By Billy Rock – Stuart, Iowa (April 14, 2021) – With “A” Feature temperatures at the Stuart International Speedway hovering in the upper thirty’s at the drop of the green flag on Wednesday night, Ryan Gustin and Jesse Stovall provided plenty of heat on the track that continued beyond the drop of the checkered flag. Gustin appeared to have collected his tenth career Lucas Oil MLRA win, but in post-race tech it was discovered that the 19R had an illegal rear-suspension component that resulted in a disqualification, putting the victory into the hands of Stovall.
According to MLRA officials, Gustin’s top four bar rod was curved resulting in the DQ. Per MLRA rule book section 12.23 (H-vii), all radius rods must be straight with the exception of the left lower, that can have a bend for axle housing mount clearance.
The night started off with a total of 31 of the Midwest best super late model drivers checking in, which found Garrett Alberson capturing the Illini Racing Supply Fast Time Award with his quick lap of 13.072 seconds. Heat race victories were claimed by Frank Heckenast Jr., Chad Simpson, Jake Timm, and Jesse Stovall.
Heckenast led the field to the green from the DirtonDirt.com Pole along side of MLRA Sunoco Rookie candidate Jake Timm. At the start of the race fourth starting Stovall wasted no time in flexing his muscle in his Rocket XR1 chassis, making a bold three wide move up the middle on the races first lap to take the race lead. Stovall would stretch the early advantage over Heckenast until the first of three StopTech Brakes cautions of the night waved for a spinning Blair Nothdruft.
The field only made it one more lap before seventh running Billy Moyer Sr. spun at the entrance to turn one bringing another halt to the action. A long green flag run would follow with Stovall setting the pace with a hard charging Gustin lurking on the top side of the speedway. The final caution waved as the leaders were navigating lapped traffic with just thirteen laps remaining.
With the green back in the air, Stovall tried to hold Gustin at bay, until Gustin pulled a slide job at the entry to turn one to propel himself to the race lead. The top two would continue side-by-side for multiple laps but in the end it was Gustin making it across the line scoring the apparent win. The post race infraction gave the win to Stovall, making it his 27th career MLRA series win, moving him into a tie for 6th on the series all time wins list with Alan Vaughn.
Garrett Alberson earned the Swift Springs Move of the Race and was credited with the runner up finish, followed by Heckenast Jr., Chris Simpson and Jake time rounding out the top five.
“My car was just phenomenal no matter what. It was one of the best races cars I have sat in, in a long long time. I knew when Gustin got to me that it was going to be a battle, and I could hear him out there and I was thinking, do I need to block him? It’s just what you do when your leading a race, your trying to look behind you with your ears. I drove in on the top and he did what he’s supposed to do and slid me and passed me. I think if it would have been a fifty lap race it could have been an even better race, and maybe I could have gotten him. I just can’t say enough about my race car, its absolutely one of the best race cars I’ve been in for a long time,” concluded Stovall.
“We needed this shot in the arm really really bad. I feel bad for Ryan and them. He did win the race and probably what he had on there wasn’t the deciding factor. Ryan is a good racer and we have raced a lot together back in the mods and he won tonight, but circumstances took it away from him and I hate it for him, but were not going to hang our heads were going to go home and put this money in the bank because we sure needed it,” said Stovall.
Another night of ¼ mile action is on tap for Thursday night when $5,000 goes up for grabs at the Davenport Speedway on the grounds of the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, IA. Leaving Davenport teams will culminate their week at the 34 Raceway in West Burlington, IA with Friday nights Prelude to the Slocum and capped of by Saturday’s 13th Annual “Slocum 50”.
Stuart International Speedway Contingencies 4/14/21
Casey’s “Hard Charger of the Race – Chris Simpson (+13)
DirtonDirt.com “Pole Award” – Frank Heckenast Jr.
Dynamic Drivelines Crew Chief of the Race –Tommy Rogers
Gorsuch Performance Solutions “10th Place Finisher” –Jason Papich
Hooker Harness “11th Place Finisher” –Tony Jackson Jr.
Illini Racing Supply “Fast Time Award – Garrett Alberson
Midwest Sheet Metal “Points Leader Spoiler Challenge” –Tony Jackson Jr.
Performance Bodies “Performer of the Race” –Jesse Stovall
Racing Junk “Hard Luck Award” – Billy Moyer Sr.
StopTech Brakes “6th Place Finisher”-Chad Simpson
Sunoco “Rookie of the Race” –Jake Timm
Swift Springs “Move of the Race”—Garrett Alberson
A Features 40 Laps | 00:25:50.178 | Cedar Creek Beef Jerky
- 00-Jesse Stovall; 2. 59-Garrett Alberson; 3. 99-Frank Heckenast Jr; 4. 32S-Chris Simpson; 5. 49T-Jake Timm; 6. 25-Chad Simpson; 7. 12W-Ashton Winger; 8. 93-Mason Oberkramer; 9. 75-Terry Phillips; 10. 91P-Jason Papich; 11. 56JR-Tony Jackson Jr; 12. 20-Rodney Sanders; 13. 15-Justin Duty; 14. 91T-Tony Toste; 15. 58-Jeremiah Hurst; 16. 77Y-Jordan Yaggy; 17. 30-Todd Cooney; 18. 76-Blair Nothdurft; 19. 3W-Brennon Willard; 20. 11-Jeff Herzog; 21. 22B-Gary Brown Jr; 22. 21-Billy Moyer Sr; 23. 11R-Justin Reed; 24. (DQ) 19-Ryan Gustin
B Feature 12 Laps | 00:05:18.810 | Sunoco
- 32S-Chris Simpson; 2. 22B-Gary Brown Jr; 3. 11-Jeff Herzog; 4. 77Y-Jordan Yaggy; 5. 11R-Justin Reed; 6. 30-Todd Cooney; 7. 74-Mitch McGrath; 8. 3W-Brennon Willard; 9. 44W-David Webster; 10. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck; 11. 55K-Chris Kratzer; 12. 3C-Mike Collins; 13. 14M-Reid Millard; 14. 88L-Larry Clawson; 15. 56JR-Tony Jackson Jr
Heat 1 10 Laps | 00:03:50.000 | Casey’s
- 99-Frank Heckenast Jr; 2. 93-Mason Oberkramer; 3. 75-Terry Phillips; 4. 58-Jeremiah Hurst; 5. 22B-Gary Brown Jr; 6. 77Y-Jordan Yaggy; 7. 44W-David Webster; 8. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck
Heat 2 10 Laps | 00:03:12.000 | Midwest Sheet Metal
- 25-Chad Simpson; 2. 21-Billy Moyer Sr; 3. 15-Justin Duty; 4. 76-Blair Nothdurft; 5. 32S-Chris Simpson; 6. 11R-Justin Reed; 7. 55K-Chris Kratzer; 8. 14M-Reid Millard
Heat 3 10 Laps | 00:07:36.000 | My Race Pass
- 49T-Jake Timm; 2. 59-Garrett Alberson; 3. 91T-Tony Toste; 4. 91P-Jason Papich; 5. 11-Jeff Herzog; 6. 74-Mitch McGrath; 7. 30-Todd Cooney; 8. 3W-Brennon Willard
Heat 4 10 Laps | 00:03:36.000 | Hooker Harness
- 00-Jesse Stovall; 2. 19-Ryan Gustin; 3. 20-Rodney Sanders; 4. 12W-Ashton Winger; 5. 56JR-Tony Jackson Jr; 6. 3C-Mike Collins; 7. 88L-Larry Clawson