Puzzle pieces fall in place for Grabouski’s dual IMCA national championship quests

Jordan Grabouski became the first IMCA driver to win national championships in different divisions in the same season, topping 2019 point standings for both IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, At left is Speedway Motors President Clay Smith and at right is IMCA President Brett Root. (Photo by Bruce Badgley, Motorsports Photography)

BEATRICE, Neb. – Sometime around mid-July, Jordan Grabouski was having lunch with wife Whitney when his better half said something along the lines of ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if you won both the IMCA Modified and Stock Car national championships this season?’

No driver had ever accomplished the two IMCA national championships in the same season feat before and Grabouski, who was already leading point standings in both divisions, had to agree that yes, it’d be awesome.

“So many pieces of the puzzle fell together for us this season,” said Grabouski, who totaled a single-season record 69 feature victories in 108 starts, winning his career fourth and second straight IMCA Modified national crown with 33 checkers and his first IMCA Sunoco Stock Car national title with another 36. “It’s crazy to think that something like this is even possible to do and it’s definitely not something that can be done without help from a lot of people.”

En route to Jet Racing Central Region and EQ Cylinder Heads Northern Region crowns, the Beatrice, Neb., driver collected Modified and Stock Car track titles at Beatrice Speedway, Dawson County Raceway, Thunder Hill Speedway and U.S. 30 Speedway.

The eight track titles won is another IMCA single-season record. Grabouski topped both Modified and Stock Car features on 18 occasions while winning all 13 of his Stock Car starts at Columbus.

He was a model of consistency with six feature wins at each of the four tracks where he earned season championships. 

Equally gaudy numbers showed just three DNFs, one in the Modified and two in the Stock Car.

“What were the biggest things for us were having the cars prepared well and being fast. Once you can get out front there’s less chance of getting caught up in anything,” Grabouski said. “When you can win the Stock Car feature, it definitely gives you confidence in the Modified and you might be able to win with a fifth place car.”

“Everything clicked perfectly this year and that was a testament to having good people behind me,” he continued. “Terry Phillips was the person behind it all. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without (crew members) Bryson Fralin, Josh Houseman and Eric Ebeling.”

Now third on the all-time list with 236 Modified career feature wins, Grabouski brought seven career Stock Car wins into the season.

“We had another great season with the Modified. It was just one of those years,” he said. “Stock Cars are a lot of fun to race, too. They’re so competitive and I got to race with a lot of different people.”

He became the third driver with four IMCA Modified national championships to his credit, joining Johnny Saathoff and David Murray Jr. in that division-leading achievement. Five drivers have won national championships in different divisions in different seasons.

Fifth in the Saturday night IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s main event, Grabouski was third at Batesville’s season-ending Race For Hope 71 and the $10,000 winner at Marshalltown’s World Nationals in October.

“We overachieved our goals this year, especially with the competition we have around here,” said Grabouski, planning to scale back from racing four or more nights a week in 2020. “It’s not anything that will happen for me again. I’m just going to enjoy what we accomplished this season.”

Modified Starts   55         Wins     33         Additional Top Five’s       21

Stock Car Starts 53         Wins     36         Additional Top Five’s       15

HIS CREW: Josh Houseman, Bryson Fralin, Eric Ebeling, Steve Durman and Jackson Weeks.

HIS SPONSORS: Twin Rivers Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Penner Insurance, AJC Wiens Custom Farming, Orange Bowl, J’s Grill and Pub, Wrightway Hay Harvesters and Nelson Tree Service all of Beatrice; Friesen Chevrolet of Sutton; Abbie and Jace Grabouski and Zeck Ford, both of Leavenworth, Kan.; Wojo Painting and Moock Trucking, both of Lincoln; Schmidt’s Inc. of Fairbury; PBS Rentals of Crete; Hergott Farms of Gilead; Sasse Farms of Diller; Side Trek Bar & Grill of Harbine; Novotny Ag and Brynn Novotny Motorsports, both of Jansen; Brinkman Racing and Fabrication of DeWitt; Terry Phillips Racing of Springfield, Mo.; GRT Race Cars of Greenbrier, Ark.; VP Heartland of Manhattan, Kan.; Performance Bodies of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Fast Shafts of Des Moines, Iowa; Sybesma Graphics of Sanborn, Iowa; Jordan Hanisch Photography and BigWorms Racing Videos, both of Williams, Iowa; CPD Racing Shocks of Fort Dodge, Iowa; Real Racing Wheels of Independence, Iowa; Speedwerx Headers of Forest Lake, Minn.; Kevko of Fairmont, Minn.; Strange Oval of Morton Grove, Ill.; Quarter Master of Lake Zurich, Ill.; Simpson of Brownsburg, Ind.; Wehrs Machine and Racing Products of Bangor, Wis.; Keyser Manufacturing of Coopersville, Mich.; Integra Shocks of Coopersville, Mich.; Jones Pulley Systems of Ottsville, Pa.; KSE Racing Products of White House, Tenn.; Bulldog Rear Ends of Lancaster, Pa.; Hooker Harness of Cranbury, N.J.; FK Rod Ends of Southington, Conn.; Ricochet Shock Guards of Brush, Colo.; Icon Pistons of Carson City, Nev.; Wilwood of Camarillo, Calif.; Dirt Defender of Waxahachie, Texas; KS Engineering of Albert Lea, Minn.; and Total Power Batteries of Vista, Calif.