PLAINVIEW, Neb. (May 27, 2023) – A high school freshman-to-be finished first in the IMCA Sunoco Late Model class Saturday night at Off Road Speedway.
Rookie Beau Johnson started outside the front row and led start to finish of the 25-lapper, taking the checkers ahead of Nelson Vollbrecht and four-time and defending national champion Cory Dumpert.
“The car just got better and better,” said Johnson, who had broken while leading with nine laps left the night before at Boone County Raceway. “We caught a lapped car near the end and were able to win by about four car lengths.”
One of, if not the youngest feature winner in division history, Johnson is still a month shy of 14 and a half.
He’ll be a ninth grader this fall at Plainview High School and has already graduated to the Late Models from go karts, running at the track adjacent to the big oval at Norfolk.
“It’s a big step up but I got in three (non-sanctioned) starts at I-80 last year,” said Johnson, who wheels a 2016 Club 29 Chassis previously piloted by his father and crew chief Jim. “I really like the Late Models. I didn’t expect to win so soon because they are just so competitive.”
The win came in just Johnson’s seventh IMCA outing. He’ll be a regular at both Boone County and Off Road this season while making as many U.S. 30 Speedway starts as possible in pursuing national rookie of the year honors.
His dad won track championships and an overall bragging rights title at the same speed plants during his own Late Model career.
“Everything finally came together for us,” said Johnson, congratulated by and then later sprayed with water by Dumpert in post-race tech Saturday night. “Now we want to keep racing and win rookie of the year.”