Drivers hoping for chance to race Saturday
By NICK SCHWIEN
BOONE, Iowa — Now, it's a waiting game for Jason Rogers and Nick Tubbs.
The two stock car drivers from northwest Kansas did just about everything they could to improve their chances of making it one more day at the 31st annual IMCA Super Nationals in Boone, Iowa.
Rogers and Tubbs both made the first A-main Friday with second-place finishes in their respective heats.
Rogers started the A-main in 13th, while Tubbs started 17th.
“I knew that if I could at least finish in the top 10, I'd have enough points to run (Saturday),” said Rogers, from Selden. “I'm hoping. I may not start the best, but we'll give it our best if we can.”
Rogers was clipped by another driver in the early laps, cutting down his left-front tire. He drove it flat for four laps before he was forced to pull off and change it.
In the process, he lost a couple laps as the race continued.
“I got clipped, and then another car spun and got me in the right rear,” Rogers said. “I thought it was over again for us. But it stayed going.”
Rogers came back after changing the tire and had plans to ride around in the back of the feature.
“I went back out there, and I knew I was laps down,” he said. “So I was going to ride in the back, just keep my position, gain positions, not tear anything up. Then they kept wrecking in front of me, and then they weren't putting anyone back in front of me. I thought they screwed up. So I was like, ‘All right. We'll race it but try to be safe.’ The transmission was screwed up and jumping out of gear, and the right rear tire is bent and was vibrating horribly.”
From the back of the pack, Rogers slowly worked his way forward. He eventually moved to what would have been seventh place — if he wasn't laps down. Instead, he was credited with 18th.
“I guess they make the saying, ‘If you can't make the show, be the show,’ ” Rogers said.
It was the second A-main Rogers made this week in Boone, helping his chances at making the last-chance qualifier Saturday for the night's big show.
Tubbs, from Colby, was on the outside looking in, too, after a strong run himself in the same stock car feature.
Tubbs consistently worked forward, eventually restarting ninth with four laps remaining.
“As bad of a week and struggle as we've had from not even being close and thinking I shouldn't even be anywhere close to here, then this,” Tubbs said. “We went out today and changed some things, did some mind picking and decided to go for the moon. Luckily, I wouldn't say we hit the moon, but I'd definitely say we didn't hit the back fence.”
Tubbs would gain a spot, finishing eighth to earn valuable points. Only the top four finishers in Friday's two A-mains qualified for the main feature Saturday. The final spots will be decided Saturday.
• Oakley's Troy Plummer had an amazing start to the day. Plummer won one of 30 modified heats Friday to make one of the night's A-mains. To top that off, Plummer then drew the No. 1 spoon, allowing him to start on the pole for the 25-lap feature. He finished seventh, three spots from qualifying for Saturday's main event.
• Concordia's Brandon Blochlinger started near mid-pack of the All-Star Invitational, an event where fans picked the 30 cars that would compete through Internet voting earlier this summer. Blochlinger was up to fourth before pulling off and finishing 19th. Jeremy Mills, Garner, Iowa, another BMS driver, led the first several laps before he pulled off as well. Todd Shute, Des Moines, Iowa, won the hard-fought race, followed by Chris Abelson of Sioux City, Iowa. Dylan Smith, Osceola, Neb., came from the back to place third. Smith competes regularly at big races at RPM Speedway in Hays and won the Mod Mania event in 2012.
• Colby's B.J. Wagoner finished 11th in one of five heats in the stock car Race of Champions qualifying, and Rogers finished one spot ahead of Colby's Jeff Tubbs in the third heat. Perry Misner of Garden City won heat No. 4 to advance to Saturday's ROC finals, while Nick Tubbs just missed a qualifying spot by one place in the same heat. He was third.