BEATRICE, Neb. (Nov. 4, 2022) – The decision to run for a record fifth Friesen Performance IMCA Modified national championship was made before Jordan Grabouski took the first green flag of the season.
That goal now attained, he can look back with an appreciation for his career accomplishments, as well as those of the two drivers he’d shared the previous mark of four titles with.
“We were able to accomplish a lot this season, but the Modified national championship is special,” said Grabouski, from Beatrice, Neb. “I can remember when I was crewing for Johnny Saathoff and he and David Murray Jr. would drive all over to race against each other. I know the grind they had to go through back in the day and it was cool to be able to watch their rivalry.”
“Then you throw drivers like Kevin Larkins and David Trauernicht and a lot of other guys in the mix, and that made it something just to win a weekly show at tracks like Beatrice and Eagle,” he continued. “There would be 30 or more cars and there might be 10 or 15 guys who showed up every week who could win. It was cool to grow up, watching guys like that race. I got my drive to win from them.”
Grabouski won national Modified crowns in 2011, 2016 and 2018, then became the first, and still only, IMCA driver to win national titles in two divisions the same season when he topped the 2019 Modified and Stock Car standings.
The Jet Racing Central Region champion is still a two division star, with his 2022 accolades including Modified and Stock Car track titles at both Beatrice Speedway and Eagle Raceway, as well as Nebraska State crowns in both classes.
He won 22 Modified features at nine different tracks, most often at Eagle (six) and Beatrice (five). Grabouski was third in national Stock Car points, totaling 16 checkers, nine of them coming at Eagle.
“A lot of things just evolved for us. We didn’t win a lot of races our first 10-15 nights in the Modified. We knew we had to get the car better. We did that and it paid off,” said Grabouski, a top five finisher in 42 of his 55 open wheel starts this season. “The consistency really paid off for us because there are just so many good drivers out there.”
“We didn’t have the edge at Beatrice like we have before,” he explained. “And running at Eagle is always tough with so many cars there. It can be humbling. You can win there one week and then have to try to qualify through a ‘B’ feature the next.”
Also champion of the Nebraska Dirt Crown Summer Series, Grabouski enjoyed stout competition in The Class Too Tough to Tame as well.
“Finishing third nationally wasn’t too bad. We raced with (national champion) Mike Nichols, (national runner-up) Cameron Wilkinson and (11th place finisher) Kyle Vanover a lot,” he said. “It was tough to win but we had fun racing with those guys.”
Grabouski’s 22 wins this season give him 277 for his Modified career, third all-time behind Murray’s 557 and Saathoff’s 358.
He’ll enjoy his 2022 accomplishments with family and friends at the national awards banquet and enjoy more time with daughters Jorja, 2-1/2, and Jones, 1-1/2, before setting any goals for 2023.
“(IMCA President) Brett Root had texted me in January and asked me if I would be racing this year or having more kids,” Grabouski said. “That kind of sparked me a bit. I thought about it, looked at my wife Whitney and said, ‘Let’s race for it one more time.’ And here we are.”
Wins, 22 – Top Fives, 42 – Starts, 51
HIS CREW: Josh Houseman, Bryson Fralin, Eric Ebeling, Steve Durman and Scott Parde.
HIS SPONSORS: Twin Rivers Dealerships, AJC Wiens Custom Farming, J’s Grill and Pub and Nelson Tree Service all of Beatrice; Friesen Performance of Sutton; WOJO Painting and Moock Trucking, both of Lincoln; Schmidt’s Inc. of Fairbury; PBS Rentals of Crete; Hergott Farms of Gilead; Sasse Farms of Diller; Side Trek Bar & Grill of Harbine; Novotny Ag of Jansen; Brinkman Racing and Fabrication of DeWitt; Southeast Trenching of Adams; Kotas Construction of Odell; Terry Phillips Racing of Springfield, Mo.; GRT Race Cars of Greenbrier, Ark.; VP Heartland of Manhattan, Kan.; Performance Bodies of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Fast Shafts of Des Moines, Iowa; Sybesma Graphics of Sanborn, Iowa; CPD Racing Shocks of Fort Dodge, Iowa; Real Racing Wheels of Independence, Iowa; Fertilizer Equipment Specialists; The Ace Group of Lees Summit, Mo.; Speedwerx Headers of Forest Lake, Minn.; Multi-Fire of Springfield, Ill.; Rock Island, Ill., Creations; Strange Oval of Morton Grove, Ill.; Quarter Master of Lake Zurich, Ill.; Wehrs Machine and Racing Products of Bangor, Wis.; Keyser Manufacturing of Coopersville, Mich.; Sweet Manufacturing of Kalamazoo, Mich.; KRC Power Steering of Kennesaw, Ga.; Five Two Customs of Dubberly, La.; Diversified Machine of Lancaster, Pa.; Jones Pulley Systems of Ottsville, Pa.; Hooker Harness of Cranbury, N.J.; FK Rod Ends of Southington, Conn.; Stone Oil Field Services of Lovington, N.M.; Swift Springs of Chino Hills, Calif.; Wilwood Brakes of Camarillo, Calif.; Superior Fuel Cells of Creswell, Ore.; Dirt Defender of Waxahachie, Texas; Total Power Batteries of Vista, Calif.; and Winning Edge Carbs of Garden Grove, Calif.