Luinenberg follows in brother's footsteps

READING -- From his second time on the track, Justin Luinenberg has known success. "My brother started racing, and my parents were gone one weekend," Luinenberg explained. "I decided to take his old car up to Slayton, and I didn't do so hot the f...

Justin Luinenberg stands beside his 31L USRA stock car in the pits prior to racing. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

READING -- From his second time on the track, Justin Luinenberg has known success.

"My brother started racing, and my parents were gone one weekend," Luinenberg explained. "I decided to take his old car up to Slayton, and I didn't do so hot the first night. But my second night out I won.

"I kind of got an easy start," Luinenberg continued. "It was my brother's old car, and he did real well with it, too."

From his second career race in Slayton to his regular races in Worthington and Jackson, Luinenberg has become accustomed to being at the head of the pack.

"I've won my fair share," Luinenberg said. "In the hobby stock, there was a year in there where I had 13 or 14 wins in a year. I won the Jackson Nationals. I've done fair. There are people that have done better, though."


Luinenberg has worked his way up in his 10 years of racing. He started in sportsman and raced in that class for two years. From there, he moved into the hobby stock class, and for the past two years has been racing stock cars.

Currently, Luinenberg is atop the points standings in Worthington, and he's also done well at Jackson.

"Those tracks, in my mind, are the most fun to race in," Luinenberg said. "Fairmont is pretty good, too, but two nights a week is plenty of racing."

When he's not on the track, Luinenberg and his brother empty hog confinements. He also works part-time for the city of Worthington.

Because of his work, he had to drop out of a race in Jackson and is now playing catch-up in the points race.

"I missed a night in Jackson," Luinenberg said. "The spring and fall is the busiest time of the year, and we weren't done in the fields in time for Jackson the first night."

Even though he's playing catchup in Jackson, Luinenberg has had much more success at Worthington.

"This year I've pretty much been in the top five every night, and I have one feature win this season in Worthington," he explained. "I actually race with Trent Schroeder. He owns the car, but I work on it and drive it."


While Luinenberg doesn't own his own car, he still enjoys driving each week.

"It's a lot of fun racing with Trent," Luinenberg said. "We get along pretty good, and he's treating me real well. It's a lot of fun. We kid each other a lot back and forth on who is going to kick whose butt on certain nights. He ends up on the better end of the stick."

The two are competitive on and off the track, but Luinenberg hasn't always been with Schroeder.

"I used to race with Ryan Mulburg, and things kind of fell out there," Luinenberg said. "I think Trent was sick of working on cars by himself, so he and Bob asked if I would join up with them. I was more than happy to."

And while Luinenberg has a good setup this year, it probably

won't turn out to be a career move.

"I think when this is all said and done it might be time to do a little fishing with the family," Luinenberg said. "I'll play it by ear. With work and with my two young kids, Blake is 4, and Annalee is a little over a year, I need to stay at home and spend some time with them, too."

Along with Tracie, Luinenberg's wife, the kids have the opportunity to see their dad race on a weekly basis.


"It works out good, because Trent has a couple of kids that are about the same age as Blake," Luinenberg explained. "When we work on the cars, they kind of play and go their separate ways."

As some drivers have to deal with rebuilding cars on a weekly basis, Luinenberg has been fortunate this season.

"This year has gone really well," Luinenberg said. "At the end of the year last year, the back of the car got bent up some, but we got that all straightened, and he actually sold that car. He got himself a new one, and I'm running the one he had last year."

Luinenberg seemed to luck out again, as he was able to get a very good car from Schroeder.

"He did very well in that car last year," Luinenberg said. "I think he won eight or nine in Jackson, and five in Worthington. He still says that I have the best out of the two cars."

With what has been claimed to be the better of the two cars, Luinenberg has still put in the time each week.

"We do heavy maintenance during the week," Luinenberg said. "Trent has a pretty good knowledge on the car setups and gives me a few secrets. We do our best week in and week out."

While the success continues for Luinenberg this season, he hopes to carry that momentum into both the Worthington and Jackson Nationals.


"There will be a lot of cars, more than on a normal night," Luinenberg said. "You get to race against some big guys from Iowa. It kind of tells you where you stand in the Midwest."

But he has only one goal for those two high-profile races.

"Win obviously, but I won't really feel any pressure," Luinenberg said. "I'll just do the normal maintenance that we do week in and week out. Hopefully, everything will be in one piece when we get to that point."

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