CARTHAGE, Ill. (Nov. 28, 2022) – Potential quickly became reality in Austen Becerra’s first Friesen Performance IMCA Modified season.
Becerra raced to eight feature wins – one of them good for a $5,000 payday – and two track championships in a campaign that ended with Razor Chassis North Central Region rookie of the year honors.
“We were good right out of the box,” said Becerra, a quick learner in the new division after winning the Northern SportMod main event at the 2021 IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. “About the middle of last year, Jon Fuller asked me if I would be interested in racing a Modified.”
“They bought a car – a 2020 Lethal – and we had some success in our starts after the IMCA point season ended. That’s when we knew we had the potential to win a lot of races this year.
From Carthage, Ill., Becerra was track champion at both Lee County Speedway and 34 Raceway, finishing fifth in regional points and 12th nationally.
Four of his checkers at Donnellson came in Drive For Five events and paid $1,000 or more.
“We ran real well at Lee County. Our $5,000 win there (on Aug. 19) was probably the highlight of our year,” said Becerra, seventh in the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational at Boone three weeks later. “One thing I’ve really enjoyed about racing a Modified is how many changes you can make to the car. The competition is stiffer wherever you go in this class but you can spend more time working on it to get faster and less time fixing it after you get torn up.”
After starting the season at the IMCA.TV Winter Nationals at Arizona’s Cocopah Speedway, Becerra tuned up with three Arkansas Spring Nationals starts at Batesville Motor Speedway. His home state starts came at eight different tracks.
“I really like the competition and the new challenges in this class, especially the technical ones,” he said. “You’ve got to be on top of your game to win. Modifieds are a class where you can run 10th one night, make changes and then win the next night.”
“We will race Lee County again this year for sure. We may travel more, too. We’ll see what happens. Our goal is to win races and let points take care of themselves,” Becerra added. “Our plans are to head back to Arizona in January. We always learn something when we go down there that helps us when we get back home.”
Wins, 8 – Top Fives, 23 – Starts, 43
His Crew: Wife Kati, father Tony, Zack Lantau and Jon Fuller.
His Sponsors: Midwest Exhaust, Law Full Service Station, CGC Repair and BRC Fab, all of Carthage; Poage Auto Plaza, American Auto Glass and Smith Brothers Power Sports, all of Quincy; Dustin Goetz and Schaeffer Oil, and Harrison Monuments, both of Warsaw; J & J Ag Auto and Truck, Memphis, Mo.; JDR Performance of Marshfield, Mo.; Craig Spegal Trucking of New London, Mo.; Oliver Heating & Air of Danville, Iowa; LaVeine Sanitation of West Burlington, Iowa; Victory Lane Suspension and Schroeder Graphics, both of Ottumwa, Iowa; Nelson Tire Recycling of Dubuque, Iowa; Dynamic Drivelines of Des Moines, Iowa; Bassett Racing Wheel of Burlington, Wis.; Wehrs Machine & Racing Products of Bangor, Wis.; WE Mapes Construction of Simi Valley, Calif.; and Truform Race Products.