BRITT, Iowa (Aug. 9) – Tom Berry Jr.’s string of second-place finishes ended with the win at Hancock County Speedway’s Night of 10,000 Stars.
Berry passed Mike Mullen for the lead with nine laps left, then held on to the front spot after two late restarts in winning Friday’s IMCA Modified main event, and $7,000, at Britt.
Berry had started eighth and chased Ethan Dotson most of the first half of the race. Mullen threatened to pull away from the pack following the mandatory pitstop at halfway but Berry made up ground as the two ran in lapped traffic.
A single lapped car separated the two when lap 41 was scored. Berry rolled the dice and came up a winner with that nifty drive around the outside the next time around.
“I didn’t know who was behind me or how much tire I had left,” admitted the 2020 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifier. “All kinds of things were running through my head. This was the biggest race I’ve ever led. I can’t be more happy about winning it.”
Mullen fell back to third before the first of the two late yellows but regained the spot from Benji LaCrosse before the checkers flew.
Night of 1,000 Stars winner Ricky Thornton Jr. and hard charger Jake O’Neil rounded out the to five in the Corteva Agriscience-sponsored special. O’Neil had started 22nd.
Dotson led the first 25 laps and earned the $1,000 halfway bonus. Thornton challenged for the lead but fell back to fifth after making contact with Dotson following a lap nine restart. Berry started eighth and was scored second when lap 10 was scored.
Berry has 10 wins and another dozen top five finishes in his 25 North Dakota and Saskatchewan outings this season.
The Kupper Chevrolet Dakota Classic Tour champion had run second in his three starts leading up to the Night of 10,000 Stars, on Aug. 6 at the Harris Clash, in the Aug. 7 Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour and on Aug. 8 at Hancock County’s Night of 1,000 Stars.
“We’ve been digging hard and trying to get to victory lane,” he said. “We finally got it done.”
Kelly Shryock was the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car winner. Cody Nielsen won for the second straight night in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks and Colby Fett was first in the race to the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod checkers.
Saturday’s Bob Shryock Memorial All-Star race at Britt was rained out.
Feature results – 1. Tom Berry Jr., Newburg, N.D.; 2. Mike Mullen, Seymour, Wis.; 3. Benji LaCrosse, Green Bay, Wis.; 4. Ricky Thornton Jr., Adel; 5. Jake O’Neil, Tucson Ariz.; 6. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 7. Ethan Dotson, Bakersfield, Calif.; 8. Brandon Beckendorf, Danube, Minn.; 9. Richie Gustin, Gilman; 10. Jay Noteboom, Hinton; 11. Cody Laney, Torrance, Calif.; 12. Nick Meyer, Whittemore; 13. Ronn Lauritzen, LaPorte City; 14. Mark Elliott, Webster City; 15. Cody Knecht, Whittemore; 16. Jeff Feaster, Humboldt; 17. Kory Meyer, Dixon; 18. Ryan Ruter, Clear Lake; 19. Jeremy Mills, Britt; 20. Randy Brown, Chowchilla, Calif.; 21. Al Hejna, Clear Lake; 22. Ethan Braaksma, Newton; 23. Jimmy Gustin, Marshalltown; 24. Scott Olson, Blairsburg; 25. J.J. Wise, Garner; 26. Kyle Brown, Madrid; 27. Kelly Shryock, Fertile; 28. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls; 29. Jeff Larson, Freeport, Ill.; 30. Brian Mullen, Seymour, Wis.