QUINCY — So, how in the world did Austen Becerra win that race?
Becerra, with his modified trailored for the night after a series of mechanical issues earlier Sunday evening, asked a friend if he could borrow his ride for the feature at Adams County Speedway.
But Becerra wasn’t just asking to borrow another modified. He asked Adam Birck if he could use his sport mod.
The difference in those two types of modifieds is huge, especially when it comes to horsepower.
Kind of like taking a knife to a gunfight — at least on paper.
To top off Becerra’s challenge would be his starting position in the 19-car finale — dead last.
What happened was borderline miraculous, and it had many in the stands on their feet cheering for the 28-year-old Becerra to pull off the seemingly impossible.
Becerra systematically picked off one opponent after another, took advantage of some yellow flags that further tightened the field and eventually took over the lead with five laps remaining and never relinquished it.
“There’s probably a difference of about 350 horsepower between the modified (he normally drives) and the sport mod,” said Becerra, a Carthage resident.
Admittedly, he figured before the race the best he could hope for was a top-five finish.
“I never dreamt I could win it,” he said.
So what was the key?
“I don’t know,” said Becerra, other than the low line kept on the .29-mile semi-baked dirt surface.
Birck, who lives in Canton, Mo., was more open about what Becerra accomplished.
“The kid’s a wheel,” Birck said. “Going in, I thought a top-five for him would be great. I was watching the feature with (fellow driver) Joe Bliven, and when Austen got into the top five I turned to Joe and said, ‘He could win this thing.'”
Both Birck and Becerra said they have developed a “great friendship” over the last five years. In fact, about a year ago under similar circumstances at Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa, Becerra borrowed Birck’s car for a feature and finished second.
Finishing behind Becerra in the top four were Jace Gay, Chris Spalding and Dave Wietholder. If not for Becerra’s performance, Wietholder, might have been the story of the night. Wietholder, who has won the last four modified titles at track, also had to borrow a ride for a feature and was driving Ben Huff’s modified.
The victory vaulted Becerra into first place in the points standings, just ahead of Wietholder 391-389.
Other regularly scheduled feature winners included Robert Cottom in street stocks, Shane Parks in sport mods, Derrick DeFord in 4-Cylinders and Robert McMahil in midgets. Makeup feature winners were Mike Vanderiet Jr. in modifieds and Cottom.
The crate late models were idle.
Cottom’s two main-event victories ran his win streak to six. Those six feature wins are double any other driver in any other class. Collecting runner-up finishes in both street features was Rudy Zaragoza.
In the other modified feature, Vanderiet held off Vance Wilson and Levi Long. That was the race both Becerra and Wietholder developed engine problems that ultimately sidelined their cars for the night.
Shane Paris won his second sport mod main event and his first since opening night. Birck wound up second.
DeFord withstood a strong challenge from Kim Abbott to take the checkered flag in 4-Cylinders competition.
Special note: There will be no racing next Sunday at the speedway. The track is taking the weekend off to allow fans to attend the Grand Prix of Karting in South Park.
Leaders following Sunday night
Points — Austen Becerra 391, Dave Wietholder 389, Mike Vanderiet Jr. 353, Levi Long 281, Kenny Wallace 200. Feature wins — Dave Wietholder 2, four with with 1.
Points — Adam Birck 270, Tanner Klingele 254, Logan Cumby 248, Dakota Girard 233, Michael Goodwin 218. Feature wins — Tanner Klingele 2, Logan Cumby 2, Shane Paris 2.
Points — Robert Cottom 236, Rudy Zaragoza 224, Jake Powers 218, Robert Thompson 203, Brandon Boden 201. Feature wins — Robert Cottom 6.
Points — Jeffrey DeLonjay 230, Jimmy Dutlinger 220, Kim Abbott 202, Nick Johnson 202, Jaden DeLonjay 192. Feature wins — Jeffrey DeLonjay 3, Michael Grossman 2.
Crate late models
Did not race.
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