Clay County Salute to Veterans win gets IMCA career top ranking from Beckendorf 

Brandon Beckendorf ranked his Hunting With Heroes Salute to Veterans feature win at Clay County Fair Speedway right at the top of his Friesen Performance IMCA Modified career list. (Photo by Jim Steffens)

SPENCER, Iowa (July 20, 2022) – He’s won a lot of races in a Friesen Performance IMCA Modified but Brandon Beckendorf didn’t hesitate when asked just where to rank his run to the checkers at Wednesday night’s Hunting With Heroes Salute to Veterans at Clay County Fair Speedway.

“This is number one. It means a lot to me and it’s the highest paying race I’ve won,” Beckendorf said following the $3,500 feature victory, his fifth of the season and IMCA career 183rd. “It’s a pretty neat deal. This is a bucket list race every year.”

A late charge took ninth starting Jake McBirnie to second. Tom Berry Jr. swapped the lead with Beckendorf on laps 15 and 16 before finishing third and Tim Ward and Jeremy Mills completed the top five.

Mills led the first three laps from the pole before Beckendorf was scored inches ahead at the end of the fourth circuit. 

Berry came calling after a lap 10 restart; Chris Abelson spun out of third to bring out the next yellow, then Beckendorf used a couple crossover moves to get past Berry coming to the flag stand. 

The final caution came with three to go in the 20-lapper. McBirnie took over the runner-up spot but ran out of time in his pursuit of the leader. Beckendorf, most recently winner of the Cole Millard Memorial at Spencer, was already eligible to qualify for the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational. 

Kelly Shryock motored to a career fourth Salute to Veterans win, earning $2,250 for the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car victory. Matt Looft repeated his 2021 Salute to Veterans Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod win at Clay County and collected $1,250 while Jim Johnson’s IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock checkers paid $1,000.

Randy Brands had pulled away before a caution midway through the 20 lap main event erased his big advantage. Shryock caught Chanse Hollatz for second, then slipped inside Brands for the lead on lap 18. Three late yellows, the first of them coming after Hollatz and Brands got together racing down the front stretch, made for an exciting finish.

Shryock took the win, his Stock Car eighth and IMCA 16th of the season, ahead of Hollatz, 14th starting Elijah Zevenbergen, Damon Murty and Brands. 

“Winning these races are always special. It’s an honor,” said Shryock, the Salute to Veterans Modified winner last year at Spencer. “Great men and women served and allowed us to do what we do here. It’s really emotional.”

He’d also won the Clay County Classic in May and will defend the B & B Racing Chassis title earned at the 2021 IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. 

Looft, like Shryock driving one of the Salute to Veterans-themed cars, led all 18 laps from the pole on the way to his 21st Northern SportMod win of the season.

“We got lucky on the draw,” acknowledged Looft, unaccustomed to the front row start. “The car was so good it was a pleasure to drive.”

“It’s an honor to driver a Veterans’ car,” he continued. 

Jake Sachau raced from 10th starting to second in a Veterans themed ride of his own. Brian Schrage, 12th starting Cam Reimers and 18th starting Justin Klynsma ran 3-4-5.

Johnson led the last 17 laps of the Hobby Stock feature, outrunning ninth starting Dylan Nelson and 13th starting Malik Sampson.

“We finally got this car going. It’s probably been three years since we were in victory lane,” he said. “We’ve busted our butts and it finally paid off.” 

Fourth went to Jay DeVries, fifth to Drew Barglof.

And Oliver Monson was the $200 Mach-1 Sport Compact winner.