McBirnie, Kuehl are roofless in runs to big money at Boone

Taylor Kuehl collected a cool $1,000 along with the Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod checkers Saturday at Boone Speedway. (Photo by Bruce Badgley, Motorsports Photography)

By Joyce Eisele

BOONE, Iowa (June 8, 2024) – Fans at Iowa’s Action Track were treated to the annual topless racing spectacular Saturday night, as both Friesen Performance IMCA Modifieds and Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods ran sans roofs.

The Capital Signs Co. Dirty 30’s saw the roofs and sails removed from both divisions as they raced for $1,200 for the Modified victory and $1,000 for the SportMods. Jake McBirnie and Taylor Kuehl got the distinct honors of taking home those prizes.

Johnathon Logue clawed his way to the front and took checkers in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, Braden Gifford got his first-ever win in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks in a wild and crazy race, and Charlie Brown got back to victory lane in the Stealth Racing IMCA STARS Mod Lites.

Feature racing kicked off with the 15-lapper for the Mod Lites.

Brown, who returned to the racing scene this season after several years off, started on the pole and drove off from the rest of the field. He was still leading at lap seven when Mike Kennedy took a hard multi-roll down the frontstretch when contact was made.  Everyone was very thankful when he emerged from the mangled car, alert and talking.

When racing action picked back up, Brown shot off to the lead once again, with defending track champion, Josh May and Cory Sonner ready to make their challenge for the lead.  It wasn’t to be, however, as Brown held the top spot, and finished comfortably ahead of the field to score the win. Sonner made the pass on May in the closing moments as they went second and third, respectively.

This was Brown’s third night back racing after coming out of retirement. 

Now it was time for the SportMod 30-lap Dirty 30. The draw/redraw format for the class saw Kuehl get the lucky number one to start on the pole.

She wasted no time in shooting off to the lead, and was pulling away, slicing through lap traffic easily when the only caution flag flew at lap 20 for a spinning car. Her 3.5 second lead vanished for the restart with Willy Kirk and Hunter Longnecker behind her and anxious for the restart.

Kirk took over the second spot and tried his all for a way around Kuehl, but she kept her cool, running the topside, and took the popular win with the crowd. Kirk took the runner up spot with Longnecker going third.

The Modifieds followed up with their 30-lap Topless Dirty 30. Chase Weimer and Tyler DeBouche drew the lucky front row but it was third place starter Trevor Fitz, a California transplant, who was leading at lap one.

Fitz was still leading when the second and final caution flew at lap 10, but he had brothers Jimmy and Richie Gustin right behind for the restart. Richie Gustin made a topside pass to take over the lead at lap 13 and was looking strong.

Fitz didn’t go awa,y however, and took back the lead a couple laps later. Sliders were being thrown shortly with McBirnie now in the mix. At lap 19 it was McBirnie taking over as captain of the ship, then Fitz regaining the lead.

Fitz was looking strong and he could see visions of the $1,200 payday when he suddenly experienced mechanical issues, driving off the race track with four laps left and no yellow coming out.

This put McBirnie now back in front and he held it to the waving checkers and the win. Ninth place starter Richie Gustin took the runner-up position,Cory Sauerman rallied in the last part of the race, with a plus fourteen run to take third place.

Stock Cars ran their 20-lap main next.

Front row starters Bryan Snell and Craig Carlson swapped the lead in the first two laps, but Logue quickly clawed his way to the front by lap three, after starting sixth.  It would be a spot he would never relinquish, weathering four cautions, to take the win.

Fifth place starter David Smith bested the challenge of Buck Schafroth as they went second and thirdn respectively.

The nightcap, the 15-lap Hobby Stock feature, was one for the books! 

Pole sitter Aron Fye was leading the race until an incident in corner one halted the action at lap nine.  Seth Butler had taken over second place and John Watson was running third. Then, going into corner one, Butler’s car suddenly stopped and Watson ended up under his rear end, and Andrew Burg with no place to go, making it a three-car pile up.

When things were cleaned up and racing picked back up, Fye was still leading, but meanwhile, it was 18th starting Mike Smith, who had been coming fast and furiously on the topside, making it to the lead. Fye was then out of the race with a flat tire, leaving Eric Knutson in second and trying to run down Smith.

The wild and crazy happenings weren’t done yet, as a caution came out on lap 11 with Smith still leading, and then …. another yellow before a lap was scored when a tap by Knutson sent Smith spinning in corner two, getting him a “bad dog, no biscuit” and bringing out yet another halt to the action.

By this time, about nine cars were left on the track, and on the restart, Smith had to tag the field for the race to the checkers and it was veteran Wayne Gifford sitting in the catbird seat and Solomon Bennett in second.

Crazy circumstances in this race were still not over as on unlucky lap 13, Bennett went for a roll in corner one, leader Gifford had a flat tire under yellow and had to go to the hot pits, and now Gifford’s son, and recent high school graduate Braden Gifford found himself in the lead for the restart.

Thankfully, the final laps were without incident and young Gifford held off Smith – yes, he raced back to second – and scored his first career win. Third went to 23rd place starter Joe Doran.

Saturday, June 15 action at Boone will be another night of IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing action. Grandstands open at 5:30 p.m. with hot laps at 6 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m.   

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