2024 Winter Nationals

Often referred to as the “Diamond in the Desert” Cocopah Speedway hosts IMCATV Winter Nationals and the event does not disappoint. This year over 250 teams from all over the country in the IMCA Modified, Sport Mod, Stock Car, Hobby Stock and Sport Compact showed up to race. Stock cars averaged 54 cars per night, with the field running heats, B-Mains and A-mains. In the last few years of us running this event, the staff have always worked tirelessly to put on a fun, smooth running event and they are deeply appreciated for all their hard work. We truly enjoy racing this event every year, even if this year we faced a little hard luck and look forward to returning in 2025.

We managed to roll into Cocopah Speedway late in the evening on January 1st after leaving early in the morning and driving all day to get there.  We parked as best as we could in our designated pit area and decided to wait till daylight to get better arranged. The next day would be practice and it would be the first time we would be able to get out on the track, since we changed the car set up to meet the new IMCA rule changes. I was excited to be back in Arizona and racing this event. I could not wait to climb back in the driver’s seat after over 2 months of no racing. 

Practice went well, I was trying to get a feel for the car with the changes that were made as well as just get back in the groove of running a big track again. There were a lot of cars practicing so I didn’t get out on the track as many times as I wanted to, but I did get a few laps in, but I felt we were close and wanted to wait to make any further changes. After practice was the pit party where Cocopah provides some excellent food and a chance for everyone to relax and visit before everyone gets busy with the next 4 nights of racing. We enjoyed some food and visited with some friends and other racers for a bit before deciding to call it an early night in preparation for the next day.

The first week of Winter Nationals started off rough and it did not get much better. In the very first heat I discovered that I needed to change my gears. After the gear change and a quick check of a few things we went back out in the B-main. We ended up getting caught up in a wreck and ending our first night.  I would like to say the week got better but it did not. We were caught up in another wreck and put into the wall all before the week was up. We also had one more mechanical issue when an electrical plug came loose.  With all the wrecks, including have the side of a car in front of us come off and hit across my entire front window breaking rivets and pushing my visor in and a couple of mechanical issues it was tough to get on the racetrack and stay on the racetrack to get a read on the car and the set ups I was putting in. The week was probably one of the most frustrating weeks my team and I have had for a while but that’s how it goes sometimes. We went into the break knowing we had some issues we needed to get fixed from all the wrecks and we hoped the next week would bring us some luck back and at least get us on the track long enough to start getting a good read on the car set ups.

My team and I spent a lot of time working on the car during our break. We were able to get things all fixed back up and ready to go for practice Tuesday night. The week had its ups and downs. We were finally making some progress on the car sets and avoided some issues early in the week to keep the car on the track. Thursday, we finished 2nd in the heat and started pole in the B-main, unfortunately contact with the car to my outside cut the sidewall on my right rear and ended our night. It was disappointing because we were in a good position and the car was starting to feel good. Friday rolled around and we were starting mid pack in the B-main, I made good progress thru the field on the first lap when right after the flag stand the car on my outside made a quick turn left right into my door, spinning me in front of the car to my inside. We got the car all fixed up for Saturday and we were feeling good that if we could make an A main.  Starting the B-main we worked up to 4th and we were having a good run, but then I made a rookie mistake and thought the white flag was the checkered. Unfortunately, by the time I realized my mistake I had been passed and could not get up fast enough to get my spot back.  It was a heartbreaking mistake for me to make. I know it happens, but it was such a hard mistake to accept since the car was finally there and we had such a great run. While it was a rough couple week, I would not trade it for anything, it gave us a chance to race, a chance to learn the new car sets and a chance to visit friends we only get to see occasionally. We will be back to racing February 9th when we head to Casa Grande, Arizona for the beginning of the Arizona Tour.

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