(Special to Bill Martin)
The driver known as Big Show is the big name in IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing this season.
Jason Wolla raced to the national IMCA Modified championship. The 25-time feature winner, from Ray, is the first North Dakota driver to win a national crown in any IMCA division.
“We didn’t have any expectations for this season. We just wanted to put some wins together,” said Wolla, also the first driver from North Dakota to win IMCA’s Side Biter Chassis North Central Regional title. “We had no intentions of running for the national title. We were just racing.”
“About midway through the season we were coming home after winning at Minot, got to looking at the points and started to think maybe it was doable,” he continued. “That was when we made the commitment to run for the national championship.”
Wolla was track champion at Nodak Speedway and Southwest Speedway and scored Allstar Performance North Dakota State honors as well.
Other first-time national champions were Marcus Thomas of Corsicana, Texas, in the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars; Tyler Soppe of Sherrill in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods; Cory Williams of Slaton, Texas, in the Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMods; and Dillon Richards of Beatrice, Neb., in the Mach-1 Sport Compacts.
Mike Nichols of Harlan and Shannon Anderson of Des Moines extended the single-division modern era record they share to seven national championships, in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car and IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock divisions, respectively. Justin Kay of Wheatland raced to a modern era record fourth IMCA Late Model national championship.
Nichols collected 32 feature wins en route to EQ Cylinder Heads Northern Region and Shelby County Speedway, Crawford County Speedway and Lexington Raceway track titles.
Anderson had 34 wins – including his career 300th – on the way to Big Daddy Race Cars Northern Region and Marshalltown Speedway and Southern Iowa Speedway crowns.
Sixteen-time winner Kay was first in the point race at Farley Speedway.
Along with 11 feature wins, Thomas took top honors at Kennedale Speedway Park and in Texas state standings.
Soppe’s 25 feature wins were complemented by Farley Speedway and Maquoketa Speedway crowns, plus the Iowa state title.
Williams topped standings at West Texas Raceway and Cardinal Speedway. He won 17 features this season.
Beatrice Speedway track champ Richards was a 27-time winner.
Other Modified regional champions were Cory Sample of Winnemucca, Nev., for the second straight year in the Larry Shaw Race Cars Western, Steven Bowers Jr. of Topeka Kan., for the first time in the Jet Racing Central, William Gould of Calera, Okla., for the third time in the Razor Chassis South Central, and A.J. Ward of Ionia, Mich., for the second consecutive year in the Dirt Works Eastern.
Nevada state champion Sample had 23 wins and paced points at Rattlesnake Raceway and Winnemucca Regional Raceway. Gould totaled 19 checkers and reigned at Grayson County Speedway and in Texas state standings.
Bowers was best in Kansas state points. He had 14 feature wins and topped Thunder Hill Speedway and Heartland Park Topeka standings. Ward’s 17 feature wins helped paved the way to Crystal Motor Speedway and I-96 Speedway crowns as well as the Michigan state hardware.
Kirk Martin of Weatherford, Texas, was a first-time champion in the EQ Cylinder Heads Southern region for Stock Cars. He had 20 feature wins, earning Boyd Raceway and Texas state honors.
Damian Snyder of Copperas Cove, Texas, doubled as Big Daddy Race Cars Southern Hobby Stock Region and Texas state champion.
National rookies of the year were Clint Luellen of Minburn in the Modifieds, Bryce Carey of Nashua in the Late Models, Grant Duinkerken of Riverdale, Calif., in the Sprint Cars, Eric Harpole of Bismarck, N.D., in the Stock Cars, Lance Mielke of Norfolk, Neb., in the Hobby Stocks, Jacob Olmstead of Overton, Neb., in the Northern SportMods, Nathan Buchanan of Kemp, Texas, in the Southern SportMods, and Dakota Dees of Weatherford, Texas, in the Sport Compacts.
Luellen, also the top rookie in the North Central region, won nine features, track titles at Shelby County Speedway, Buena Vista Raceway and Stuart Speedway, and the Iowa state crown.
Olmstead won 10 features and Dees took seven checkers. Mielke made five visits to victory lane, Harpole won three times and Buchanan once.
Joining Luellen as Modified regional rookies of the year were Marty Erivez of Gillette, Wyo., in the West, Brandon Clough of Wallace, Neb., in the Central, Ryan Slott of New Waverly, Texas, in the South Central and Nicholas Stormzand of Lowell, Mich., in the Eastern. Clough and Slott both won four times this season.
While Harpole was the top rookie in the Northern Stock Car rookie, Jerrett Bransom of Burleson, Texas, paced first-year drivers in the South.
Mielke led the way in the Hobby Stock North and Colton Rawls of Waco, Texas, led rookie standings in the Southern Region.
Final point races of the 2017 season were held Sept. 24; points become official on Oct. 23. The national awards banquet is Nov. 25 in Lincoln, Neb.
