BOONE, Iowa – The results from his first season in an IMCA Modified already have Jake McBirnie looking forward to his second.
McBirnie made the quick transition from a Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod, winning twice at hometown Boone Speedway and finishing as rookie of the year in the Side Biter Chassis North Central Region.
“I was ready to push myself and get better and learn more about racing,” McBirnie said. “I wanted to make myself a better driver and race against a new level of competition.”
He found the competition he was looking for at nine different tracks, qualifying for the main event in all but one of his 33 starts and ending fifth in points at Boone. McBirnie won back-to-back starts there on Aug. 15 and Aug. 29.
“There were several nights we ran decent, tried some different things and learned a lot about the car,” said McBirnie. “That first win was awesome. I raced with Joel Rust before he broke and the win kind of helped us get some things figured out before Super Nationals.”
The 2018 Northern SportMod Super Nationals champion sharpened his skills at several premier specials, making both Harris Clash and Night of 1,000 Stars feature fields before running 17th in the Big Dance at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s.
“The competition was pretty stout. You can’t complain when you make those shows,” he said. “My only goal this year was racing with good completion and improving as a driver. We will set some new goals and try to continue getting better next year. My dad (Joe) is going to get back in a Modified and it will be fun racing with him.”
The rookie of the year also became a husband and a father this year. Jake and Savannah welcomed daughter Oakleigh a week after the point season ended.