HUMBOLDT – Modified stock car racing is king at Humboldt Speedway. It is all the time but even more so the past four days.
Tonight, is the big payday of the inaugural King of America Modified Nationals. And there are still tickets available for the final races. Individual grandstand tickets are $25.
The race is sanctioned and produced by United States Modified Tour Series.
Drivers from 14 states have been racing the past two nights to get into tonight’s feature races. The goal is to make it to the 75-lap A-feature, to go for the $15,000 first-place purse.
Racing begins at 6 o’clock tonight at Humboldt Speedway.
“Everything is going well,” said Rhenda Whitworth, who along with her husband Ron own and operate Humboldt Speedway. “The racing has been great the first two nights and we’re anticipating it to be very good Friday night, and tremendous on Saturday.”
USMTS owner Todd Staley echoed Whitworth’s words.
“The racing has been awesome. The track here at Humboldt is in excellent condition as Ron and Rhenda have done a great job with this facility,” Staley said.
“We need to get more people in the stands Friday and especially Saturday night. We know it has been cold the first two nights of racing but the weather is supposed to be beautiful the next two days and evenings.”
Overall for tonight’s racing, there will be $150,000 paid out. Each of the main event qualifiers pocket a minimum $1,500. The King of America Modified Nationals is the richest dirt track race in the history of the Sunflower State, Staley said.
On Wednesday, Jess Folk Jr. and Justin Folk, both of Iola, and Chanute’s John Allen ran their qualifying races. Drivers accumulate points through time trials, heat races and main events each night. Drivers may purchased a mulligan, which allows the driver to forfeit their points and try to qualify again.
After Wednesday, Allen was 11th on the point chart, Justin Folk was 13th and Jess Folk was 15th. All three had purchased a mulligan.
“I was in the B feature for Saturday after Wednesday night but then got knocked down to the C feature after Thursday’s racing,” Jess Folk said Friday afternoon. “John used his mulligan last night (ending up sixth on the chart).
“Justin is sitting about the middle of the B feature right now. He’s going to gamble and not race again. Me, I’m using my mulligan tonight (Friday). I think I have a good chance to get into the B feature.”
The six drivers earning the most points each day are locked into the A feature race. There are 18 guaranteed starting spots in the championship race tonight. The driver with the highest overall points will qualify to start on the pole.
“They take the top 12 drivers out of the B feature into the A,” Jess Folk said.
“We loved the way we had our cars set up for the track on Wednesday. We’re running with our own chassis and motors. We set the cars a little heavy and it’s working for the track.”
Fuel is a main concern for the Folks. Jess Folk said a 75-lap race is big and fuel would be tight “but I think we can do it.”
Staley said they ended up with around 100 cars in the modified event. How many feature races (B, C, D, etc.) in tonight’s show will depend on the number of drivers.
The championship feature race has a 30-car field.
Wednesday’s race winner was 2011 USTMS champion Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa. Gustin ended fourth in the points standings for the night. Terry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., was top-point man.
In Thursday’s racing, Jon Tesch, Watertown, S.D., was having a perfect night at the Speedway. He posted the fastest lap in his qualifying group, came from sixth position to win his heat race.
Tesch led the main feature race for 26 laps but the race is 30 laps long. Johnny Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., stormed from deep in the field. Scott caught and passed Tesch with four laps to go and won the Schwab’s Tinker Chop Qualifier.
There was another qualifying round of races Friday night. Fans were also treated to an after-races concert by The Rusty Knight Band.
“The hot chocolate has been going good and the chili,” Whitworth said of concessions during the first two nights of racing. “It’s been cold but the racing been really good.
“We hope people come out Friday and Saturday to see the great action on the track. These guys are really, really good.”
Whitworth said they have served a lot of people at breakfast, and it’s been interesting watching and listening to the stories.
“We’ve got a couple here on their honeymoon. Out- of-state people are talking about how impressive the track is here in this small town. That’s great to hear,” Whitworth said.
There have been 30 to 50 drivers competing in the B-Mod races this week. Nick Newton of Kansas City, Kan., won the B-Mod A-feature Thursday night. Humboldt’s Levi McGowen ran fourth and Tim VanGotten of Chanute was sixth.
The King will be crowned tonight at Humboldt.