Abelson heads second group of 14 elected to Fast Shafts All-Star field

BOONE, Iowa (Aug. 6) – Another former race winner and nine first-timers are among the second group of 14 IMCA Modified drivers elected to start the upcoming Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational.

Chris Abelson of Sioux City, the current national point leader, won the event in 2011 and will take the green flag again on Friday, Sept. 11 during the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s at Boone Speedway.

Elected to the All-Star field, in voting that ran from July 29-Aug. 5, were Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas, Calif., and Randy McDaniel of Olivehurst, Calif., from the Larry Shaw Racing Western Region; Abelson and Corey Dripps of Waterloo from the Belleville Motorsports North Central Region; Johnny Saathoff of Beatrice, Neb., and Jesse Richter of Great Bend, Kan., from the Jet Racing Central Region; Dean Abbey of Roanoke, Texas, and Josh McGaha of Abilene, Texas, from the Razor Chassis South Central Region; and Will Ward of Cobleskill, N.Y., and Mitchell Hunt of Green­ville, Mich., from the Dirt Works Eastern Region.

At-large candidates making the grid were Mark Elliott of Webster City, Jason Wolla of Ray, N.D., Ryan Ruter of Kanawha and Carter VanDenBerg of Oskaloosa.

All became vote eligible by winning sanctioned features held between June 19 and July 16. Brad Pounds of Bakersfield, Calif., was initially announced as having been elected to start the event but is now unable to attend Super Nationals. He was replaced by McDaniel.

Dripps was named on the most second round ballots and joins Hogge, Hunt, McDaniel, Richter, Ruter, VanDenBerg, Ward and Wolla as first-time All-Stars.

Abbey and McGaha both made the big race for the second time, Elliott for the third and Abelson the fifth. Saathoff is now a six-time All-Star starter.

All-Star drivers elected in the first round were Ricky Alvarado of Delta, Colo., William Gould of Calera, Okla., Jordan Grabouski of Beatrice, Neb., Jimmy Gustin of Marshalltown, Richie Gustin of Gilman, Hunter Marriott of Brookfield, Mo., Kelly Shryock of Fertile, Todd Shute of Des Moines, Kyle Strickler of Mooresville, N.C., Jeff Taylor of Cave City, Ark., Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., A.J. Ward of Ionia, Mich., Tim Ward of Chandler, Ariz., and Keith White of Little River Acad­emy, Texas.

Those drivers won designated events paying $1,000 or more to win, or were regional or state champi­ons in 2014. Grabouski was the All-Star winner in 2012, Shute topped the 2013 event and Strickler won both the All-Star race and the Saturday night main event last season.

Completing the 30-car starting grid will be All-Star candidates with the top national point total and the most 40-point feature wins as of Sept. 4 who are competing at Super Nationals.

One hundred and ten drivers from 24 different states and two Canadian provinces have now become All-Stars. The 12th annual invitational is 30 laps and pays $1,000 to win and $200 to start.

The next five round two at-large candidates just missing the All-Star field were David Murray Jr. of Oberlin, Kan., Benji LaCrosse of Green Bay, Wis., Dustin Smith of Lake City, Adam Larson of Ankeny and J.D. Auringer of Waterloo.