BOONE, Iowa – Nick Meyer and Todd Shute raced their way into Sunday’s IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s modified main event with victories in their respective qualifiers early Saturday evening at Boone Speedway.
The qualifiers won by Meyer and Shute were originally scheduled for Thursday, but constant interference by Mother Nature forced IMCA officials to reschedule the races for Saturday afternoon.
The first four finishers in each qualifier earned themselves guaranteed starting positions in the modified championship feature on Sunday.
The first modified feature belonged to Meyer, who grabbed the lead at the start from the outside pole. He quickly built up a good lead ahead of Randy Brown polesitter R.J. Merchant and Zane Devilbiss before the first caution flag of the race with 10 laps left in the 25-lap feature.
Racing resumed, but the field was only able to get one lap in before the caution waved again for a car stopped in turn four. Meyer continued to lead, with Brown, Merchant and Devilbiss in pursuit behind him.
On the restart Meyer quickly drove away from the battle for the other transfer spots, but a spin with six laps to go brought the field back to him. Another restart was followed by another quick caution, but by that point Devilbiss had gotten up to second.
When racing resumed Meyer held firm, at least for the moment, as Devilbiss began hounding him for the lead. With two laps left Devilbiss got to Meyer’s inside and they raced side-by-side for more than a lap before the final caution waved on the final lap for a car spun around in turn four.
With IMCA rules requiring the race finish under green, the field was lined back up for a two-lap dash to the finish with Meyer still in the lead. When the green flag waved Meyer got a good jump, allowing him to pull clear of Devilbiss to take the qualifier victory.
“I knew he (Devilbiss) was starting up there pretty close. I knew he’d probably be coming through,” Meyer said. “Every one of those yellows I could see he’d gain another spot, gain another spot, gain another spot. I knew he was always quick, I knew he was probably coming. Then he showed his nose there. I didn’t think there was that much down there (on the bottom) that low. I was kind of keeping it up a groove and then he showed me there was something down there.
“I just tried getting down there as low as I could.”
Behind Meyer and Devilbiss the battle for the final two transfer spots went down to the wire, with Tanner Black and Grey Ferrando taking third in fourth in a heated battle at the finish.
The second feature saw multiple drivers take turns at the point, with Jayden Larson taking the lead from the outside pole at the start of the event over Kyle Heckman. Shute, who started third, also put himself in the picture and began to challenge for the lead.
With 20 to go Heckman found something on the top in the corners and made a big move to pass Shute and then Jayden Larson to take the lead with 19 laps left. Shortly thereafter the first caution of the race waved for a car stopped on the frontstretch.
On the restart Heckman held the lead, but Shute was able to dispatch Jayden Larson to take second. Sticking to the top, Heckman was able to hold the lead until the next caution waved with 17 laps left.
When racing resumed Heckman went back to the top, but Shute found some grip on the bottom and was able to slip past Heckman to take the lead with 16 laps complete. One lap later the caution waved for a car spun in turn four.
Shute maintained his lead on the restart, but behind him Jeff Larson had suddenly made his way to second after dispatching Heckman. Jeff Larson began hunting down Shute and was looking to challenge for the lead when the caution waved with nine laps left.
The restart saw Shute again maintain the lead as the battle for the transfer spots intensified behind him. Joel Rust was able to make a move on Richie Gustin during the restart, allowing him to take the fourth position with less than 10 laps left.
With Shute well ahead, the battle was for the transfer spot. Gustin chased Rust for several laps before making his move with two laps left, taking Rust and Heckman three-wide on the bottom after using a run on the top to gain momentum.
The move paid off for Gustin, who was able to pass Rust to take the final transfer spot as they raced towards the white flag. Shute held on to win the race, with Jeff Larson, Heckman and Gustin following him to earn spots in Sunday’s championship feature.
“There is just a little tacky strip down there,” Shute said of his commitment to the bottom. “The top was just choppy enough that I didn’t want to get up there because I was afraid I’d make a mistake. I was making plenty of them down on the bottom. Hats off to this crew for getting this track ready.”
First Qualifier: Nick Meyer, Zane DeVilbiss, Tanner Black, Grey Ferrando, Randy Brown, Tim Ward, Jason Wolla, Paul Nagle, Jeff Aikey, Bricen James, Trevor Drake, Milo Veloz, Ronn Lauritzen, Dustin Kroening, Chris Abelson, Shane DeMey, Cody Knecht, Chad Clancy, Albert Wolfgram, Kelly Shryock, Nate Thompson, Jeff Wiggins, R.J. Merchant, Jesse Skalicky, Ryan Ruter, A.J. Ward, Daniel Fellows, Darron Fuqua, Joel Bushore, Kelsie Foley.
Second Qualifier: Todd Shute, Jeff Larson, Kyle Heckman, Richie Gustin, Joel Rust, Jake McBirnie, Ryan McDaniel, Jay Noteboom, Jordy Nelson, Jeremy Mills, Peyton Taylor, William Gould, Troy Morris III, Tim Watts, Jesse Richter, Matt Bonine, Clay Sellard, Aaron Raby, John Webb, Bob Moore, Bubba Stafford Jr., Tom Berry Jr., Paul Stone, Troy Cordes, Cory Sample, Jayden Larson, Terry Hunt, Ashton Wilkey, Jeff Stephens, Kollin Hibdon.
Every night of the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s on Sept. 7-13 will be broadcast live via SPEED SPORT TV affiliate IMCA.TV. Check out all of our coverage of the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals on our coverage index page!