Stoked for sure, Woodie celebrates first win at Ernie Mincy Early Thaw

Kaden Woodie made the long trip from Minnesota pay off with his first Friesen Performance Northern SportMod feature win Thursday during Central Arizona Speedway’s Ernie Mincy Early Thaw. (Photo by Ron Pelton Jr.)

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (Jan. 25, 2024) – There was no shortage of adjectives following Kaden Woodie’s career-first Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod feature win Thursday at Central Arizona Raceway.

The long tow from Milaca, Minn., topped the final feature of the Ernie Mincy Early Thaw show, ahead of Cam Reimers and Clay Erickson.

“It was awesome. It was exhilarating for sure,” said Woodie, who made the trip from north of the Twin Cities with his dad Paul and crewman Shawn Hess. “My team and I have been putting in the work. I was stoked, for sure.”

He led all 20 circuits from the pole, building an advantage of 5-1/2 seconds and catching up with the back of the field before a lap 14 caution.

Two more cautions came out before the race ended green, white, checkered.

“It was definitely run being out front and lead. I’d checked out before the first caution,” said Woodie, twice a runner-up during the season-opening IMCA.TV Winter Nationals at Cocopah Speedway. “I could hear Cam behind me after the last caution but I never saw anyone.”

Woodie had finished 11th in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature earlier in the program. His SportMod win paid $750.

“The track was fast through the center for the Northern SportMod feature,” he said. “My car was set up really good and I ran right through the middle.”

Chaz Baca and Bo Partain both continued their winning ways, Baca for the third time in four Friesen Performance IMCA Modified Early Thaw starts and Partain in his third straight IMCA Stock Car outing.

Defending national champion Baca, Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational qualifying eligible five times over, chased Mike Wedelstadt and then Jerry Flippo early, inherited the lead after a caution and led the rest of the way in collecting the $1,000 checkers.

Kollin Hibdon was second and Michael Leach ran third.

Partain led every time around the oval in winning a third straight $750 B & B Racing Chassis All-Star Invitational feature, ahead of Kevin Roberts and Trent Grager.

“It’s a combination of things,” he explained. “A little luck, maybe a little home field advantage and a good race car.”

IMCA.TV continues its broadcasts of Early Thaw race programs, with the three IMCA divisions on Jan. 26 and 27 cards.

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