Winning Moment: Pahrump, Nev.’s Kollin Hibdon grabbed his first win of 2023 in dominating fashion, smoking the IMCA modified field in a caution-free feature at Cocopah Speedway Thursday (Jan. 5).
Dramatic Moment: Marshall, Minn.’s Jim Horejsi came within a car length of going two for two in stock car competition.
In a Nutshell: Mercifully, the IMCA Winter Nationals found some form of rhythm after a painfully long opening night Wednesday.
What They’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning
It’s a damn shame there’s not more money in stock car racing today. The first half of the stock car feature Thursday night was more old-school (and entertaining) than a refurbished North Wilkesboro ever will be.
I get that it’s a weekday in January, but the emptiness of the grandstands at Cocopah Speedway the first two nights of the IMCA Winter Nationals would make a Sun Belt bowl game blush.
Thursday night’s IMCA racing program finished up nearly 90 minutes earlier than Wednesday’s. I’ll still go to my grave saying that a mid-week program running more than six hours is complete overkill. The sport compacts haven’t been causing inordinate problems, but adding a fifth class is a bridge too far for the IMCA Winter Nationals.
Tim Ward went from feature winner Wednesday to B-main winner Thursday. I’ll say this for IMCA racing, there’s parity in it.
Thursday’s IMCA TV stream was a master class on how to use drone cams. Instead of disorienting at-speed shots, using them as perspective on wreck scenes and surveillance for replays at speed made for a very comprehensive show for viewers at home.
Leaving Arizona for a bit, the late model world saw a shift with the announcement that the Comp Cams Super Dirt Series will operate under DIRTcar sanction for the 2023 season. The Comp Cams tour is already undergoing massive changes this year, with longtime fixture Logan Martin departing to tackle the World of Outlaws late model circuit and the entire season being streamed on Flo Racing. Anything to homogenize rulebooks.
For its 17th annual campaign, the @compdirt Super Dirt Series is joining the DIRTcar family. 🤝
All 30 events on the Series' 2023 calendar will be DIRTcar-sanctioned, allowing drivers on the Texarkana tour to compete for national + regional points. https://t.co/KnR5DisbNa
— DIRTcar Racing (@DIRTcarRacing) January 5, 2023
Finally, in some sad news that all knew was coming, the dismantling of I-80 Speedway in Nebraska is soon to begin, with the track auctioning many of its assets in the coming week.
After almost 20 years the I-80 Speedway is closing for good. It's the end of an era for the Kosiski family but items on the property that made the racing possible are going up for auction. @MollyHudson22 #Nebraskahttps://t.co/0bUIWVAs3e
— KMTV 3 News Now (@3NewsNowOmaha) January 5, 2023
Hero of the Day
Two nights in and the IMCA Winter Nationals already has its first repeat winner. For the second straight evening, Muscatine, Iowa’s Shane Paris bested fellow Iowan Cam Reimers, this Thursday night pouncing after Reimers jumped the cushion while leading inside of 10 laps to go and driving off to another win in the IMCA sport modified division. While Reimers earned no shortage of camera time for his ripping the cushion and attempt to diamond turns 1 and 2, Paris’s steady line scored the trophy.
Paris also as of Thursday night leads the Winter Nationals in terms of checkered flags, with four through two nights of racing (feature and heat wins both nights). His $1,500 in winnings is also tops thus far based on the posted payout flyer.
Victim of the Night
We’ll stick with the sport modifieds, as while Thursday on the whole was a far tamer affair at Cocopah Speedway, Brunswick, Neb.’s Douglas Hilkemann endured probably the hardest contact with a wall that any driver has so far at the IMCA Winter Nationals, pounding the barrier in turn 1 during the fourth IMCA sport modified B-main.
Big hit pic.twitter.com/whFMAKlzZ3
— FullFenderedNudity (@NudityFull) January 6, 2023
Ward’s B-main win in his IMCA modified leaves him with three checkered flags at the IMCA Winter Nationals, the only driver other than Paris to have more than two two nights in.
Thursday night’s hard chargers at Cocopah both posted 13-position gains in their respective features. Descanso, Calif.’s Billy Foultz went from 17th to fourth in the IMCA sport compact feature while Phoenix’s Zachary Madrid went from 16th to third in the IMCA stock car A-main.
Dirt track contesting oval racing in the United States Thursday night
Caution flags that flew across five features Thursday night at Cocopah
Highest national car count, at Cocopah Speedway Thursday night (based on heat race starters)
Up Next: The IMCA Winter Nationals carries on for its third night Friday, while Talladega’s annual Ice Bowl event kicks off with heat races. Coverage can be found on IMCA TV and Flo Racing, respectively.
About the author
Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.
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