Olmstead races to 100th career win on way to first national IMCA Hobby Stock crown

Zach Olmstead took checkers at 10 different tracks in winning both his career 100th feature and the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock national championship this season. (Photo by Carl Larson)

OVERTON, Neb. ­(Oct. 31, 2023) – Zach Olmstead’s 27th feature win of the season was the 100th of his IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock career.

His 28th checkers of 2023 made the Overton, Neb., driver a first-time IMCA national champion.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” admitted the Overton, Neb., driver, who also has an IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s crown and three straight Stephenville Starter Race of Champions victories on his IMCA resume. “Being a national champion is something I dreamed would happen.”

“We knew it would be tough but we thought we had a good chance at the start of the season. We had some luck and it just seemed like everything happened at the right time on the track for us.”

Olmstead, who shares a 60×60 shop in Overton with brothers Jacob and Morgan, traveled to 11 different tracks in Kansas and Nebraska and won at all but one of them in earning IMCA Northern Region and Dawson County Raceway and RPM Speedway track titles.

He had averaged 14 feature wins over each of the last three years before racing to a fourth straight track championship at Lexington this season.

“I race more than a lot of people do. Last year we only had 29 starts but this year we were at 50. I’ve had the same (Brendan Eilts-built) car for five years and I know exactly what it’s going to do and when. I’m comfortable with it,” said Olmstead. “I grew up going to Dawson County and it can be a little tricky, but it’s a track I enjoy racing at. You can diamond off the corner in two and in (turns) three and four the bottom is almost as fast as the top.”

Olmstead was fastest everywhere after winning 13 of his first 28 starts this season. A streak of eight straight checkers was highlighted by weekend sweeps of both RPM Speedway’s Ellis County Fair Wheatshocker Nationals and Osborne County Fair shows.

Another streak of four straight wins would follow, then back-to-back wins at Thomas County Speedway and Junction Motor Speedway for career victories numbers 99 and 100.

“To start the season, I told people I wanted to get to 100 wins. When I got to 100, I told them I wanted to get one more and get the national championship” Olmstead said. “Two of the races I really enjoyed this year were the Race of Champions and my 100th win. It was really cool to be able to go back to Junction the next week, win the feature and know that I probably won the national championship, too.”

IMCA’s national rookie of the year in 2015, Olmstead had a previous single-season best 16 wins in 2021.

Wins                             28

Top Five Finishes          42

Starts                           50

HIS CREW: Wife Katrina, son Atlas, parents Troy and Gina, brothers Jake and Morgan, A.J. Davenport, Corey Hageman, Jeremy McCarter and Phillip Brown.

HIS SPONSORS: Eilts Racing and Fabrication, Grand Island; FX Suspension, Phillips; Imperial Manufacturing, Seward; Hometown Storage, Overton Sand and Gravel and Troy and Gina Olmstead, all of Overton; Chad and Jamie Dolan of Gibbon; Don and Susie Bolt of McCook; Runza of Cozad and Gothenburg; and Sargent Trucking, Colby, Kan.

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