NICK SCHWIEN • Hays Daily News Jeff Tubbs competes in a stock car heat race Aug. 10 at RPM Speedway in Hays.
NICK SCHWIEN â ¢ Hays Daily News Jeff Tubbs competes in a stock car heat race Aug. 10 at RPM Speedway in Hays.
By NICK SCHWIEN
There wasn't a need to push too hard.
That's why Jeff Tubbs went against his natural competitive instinct and played it safe.
In the process, the IMCA stock car driver from Colby struck double gold Sunday night at Thomas County Speedway in his hometown.
Tubbs had a somewhat comfortable lead in the Dirt Track Central Goodland Machine Great Plains Stock Car series, a special set of 10 races organized by DTC founder Matt Kvacik to help promote the stock car class.
What Tubbs, normally a driver who is foot-to-the-floor flying, needed to do was at least settle for a respectable finish to claim the series crown over multi-time IMCA stock car champ Mike Nichols and perennial speedster Jason Rogers.
That's just what he did, finishing sixth in the final series race Sunday to claim the crown -- and IMCA national bonus points -- ahead of Nichols and Rogers.
"We wanted that," Tubbs said about the title. "Racing against those guys is tough. That's why we didn't really run so hard (Sunday). We kind of just got in line once we got to sixth. We drew bad, and we just wanted to keep in line and keep safe."
Tubbs accomplished that, and, in the process, also snuck away with the Thomas County Speedway track championship in the stock car class.
Colby's B.J. Wagoner had the lead entering the final race at the track. But Wagoner suffered bad luck, and Tubbs was able to steal the track crown.
"It got all over with, and (crew chief) Danny (Carmen) came over and told me we won the track championship, too," Tubbs said.
Tubbs won two of the 10 races in the Great Plains Series. He was the only driver besides Nichols to win multiple races. Nichols finished with four wins, including three in a row.
"One of the main accomplishments of the whole series was beating him," Tubbs said.
The series wasn't easy for Tubbs, who admitted the pressure started to mount.
"Talk about stress," he said. "That was about 10,000 pounds of stress off my shoulders. ... It's tough when you start about 12th every night for the features."
Tubbs said the week leading up to the race in Colby was hectic, going over every inch of the car.
"Every thing, we checked," he said. "The gas pedal, all the bolts, made sure they were tight. We had three guys checking every bolt on the car."
Tubbs' consistency in the series is what propelled him to the win, despite Nichols' four victories.
"We were second to Nichols two or three times," he said. "That's pretty tough to do, but also an accomplishment. Plus, we beat him a couple times, too."
Nichols' demise came earlier in the series, when he finished 20th at WaKeeney Speedway. That put him in a hole to try to crawl out of.
Before last week's race, Tubbs was tied for 10th in the national IMCA standings. Nichols was second, a point behind Matt Guillaume.
Tubbs said he expects to pick up a few more points in the national standings before the season ends. He also was tied for seventh in regional points and was in a comfortable position to win the state title.
"I should easily be in the top three or four (nationally) at the end, especially with the bonus points," Tubbs said.
Tubbs will compete at 7 p.m. Saturday at RPM Speedway in Hays, where he has the track points lead with two races to go. He'll compete at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at WaKeeney Speedway, another track he has a comfortable points lead at with two races remaining.