Jimmy Gustin, Marshalltown Iowa, lifts the left front tire as he competes in a modified heat race Saturday.
NICK SCHWIEN • Hays Daily News Jeff Tubbs, Colby, uses the low line to pass another stock car driver during the big dance Saturday night at the 31st annual IMCA Super Nationals in Boone, Iowa.
By NICK SCHWIEN
Bring the car home in one piece and celebrate making the big dance.
That's what Jeff Tubbs was thinking heading into Saturday night's stock car feature at the 31st annual IMCA Super Nationals in Boone, Iowa.
Tubbs, from Colby, qualified for the prestigious race Sept. 4 -- the first day stock cars competed. His fourth-place finish in one of two features that night eventually had him starting 22nd in a 30-car field.
That meant he was on the inside of the three-wide initial start.
"I was going to be happy with 30th -- with a car left," Tubbs said. "Just being up here this whole week, and that was only my fourth time being on the track all week. We didn't have a lot of practice at it, and we really didn't think we were prepared when we came up here to have the setup. So we'll take it."
Tubbs finished the race 15th. Despite a few small damages to the car, it was no worse for the wear.
It was the first time Tubbs had made the final race at Super Nationals.
"That's a big accomplishment to us, too," Tubbs said. "That's what I'll tell everybody, too. We sat around and drank beer all week because we ran on Wednesday when everybody ran. We didn't have to sneak in the back door. We got in legitimately, with everybody in the field."
Tubbs had the fans watching attentively after the first lap. That's when he went from 22nd on the start to ninth. As the other two rows checked up at the start, Tubbs' line took off.
"I was grinning from ear to ear," he said. "I was laughing my butt off. I thought we were hooked up on the bottom, and if we were lucky enough to start on the bottom, I thought we could have easily maintained a top 10 finish."
It was the only time Tubbs restarted on the inside. Each of the next cautions, the Colby driver restarted outside on the Delaware Double-File restart. On that portion of the track, racers couldn't get a good grip and would fall back several spots as the lower cars freight-trained their way around.
"I wish things would have turned out better than they did," Tubbs said. "Our row went, and theirs didn't. Then I got stuck on the outside on the restart, and I was pretty much pinned on the grease. The track wasn't quite ready to go green yet, but we did."
His 15th-place outing was the best by a Kansas driver in all classes at Boone this year.
"I never once got to start where I wanted to on one of those restarts," Tubbs said. "But I'm still just grinning from ear to ear. We made it, and we survived it. Now I get to go home and see by kids."
Brandon Czarapata, Appleton, Wis., won the stock feature, with Jay Schmidt, Tama, Iowa, in second. Damon Murty, Chelsea, Iowa, was third, and Kyle Vanover, Beatrice, Neb., was fourth. Vanover has one win at RPM Speedway this season.
* Concordia's Tyler Frye looked poised to finish in the top five of the Northern sport mod feature Saturday. Frye started on the middle of the front row and was up to second before damage to his car forced him to pull off.
He was credited with 25th.
The damage to the car came approximately an hour earlier, when Frye competed in the Race of Champions. Frye finished fourth in that race but tagged the backstretch wall a few times, causing the damage.
Carter Vandenberg, Oskaloosa, Iowa, checked out in the feature to claim the Super Nationals crown. Doug Smith, Rockwell City, Iowa, was second, followed by Clinton Luellen, Minburn, Iowa, and Brett Lowry, Montezuma, Iowa.
* Dexter, Iowa's Brandon Pruitt pulled away for the hobby stock win. Chris Luloff, Independence, Iowa, and David Rieks, Eldora, Iowa, were second and third, respectively. Bill Bonnett, Knoxville, Iowa, was fourth.
* Dylan Smith of Osceola, Neb., won the modified big dance. Smith has a win this season at RPM Speedway, and he won the Mod Mania event in 2012. Jonathan Snyder, Ames, Iowa, was second, with Keith White, Little River, Texas, in third. Shawn Kilgore, New Franken, Wis., was fourth.