Becerra is best on opening night of inaugural IMCA Clash on the Coast

Austen Becerra was lights out in winning the opening night Clash on the Coast feature for Friesen Performance IMCA Modifieds Monday at Northwest Florida Speedway. (Photo by Byron Fichter)

BAKER, Fla. (Feb. 27, 2023) – There was something about Northwest Florida Speedway that Austen Becerra liked during the Sunday practice at the quarter-mile Baker oval. 

He liked it a lot more following his Monday win on opening night of the inaugural Clash on the Coast presented by IMCA.TV.

Becerra, from Carthage, Ill., motored from ninth starting to lead the last 20 of 25 laps in the Friesen Performance IMCA Modified main event. The checkers were good for $1,000, a unique surfboard-shaped trophy and Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational qualifying eligibility. 

“I knew that starting ninth was going to be tough but my car was lights out,” said Becerra. “The track was really good last night and we made a couple adjustments that we’re going to keep under our hat that were really good tonight.”

The Clash on the Coast brought 58 IMCA entries from 14 states to Baker and the top six finishers in the feature hailed from different states. 

Ryan Jenkins, Joseph Joiner, Drew Janssen and Derek Thompson ran second through fifth, respectively.

Andrew Moreno started on the pole and led the first five circuits before Becerra took charge and quickly began pulling away from the pack. 

Both Moreno and Landon Meilke exited from spots in the top five during back-to-back cautions at midway. Jenkins headed pursuit of the leader the rest of way, crossing the stripe 1.8 seconds Becerra at the finish. 

The checkers came in the first start of the season for Becerra, who had collected eight wins enroute to winning rookie of the year honors in IMCA’s Razor Chassis North Central Region in 2022. 

Round two of Clash on the Coast is Tuesday at Baker, with Southern Raceway at Milton hosting March 3 and 4 shows.

IMCA.TV broadcasts each $1,000 to win event. Racing starts at 6 p.m.

Feature results – 1. Austen Becerra; 2. Ryan Jenkins; 3. Joseph Joiner; 4. Drew Janssen; 5. Derek Thompson; 6. Drake Findley; 7. Travis Denning; 8. Ethan Braaksma; 9. Jadin Fuller; 10. Dallon Murty; 11. Jason Barnhill; 12. Jacob Campbell; 13. Jesse Enterkin; 14. Jeff Taylor; 15. Jonathan Joiner; 16. Brint Hartwick; 17. Greg Hopkins; 18. Chase Rosebrugh; 19. Eddie Sites; 20. Jeremy Russell; 21. Troy Schaberg; 22. Landon Meilke; 23. Andrew Moreno; 24. Brian Ray Flowers.