Estevan checkers complete Berry’s collection, he’ll race next for IMCA Dakota Tour record

Tom Berry Jr. led every lap Monday night in winning his first Dakota Classic Modified Tour feature at Estevan Motor Speedway. The Friesen Performance IMCA Modified tour victory was his tour career record tying ninth. (Photo by Byron Fichter)

ESTEVAN, Sask. (July 8, 2024) – Tom Berry Jr. completed his collection Monday night.

Next, he’ll race for a Dakota Classic Modified Tour powered by Industrial Electric record.

Berry led start to finish of a caution-free and quickly-paced 30-lap Friesen Performance IMCA Modified main event at Estevan Motor Speedway. The $2,000 checkers were his tour career ninth, matching the record set by Ricky Thornton Jr. since IMCA resumed sanctioning the tour in 2006.

“I haven’t gotten a win here since like five years ago so it was nice to get this one,” Berry said from victory lane. “We didn’t race at Estevan the year I swept the tour (2022, when two events were held at Dacotah Speedway) so it was pretty cool to win here.”

“Now I’ve got a win on every track on the Mod tour.”

His latest win was never in doubt as Berry started outside the front row and pulled away from the start. Ethan Braaksma took over the second spot 10 laps in and started cutting into Berry’s big lead, but once the leader cleared a pack of four lapped cars on lap 20 he was left hoping for a yellow flag that never came.

Braaksma repeated his runner-up showing from Sunday night at Minot some four and a half seconds off the pace as Justin O’Brien, Shawn Strand and Cody Laney completed the top five.

“I was trying to overdo it but still charge hard,” said Berry, who had won a Razor Chassis North Central Region crown racing out of Newburg, N.D., in 2019. “The track was awesome, I love the shape. It just fits my driving style.”

The win was Berry’s Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational eligibility qualifying 10th. The Modifieds had also gone caution free in their feature at Nodak Speedway.

Estevan also clearly fit the driving style of Texan Shelby Williams, who held off opening night winner Austin Brands in the race to the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car checkers.

Brands led the first two circuits before running side-by-side with Williams the next eight times around the track. Brands was back in front the next two circuits before Williams regained the lead at midway; the front pair split a lapped car and the race stayed close, as Brands ran hard on the inside line but came up just short at the stripe.

“About the last seven or eight laps my brakes started to fade. I was just trying to slow down and hit my marks and hopefully not go too slow,” Williams said following the $1,000 win. “I saw him down there. I just had to hope for the best on the exit.”

“Any time you win something like this, it’s awesome,” he continued. “There are so many good cars here. The amount of talent here is just unbelievable.”

Shelby Williams won a nailbiter, holding off Austin Brands at the finish of Monday’s Dakota Classic Tour IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature at Estevan. (Photo by Byron Fichter)

Cameron Starry impressed with his run from 14th starting to third. Kyle Scholpp was fourth and Zach Madrid fifth.

Williams was already eligible to qualify for the upcoming B & B Racing Chassis All-Star Invitational. He’d won two previous tour events, the 2022 races at Mandan.

The tour travels to Williston Basin Speedway on Tuesday. That race program will be broadcast by IMCA.TV.

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