BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 6) – The 10th annual Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational highlights Day Five of the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s.
Thirty of the best Modified drivers from a dozen states and Canada, voted into the field by balloting conducted on the IMCA website and on Facebook, will take the green flag for the $1,000 to win event Friday at Boone Speedway.
Both the Modifieds and Stock Cars will qualify the front eight on the outside row of their respective main events. Also on the card are all qualifying heats for the Sunoco Race Fuels Race of Champions.
Racing is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
The team of Kenny Hansen, Andy Griffith, Chris Obermeir and Kent Inman finished five under to win Friday morning’s four-person golf tournament at Cedar Pointe Golf Course.
Awards and drawing prizes were given to participants in the tourney, proceeds from which go to local civic organizations.
The event, organizers pointed out afterwards, has never been rained out in its 20-plus years.
The combination of scissors, scissors, rock put Ricky Thornton Jr. on the pole for tomorrow night’s Modified main event.
The Arizona speedster won Wednesday’s first qualifying feature, then got the better of Chase Allen, winner of the second qualifier, in the Thursday rock, paper, scissors “draw” for starting spots on the inside row.
He shared the secret to his Roshambo success following the autograph session for Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational drivers on Friday.
“It’s the first time I’ve done something like this,” said Thornton, who rallied to win the best 2-out-of-3 contest. “There’s a whole lot of luck involved but it was pretty cool.”
Making the big show on the first night of qualifying exceeded his Super Nationals expectations.
“I never in a million years thought that we’d make it in in the first year,” Thornton said. “Hopefully we can do good in the All-Star race tonight and then the big dance. That would be big.”
Four former winners are in the running for the 2013 Sunoco Race Fuels Race of Champions crown.
David Smith (2005 and 2007), Kevin Opheim (2008), Brian Irvine (2010) and Donavon Smith (2012) all finished first or second in their respective Stock Car RoC qualifying heats this afternoon.
Jay Schmidt, Donavon Smith, Brandon Czarapata, Perry Misner and John Heinz were heat winners; Abe Huls, David Smith, Opheim, Scott Pippert and Irvine all ran second.
Fifty-three drivers, former Super Nationals and national champions, and track champions among them, vied in the five heats.
Opheim is now a six-time RoC qualifier. David Smith is in for the fifth time, Donavon Smith for the fourth and Irvine for the third.
The first-time qualifiers are Czarapata, Heinz, Huls, Misner, Pippert and Schmidt.
Dylan Smith prevailed in this afternoon’s rock, paper, scissors showdown with Kody Scholpp to start in the middle of the front row of Saturday’s Modified main.
Kyle Brown, Kelly Lyons, Matthew Meinecke, Scott Davis, Eric Dailey and Greg Elliott will take the green flag from the third through eighth positions, respectively.
Turns out that three of the former Modified champions at Super Nationals enjoy collecting autograph cards, too.
Seven of the drivers who have achieved dirt track racing’s ultimate championship signed autographs in the Fan Zone at Boone Speedway on Thursday. Wayne Graybeal (1992) and Ron Pope (1993) are still racing and joined Wayne Larson (1987 and 1990) in meeting and greeting with fans, along with Kevin Stoa (2000 and 2008), Todd Shute (2007), Randy Havlik (2009) and Jeff Taylor (2012).
“I wish we could do something like this every year,” said Pope, a third-generation driver, who’ll add those newly acquired mementos to his own scrapbook. “When you’re sitting there with those other guys, you all know what it took to win a Super Nationals championship.”
His father and grandfather both followed the dirt track circuit across Northern Iowa. Their accomplishments are also chronicled in family scrapbooks.
“It’s neat to have stuff like this,” Pope said, “when you’re gone and the grandkids want to see what you did.”
Graybeal is pitted right next to Pope and has been a regular at Super Nationals since the event moved to Boone in 1988.
“They call it America’s Racin’ Vacation. I think we started that,” he said. “This is the one vacation my wife and I take.”
“This is a big deal to me,” he added. “I don’t know anywhere else where you can see this good of racing.”
One of the oldest Super Nationals competitors at 66, Graybeal still works 40 hours a week as a welder and says he’ll keep coming back to race until grandson Cayden, 12, is ready to take his place.
Larson started his racing career in 1973 in the hobby stock class at Boone. Sons Dane and Adam will join him in the Modified division and they’d finish 1-2-3 on more than one occasion.
“Racing is a family thing and winning is a family thing,” said Larson, who will be watching when Adam takes the green for the Modified main on Saturday, his 66th birthday. “We worked and raced together six nights a week. Monday night was family night when we’d get together for dinner.”
The best present he could get on Saturday?
“I’ll tell Adam tomorrow,” Larson said.
Super Nationals trivia: The car pictured on the autograph card Wayne Larson signed was his first IMCA Modified.
He recognized it by the Bob Harris Racing logo on the back panel.
Quickly a Super Nationals crowd favorite, the latest round of Roshambo determined the starting order for the middle row of Saturday’s Stock Car main.
Thursday qualifying feature winners Justin Temeyer and Kyle Vanover both designated young fans as their rock-paper-scissorers: Keaton Roscovius went one-on-one with Carson Pihl to win the front spot for Temeyer.
Taking the initial green third through eighth will be Trent Murphy, Brian Blessington, Chad Palmer, Heath Tulp, Nathan Wood and Michael Jaennette.
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