BOONE (IMCA) – A little bit of faith and a fast car made Mitch Bielenberg a first-time IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s champion.
Bielenberg led all 25 laps of Tuesday’s main event at Boone Speedway. The victory was his second in three nights at Iowa’s Action Track, coming on the heels of his run to the Prelude checkers on Sunday, and paid $1,000.
“I won the Prelude and I finally won Super Nationals,” said Bielenberg, who busted a post-race move on the roof of his ride, much to the delight of fans and photographers. “This car has been around a long time but I had faith in it. I said a prayer before we came out and hoped the thing would hold together.”
Nineteenth in the Big Show at Boone in 2017 and 18th in 2019, Bielenberg won his heat and started the main event from the front of the middle row.
He was quickly out front, pulling away with Trent Reed running a distant second before Tyler Fiebelkorn came to a fiery stop with six laps left and brought out the red flag.
“The caution came at the worst possible time,” Bielenberg said. “I was trying to keep my car warm and had both fans shut off.”
Chuck Fullenkamp took over the runner-up spot on the ensuing restart. 2016 champion Josh Barnes ended in third and Drake Bohlmeyer was fourth.
Blaine Ellis, the first driver from Kentucky to qualify for a Super Nationals event in any division, raced from 21st starting to fifth. Hard charger Kimberly Abbott started last in the field of 30 and ended in 13th.
A third generation driver – his grandfather raced a Late Model until he was 80 years old – Bielenberg remembers his father with his nickname Dudeman on his trunk lid and his late brother Michael, his car’s former owner with the United States Marine Corps motto Semper Fi on the visor.
He’ll help daughter Paisley celebrate her third birthday on Sept. 12, hence his car number, before enjoying some time away from the race track.
“I’m going fishing,” the newest Super Nationals champion stated.
Seventy Sport Compact drivers ran Tuesday at Boone, with six states represented in the main event. Fifteen of the 30 drivers starting the finale were first-time qualifiers.
Brandon Reu, Barnes and Abbott each made career fifth starts, Fullenkamp and 2011 champion Nathan Chandler both their seventh and two-time champion Nate Coopman his eighth.
The IMCA Northern SportMods and Hobby Stocks completed their preliminary qualifying, setting the first eight rows of their respective championship features.
Josh Most gained redemption and Brayton Carter put on a clinic and now both will start on the front row of Saturday’s Northern SportMod main event.
Most, disqualified in post-race tech on Monday, led the last 18 of 25 laps in winning the first qualifying feature, holding off hard-charging Tyler Nerud, who rocketed toward the front all the way from 24th starting. Three cautions in the last six circuits kept the field close before the end of the green, white, checkered contest.
Fourteenth starting Adam Birck, Andrew Pearce, brothers Colby and Alec Fett, Bo Partain and Hunter Longnecker rounded out the top eight and will line up behind Most and Nerud in the middle row on Saturday.
Carter’s drive to the checkers in the second qualifier was slowed only by a trio of early cautions. Working perfectly through lapped traffic much of the way, he was chased by Eric Elliott and then Izac Mallicoat before Kyle Olson took over the second spot with five laps left.
Elliott, Mallicoat, Nate Whitehurst, Jarett Franzen, Lee Horky and Tony Olson will start behind them on Saturday’s outside row.
Last-chance qualifying on Wednesday fills the final six spots in the Northern SportMod grid.
Tony Olson is a nine-time qualifier for the Big Dance. Colby Fett and Carter are both in for the fifth time, Alec Fett and Whitehurst both for the fourth, Birck, Partain, Kyle Olson and Elliott for the third and Franzen the second.
Most, Nerud, Pearce, Longnecker, Mallicoat and Horky all are first-time qualifiers for the Northern SportMod main.
Jeff Ware led by the width of his bumper when the 24th lap was scored in the final qualifying feature for Hobby Stocks. He stretched that advantage over Dan Strandberg to all of .82 of a second when the 25th and final lap was completed, earning the outside front row start in Saturday’s main event at Boone Speedway.
Ware made his drive from 14th starting, cracking the top three just after midway and taking over second with six laps left. Strandberg had led from the opening green, holding onto the front spot after the restart that followed Luke Phillips’ lap nine rollover and again following the final caution on lap 19. Completing the top eight and advancing to the Saturday show were Blake Luinenburg, Cody Williams, Sal Hernandez, David Crimmins, Curt Reed and 27th-starting Eric Knutson.
Ware makes his sixth straight Saturday night start, Hernandez his career sixth start. Knutson and Strandberg qualified for the second time, Strandberg for the first time since 2006, and Luinenburg, Williams, Crimmins and Reed all go dancing for the first time.
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(Photo provided by IMCA)
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