BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 9, 2023) – Tim Ward’s run to the Modified championship at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s was even more spectacular than the fireworks displays that preceded and followed it.
The Arizona native and Iowa transplant led the last half of Saturday’s 40-lap finale at Boone Speedway, ultimately outdistancing 2021 champion Cody Laney to earn his first title and $10,000.
The 41st annual Super Nationals brought a record 1,017 cars to Boone, 17 more than the previous mark set just last September.
“You have to work so hard to make the show, let alone win the thing,” said Ward, who’d begun his week at Iowa’s Action Track with the checkers in the Wild Rose Casino Double Down Prelude. “Two years ago I ran second to Cody and I was probably the grumpiest guy in the pits. I felt like I made a couple mistakes that night and I knew what it was like to get close to winning Super Nationals.”
He chased Laney again on Saturday, finally pulling alongside on lap 19 and ahead on lap 22, with Dallon Murty and Dylan Thornton, fresh off a championship run of his own in the Stock Car 30-lapper, not that far behind.
Back-to-back cautions on laps 29 and 30 took the frontrunners out of traffic. Murty drove off the top of the track in the first set of turns with four to go before Ward led a West Coast rooted top four of Laney, Grey Ferrando and Kollin Hibdon across the stripe.
“I could feel the emotions catching up with me, everything from what I’d done during the week to what I was about to do,” Ward said. “There were so many times my dad (Rick) tried to make the show and didn’t. It was exciting to win tonight with so many of my family and friends here.”
Todd Shute was fifth with Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational winner Joel Rust also advancing 16 positions from his original starting spot; Travis Hagen started last in the field of 33 and finished 14th.
“This win was huge,” Ward said after the second fireworks display, which lit up the sky over Boone after he’d parked in the infield victory lane. “It’s the biggest thing in IMCA. IMCA is what we do. It’s what I’ve done every weekend since I was little and what I do every weekend now.”
“This is the biggest thing ever.”
Divisional car count records set at Super Nationals this year were 260 Stock Cars, 159 Hobby Stocks and 95 Sport Compacts. Super Nationals competitors also came from a record 30 states, and three Canadian provinces.
Thornton, a California native, earned $8,000 for his Stock Car win, Jake Sachau for his $5,000 Northern SportMod checkers and Mike Smith $3,000 for his career second Hobby Stock crown.
Kelly Shryock took over up front after leader Zane DeVilbiss went off the first set of turns eight laps into the Stock Car main. Thornton charged to the front at midway and led to the end of the 30-lapper, which saw some smoke and flame of its own from Tyler Frye to stop the race with four to go.
Damon Murty challenged the last time around but ended in second. Shryock was third and Jeffrey Larson was fourth.
“I finally got a big win in this car,” Thornton said. “This is great. I’m so glad. I can’t put everything into words.”
Alec Fett and then Tyler Bannister led the Northern SportMod feature before Sachau made his way to the front on the 19th of 30 laps. He’d follow Prelude and BSB Manufacturing Race of Champions triumphs with his first Super Nationals championship.
Bannister, Fett and Logan Cumby completed the podium.
“This doesn’t even feel like it’s real. This has been a dream my entire life,” said Sachau. “When I was like 12 years old I was coming here and I knew then that I had to win one of these before I died.”
Smith has now won two Hobby Stock championships and earned the second title shortly after father David ruled the Sunoco Race fuels Race of Champions for Stock Cars.
“We have pretty good competition around here. It doesn’t get much better than racing with these guys,” said Smith, referencing fellow top four finishers Dylan Nelson, Malik Sampson and Jeff Fink. “This was a special race to win, for my entire family and after dad won the RoC.”
Brandon Beckendorf was first to the checkers is a star-filled Rage Chassis Race of Champions for the Modifieds, outrunning another star-filled field.
“This is like my fifth time at Boone. When you can come here and win against the best, guys like Richie Gustin and Jimmy Gustin, it’s amazing,” he said. ”This is one of our biggest wins.”
Dallon Murty topped Thursday’s B & B Racing Chassis All-Star Invitational for Stock Cars. Also earlier in the week, Ford-powered Devin Jones became a two-time Sport Compact king Tuesday evening and Zach Olmstead made it three straight Stephenville Starter Hobby Stock Race of Champions wins.
Jeff Aikey added to his single division championship record with his seventh Late Model championship, and eighth crown overall, on Monday.
And Ronnie Choate became the first-ever Super Nationals champion when he won the STARS Mod Lite main event on Sept. 3, night two of the Double Down Prelude.
A purse of $300,000 plus will be complemented by the $33,900 generated by auctions of main event winners’ engines. That amount will be paid in equal shares to non-winning drivers in each event. Contingency awards totaling $60,000-plus will be given as well.
Both nights of the Prelude and the entire week of the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s were broadcast by IMCA.TV.