Quest to race with the best brings Neu to IMCA Super Nationals

Boone Speedway will be the eighth track Ethan Neu has raced at this season, when he joins the best of the best in IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock competition at the 40th annual IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. (Photo by Tyler Hagen)

FAIRVIEW, Mont. (Aug. 30, 2022) – Ethan Neu aims to make history at the history-making 40th annual IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s.

The second-year driver has his sights set at becoming the first driver from Montana to make the Saturday night Hobby Stock Big Dance, and he will have a former Super Nationals champion in his corner as he makes that quest.

“My main goal is to win a qualifying event. Just going to Boone and racing with the best of the best at Super Nationals is a goal but I want to go there, do my best and see if I can learn something,” said Neu, from Fairview, a town of 900 in the northeast corner of the state and located right on the border with North Dakota.

Driving a 2018 Penetrator Chassis purchased out of Bismarck and built by three-time Hobby Stock qualifier and 2009 Super Nationals Northern SportMod champ Mike Pruitt, he’s got a couple runner-up finishes in 16 starts – at seven different tracks – so far this season.

“I had wrecked my car and got it fixed over the winter so I’ve talked to Mike a lot. I learned quite a few things from him that I’ve used this year to help me out,” Neu said. “It’s been kind of an up and down year with flat tires and motor issues but I hope next season goes better and I can race for point championships at at least one track.” 

A second generation driver, Neu’s father Mark raced Modifieds with WISSOTA in the 1980s and 90s, and with IMCA from 2013-2015.

He took the drive to compete straight from high school sports to the race track.

“After I graduated from high school, I decided I wanted to race. The Hobby Stocks are a good entry level class,” said Neu, now 20 years old with a diesel mechanics degree and working at the Caterpillar dealership in Williston. “The biggest thing I’ve learned since my first season is to keep calm and not get overwhelmed. Last year I messed up a lot. This year I’ve kept calm, hit my marks and it’s been a good learning experience.” 

“I really like the competition in the class. I understand that every class is competitive but the Hobby Stocks put on a good show every time,” he added. “They don’t cost that much and I like the people and the good times that go with racing.”

Neu has made nearly half his season starts at Nodak Speedway, 2-1/2 hours from home. A mid-July road trip took him to River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks and Buffalo River Speedway in Glyndon, Minn., both six-plus hours away.

“Williston is my favorite. I like to race at different tracks,” he said. “I can hop on about any track and race my way toward the front. I’ve learned to adapt to any (size) track.” 

Boone Speedway is a 14-hour tow from Fairview. Neu leaves in the morning Sept. 3 and will get his first laps in during the Sunday night Prelude. 

“I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends in racing,” he said. “I’m looking forward to socializing away and doing the same at Super Nationals.”