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Qualifying night runs gamut of emotions at Super Nationals

IMCA racers either on top of the world or in despair after qualifiers are complete

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BOONE — IMCA Super Nationals are equal parts the most fun many racers ever have racing and the most agonizing time they ever have racing.

More than 800 racers from across the country made their way to Boone Speedway at some point this week, trying to vie for one of those coveted starting spots in an A-main event. The difference between making the “Dance,” as the Saturday main events are called, and watching it is razor thin.

Newton driver Mike Van Genderen, who also serves as race director at Benton County Speedway in Vinton, won his qualifier on Thursday, securing the pole for the IMCA Modified main event on Saturday. He’s been on both sides of the fence.

“You’ve got to have a lot of luck, you’ve got to draw decent and you’ve got to be fast, of course,” Van Genderen said. “Being in or out, the feeling is 100 percent different. It’s like whether you’ve got the flu or don’t have the flu. That’s about what it’s like.”

Count Van Genderen among the lucky ones — but make no mistake, also one of the very fast ones, too.

Count Reinbeck’s Corey Dripps among them, too. He drew well, had a fast car in his heats and secured a spot in Saturday’s main event, but his provisional spot will be on the inside of the seventh row (of 10). Dripps was somewhere in the middle of in and out after his A-main qualifier, mostly frustrated with himself for how that race went.

Dripps was the last car to lock himself in (though he was bumped up a row after John Logue was disqualified in post-race tech), and hated the idea of starting that far back.

“I made mistakes in that race I couldn’t overcome. I just self-sabotaged myself,” Dripps said. “It’s really difficult to win from back there. I’ll talk to my dad about it, but I might be willing to give up (the spot) and trying to requalify for something better. We’re in the dance. Anything can happen, but I’d feel a lot better if we’re starting in the front two rows.”

Then there’s the group still on the outside looking in. The unlucky ones. The guys who either draw poorly, get caught up in someone else’s mess or miss the setup.

NASCAR driver and Grimes native Brett Moffitt is in the middle not-yet-qualified group. The Michigan Speedway Camping World Truck Series winner a few weeks ago made his return to dirt driving Darin Duffy’s car in a combo effort between Moffitt, Duffy and Cedar Rapids’ Griffin McGrath. Moffitt was in position to move onto an A-main qualifier in his heat race, but got held up in a near wreck and missed by one position.

At Boone, that’s all it takes.

“It all plays into it. It makes it tough, that’s for sure, but it’s the same for everyone,” Moffitt said. “Even when I ran full time and we were really good in Sport Mod, we struggled to make it in here, just because of all the factors. Everyone is going to do whatever it takes to get in. Hopefully it goes smoother.”

The IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series for Late Models main event, which headlined Thursday night’s action, was not complete at press time. Also not yet complete were two Modified A-Main qualifiers and two Stock Car A-main qualifiers. Check thegazette.com/the-inside-track tomorrow for more on those races.

l Comments: (319) 368-8884; jeremiah.davis@thegazette.com

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