Unofficial 2017 IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing National Point Standings
IMCA Modifieds – 1. Jason Wolla, Ray, N.D., 1,233; 2. Cory Sample, Winnemucca, Nev., 1,213; 3. Tyler Limoges, Redwood Falls, Minn., 1,204; 4. Steven Bowers Jr., Topeka, Kan., 1,202; 5. A.J. Ward, Ionia, Mich., 1,198; 6. William Gould, Calera, Okla., 1,197; 7. Tyler Frye, Belleville, Kan., 1,191; 8. Matt Guillaume, Haslet, Texas, and Clinton Luellen, Minburn, Iowa, both 1,178; 10. Kelly Shryock, Fertile, Iowa, 1,172; 11. Shawn Fletcher, Brainerd, Minn., 1,171; 12. Clint Hatlestad, Glencoe, Minn., 1,164; 13. Dean Abbey, Roanoke, Texas, 1,157; 14. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo., 1,156; 15. Drew Armstrong, Alexander, Ark., 1,152; 16. Travis Hagen, Williston, N.D., 1,150; 17. Chaz Baca, Mesa, Ariz., 1,148; 18. Bryce Garnhart, Shannon, Ill., 1,142; 19. Jeff Hoegh, New Caney, Texas, 1,136; 20. Johnny Saathoff, Beatrice, Neb., 1,132.
IMCA Late Models – 1. Justin Kay, Wheatland, Iowa, 809; 2. Matt Ryan, Davenport, Iowa, 806; 3. Todd Cooney, Des Moines, Iowa, 805; 4. Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown, Iowa, 789; 5. Rob Toland, Colona, Ill., 783; 6. Chad Holladay, Muscatine, Iowa, 780; 7. Jeremiah Hurst, Dubuque, Iowa, 777; 8. Joe Zrostlik, Long Grove, Iowa, 767; 9. Tyler Bruening, Decorah, Iowa, and Ryan Dolan, Lisbon, Iowa, both 763; 11. Joel Callahan, Dubuque, Iowa, 758; 12. Andy Nezworski, Buffalo, Iowa, 745; 13. Ben Seemann, Waterloo, Iowa, 726; 14. Nick Marolf, Wilton, Iowa, 718; 15. Chuck Hanna, Port Byron, Ill., 715; 16. Gary Webb, Blue Grass, Iowa, 707; 17. Paul Nagle, Nevada, Iowa, 706; 18. John Emerson, Waterloo, Iowa, 701; 19. Curtis Glover, Runnells, Iowa, 686; 20. Luke Goedert, Guttenberg, Iowa, 683.
IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars – 1. Marcus Thomas, Corsicana, Texas, 803; 2. Scott Lutz, Jonestown, Pa., 780; 3. Trevor Serbus, Olivia, Minn., 778; 4. Justin Fifield, Mesquite, Texas, 777; 5. Tyler Reeser, Orwigsburg, Pa., 774; 6. Andy Shouse, Oklahoma City, Okla., 771; 7. Kyle Ganoe, Thompsontown, Pa., and Tyler Drueke, Eagle, Neb., both 767; 9. Zach Blurton, Quinter, Kan., 766; 10. Kaleb Johnson, Sioux Falls, S.D., 765; 11. Zach Newlin, Millerstown, Pa., 757; 12. John Ricketts, Burleson, Texas, 754; 13. Jake Bubak, Arvada, Colo., and Adam Gullion, Lincoln, Neb., both 747; 15. Toby Chapman, Panama, Neb., 736; 16. Michael Stien, Ceylon, Minn., 735; 17. Tyler Russell, Abbott, Texas, 732; 18. Dale Wester, Ovilla, Texas, 727; 19. Robert Vetter, Wolfe City, Texas, 726; 20. Kenneth Duke, Selinsgrove, Pa., 723.
IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars – 1. Mike Nichols, Harlan, Iowa, 1,231; 2. Kirk Martin, Weatherford, Texas, 1,199; 3. Nathan Wood, Sigourney, Iowa, and John Oliver Jr., Danville, Iowa, both 1,198; 5. Jason Wilkinson, Neligh, Neb., 1,196; 6. Donavon Smith, Lake City, Iowa, 1,193; 7. Travis Van Straten, Hortonville, Wis., 1,191; 8. Damon Murty, Chelsea, Iowa, 1,188; 9. Derek Green, Granada, Minn., 1,170; 10. Dan Mackenthun, Hamburg, Minn., 1,166; 11. Damon Hammond, Burleson, Texas, 1,152; 12. Matt Speckman, Sleepy Eye, Minn., 1,134; 13. Joren Boyce, Minot, N.D., 1,133; 14. Chad Bruns, Wakefield, Neb., and Brian Blessington, Breda, Iowa, both 1,129; 16. Westin Abbey, Comanche, Texas, 1,127; 17. Jeremy Christians, Horicon, Wis., 1,126; 18. Dalton Flory, Williston, N.D., 1,121; 19. Kyle Wilkinson, Neligh, Neb., 1,118; 20. Devin Snellenberger, Pulaski, Wis., 1,117.
IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks – 1. Shannon Anderson, Des Moines, Iowa, 1,238; 2. Justin Luinenburg, Reading, Minn., 1,223; 3. Cory Probst, Brewster, Minn., 1,219; 4. Brady Bencken, Oakley, Kan., 1,213; 5. Brandon Nielsen, Spencer, Iowa, 1,205; 6. Jeff Ware, Columbus, Neb., 1,198; 7. Zach Olmstead, Overton, Neb., 1,184; 8. Andrew Bertsch, Minot, N.D., 1,179; 9. Luke Wassom, Broken Bow, Neb., and Eric Cross, Salina, Kan., both 1,178; 11. Chanse Hollatz, Clear Lake, Iowa, 1,175; 12. Austin Brauner, Platte Center, Neb., 1,164; 13. Cody Williams, Minneapolis, Kan., 1,153; 14. Jason Fusselman, Shelby, Iowa, 1,147; 15. Andrew Borchardt, Plymouth, Iowa, 1,139; 16. Roy Armstrong, Beatrice, Neb., and Tyler Hinrichs, Americus, Kan., both 1,135; 18. Cameron Wilkinson, Neligh, Neb., 1,133; 19. Nick Ronnebaum, Onaga, Kan., 1,128; 20. Justin Wacha, Vinton, Iowa, 1,121.
Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods – 1. Tyler Soppe, Sherrill, Iowa, 1,228; 2. Tony Olson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1,224; 3. Matthew Looft, Swea City, Iowa, 1,211; 4. Austin Svoboda, David City, Neb., 1,189; 5. Austen Becerra, Bowen, Ill., 1,188; 6. Colby Fett, Algona, Iowa, 1,186; 7. Jesse Skalicky, Fargo, N.D., 1,184; 8. Doug Smith, Lanesboro, Iowa, 1,181; 9. Trent Roth, Columbus, Neb., 1,180; 10. David Siercks, Princeton, Minn., 1,173; 11. Erik Laudenschlager, Minot, N.D., and Dakota Sproul, Ellis, Kan., both 1,171; 13. Brandon Lennox, New London, Mo., 1,164; 14. Jake McBirnie, Boone, Iowa, and Jaylen Wettengel, Topeka, Kan., both 1,157; 16. Johnathon D. Logue, Boone, Iowa, 1,151; 17. Austin Luellen, Minburn, Iowa, 1,149; 18. Kelly Henderson, Minot, N.D., 1,147; 19. Kelly Jacobson, Fargo, N.D., 1,143; 20. Chris VanMil, Barnesville, Minn., 1,141.
Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMods – 1. Cory Williams, Slaton, Texas, 1,209; 2. Jeffrey Abbey, Comanche, Texas, 1,169; 3. Brian J. Carey, Aztec, N.M., 1,166; 4. James Skinner, Burleson, Texas, 1,151; 5. Ronnie Bell, Lorena, Texas, 1,133; 6. Jake Upchurch, Grand Prairie, Texas, 1,096; 7. James Guyton, Moody, Texas, 1,095; 8. Taylor Florio, Copperas Cove, Texas, 1,079; 9. Sid Kiphen, Gatesville, Texas, and James Hanusch, Belton, Texas, both 1,078; 11. Steve Gray, Vernal, Utah, 1,075; 12. Scott Gray, Vernal, Utah, 1,007; 13. Kamera McDonald, Keller, Texas, 1,003; 14. Gabe Tucker, Carbon, Texas, 991; 15. Allen Montgomery, White Settlement, Texas, 984; 16. Nathan Buchanan, Kemp, Texas, 959; 17. Casey Brunson, Lott, Texas, 932; 18. Frank Groves, Shallowater, Texas, 923; 19. Chris Cogburn, Robinson, Texas, 922; 20. Dustin Robinson, Post, Texas, 893.
Mach-1 Sport Compacts – 1. Dillon Richards, Beatrice, Neb., 1,207; 2. Mitch Meier, Chilton, Wis., 1,206; 3. Ramsey Meyer, Pierce, Neb., 1,199; 4. Alex Dostal, Glencoe, Minn., 1,157; 5. Levi Heath, Wilton, Iowa, 1,146; 6. Jay DeVries, Spencer, Iowa, 1,142; 7. Jason Berg, Bismarck, N.D., 1,137; 8. Luke Jackson, Sioux City, Iowa, 1,123; 9. Jake Newsom, Sioux City, Iowa, 1,118; 10. Michael Meier, Chilton, Wis., 1,117; 11. Brooke Fluckiger, Columbus, Neb., 1,115; 12. Tyler Thompson, Sioux City, Iowa, and Darwin Brown Jr., Jackson, Minn., both 1,113; 14. David Bates, Homer, Neb., 1,107; 15. Curtis L. Miller, Lewis, Iowa, 1,096; 16. Austin Friedrich, St. James, Minn., 1,095; 17. Kaitlin DeVries, Spencer, Iowa, 1,093; 18. Julia Childs, Weatherford, Texas, 1,092; 19. John Martinez, Beatrice, Neb., 1,091; 20. Dustin Jackson, Oneill, Neb., 1,084.