BOONE, Iowa — Jake Krone survived a wild heat race. Then the Beloit driver had to survive — and advance — in one of the night’s A-main qualifiers Tuesday at IMCA Super Nationals XXXIII in Boone, Iowa.
Krone did just that, finishing seventh in the night’s A-main to lock himself into Saturday night’s big dance.
Krone won the 16th sport mod heat to advance to the qualifier, which featured 30 of the nation’s top drivers. He started ninth and moved up two spots before the checkered flag to make Saturday’s finale.
He was slated to compete in the sport mod Race of Champions qualifier first thing Tuesday. The top two drivers in those five heats make the ROC main event Saturday afternoon.
Krone was the lone area driver who competes at RPM Speedway in Hays to automatically make Saturday’s feature in the class.
But several other drivers had solid efforts in the opening day of the annual event that draws thousands of drivers throughout the U.S.
Dakota Spoul, Ellis, was second in the 15th sport mod heat of the day, sending him directly into the B-main. The winners of the 20 heat races made the night’s A-main, while the second-place drivers went to the B-main. From the B, the top 10 finishers started at the back of the field for the A-main.
Sproul narrowly missed on making the A, finishing 11th in the B — missing the final transfer spot by one position.
Tyler Watts, Beloit, finished second in the first heat to make the B main. Watts would miss out on a spot in the A-main, finishing 14th.
Daniel Gottschalk, Ellis, and Kurtis Pihl, Falun, finished seventh and ninth in the second heat, while Brenden Damon, Great Bend, was third in the fourth heat.
Josh Appel, Dodge City, was sixth in the 14th heat.
Colby’s Ryan Wark was third in the 20th heat.
In opening day hobby stock action. Portis’ Travis Coop struggled in his heat race, finishing fifth. But Coop bounced back in his B-main to win and earn valuable points.
A total of 140 hobby stock drivers were divided into 14 heats Tuesday.
Duane Wahrman, Pratt, was 10th in his heat, and Tyrel Smith, Goodland, was sixth in his heat. Eric Cross, Salina, was seventh in his heat.
Two area drivers made the night’s two A-main qualifiers. Shay Simoneau, Damar, wheeled his hobby to a fourth-place finish in his heat race, while Salina’s Tommy Fose — who grew up in WaKeeney — was fourth in another heat.
Fose would finish 14th in the first A-main, while Simoneau was 18th in the other.
Racing continues today for sport mods, hobby stocks and sport compacts.
On Wednesday, stock cars and modifieds begin their quest for a Super Nationals crown.
Nick Schwien is managing editor at The Hays Daily News.