By many standards, this was less about what individuals won compared to the racing community in and around Mason City winning.
After months of transition, the green flag dropped on a new era of racing Sunday night at Mason City Motor Speedway.
The fans showed up in droves and so did the drivers.
Track officials estimated the crowd was between 1,700 and 1,800, and that didn’t include any of the drivers or pit crews during the Season Opener presented by Mason City Auto Sales, Rookies Rockin' Sports Bar and Sevens Restaurant & Steakhouse.
“I’ve never been this excited for a race track,” USRA B-Mod driver Nate Chodur said. “To see everyone in the grandstands, everyone in the pits … I’m happy for anyone who has put anything into this track.”
Chodur had the distinction of winning the first USRA B-Mod heat race, which was the first event of the program at the facility.
The feeling of optimism was shared by many drivers.
“Walking down the pits, and it felt like we were at Super Nationals,” USRA Hobby Stock driver Andrew Borchardt said. “Then you look up at the grandstands and they are filled. It was cool to see.”
Aside from the grandstands perhaps exceeding expectations of the track promoters, the car count was exceptional.
The Budweiser USRA Modifieds (25), USRA B-Mods (23) and USRA Hobby Stocks (24) all had full fields, and the USRA Stock Cars had 19 racers compete for a feature victory. The final car count sat at 100.
“This is very promising for Mason City Motor Speedway,” veteran racer Weston Koop said. “I think the fans in the stands is a big help for this whole thing, but the track in general has a lot of potential. They are going to get things worked out. I see potential for a multi-groove race track.
“It’s only going to get better.”
Many of the drivers who dotted victory lane Sunday night were new names to racing in Mason City.
“This track is pretty cool,” USRA Modified feature winner Jacob Bleess said in Casey's General Stores Victory Lane. “We’d never been here before. We heard they had redone it and decided to come race here.”
The driver from Chatfield, Minn., beat Kanawha's Ryan Ruter, Mike Jergens of Alta and nine-time USMTS national champion Kelly Shryock of Fertile to the finish.
There's little time to rest as the Mason City Motor Speedway is back in action this Thursday, May 26, when the fire-breathing machines of the United States Modified Touring Series comes to town for the inaugural $3,000-to-win “All-In” 30 presented by Diamond Jo Casino.
Along with the USMTS Casey's Cup, the racing card will also feature the Iron Man Series featuring Holley USRA Stock Cars ($750 to win) and Out-Pace USRA B-Mods ($600 to win).
The pit gate opens Thursday at 4 p.m., spectator gates open at 5, hot laps start at 6:30 and racing begins at 7 p.m.
Adult general admission tickets are $20, kids ages 6-12 are $5 and children 5 & under get in for free. Pit passes are $35. Fans can save $2 off adult general admission by picking up a discount coupon at Casey’s General Stores locations in Clear Lake, Manly, Mason City and Nora Springs. To find the location nearest you, visit www.caseys.com.
The Mason City Motor Speedway is a half-mile clay oval located 5.1 miles east of I-35 at exit 194 on SR 122 (at the North Iowa Fairgrounds). For more information, call (641) 424-6515 or check out www.masoncitymotorspeedway.com online. You can also like the track’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/masoncitymotorspeedway follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/racinmasoncity (@RacinMasonCity).
To learn more about the USRA, visit www.usraracing.com or call 515-832-6000. You can also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usraracing, follow us at www.twitter.com/usraracing on Twitter and check out our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usratv.
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United States Racing Association
USRA Weekly Racing Series
Mason City Motor Speedway, Mason City, Iowa
Sunday, May 22, 2016
BUDWEISER USRA MODIFIEDS – 1. Jacob Bleess, 2. Ryan Ruter, 3. Mike Jergens, 4. Kelly Shryock, 5. Cory Crasper, 6. Aaron Benson, 7. J..J. Wise, 8. Jason Cummins, 9. Cole Ferguson, 10. Doug Hillson, 11. Levi Nielsen, 12. Josh Ruby, 13. Cole Hall, 14. Pat Graham, 15. Dustin Brown, 16. Logan Brown, 17. Dean Schroeder, 18. Tyler Prochaska, 19. Alex Hanson, 20. Ben Kraus, 21. Alex Yohn, 22. Rich Lewerke, 23. Lucas Schott, 24. Kevin Stoa, 25. Clint Wendel.