Jordan Grabouski started in the middle of the front row and led every lap of the 30-lap special event for IMCA Modifieds.
Mark Elliott started last in the field of 30, used a midrace restart to race into the top three and nearly pulled even for the lead with three laps remaining.
IMCA’s defending national champion, Grabouski held on to win by little more than a car length. He earned $1,000 plus another $750 in lap money for his flag to flag efforts.
The win also puts him on the ballot for next year’s All-Star race.
“Starting up front obviously helps in a race with this many good drivers,” Grabouski said. “Mark did a heck of a job coming from 30th. I couldn’t have done it.”
Dustin Smith, Todd Dart and Jeremy Mills rounded out the top five. Mills was in a borrowed ride after rolling his own in heat race action earlier in the evening.
Jeremy Frenier started on the pole and was scored second on the each of the first two laps. Back-to-back yellows came out on laps three and four before Frenier and Dart began swapping the second spot.
Frenier secured the position and threatened Grabouski’s hold on the front, but saw his run end in a puff of smoke and came to rest on the top of turn two.
Elliott was in third when the next lap was scored and passed Smith for second right at the stripe on lap 20.
The front pair pulled away from that point, Elliott coming up just short in his still remarkable bid.
“I could see him coming out of (turn) four and I knew I had to get down further on the track,” Grabouski said afterwatds, trophy in hand. “I was just trying to protect what I had. Hats off to Mark for racing me clean.”
Twenty-eight starters were elected through Facebook and IMCA website voting. Rounding out the field were Frenier, the top driver in national points, and Cory Sample, the driver with the most feature wins not already in the field.
J.J. Wise had been elected to the All-Star field but was injured in an accident and unable to compete. He conducted the draw for starting position, then waved a green flag autographed by his fellow All-Stars to start the race.
Feature results – 1. Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice, Neb.; 2. Mark Elliott, Webster City; 3. Dustin Smith, Lake City; 4. Todd Dart, Algoma, Wis.; 5. Jeremy Mills, Garner; 6. Johnny Saathoff, Beatrice, Neb.; 7. Jimmy Gustin, Marshalltown; 8. Sam Cox, Flower Mound, Texas; 9. Richie Gustin, Gilman; 10. Jeff Taylor, Cave City, Ark.; 11. Cory Sample, Winnemucca, Nev.; 12. Michael Smith, Arkport, N.Y.; 13. Brad Pounds, Bakersfield, Calif.; 14. Hank Berry, Sidney, Mont.; 15. Drew Armstrong, Alexander, Ark.; 16. Edward Sites, Monroeton, Pa.; 17. Zane DeVilbiss, Farmington, N.M.; 18. J.D. Auringer, Waterloo; 19. B.J. Baze, Sherman, Texas; 20. Lance Arneson, Oconto Falls, Wis.; 21. Kevan Cook, Constantia, N.Y.; 22. Todd Shute, Des Moines; 23. Nic Baalman, Wichita, Kan.; 24. Chris Abelson, Sioux City; 25. Jeremy Frenier, Fort Morgan, Colo.; 26. David Murray Jr., Oberlin, Kan.; 27. Jay Noteboom, Hinton; 28. Dylan Smith, Osceola, Neb.; 29. Tim Ward, Gilbert, Ariz.; 30. Kevin Sustaire, Emory, Texas.
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