BOONE, Iowa — It’s been a pretty special 24 hours for Chad Sterling.
The stock car driver from Stockton put his name on the map as one of the country’s top drivers in a span of less than a day Thursday night and Friday afternoon at the IMCA Super Nationals XXXIII in Boone, Iowa.
Sterling finished second in the second A-main qualifier Thursday night to make Saturday night’s big dance. Then he jumped back in the car Friday afternoon and piloted it to a second-place finish in the fifth Race of Champions heat — which makes him one of 10 competitors in that feature race Saturday as well.
“It has been quite a turnaround,” Sterling said. “We unloaded the first day, and the thing was terrible. I spun out all over. I was kind of struggling. Then we threw some things at it.”
Sterling led a solid cast of area stock car drivers Thursday, as six drivers qualified for one of the two A-main qualifiers.
Sterling was the top finisher of any of those drivers, but Colby’s Nick Tubbs came close to qualifying for the Saturday feature as well. Tubbs finished fifth in the first A-main, one spot out of a transfer position.
Selden’s Jason Rogers was ninth in that same qualifier.
Bruce Plumisto, Colby, was ninth in the second qualifier, and Mike Pepper, Lakin, and Jeff Tubbs, Colby, were 24th and 28th, respectively. It was the second-straight qualifier Jeff Tubbs has made in Boone this year.
Jeff Tubbs went on to win his ROC heat race Friday afternoon, making the 10-car feature field Saturday as well, along with Sterling. Nick Tubbs won the second ROC heat to give Kansas three of the 10 qualifiers for that race Saturday.
Casey Woken, Norton, finished with solid points by winning a B-main.
The only area driver to make an A-main qualifier in the modified division Thursday night was Brian Knoell of Falun. He finished 27th.
Mike Petersilie, Hoisington, was the top finisher in a modified B-main, taking fifth in the fifth of six B-mains.
Modified and stock car qualifying continues today at the annual event in Iowa.
Nick Schwien is managing editor at The Hays Daily News.