Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thoughts on IMCA Supernationals

I realize this is quite a bit late, but I thought I'd give my thoughts on the IMCA Supernationals held at the Boone Speedway last week. Over the past several years I've tried to make it as many nights as I could for the six-day "racing vacation", but this year I opted to only go the final three nights. I will be the first to tell ya I felt out of the loop of what had happened earlier in the week, but that was my own fault as I made it a point NOT to look at results or to even see who had shown up.

In the three days I was there I enjoyed a lot of good racing action. Obviously the highlight of my three days there was the Saturday main event for the IMCA sportmods as Scott Davis narrowly beat Jesse Sobbing to earn the crown. Youngsters Tyler Droste and Cayden Carter were hounding Davis throughout the race and appeared ready to take the lead, but a late caution set up a restart that had Carter on the inside of the first full row and Sobbing on the outside. Sobbing found some traction and put Carter in his dust before focusing on the leader. Davis and Sobbing both ran a clean race and had the crowd on its feet as they crossed the finish line!

Earlier in the evening on Saturday the Race of Champions races were run for each of the divisions. While not getting to see many of the qualifying events for these races, I noticed something rather unique as the starting grid made their way to the track. Webster City track champions qualified for the IMCA hobby stock, sportmod, and modified Race of Champions (the stock cars are not IMCA at Webster City). Brad Ratcliff finished ninth in the hobby stock ROC, Joel Rust was third in the sportmod ROC, and Richie Gustin finished fifth in the modified ROC. The Boone Speedway also had all of its track champions qualify for the Race of Champions races (Michael Murphy, Donovan Smith, Scott Davis, and Russ Dickerson).

Of course you know by now that Richie Gustin pulled off the win in the IMCA modifieds at the IMCA Supernationals. He started on the pole and led every lap en route to capturing the richest grand prize in event history to date. Gustin was challenged by older brother Jimmy at one point before Jimmy's car slowed and exited the track. From that point on Richie Gustin had to fend off challenges from Mike VanGenderen and Darin Duffy for the victory.

While it's always nice to see the amount of racing in one night at the IMCA Supernationals, it can tend to get a bit lengthy as the night goes on. One issue many fans noticed was the time spent realigning cars under caution. Hopefully they can get the bugs worked out in the raceceiver and transponder department to where the show can move along a bit smoother.

One major change I noticed this year was the addition of an announcer. Chet Christner from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was on hand to help out with the announcing along with Ryan Clark and Johnny Tharp. I'm not a big fan of Tharp, but Clark and Christner were fun to listen to. I realize it's not ever going to be the same as when Denny Grabenbauer and Toby Kruse were on the mic, but it seems the information about the drivers has taken a backseat to a comedy show of jokes. I guess as a fan I have the opportunity to go meet the drivers and find out first-hand a few tidbits, so that along with the lack of time between races can justify the means.

Congratulations to all the Supernationals Champions that were crowned throughout the week. And thanks to all the drivers for putting on the best show they could for all the fans that showed up. With the state the economy is in, Supernationals boasted its biggest total car count thus far.

As the season winds down the calendar is filled with special events. Be sure to get out and support the sport as much as you can before the doors close on the tracks for the 2011 season!

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