Mike Smith continues family tradition in becoming IMCA Super Nationals champion

A stage full of Smiths helped Mike Smith celebrate his IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s Hobby Stock championship. At 17, he became the youngest driver to win a Super Nationals title in the division. (Photo by Tom Macht, www.photofinishphotos.com)

BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 11) – Another Smith, another IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s championship.

Seventeen-year-old Mike Smith of Lake City became the first of the next generation of IMCA’s most successful racing family to become an IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s champion, winning the Saturday night Hobby Stock main event and $2,000 at Boone Speedway. 

“It’s pretty cool. We like to keep it going in the family,” said Smith, who has watched uncles Donovan, Devin and Doug win a combined seven Stock Car, Hobby Stock and SportMod titles at America’s Racin’ Vacation. “One of us has won it like the last three or four seasons now.”

“It’s good to know you can beat the best of the rest,” added the South Central Calhoun High School senior, fifth in his main event debut last year and now the youngest Super Nationals champion in division history. “I didn’t know if I had the car or the luck to do it. I never dreamed of winning Super Nationals. Now, hopefully, my dad (Dave, a 14-time qualifier for the Stock Car main event) can win Super Nationals, too.”

Kaden Reynolds led the first 20 laps, with Smith making his way from seventh starting to second by the third circuit.

The front pair went high and low to evade a spinning car that brought out a lap 17 caution; Smith made his move to the front following a lap 21 restart, then weathered yellows on laps 25 and 29 with Jeff Ware and defending champion Nathan Ballard lined up right behind him. 

“Kaden has been fast all year so I knew passing him would be tough,” Smith said. “When we came up to lapped traffic I moved up to the middle of the track and tried to pass him on the back stretch before a yellow. The track ended up being in great condition for our feature, but there was a late caution, which you never want to see.” 

Ware ended in second, with Ballard third and 2019 champion Dylan Nelson fourth. 

Eric Stanton qualified for the 12th time in his career, starting 23rd and racing his way to seventh.

Brandon Nielsen was a seven-time qualifier while Ballard, Drew Barglof, Sal Hernandez, Malik Sampson and Ware each started their career sixth Saturday show. 

Hard charger Josh Vancannon started 28th and ran eighth to pace the eight first-time qualifiers, among them Joe Peterson, the first Arizona driver to start the Hobby Stock main event. 

Smith will finish the season in his current ride and get his senior pictures taken in a new car that will be finished this winter.

The previous youngest Hobby Stock champion at Super Nationals was Scott Anderson, who was 18 when he reigned at the 1999 event.

Feature results – 1. Mike Smith, Lake City; 2. Jeff Ware, Columbus, Neb.; 3. Nathan Ballard, Marengo; 4. Dylan Nelson, Adel; 5. Malik Sampson, Worthington, Minn.; 6. Kaden Reynolds, Cedar Rapids; 7. Eric Stanton, Carlisle; 8. Josh Vancannon, Ogden; 9. Braden Richards, Madrid; 10. Matt Brown, Dysart; 11. Luke Ramsey, Bedford; 12. Dillon Magnussen, Newell; 13. Jeremy Purdy, Bedford; 14. John Watson, Des Moines; 15. Solomon Bennett, Minburn; 16. Sal Hernandez, Columbus, Neb.; 17. Jacob Floyd, Cedar Rapids; 18. David Crimmins, Dubuque; 19. Brandon Nielsen, Spencer; 20. Cory Stone, Lovington, N.M.; 21. James Johnson, Cherokee; 22. Josh Sidles, Emmetsburg; 23. Blake Luinenburg, Reading, Minn.; 24. Drew Barglof, Sioux Rapids; 25. Eric Knutson, Slater; 26. Dan Strandberg, Worthington, Minn.; 27. Joe Peterson, Chandler, Ariz.; 28. Shaun Wirtz, Boone; 29. Curt Reed, Des Moines; 30. Cody Williams, Minneapolis, Kan.