Kody Scholpp and Aaron Turnbull achieved a notable first in the modified class at this year's IMCA Super Nationals in Boone, Iowa.
Scholpp became the first Canadian driver to ever advance to the Super Nationals' modified feature, which is nicknamed the "Big Dance." Scholpp qualified on September 5 for the feature, which was held two days later. Turnbull wrapped up his spot in the Big Dance the day of the event.
About 300 modified drivers were in Boone for Super Nationals.
Scholpp punched his ticket after taking top spot in a pair of qualifiers, including a wire-to-wire victory in the second qualifier. He was relieved to avoid all of the other heats.
"I got to watch the races, relax and catch up on some rest," said Scholpp. "I didn't have to go through the last chance qualifier on Saturday (September 7), which ends up to be pretty rough, because a lot of good race cars get a lot of damage in those last chance qualifiers."
He started from the middle position on the front row, and finished seventh in the Big Dance. Scholpp thinks he could have fared better, but a poor tire choice and some mistakes cost him.
"I think I could have won the race," said Scholpp.
Turnbull had to go through the more rigorous process of qualifying for the Big Dance. He accumulated enough points through strong finishes in A qualifiers and B mains to get into a final qualifier. He finished third to reach the feature.
"In the final last chance race I was in, I started seventh, so I had to pass some pretty fast cars to get up there," said Turnbull.
He was pleased with how the feature went.
"It was a little tough to pass, but there were guys running too hard, and they were taking each other out," said Turnbull. "I just kept my nose clean and stayed away from the wrecks."
By the end, he said he was racing really well, and he believes he had a car that could have finished in the top five.
Scholpp and Turnbull said their respective results are proof of the strong competition at the Estevan Motor Speedway.
"We can go any place and make the main event, and compete and do well," Scholpp said.
Scholpp said a lot of prominent modified drivers at Super Nationals didn't qualify for the feature.
Turnbull was also part of the Race of Champions and the all-star race, which are two prestigious events associated with Super Nationals. He was eligible for Race of Champions because he won the Dakota Classic Modified Tour and the track championship at the Estevan Motor Speedway.
Then he qualified for the Race of Champions by finishing second in his qualifying heat.
But he had to withdraw from the 12-lap, 12-car shootout because of fuel pump problems.
As for the all-star race, Turnbull was selected after he won a feature worth at least $1,000 in the past 12 months, and after he had a strong finish in an on-line vote. He finished 12th in the feature, and according to Turnbull, it was one of the strongest fields found anywhere.