McBirnie rules Nebraska’s Dirt Crown in first IMCA Modified outing at Beatrice

A first-time IMCA Modified competitor at Beatrice Speedway, Jake McBirnie scored the $2,500 feature win in the Saturday Nebraska’s Dirt Crown Spring Tour show. McBirnie also became Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational qualifying eligible with the victory. (Photo by Tyler Hagen)

BEATRICE, Neb. (March 26, 2022) – Jake McBirnie was the winner the first night he brought an IMCA Modified to Beatrice Speedway while Benji Legg was the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car winner on a night he hadn’t even planned to race.

McBirnie topped the Saturday Nebraska’s Dirt Crown Spring Tour main event for the Modifieds, earning $2,500 and Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational qualifying eligibility for his start-to-finish run at the front of the 25-lapper.

Legg’s $2,000 checkers made him eligible to qualify for the B & B Racing Chassis All-Star Invitational. His career third win in the class also came in his first start since rolling on night two of Beatrice’s Spring Nationals.

Making his first start of 2022, McBirnie drew the inside row two start, moved to the pole when Clay Money couldn’t answer the call and promptly led the distance, outrunning 12-time and defending track champion Johnny Saathoff to the finish line in his first start of the season.

“We had a pretty good car. It was a pretty fun night,” McBirnie said. “All my previous races here were in a SportMod. It’s cool to be able to go to places like Beatrice and race with guys like this.”

Travis Hagen, Dylan Sillman and Clint Homan rounded out the top five.

A long-time IMCA Northern SportMod driver, Legg ran his first full year in a Stock Car in 2021 and won twice at Beatrice, once during the IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing point season and on opening night of Octoberfest.

“After I rolled (two and a half times) I wasn’t planning to race the Dirt Crown,” explained Legg, who drives for boss Johnny Saathoff. “I was up in the air most of the time but there was some damage to the roof and the right upper ‘A’ frame.”

“But we were able to get the car ready, I drew the one pill, which was the first time ever for an ‘A’ feature, and I led the whole thing,” he continued. “There was some pretty stiff competition behind me.”

The post-race celebration was short as it was cold and Legg had to get up at 5 a.m. for work the following morning. Jordan Grabouski, Buck Schafroth, Jesse Sobbing and Troy Jerovetz chased him across the stripe. 

Adam Armstrong was the $2,000 IMCA Northern SportMod winner, ahead of Steve Swarthout and Devyn Peterson, while two recent Spring Nationals winners found new success at Beatrice.

Nick Ronnebaum topped the $500 to win IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature ahead of Kevin Betzen and Zach Olmstead. And Zach Bohlmeyer paced the $300 to win Mach-1 Sport Compact main, with Kaylee Richards and Kaden Murray in tow.