Lamberies achieves goal, shoots for top prize at Super Nationals
By Bert Lehman
Editor, Full Throttle Magazine
Lucas Lamberies said he had one goal entering this year’s IMCA Super Nationals event in Boone, Iowa — to qualify for the IMCA Northern SportMod main event.
On Tuesday night, he achieved that goal, winning his feature that night, which placed him on the outside of the front row for Saturday nights feature.
“I just wanted to make it into the big show, that was it. I achieved that goal,” said Lamberies in a phone interview Wednesday morning.
For those unfamiliar with the IMCA Super Nationals, it is one of the most anticipated IMCA events each year, drawing drivers from all over the country. It’s not the highest-paying special, but no race can touch it when it comes to the prestige of winning it.
This is the second time Lamberies has raced at the Super Nationals.
Lamberies said he arrived at the track Sunday and participated in some hot lap sessions that day. His first attempt to qualify for Saturday’s feature was on Monday. There were a total of 20 SportMod heat races that night, as more than 150 SportMod drivers were on hand to race. Lamberies finished third in the 18th heat race, which didn’t qualify him for the big show.
His luck changed the next night when he drew the outside pole for his heat race. He won that race, which put into the night’s feature event. He drew the pole position starting spot for the feature.
“I’m usually not too good at drawing but I had a break in my luck and we drew the pole,” Lamberies said.
Luck is something all drivers have to have if they want to qualify for Saturday’s main event.
“It’s a lot about luck down here,” he said. “If you don’t have any luck and have bad draws [you won’t do well]. Last year I think I drew dead last in every heat race.”
Starting on the front row, Lamberies said he led the first half of the race, building around a straightaway lead when a caution came out. After building another big lead, another caution came out with five laps to go.
“It was a heartbreaker,” Lamberies said about the cautions. “… But you have to just keep fighting forward.”
With a little over a lap to go, and qualifying for the big show within his grasp, it almost slipped away for Lamberies.
“Coming to the white flag I almost got passed by Nick Meyer, he’s pretty good down here, he’s won some big races,” Lamberies said. “He tried putting a slide job on me but the car was really hooked up, I have to thank my dad for that, he gave me an awesome car. It was able to drive by him and on to the win.”
Lamberies admitted Meyer’s attempted pass scared him because he thought he had lost the position.
“I think he just drove it in there as hard as he could and hopefully it would stick. I worked for about maybe a quarter of the way through the corner, but when I got back on the gas I was able to drive back to him,” Lamberies said.
What was his reaction to winning the qualifying feature to put him in the big show?
“I was so happy I was shaking. I couldn’t even stay still,” Lamberies said.
When asked what reaction his dad had, Lamberies said, “I think he was crying a little bit. He had tears in his eyes.”
Lamberies added, “My grandma was super excited. She was taking pictures non-stop. My grandpa just kept saying he couldn’t believe it.”
With the main feature on Saturday, and Lamberies qualifying for it on Tuesday, that leaves a lot of time in between to think about his plan for the race.
And what is that plan?
“I suppose once we get halfway between [corners] three and four, stand on the gas and whatever happens, happens,” Lamberies said.
The cars will be lined up three-wide throughout the field to start the feature on Saturday. It’s a type of start Lamberies has never been involved with before.
“That will probably take some getting used to,” Lamberies said. “Obviously I’ve never done that before. That might be a different ballpark for me but I think I can manage.”
Earlier on Saturday night, Lamberies is also scheduled to start in the front row of the IMCA Northern SportMod Race of Champions race. Only current track champions are eligible for this race. Lamberies, the Shawano Speedway IMCA Northern SportMod track champion, finish second in his Race of Champions qualifying race to place him in the final Race of Champions race.
“I’m going to drive hard. That’s another big race to win. I’m not going to try to do anything stupid either. If I get passed, I get passed. It’s just nice to be in these races,” Lamberies said.
When asked if he set any new goals, since he accomplished the goal of qualifying for the main event on Saturday, Lamberies said, “I would like to win it, that would mean the world, but like I said, I’m just happy to be in it. If I would win it, that would mean a lot to me.”