WASECA, Minn. (Aug. 23, 2023) – After Todd Stinehart got his first Modified, he figured he’d race once, maybe twice a year.
After racing to the biggest win of his career and then three straight Friesen Performance IMCA Modified checkers in a single weekend, he’ll return to Boone Speedway and race at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s for the 23rdtime.
“There are multiple things that make Super Nationals special,” said the Waseca, Minn., driver, a four-time qualifier for Saturday’s Big Dance. “There’s a special atmosphere you just don’t see anywhere else.”
“I go with the same group of guys – Chris Toot, Darin Toot, Tommy Belmer and Jacob Dahle – and we pit in the same little corner we’ve been in for the last 6-8 years,” he continued. “and we’ve met people from all over, Australia, Kansas, Texas, that we still text with. We’re friends with people from Canada now that we met at Super Nationals.”
“It’s what racing is all about. Super Nationals is special and Boone is a special place.”
Stinehart became a part of racing at South Dakota tracks where his dad crewed for a Sprint Car team. He’s spent his entire career in another open-wheeled division after going to the Steele County Fair.
“I went to the fair race in Owatonna and fell in love with the Modified. I found out they raced those things every year so I bought one and I’ve never raced anything else,” explained Stinehart. “I thought I’d race one time a year at Owatonna and that would be it. Now I’ve raced all over. Look at the mess I created.”
He turned his first Modified laps in 1995, got his first IMCA win two years later and has piloted an Alive & Running Suicide Prevention Awareness Car with the Belmer Team (“If we’ve saved one life over that time it’s been worth it 10-fold”) for about 15 years.
Stinehart now owns the rare distinction of having qualified for the main event in his first two trips to Super Nationals, finishing 19th in 2000 and fifth in 2001.
“I was racing weekly at Hancock County Speedway then with guys like (former Super Nationals champions) Ron Pope and Mark Noble,” he said. “In 2000 I won a last-chance race to get in and in 2001 I won my heat and then the qualifying feature. I didn’t realize at first that I’d done something big. The first two years I was there I made the show and still don’t know for sure how I did it.”
Stinehart has been back to Boone every year since except for 2008, when the lack of a motor kept him at home. He was seventh in the 2007 main event and ninth last year, after running second in his Wednesday night qualifying feature.
Eligible to qualify for the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational after winning the Hunting With Heroes Salute to Veterans main event at Kossuth County Speedway, Stinehart topped consecutive feature starts at Algona, Britt and Arlington last weekend.
“The Salute to Veterans win was huge, huge for me,” said Stinehart, racing with friend, co-worker and Minnesota National Guard Staff Sergeant Jim Woskia, killed in Iraq in 2007 in mind. “I was wearing his shirt that night. It was kind of my way of remembering him for giving the ultimate sacrifice. It was a very emotional win for me.”