SOMERTON, Ariz. (Jan. 13, 2024) – Chaz Baca has to wait until last October to officially celebrate his 2023 championships.
He celebrated his first of 2024 on Saturday night.
The Mesa hotshoe wrapped up the IMCA.TV Winter Nationals crown with his second Friesen Performance IMCA Modified victory of the series, after passing Tim Ward for the lead with just two laps left in the series finale at Cocopah Speedway.
“It feels good. It’s awesome to start this year the way we finished last season,” said Baca, an IMCA national, regional, state and four track champion in 2023. “Winter Nationals was very good to us.”
Ward had come into the night a single point behind Baca in his bid to repeat as series champion. A restart set the stage for that late-race drama.
Baca cleared Ward for the front spot coming out of turn two, then held off Ward, Dylan Thornton and Troy Morris III to the checkers. Ethan Braaksma started 15th and finished fifth.
“We made one extreme setup change for the Tuesday practice. It was something we had never tried before with this car – it’s the one we won the national championship with – and it worked out,” Baca said.
Already Fast Shafts All-Star Invitation al qualifying eligible, Baca had two $1,000 wins, plus third- and sixth-place finishes to show for that Tuesday night tinkering.
Zane DeVilbiss won another IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature, ahead of Bo Partain and Rick Diaz, while Rob VanMil charged from 19th to fourth to win the series crown.
Nathan Deragon ruled the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock main. Nebraska ‘shoes Morgan Olmstead and Dillon Richards were second and third while another fourth place runner, in this case Cody Williams, was the series champion.
Tyler Bannister’s third Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod win came with Kaden Woodie and Ty Rogers in pursuit. King of consistency Nathan Speten saw his streak of top five finishes end at seven but still clinched the series title with his 14th place showing.
And Oliver Monson wrapped up a championship of his own with his fourth Mach-1 IMCA Sport Compact triumph, ahead of Kaytee DeVries and 16th starting Chase Martin.
With their series crowns, VanMil and Speten became eligible to qualify for race of champions events at the upcoming IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. Baca and Williams were already eligible to qualify for their respective ROCs.
All eight nights of Winter Nationals were broadcast by series title sponsor IMCA.TV.