Saathoff scores opener at Eagle

Johnny Saathoff jetted to the Friesen Performance IMCA Modified checkers Saturday at Eagle Raceway. (Photo by Joe Orth)

By Greg Soukup

EAGLE, Neb. (April 23, 2022) – After last week’s Icebreaker Challenge was canceled, this week’s Start Your Engines presented by A1 Iron and Empire Fence program at Eagle Raceway could have been branded the Windbreaker Challenge. The strong southerly winds didn’t seem to keep many fans from showing up, however. Those who came saw 180 cars filling the pits and providing some really great racing all night. 

Johnny Saathoff won his career 356th Friesen Performance IMCA Modified feature after taking over the front spot on an early restart.

“It turned out to be a pretty good night. I started on the front row of the heat and won it, started second row in the feature and took the lead shortly after the start,” said the four-time Eagle track champion. “When we were sitting there under red, I heard that the 30 car (Jordan Grabouski) was in third and I figured I had better change my line to see if I could pick it up and I pulled out the win.

“I couldn’t believe it. You know, I won the last race of the year and then come back to Eagle and win the first race of the year. I just turned 59, been racing for 43 years and I still can get a win,” he continued. “Thanks to my sponsors and others like Zach at Speedway we are still winning, Jaxon and I can still get wins and get it done while still having fun.”

Grabouski, Shawn Harker and Chad Anderson completed the top four.

Tyler Drueke spun and won the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car feature, doing a complete 360 on the opening circuit but keeping his ride going straight the rest of the way. 

Also winning opening night main events were Shane Stutzman in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, Dillon Richards in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks and Adam Vrbka in the Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods.