Finishing every start helps Blurton finish as Sprint rookie of the year, URSS champ

Zach Blurton (second from left) scored national IMCA EMI RaceSaver Sprint Car rookie of the year and United Rebel Sprint Series championship honors this season. From left are Mike Long of division title sponsor EMI, Blurton, Rac­eSaver founder French Grimes and IMCA President Brett Root. (Photos by Bruce Badgley, Motorsports Photog­raphy)

QUINTER, Kan. – Winning national rookie of the year honors and the United Rebel Sprint Series champion­ship had Zach Blurton stoked about his first IMCA EMI RaceSaver season.

So did finishing each of the 34 races he started in 2016.

The Quinter, Kan., driver set the pace for all first-year drivers in the sanctioned Sprint Car division, winning five times and ending in 10th place in the national points race. He’d been second in URSS points twice in the previous five years.

“I was really excited when the series announced they’d be IMCA this season. It was really cool to be able to follow that and chase rookie points,” said Blurton. “We had a really good year. It was our first year ever with no DNFs. We didn’t have any torn up parts and we did everything on one motor.”

All five of his feature wins, in Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas, came over the course of 25 series starts.

“We had a lot of races close to home but still towed 18,000 miles this year,” Blurton said. “We raced at Byers, Colo., one night and Beatrice the next night but it was a lot of fun. I like to travel and hope to race in Penn­sylvania and California next year.”

Both his father John and future father-in-law Randy Patterson are former IMCA Modified drivers. Blurton raced motorcycles and then go-karts before getting into a Sprint Car. He was rookie of the year at Knoxville Raceway in 2013.

Three-time IMCA national champion Jon Johnson builds Blurton’s engines and helps out on his crew.

“He’s a good person to have for setup and other tips, as well as his knowledge of motors,” Blurton acknowl­edged.

Blurton and fiancée Ally Patterson will tie the knot on Dec. 10.

Starts: 34

Wins: 5

Additional Top Fives: 9

HIS CREW: Parents John and Connie Blurton, Randy Patterson, fiancée Ally and Jon Johnson.

HIS SPONSORS: MAP Inc. of Jetmore; Phillips Physical Therapy Center of Dodge City; Tornado Racing Engines of Utica; Double D Family Mat Shop, Park Liquor Store and Billinger Repair, all of Park; Jet Hot Coat­ings and Outlaw Wings, both of Oklahoma City, Okla.; Racing Eclipse Technologies of Memphis, Tenn.; Ti22 Performance of Carlisle, Pa.; Rob’s Fun Center of Brenham, Texas; John and Connie Blurton of Blanchard, Okla.; and Randy and Nike Patterson and Ally and Randy Patterson Welding of Quinter.