BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 8) – Modifieds and Stock Cars fill the card for the first of two Thursday IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s programs at Boone Speedway.
Two hundred and fifty-nine Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modifieds and 191 IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars see heat race action. Those numbers bring the total car count to 872, just four shy of the Super Nationals record set last year.
This is the ninth straight year that car counts have exceeded 800 at Super Nationals.
Twenty Stock Car and 30 Modified heats set the stage for two qualifying features in both division.
Each feature sends four drivers to the inside row of respective main events on Saturday.
Rookie Clay Money of Penokee, Kan., has had the Money Man nickname since his days in a go-kart but he’d trade that moniker for Main Event Qualifier.
“With so many good drivers here, it would mean everything for me to make the show in my first year,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed Super Nationals so far. It’s something everyone needs to experience.”
The RPM Speedway regular has five feature wins to his credit thus far in 2016.
“What I want to do here is run up front as much as I can,” he said. “As long as we’re going forward in our heat, ‘B’ or feature, that’s the main thing.”
Hoosier Kurt Nahre raced at Super Nationals when Wayne Larson won the Modified championship in 1990.
He’s back in Boone this year with son Schuyler, who will make his Super Nationals debut from the pole of the second Modified heat.
“There’s a lot going on here,” understated Schuyler. “There are a lot of cars from a lot of different places.”
The younger Nahre, from Indianapolis, has raced at Marshalltown and Boone earlier this season and was complimentary of both IMCA rules and affordability.
“I want to learn as much as I can this week,” he said. “I want to come back here and be better.”
“We love Super Nationals,” his dad added. “We wish it was closer to home.”
Team Nahre towed 550 miles to return to Boone.
It’s a long-time Super Nationals spectator and first-time competitor who drew the pole for the first Modified heat.
Michael Maggard of Springfield, Mo., has come to Boone as a fan for the last nine years. His view will be very different when he takes the green flag from inside the front row in Modified heat number one early this afternoon.
“I drew the pole for Super Nationals on my birthday,” he noted. “That was the best gift you could ask for.”
“What I like about IMCA is the competition and they make everything equal,” Maggard added. “Super Nationals is a race everyone wants to win.
Last-chance qualifiers on Wednesday sent the final six to Saturday main events for Hobby Stocks and Northern SportMods.
Chanse Hollatz of Clear Lake won the Hobby Stock last-chance race, ahead of Zac Smith of Mason City, Dustin Lynch of Boone, Jason Kohl of Missouri Valley, Myles Michehl of Fort Dodge and Matt Olson of Morton, Minn.
Algona’s Benjamin Schultze was the Northern SportMod winner, ahead of Austin Howes of Memphis, Mo., Sam Wieben of Dysart, Josh Pfeifer of St. Paul, Neb., James Kleinheskel of Columbus, Neb., and Danny Myrvold of Westbrook, Minn.
Imperial, Calif.’s Lance Mari was elected to start his first Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational. He’s hoping to have a starting spot in Saturday’s big show nailed down before the Friday invite.
“Hopefully I can make it into the main event here in about four hours,” said Mari, who will start outside row two in the 16th heat, with drivers from seven different states. “Then we can focus on representing ourselves well in the All-Star race.”
A five-time feature winner this season, Mari logged most of his starts at Cocopah, Canyon, Arizona Speedway and Central Arizona and had a pair of All-Star ballot qualifying victories to his credit.
“I was glad, really glad, to get the phone call from IMCA telling me I’d been elected to the All-Star Invitational,” said Mari, looking to park his MRT in victory lane at the conclusion of the 13th annual event.
He’ll compete at his third Super Nationals. Mari is among the long tow contenders, having traveled 1,741 miles to get to Boone.
When he took the right turn out of the pit area last September, Will Ward promised himself that he’d return to Boone Speedway and Super Nationals.
The Cobbleskill, N.Y., clipper will put what he learned in 2015 to the test from the front of the outside row of this afternoon’s 21st heat.
“We were way off last year, but we learned a lot about carrying speed and rounding corners,” he said. “It’s fun to race a track with banking like this.”
Ward has won a career-best 12 features this season and clinched the track title at Skyline Raceway Park.
“We had eight wins last year,” he said. “Once we got to this year we thought we were doing good. Then we added a couple more.”