VINTON, Iowa – Tom Berry promised to run hard in 2020 following a breakout season last year.
He delivered on that promise, winning 21 features and earning his first IMCA Modified national championship.
The Oregon native had raced out of North Dakota en route to his first Side Biter Chassis North Central Region crown in 2019. After relocating to Des Moines this spring, he repeated as regional champion, earning Marshalltown Speedway and Stuart Speedway titles as well as KMJ Performance Iowa State honors.
“Last year we had 12 wins and thought ‘Holy cow, that’s unbelievable.’ To get 20-plus wins this year is unreal,” said Berry. “With the level of competition and the tracks I race at, it’s not that often you can do that, especially in a shortened season.”
“We were very fortunate. Once we got that first win (on June 5 at Marshalltown) things started to change for us and we had like eight wins in our next 13 or 14 starts,” continued the Brodehl Trucking-backed driver. “That’s when we decided to run for the national championship.”
Other first-time national champions are Garrett Bard of Wells Tannery, Pa., in the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars; Cory Probst of Brewster, Minn., in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks; and Doug Smith of Lake City in the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods.
Kaden Reynolds of Cedar Rapids was the inaugural Junior National Champion crowned by IMCA.
Mike Nichols of Harlan won his record ninth IMCA Sunoco Stock Car crown. Dean Abbey of Boyd, Texas, and Ramsey Meyer of Pierce, Neb., earned career third championships in the Smiley’s Racing Products Southern SportMod and Mach-1 Sport Compact divisions, respectively, and Cory Dumpert of York, Neb., raced to a second straight IMCA Sunoco Late Model title.
Kaytee DeVries of Spencer topped Lady Eagle standings for the third time.
A 13-time feature winner, Bard also paced Pennsylvania Sprint Series and KMJ Pennsylvania State standings. He’s the 14th different driver to win the IMCA Sprint crown since 2006.
Probst totaled 24 checkers, topping Big Daddy Race Cars Northern Region and Arlington Raceway and Murray County Speedway standings.
Smith joined brothers David, Devin, Donavon and Dustin as IMCA national champions and became the first in the family to do so in a Northern SportMod. He won 19 features, the KMJ Iowa State and Buena Vista Raceway and Crawford County Speedway crowns.
Nichols, now the winningest driver in IMCA history, counted 32 checkers this season, upping his career total to 561. He was the top driver in the EQ Cylinder Heads Northern Region and track champion at Crawford County Speedway, Dawson County Raceway, Shelby County Speedway and U.S. 30 Speedway.
Abbey compiled 23 wins along with track championships at Boyd Raceway and Southern Oklahoma Speedway and the KMJ Oklahoma State title.
A 16-time winner, Meyer was track champion at The New Raceway Park.
And Dumpert collected 21 Late Model wins on the way to Boone County Raceway, Junction Motor Speedway and U.S. 30 Speedway track and KMJ Nebraska State titles.
Reynolds won 19 Hobby Stock features on the way to winning Junior National Champion honors. More than 380 drivers between the ages of 13 and 18 in the eight IMCA divisions contended for that title.
DeVries was a 19-time Sport Compact winner. Two hundred female drivers, also representing each IMCA division, vied for the Lady Eagle award.
Joining Berry as Modified regional champions were Chaz Baca of Mesa, Ariz., in the Shaw Race Cars Western; Jordan Grabouski of Beatrice, Neb., in the Jet Racing Central; Matt Guillaume of Haslet, Texas, in the Razor Chassis South Central; and Mitchell Hunt of Kent, City, Mich., in the Dirt Works Eastern.
Baca and Hunt both won career first regional titles, Guillaume his second and Grabouski his fifth.
Sixteen-time winner Baca was champion at Cocopah Speedway and Battle Mountain Raceway, and took KMJ Arizona State honors as well. Hunt made seven trips to victory lane, scoring Thunderbird Raceway and Winston Speedway prizes.
Four feature wins and consistent runs throughout the season gave Guillaume the edge in the South Central. He was track champion at Southern Oklahoma and at Boyd. Grabouski collected 11 feature wins and the Beatrice Speedway, Eagle Raceway and U.S. 30 Speedway crowns.
Bloomfield, N.M.’s Steffan Carey was the national runner-up and first-time champion in the EQ Cylinder Heads Southern Stock Car Region. He won 11 features, plus Desert Thunder Raceway and Fairgrounds Speedway championships.
And Jason Duggins of Farmington, N.M., repeated atop Big Daddy Race Cars Southern Region standings for the Hobby Stocks. He won 11 features and the Fairgrounds Speedway crown.
National rookies of the year were Dakota Sproul of Hays, Kan., Modified; Mitch Manternach of Dyersville, Late Model; Mitchell Dvorak of Stuart, Neb., Sprint Car; Cameron Wilkinson of Neligh, Neb., Stock Car; Kyler Duggins of Farmington, N.M., Hobby Stock; Clay Erickson of Glendale, Ariz., Northern SportMod; Matthew Day of Farmersville, Texas, Southern SportMod; and Jack Bransom of Burleson, Texas, Sport Compact.
Sproul collected 16 feature wins in finishing seventh nationally. Also the top Central Region rookie, he was the Dodge City Raceway Park track and KMJ Kansas State champion.
Manternach had six top five finishes to his credit while Dvorak won once.
Twelfth nationally and the top Northern region rookie, Wilkinson had four feature wins and was champion at Off Road Speedway. Duggins drove his father Jason’s spare car to four checkers and the Desert Thunder Raceway crown.
The first Arizona driver to win national rookie honors in any division, Erickson won once and topped Arizona State standings as well. Day, 17 years old, collected five feature wins and was third in the national Southern SportMod point race.
Just the second 14-year-old and the fourth Texas driver in as many years to do so, Bransom earned Sport Compact rookie honors and finished sixth nationally with six wins, all in his last 10 starts of the season.
Other regional Modified rookies of the year were Dino Gronning of Casper, Wy., in the Western; Jon White Jr. of Red Oak, Texas, in the South Central; Jake McBirnie of Boone in the North Central; and Chad Bennett of Caro, Mich., in the Eastern.
Gronning became just the second Wyoming driver to win rookie honors in the West. White and McBirnie both won two features while Bennett totaled five wins
Dustin Mooney of Forney, Texas, was rookie of the year in the Southern Stock Car region and just a point off the pace nationally. He won two features.
Brodee Eckerdt topped rookie points in the Northern region for Hobby Stocks, the youngest driver to do so. The Grand Forks, N.D., driver turned 15 just two weeks before the end of the season and was a four-time feature winner.