Berry wears modified crown to Super Nationals
After a season full of big wins, Tom Berry Jr. celebrated the biggest of them all after winning the Modified Main Event at the 40th Annual IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals Championship. (photo by Tyler Hagen)
BOONE, Iowa — A season that has seen more than its fair share of highlights for Tom Berry Jr. reached its highest point on Saturday in the final race of the 40th annual IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals championship powered by Casey’s.
Berry added the Super Nationals championship title to his already lengthy IMCA resume, passing Kollin Hibdon just before the halfway point and leading to the end of the modified 40-lap feature.
More than 250 modified cars were among the record-breaking 1,000 cars that competed at Boone Speedway during the week and Berry had the fastest of them, winning the top check of $10,000.
“It was definitely our biggest win. It means a lot to our whole team,” said Berry, who won a host of special events in the Midwest leading up to the Super Nationals. “We’ve been coming here since 2014 and we’ve been competitive for the past four years.”
“We had our ups and downs in Boone,” the Oregon native continued. “We worked hard all season, took our break on Friday and stopped the haters. Winning the Super Nationals was our big goal, we achieved it and now we are on top.
Hibdon and Cody Thompson, winner of Friday’s Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational, finished third. Canadian clipper Aaron Turnbull finished fourth and 2018 champion Jeff Aikey rounded out the top five.
Modified entries from 22 states and four provinces competed in Boone, while a dozen states and Saskatchewan were represented in the big dance.
Hibdon had Thompson hot on his heels as the front pair caught up the backcourt before a warning.
Thompson came off the line on the restart to open the door for Berry, who followed and then grabbed Hibdon for the lead on lap 19.
“It looked like I had been running third forever, and after coming in second I was able to stay within three or four car lengths of him,” Berry said. “I was finally able to get under Kollin. We had a really good car and once in front I focused on not making mistakes and staying straight.
Berry paid tribute to his late father, who had been so instrumental in his career, and thanked his race team before taking the stage at the NAPA Fan Zone for post-race photos.
The Midwest transplant is the fourth modified driver in as many years with West Coast ties to win the championship at the Super Nationals, following Ethan Dotson, Ricky Thornton Jr. and Cody Laney on the top step of the podium.
“We learned to race and not make mistakes when we come here,” said Berry, who won his first regional crown racing in North Dakota and then the national championship in 2020 after moving to a base in Iowa. “It’s like a Sunday walk. The tracks are racy, flowing and fun.
Ten drivers made Big Dance’s first career starts. Former champions Todd Shute and Jimmy Gustin made the 13th and 15th career starts, respectively, while Kelly Shryock qualified for the championship for the 16th time.
Super Nationals was broadcast by subsidiary SPEED SPORT.TV IMCA.TV.
Characteristic (40 rounds)
1. Tom Berry Jr., Altoona; 2. Kollin Hibdon, Pahrump, Nevada; 3. Cody Thompson, Sioux City; 4. Aaron Turnbull, Estevan, Sask.; 5.Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls; 6. Jared Siefert, Luxemburg, Wis.; 7. Jimmy Gustin, Marshalltown; 8. Zane DeVilbiss, Farmington, New Mexico; 9. Todd Stinehart, Waseca, Minn.; 10. Jacob Hobscheidt, Plattsmouth, Neb. ; 11. Drew Janssen, Pella; 12. Ethan Braaksma, Newton; 13. Tanner Black, Otis, Kan.; 14. Bricen James, Albany, Ore.; 15. Cody Laney, Torrance, Calif.; 16. Ryan McDaniel, Olivehurst, Calif.; 17. Steven Bowers Jr., Topeka, Kansas; 18. Brandon Beckendorf, Danube, Minn.; 19. Gray Ferrando, Stayton, OR; 20. Ashton Wilkey, Batesville, Ark. ; 21. Brandon Schmitt, Beaver Dam, Wis.; 22. Jordy Nelson, Marysville, Kansas; 23. Jake Pike, Pahrump, Nevada; 24. Kelly Shryock, fertile; 25.Todd Shute, Norwalk; 26. Cory Sauerman, Johnson; 27. Ricky Alvarado, Delta, Colorado; 28. Justin O’Brien, West Union; 29. Johnathon Logue, Logansport; 30. Bob Moore, Sioux City; 31. Aaron Johnson, Brainerd, Minn.; 32. Dylan Thornton, Santa Maria, Calif.; 33. Jeff Larson, Freeport, Ill.