Baca Hangs On For Canyon IMCA Victory


PEORIA, Ariz. – Chaz Baca had to hold off one of the top IMCA modified drivers for his $1,250 win during the second day of Canyon Speedway Park’s Winter Challenge Series.

Ricky Thornton Jr. provided the pressure over the last nine laps, but last year’s 43-time winner was unable to get past Baca.

Baca used the outside line to take the lead on lap three of the 25-lap main, while ninth-starting Thornton worked his way forward, using the middle of the track down to reach Baca’s tail on lap 16.

A couple times Thornton looked as if a change of lead was imminent, but never quite had the momentum for the pass. A yellow with two laps remaining created a potential dramatic conclusion, but Baca was up to the task and held off Thornton for the win.

Reigning track champion Ryan Roath finished third. Day two brought 25 modifieds to Canyon.

The IMCA Northern sport mods saw 2019 44-time winner, Cody Thompson, work his way from ninth to the lead by lap seven, running mostly the outside line in making progress.  Thompson passed Mike Wells for the lead and went on to post his fourth win of the year.

Thompson did not race last year until late March and has gotten a jump-start on bettering last year’s total.

Andy Clower and Rex Higgins completed the podium. A 22-car field was on hand.

The IMCA stock cars put on another sterling race, with 20 cars on hand and the winner from the first day, Andy Altenburg, redrawing the pole. Altenburg led much of the race while Chance Hallatz, his fellow front row starter, trailed just behind the Minnesota leader.

Hallatz used an outside pass to take the lead for five laps, before Altenburg used the bottom to regain the lead coming to the white flag. A yellow set up a final chance for Hallatz, but Altenburg used the top line out of turn four to win the race to the line.

Hallatz was second and 12th-starting Cody Center was third.

The hobby stocks had the same two cars racing for the win as Saturday, when Brad King was pressured by Jason Duggins for the 20 lap-main. King held on for his second win of the series and again gave the trophy to a young fan with his enthusiastic, crowd-pleasing flair.

The Winter Challenge Series will resume next weekend.