Opportunity knocks, Spalding answers with run to IMCA Southern SportMod rookie title

Opportunity came calling this season for Cutter Spalding and he answered with three feature wins on the way to earning Smiley’s Racing Products IMCA Southern SportMod national rookie of the year honors. (Photo by Mike Frieri)

ANDREWS, Texas (Nov. 16, 2023) – Opportunity knocked this season for Cutter Spalding, in the form of a Smiley’s Racing Products IMCA Southern SportMod.

The 18-year-old from Andrews, Texas, was quick to make the transition from a local street stock class, racing to three feature wins and the national rookie of the year award in the sanctioned division.

“Man, these cars are open wheel, they’re fast and they’re such a competitive class,” said Spalding. “Matt Mueller, who is a family friend and who I grew up watching race, called after last season and asked if I wanted to race his hot rod this season. I wasn’t expecting an opportunity like that.”

“Of course I said yes.”

Spalding made for than half of his 2023 starts at Abilene Speedway, where his first IMCA win came on April 1.

He’d end the season third in points at Abilene, fourth in the All Star Shootout standings and seventh nationally.

“It was really cool to get my first win there. Some of the best Southern SportMod drivers around, guys like Bradley Poor, Michael Watkins and David Phillips race there weekly,” said Spalding, who returned to victory lane at Abilene twice in mid-season. “Any time you can win there, it’s a race to remember.”

“I tell people all the time that Abilene had the best track prep man around,” he added, referencing promoter Rob Poor. “It’s dry slick almost every night and that leaves the racing, and the winning, up to the driver.”

Two nights he didn’t win also stood out from Spalding’s rookie season.

“We were leading All Star Shootout points going into the final race at Heart O’ Texas Speedway, broke and rolled into the infield on about lap three. We had a super run in the series and I couldn’t let my head hang down about it,” Spalding said. “And we led to the last corner in the All-Star race at the Southern SportMod Super Nationals. We held our own against a lot of good drivers that night.”

“We had some bad luck this year, but we had a lot of good luck, too,” he pointed out. “We were blessed to be able to drive this car and I was happy with everything we accomplished.”

The Andrews High School senior was 20th in his final season of Junior National Championship eligibility. He’s exploring a career as a mechanic and planning to race an IMCA Sunoco Stock Car in 2024.

Wins                             3

Top Five Finishes          14

Starts                           30

HIS CREW: Father Gerald Spalding Jr. and brother Yunger.

HIS SPONSORS: S&S Fishing and Rental of Andrews; Abilene Radiator, All Pro Clutch and Driveline and Fletcher Custom Engines, all of Abilene; Touch of Vegas and Mueller Motorsports, both of Stamford; LS Performance Fuels of Merkel; S & S Hats and Designs of Midland; Dark Horse Racing Shocks of Clyde; and JD’s Rentals and Eunice Wrecker, both of Eunice, N.M.

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