Schafroth    Orient , Ia  
4 4 77G    Ryan Grochala    Pleasant Hill, Ia  
5 7 56    Jamie Schirm    Dexter , Ia  
6 3 7H    Adam Hensel    Atlantic , Ia  
7 13 14    Jason Day    Stuart , Ia  
8 14 96R    Jamie Songer    Ankeny , Ia  
9 6 21    Ross Marshall    Johnston , Ia  
10 12 38R    Aaron Rudolph    Grand Junction, Ia  
11 1 7    David Simpson    Ankeny , Ia  
12 10 14B    Keith Burg    Adel , Ia  
13 8 7M    Matt Tiernan    Stuart , Ia  
14 9 12    Korbin Nourse    Dexter , Ia   DNF
15 15 66P    James Phillips    Prole , Ia   DNF

Spt Compact - Feature
Finish Start Car Driver Hometown
1 2 3    Jake Benischek    Durant , Ia
2 4 02    John Gill    Marshalltown , Ia
3 1 411    Curtis Miller    Lewis , Ia
4 7 30X    Jacob Reiter    Des Moines, Ia
5 3 81    Steven Prusia    Omaha , Ne
6 8 32M    Vicki Meeker    Ankeny , Ia
7 5 6G    Ralph Bunce    Pleasant Hill, Ia
8 6 01    Aaron Miller    Marshalltown , Ia