Flat tire can’t keep Partain from Casa Grande repeat

Bo Partain raced from worst to first Saturday in winning back-to-back IMCA Sunoco Stock Car features at Central Arizona Raceway’s Ernie Mincy Early Thaw. (Photo by Ron Pelton Jr.)

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (Jan. 20, 2024) – Both his Friday and Saturday night finishes ended with Bo Partin in victory lane.

The routes he took to get there, however, couldn’t have been more different.

Partain won Friday’s Ernie Mincy Early Thaw feature for IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars from the pole, withstanding challenges from Aaron Olson and then Scott Sluka as four restarts slowed the finish of the 20-lapper at Central Arizona Raceway.

After starting outside row one the next night, a flat tire sent the hometown driver to the infield hot pit. He’d get a new right front, restart at the rear and race all the way back to the front swapping the lead with Olson before taking the $750 checkers by a fraction of a second over the runner-up.

“You always want to win,” said Partain. “When you can go to the back and still win, you know you’ve got a good race car.”

Olson and Jason Rogers were running 1-2 at midway, before Rogers lost the handle. Partain was already in third by lap 15 and swapped the lead with Olson before crossing the stripe .08 of a second faster.

“There was definitely a big difference between the Friday and Saturday wins,” said Partain, pointing to the quick tire change efforts by crewmen Nick Gann, Jesse Johnson, Ricky McGwire and Bubba Hurtado on Saturday. “It’s fun to be able to run with these guys.”

Kevin Roberts was third, hard charger Mike Albertsen fourth.

Chaz Baca won his second Friesen Performance IMCA Modified feature in three CAR starts while Cam Reimers extended his Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod streak to three straight.

Baca started seventh, did most of his passing on the bottom and then went to the top line in the first set of turns to work on leader Lucas Rodin. He got the lead on a restart with five laps left, taking the $1,000 checkers with Friday winner Tom Berry Jr., Tim Ward and Kollin Hibdon next across the line.

And Reimers made it three in a row at Casa Grande, finding something extra on the bottom of turns three and four and catching Mark Martini for the lead.

“It was a good weekend,” said master of understatement Reimers. “This was maybe the most fun race of the week. We started fourth and had a lot of fun racing with Mark. We was real fast.”

Taylor Kuehl was third. Reimers’ win was his fifth of 2024, with two more coming at Cocopah Speedway during Winter Nationals.

The Ernie Mincy Early Thaw continues Jan. 25, 26 and 27. All three race programs will be broadcast by IMCA.TV.

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