Morris finds setup solution, Beeter and Parker both end IMCA Early Thaw with first feature wins

Stymied through his first four Ernie Mincy Early Thaw starts, Troy Morris III found the setup solution for fourth and first-place finishes in his final two outings at Central Arizona Raceway. (Photo by Ron Pelton Jr.)

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (Jan. 27, 2024) – Just in time, Troy Morris III found the setup that took him to the winner’s circle at Central Arizona Raceway.

The Californian had broken before completing a lap on opening night of the Ernie Mincy Early Thaw, then ran 10th in the next three Friesen Performance IMCA Modified features at CAR.

Then the lightbulb came on and Morris was fourth in the Friday night show.

Saving the best for last, he won the 25-lap finale … from 12th starting … and $1,250 on Saturday.

“We have always struggled at Casa Grande because of the banking. It took us until the last two nights to figure out how to get the car to turn the way we wanted it to,” Morris said. “We finally found a base setup we could use before the heats on Friday.”

He started on the outside row and followed the high line to the front the next night.

“Starting that far back, I didn’t think I had anything to lose by trying it and literally drove by almost everybody,” Morris said, after catching Friday winner Ricky Alvarado for the front spot on lap 13. “There was one yellow, on lap 22, and after that I was able to pull away and win by about a second.”

That win, Morris’ first in 15 2024 starts, came ahead of Jordan Tocci. Chaz Baca started 17th and ended in third.

“Getting that win and already being Fast Shafts All-Star eligible takes so much weight off my shoulders,” he said.

While Morris was getting Casa Grande win number one, Brock Beeter and Boddie Parker were busy getting career-first wins in IMCA Sunoco Stock Car and Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod features, respectively.

Beeter’s $750 checkers came in his third start this season and sixth in the class. Driving a 2021 B & B ride purchased from Brandon Pruitt last September in Boone, he started second, passed fellow North Dakotan Jordan Zillmer for the lead halfway through and led to the finish.

“This win means a lot to me. I’m still learning the Stock Car, how to drive it and how to conserve my tires,” said Beeter, crediting help from Kollin Hibdon among others for his success and B &B Racing Chassis All-Star Invitational eligibility. “We had no expectations when we got out here. We came out here for the seat time.”

Zillmer and Bo Partain completed the top three.

And Vail speedster Parker, runner-up to Tyler Johnson the night before, won for the first time in his own IMCA career when Northern SportMods brought the night to a close.

“It was cool to race Tyler that clean and have a 20-lap battle on Friday, then being able to nail the start and lead the rest of the way racing with Cam Reimers on Saturday,” said Parker, who also led the overall points race. “This win means a lot to me, and to a lot of people around me. We proved you don’t have to have brand new.”

Parker piloted the 2010 Shaw he debuted in the class to victory lane while the used crate engine he traded for is maybe on night 15.

“My family and a lot of my team were all there so it was pretty special,” Parker said. “It was quite amazing to win with all that talent from out of town here.” 

Baca paced Modified point standings and Partain topped Early Thaw Stock Car standings.

All six race programs were broadcast by IMCA.TV.

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