WINNEMUCCA, Nev. – Cory Sample started the season with a chip on his shoulder.
He ended it with his first Larry Shaw Race Cars Western Regional crown.
Sample, from Winnemucca, Nev., won 26 features – including his Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modified career 100th – on the way to the regional title and runner-up finish in national point standings.
“We totaled our car last year at the Duel In The Desert and came out with a chip on our shoulder this season. We worked and worked and worked,” said Sample. “Our maintenance program got better, the tracks in northern Nevada worked together more and my schedule at work allowed me to work more weekends. Everything kind of aligned for us.”
His 48 starts came at 10 different tracks, seven of them in Nevada, where he earned Allstar Performance State honors to complement Fernley 95A Speedway, Lovelock Speedway and Rattlesnake Raceway titles.
Sample scored career win number 100 while putting the final touches on his Evenson Ironman Challenge Series championship at Rattlesnake on July 4.
“Our goal at the start of the season was to finish in the top five nationally. To be runner-up is icing on the cake,” Sample said. “It’s tough to travel 10 hours to get another night in, then turn around and drive back home. We won six of 10 Ironman Series races and that put us into contention to race for national points, but we did mainly Saturday night stuff.”
He missed one Saturday outing, Southern Oregon Speedway’s Lon Skinner Memorial, after a fire believed to be electrical in origin destroyed the pickup, trailer and race car he had borrowed … his father was headed to Super Nationals with his car … on the interstate 15 minutes out of Winnemucca.
Even the low point of his season, however, had a silver lining.
“That felt like the worst day of my life. How do you call people and tell them you just burned their stuff to the ground?” asked Sample. “But we got so much support from sponsors and friends who offered their help to keep us going.”
After a single outing in his father Rodney’s pro stock, Sample had started racing a Modified in 2006 – the same year fellow Nevadan Dan Fitzgerald was the national runner-up – and soon crossed paths with Wyoming’s Justen Yeager.
“We got to know each other following the Wild West Tour. He was the guy who made me think about where I wanted to go with my racing,” Sample explained. “It was nice to end Zane DeVilbiss’ reign as regional champion and it’s neat to be the bookend guy with Justen, who won the region in 2009.”
Additional Top Fives: 17
HIS CREW: Father Rodney and Eddie Poole.
HIS SPONSORS: Razor Chassis of Platte Center, Neb.; Wells Deign of Ogallala, Neb.; Area 41 Motorsports of Lovelock; Dakota Diesel of Battle Mountain; Icon Pistons of Carson City; Keyser Manufacturing of Coopersville, Mich.; and Dynamic Drivelines of Des Moines, Iowa.