ELM MOTT, Texas (March 1) – Just 30 minutes into the 3-1/2 hour tow to Heart O’ Texas Speedway and already running late, Jeff Hoegh thought about turning around and starting his season another night.
Instead, he got back on the road, got to HO’T in time and won the Jack Bagby Memorial main event for IMCA Modifieds, earning both $1,000 and a berth of the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot.
“Getting on the ballot is a pretty big deal for me. I’m glad we started off the year the way we have,” said Hoegh. “It was one of those nights when everything turned out good.”
It was also one of those nights that didn’t start out that way.
Hoegh had to stop for fuel half an hour into the trip, then needed another half hour to fill up. He had already missed the draw when he pulled up to the pit gate and learned the wristbands were his unlucky red.
That’s when things turned around.
Hoegh finished fourth and starting last in a heat race that ran caution-free, then drew the pole for the 20-lap feature. He led every time around the oval, taking the checkers ahead of two-time defending track champion Eric Tomlinson and Chris Morris.
David Goode Jr. and former track champ Kevin Green completed the top five.
“Being in front is the loneliest place. I gave the car what I had to and was able to drive away when I needed to,” Hoegh said.
Hoegh also won his first race last season, then went 27 starts and two days shy of a year before his next checkers Friday night.
“We won two track championships in 2017, then traveled more last year. We did a lot of learning and experimenting,” said Hoegh, who ventured to Iowa for the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s and later in September to Arkansas for Race For Hope 74. “I’ve got a new car this year (a 2019 CAM Chassis) and have run practice laps a couple times. The car is comfortable and was working right.”
Jeffrey Abbey scored the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car victory and Sid Kiphen was the Smiley’s Racing Products Southern SportMod winner Friday at Heart O’ Texas. Brian Schoenbaum Jr. was first across the stripe in the Mach-1 Sport Compact feature.
Feature results – 1. Jeff Hoegh; 2. Eric Tomlinson; 3. Chris Morris; 4. David Goode Jr.; 5. Kevin Green; 6. Justin Radcliff; 7. Cody Daniel; 8. Mark Carrell; 9. David Goode Sr.; 10. Mike McCarthy; 11. Jerry Frydrych; 12. Brent Gilliam; 13. Evan Pardo; 14. Donald Banker; 15. Rob Slott; 16. Jason Kingrey.