Things didn't come easy for Brandon Blochlinger on Wednesday night at the 31st annual IMCA Super Nationals.
Such is life in Boone, though. And Blochlinger, Concordia, knows that all too well.
A year ago, Blochlinger had a magical first day by winning his heat race, then winning the night's qualifying feature to start on the pole for the big show that Saturday.
He went on to finish second after leading several laps in that main event, being passed by Jeff Taylor, Cave City, Ark., late in the race.
This year, Blochlinger started fourth in the 30th and final modified heat race Wednesday. He used a late pass to win the heat and then drew the second starting spot for the night's second qualifying feature.
But damage after his heat race -- with little time to make repairs -- and a little more at the start of the qualifier spelled doom for Blochlinger.
"Everybody wants to beat you," Blochlinger said. "And you have to go, too. It's a do-or-die deal, no matter who you're racing. ... That's just the way it is. That's racing here. Like it or not, we're all friends in the pits until we put the helmets on. Then it's time to go."
Blochlinger faded from the front after starting alongside Great Bend's Mike Petersilie. He went on to finish sixth, two spots shy of the final transfer spot. Petersilie finished 21st with a failing car.
"I missed it by two spots," Blochlinger said. "You get that close again, and you want to get in there. But the car wasn't that great either. We're going to work on it, and we'll be OK. We'll go at it tomorrow."
Blochlinger, the general manager of Belleville Motorsports, will have another shot today at qualifying for Saturday's big show. As he waited outside the tech tent early this morning as the top-four finishers went through post-race inspection, he already was starting to think about another opportunity.
"We get another chance, and we'll give it another whirl," he said.
* NICK SCHWIEN, Hays Daily News