MILTON, Fla. (March 4, 2023) – Improbable? Maybe.
Impossible? Not for Austen Becerra.
Becerra was incredible in racing from last at the start to first at the finish Saturday night at Southern Raceway, winning his third Clash on the Coast for Friesen Performance IMCA Modifieds start of the week and going home to Carthage, Ill., with a $2,500 share of the inaugural tour point fund.
“We put our heads down and did what we had to do,” said Becerra, who worked his way quickly through the field and passed Drew Janssen for the lead following a restart with four laps left. “This win, and to win three nights and finish second the other night, means a lot to us about our entire program.”
“Definitely, the last race is one I’ll never forget.”
Becerra had taken a two point advantage over Milton driver Joseph Joiner into the Saturday show, finished sixth in his heat and then ran second in the final ‘B’ feature.
“We got run over in the heat but the car wasn’t very good, anyway. The car wasn’t much better in the ‘B’ but things worked out and we got in,” he said. “We changed a couple things for the feature, went out there and kept grinding and making things happen. We pulled a rabbit out of the hat.”
Pole starter Chase Rosebrugh led the first lap of the main event before getting sideways in front of the rest of the field. The second running Joiner moved to the front for the restart with Becerra rolling around the topside already in the top 10 on lap seven.
He was in fourth when Janssen took the lead the next time around the track.
Becerra caught Derek Thompson for second on lap 20 and Janssen for first following a lap 22 restart. He’d pull away to the end of the 25-lapper, winning in front of Janssen, Thompson, 21st starting Ryan Gillmore and Collin Thirlby.
“At the start of the race I wanted to pass as many cars as fast as I could and hoped the cautions came out when I needed them,” Becerra said. “When we got that late caution and I was in second, I told myself we had a shot to win this deal.”
“I was right.”
Wheeling the 2022 Lethal Chassis owned by Jon and Joyce Fuller, Becerra took his first $1,000, Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational qualifying Clash check on opening night of the tour at Northwest Florida Speedway. The 2022 Razor Chassis North Central Region rookie of the year ran second to Joiner the next night at Baker, then swept Friday and Saturday action at Milton.
IMCA Modified veteran Peyton Taylor spearheaded and promoted the inaugural tour, contended by nearly 60 drivers from a dozen states.
Feature results – 1. Austen Becerra; 2. Drew Janssen; 3. Derek Thompson; 4. Ryan Gillmore; 5. Collin Thirlby; 6. Dallon Murty; 7. Travis Denning; 8. Jacob Campbell; 9. Brint Hartwick; 10. Drew Charlson; 11. Dennis Schoenfeld; 12. Ashton Wilkey; 13. Joseph Joiner; 14. Lance Arneson; 15. Cayden Mitchell; 16. Todd Neiheiser; 17. Jesse Enterkin; 18. Spencer Hartwick; 19. Jeff Taylor; 20. Drake Findley; 21. Troy Schaberg; 22. Ryan Jenkins; 23. Chuck Sanders; 24. Chase Rosebrugh.