VINTON, Iowa (Sept. 30) – Four of the 2016 national champions announced today by IMCA won’t have to google driving directions to get to the national awards banquet.
They’ve been there before.
Jordan Grabouski of Beatrice, Neb., won the national Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modified crown for the second time while Mike Nichols of Harlan and Shannon Anderson of Des Moines both won career sixth championships in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car and IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock divisions, respectively. Nate Coopman of Mankato topped national Mach-1 Sport Compacts for the third straight year and for the fourth time in his career.
First-time national champions are Andy Shouse of Mustang, Okla., in the IMCA EMI RaceSaver Sprint Car division, Tony Olson of Cedar Rapids in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods and Jeffrey Abbey of Comanche, Texas, in the Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMods.
Final points races for all seven of those divisions were held on Sept. 25.
Grabouski, also the 2011 national champ, won 33 Modified features this season, along with the Jet Racing Central Region and Beatrice Speedway and Thunder Hill Speedway crowns. He now has a career total of 160 feature wins in the class.
Nichols won 54 features, matching the single-season record set by Coopman two years ago. The EQ Cylinder Heads Northern Region champion also takes home Lexington Raceway, Shelby County Speedway, Crawford County Speedway and U.S. 30 Speedway hardware.
Also the Big Daddy Race Cars Northern Region champion, Anderson won 27 features and track titles at the Iowa State Fair Speedway and Kossuth County Speedway.
Coopman won 33 features and Redwood Speedway, Jackson Motorplex and Nobles County Speedway track titles.
Nichols and Anderson are the first drivers to win six national championships in the same division in IMCA’s modern era. Nichols, Anderson and Coopman are the all-time wins leaders in their classes with 428, 282 and 226 victories, respectively.
Shouse was a seven-time feature winner and topped Sprint Series of Oklahoma standings.
Olson raced to 29 checkers this season and Northern SportMod titles at Benton County Speedway, Independence Motor Speedway and Davenport Speedway.
Abbey, brother of two-time national champion Dean Abbey and champion at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s, had 23 feature wins and Kennedale Speedway Park and Boyd Raceway titles to his credit.
Joining Grabouski as Modified regional champions were Cory Sample of Winnemucca, Nev., in the Larry Shaw Race Cars Western, Chris Abelson of Sioux City in the BMS North Central, Matt Guillaume of Haslet, Texas, in the Razor Chassis South Central and A.J. Ward of Ionia, Mich., in the Dirt Works Eastern.
Sample won 26 features and track titles at Fernley 95A Speedway, Rattlesnake Raceway and Lovelock Speedway. Abelson, the 2015 national champion, totaled 31 feature wins and earned the Buena Vista Raceway crown.
The first Michigan driver to reign in the Eastern Region since Rick Stout in 1996, Ward won 24 features and the Tri-City Motor Speedway championship. After winning three straight Stock Car regional trophies, Guillaume made the full-time transition to Modifieds and scored seven feature wins along with the Boyd Raceway prize.
Another Abbey brother, Westin, became IMCA’s youngest regional champion in the EQ Cylinder Heads Southern Region for Stocks. The 16-year-old from Comanche, Texas had 14 wins and paced points at Boyd. He’d been the regional rookie of the year in the Hobbies in 2014 and the Stock Car regional rookie of the year in 2015.
Champion in the Charger Chassis Southern Hobby Stock Region was nine-time feature winner Wesley Warren of Fairfield, Texas.
National rookies of the year were Tyler Frye of Belleville, Kan., Modified; Zach Blurton of Quinter, Kan., Sprint Car; Kyle Pfeifer of Hill City, Kan., Stock Car; Tim Church of Moorhead, Minn., Hobby Stock; Luke Johnson, also of Moorhead, Minn., Northern SportMod; Kamera McDonald of Keller, Texas, Southern SportMod; and Richard Crow of Grand Island, Neb., Sport Compact.
Frye ruled in the Modified Central a year after winning the national Northern SportMod crown. Kelsie Foley of Tucson, Ariz., became the first female driver to be regional rookie of the year in the Western. Billy Kendall of Baxter, Minn., was rookie of the year in the North Central, Cody Shoemaker of Paradise, Texas, in the South Central and Aaron Spearling of Clio, Mich., in the Eastern.
Regional Stock Car rookies of the year were Pfeifer in the Northern and Andy Roller of Waco, Texas, in the Southern. Top rookies in the two Hobby Stock regions were Church in the Northern and Larry Underwood of Temple, Texas, in the Southern.
Rob Toland of Davenport won his third IMCA Late Model national championship and Kirby Schultz of Albia was rookie of the year; the point season for that division ended on Aug. 28.
IMCA will honor all 2016 champions and rookies of the year during the national banquet on Nov. 26 in Lincoln, Neb.