Kirchoff Fends Off Thorton In Arizona Mod Fight

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CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – It was flag to flag night at Central Arizona Speedway for the fourth event in the seven-race IMCA Arizona Modified Tour.

Eddie Kirchoff withstood pressure from Ricky Thornton Jr. to capture the 25-lap IMCA modified main after Jake McBirnie dominated the IMCA Northern Sport Mod finale.

The Monday show drew 77 modifieds and 35 sport mods, putting on an efficiently run program on a chilly evening. Kirchoff redrew outside row one and used the spot as a launching pad to nearly dominate the race.

Starting eighth, Thornton used the preferred upper groove around the three-eighths-mile dirt track to close in on cars and then move under or even higher on the track to pick up positions one at a time.

It took until lap 21 for Thorton to reach second, but he took just two laps to close on Kirchoff. Thornton inched into the lead in turn four of the last two laps, but his slider on the final circuit did not cause Kirchoff to lose momentum, and Kirchoff was first across the line by a car length.

Well back from Thornton’s second place finish was Drew Armstrong in third, Casey Arneson in fourth and Tyler Mecl took fifth. Drivers from five different states took the top-five spots.

Jake McBirnie needed no last lap drama to win his second Tour main event in sport mods. Redrawing the pole, McBirnie was on cruise control with a large lead throughout until a restart with seven laps left.

Second-running Ethan Braaksma stayed with McBirnie on the restart and got a nose under the leader once, but a yellow two laps later saw McBirnie establish his large lead again on the restart.

McBirnie was followed across the line by Braaksma, Fred Ryland, Chase Rudolf and Kelly Jaconson. Three of the top five are Iowa-based drivers.