Stephens enjoys racing, 100th IMCA Modified win

Jeff Stephens raced to Friesen Performance IMCA Modified career win number 100 Friday night at Crawford County Speedway. (Photo by Samantha Freese)

ARION, Iowa (May 23, 2022) – He’ll admit to not enjoy working on the car as much or as often as he used to, but Jeff Stephens says he still enjoys racing as much as he ever did. 

And Friday night at Crawford County Speedway, he enjoyed it a lot. 

Stephens led start to finish of the May 20 feature at Denison to earn his career 100th Friesen Performance IMCA Modified feature win. He’s the 65th driver in division history to do so, and the first IMCA driver in any division to reach the triple-digit mark this season.

“I just really enjoy racing,” said the Arion speedster, who’s been tossing dirt for nearly three decades and with IMCA since 1996. “There are times at the shop you don’t feel like working on the car but once I get to the track I enjoy everything about it, especially the challenge to win.” 

After a broken arm suffered in a shop accident cut his rookie season short after a handful of starts, Stephens has been winning IMCA races since 1997. He had a career best 13 checkers in 2004, sandwiching 2003 and 2004 track championships at Crawford County between 2001 and 2019 titles at Shelby County Speedway.

Stephens owns a unique place in the CCS record book, winning both IMCA and NASCAR track titles there the same season. 

“I had only attended county fair races when I went to watch with my grandfather,” he said. “Then my dad called me one day and asked if he got a car, would I race it? He bought a car that had been in a flood, we put a cage in it and the rest is history.”

Stephens ran a non-sanctioned hobby stock at Denison and Harlan before moving to the Modified. He stuck with the sport despite a four-year win drought (2013-2016) and now has 17 wins since.

“I had an old car and no luck,” explained Stephens, slowed by mechanical issues in his first two starts this year. “When I finally got my 100th win it was like, ‘Finally, I got it over with.’ It was like my first win. It seemed like forever to get that, then they seemed to come easier. Hopefully it will be like that again now.”

Sponsored for much of his IMCA Modified career by S & S Trucking of Earling and Lahr Trucking of Denison, Stephens piloted a 2020 GRT to the landmark win.

He’ll be a regular at Crawford County and at Shelby County again this season and will return to Boone Speedway for the 40th annual IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s in September. 

Stephens is a three-time qualifier for the Big Dance, finishing third in 2009.