On an opening night when four of last year's track champions took a curtain call, winning their division's A features, one runner-up from last year became a champion.
Blue Springs driver Max Harder won the IMCA SportMod A Feature championship Friday after finishing as the division's points runner-up last year to Belleville, Kan., driver Tyler Frye.
Harder took advantage of the absence of Frye Friday.
"Salina opened up and that's closer for him to race down there," Harder said.
But even without the defending champion in the field, Harder said there's no "give-mes" in the SportMod class.
"There's more and more really good drivers," Harder said.
And while Harder is a 10-year racing veteran, he went head-to-head with a couple of more seasoned drivers in winning the main event.
Harder had to pass both Beatrice driver Gary Saathoff and Washington, Kan., driver Greg Metz to win the feature.
"Those two have ran millions of races," Harder said, laughing.
Saathoff started at the front of the field Friday night, while Harder was fifth and Metz was several more rows.
"Metz was the car to beat," Harder said. "He can from way back to the front."
Harder said Saathoff and Metz were staging a two-car battle, which slowed them up.
"I don't think I was quick enough to do anything with them otherwise," Harder said.
Harder said his car was running well on the "cushion" at the top of the racetrack, but he was having trouble overtaking first Saathoff and then Saathoff and Metz.
"I kept making runs and got to second behind Gary (Saathoff)," Harder said. "I couldn't get around him, so I went to the bottom and that's when Metz passed me."
Harder said he went back to running the top of the track and then saw his opening.
"They left enough room for me to get past Metz and then I was able to get by Gary and take the lead on the backstretch," Harder said. "From there, it was as done deal."
Last year, Harder finished the season with seven A Feature wins, including two at Beatrice.
After this weekend, Harder already has two victories to his credit as he won the SportMod A Feature at Eagle Raceway Saturday as well.
"The weekend went pretty well," Harder said. "It's probably all down hill from now on, but I hope not. I hope it keeps rolling and things keep going good."
Last year's track championship, who earned feature wins Saturday night, included Jordan Grabouski of Beatrice, IMCA Modifieds; Kyle Vanover of Beatrice, IMCA Stock Cars; Shawn Slezak of Milligan, IMCA Hobby Stocks; and Nick Lindblad, Beatrice, IMCA Sport Compacts.
Grabouski not only won the Beatrice track championship in 2011, but went on to claim the regional and national titles in the Modifieds as well.
Vanover won his 2011 track championship in the Factory Stock division, which dropped this season in favor of the IMCA Stock Cars.
A Feature: 1. Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice; 2. Bob Zoubek, Dorchester; 3. Jordy Nelson, Marysville, Kan.; 4. Chris Alcorn, Lincoln; 5. Mike Densberger, Malcolm; 6. Shane Hiatt, Rising City; 7. Johnny Saathoff, Beatrice; 8. Darren Meinke, Crete; 9. Hunter Marriott, Brodfield, Mo.; 10. Brent Alverson, Centralia, Kan.; 11. Chad Anderson, Ft. Calhoun; 12. Shane Stutzman, Milford; 13. Kyle Schwarting, Ceresco; 14. Nathan Landoucer, Lincoln; 15. Aaron Pella, Lincoln; 16. Greg Crannell, Beatrice; 17. Patrick Donovan, Sterling; 18. Jeremy Sorenson, Williston, N.D.; 19. Andrew Hille, Hickman; 20. Benny Lovell, Beatrice.
A Feature: 1. Max Harder, Blue Springs; 2. Gary Saathoff, Beatrice; 3. Greg Metz, Washington, Kan.; 4. Joey Danley, Lincoln; 5. Dan Bohlmeyer, Blue Springs; 6. Jared Little, Malcolm; 7. Shelly Anderson, Lincoln; 8. Steve Swartout, Beatrice; 9. Josh Blumer, Marysville, Kan.; 10. Don Rinke, Lincoln; 11. Dnny Berghahn Jr., Plattsmouth; 12. Gary Laflin, Beatrice; 13. Nate Schmidt, Fairbury; 14. Craig Evers, Beatrice; 15. Rick Rohr, Beatrice; 16. Kyle Olberding, Seneca, Kan.; 17. Travis Runcie, Beatrice; 18. Brian Langdale, Beatrice; 19. Mary Lenz, Elmwood; 20. Joe Ryan, Lincoln; 21. Chad Borgman, Beatrice; 22. Shawn Harker, Nebraska City; 23. Dustin Schmidt, Fairbury; 24. Dallas Dobrovolny, Waterville, Kan.
IMCA Stock Car
A Feature: 1. Kyle Vanover, Beatrice; 2. Shane Stutzman, Milford; 3. Lance Borgman, Beatrice; 4. Jeff Watts, Beatrice; 5. Kevin VanLaningham, Beatrice; 6. Mark Busboom, Filley; 7. Paul Huss, Fairbury; 8. Jed Williams, Deshler; 9. John Meyer, Odell; 10. Darin Racek, Lexington; 11. Lisa Wagner, Beatrice; 12. Tyler Phelps, Beatrice; 13. Darcy Dobrovolny, Waterville, Kan.
IMCA Hobby Stock
A Feature: 1. Shawn Slezak, Milligan; 2. Adam Armstrong, Beatrice; 3. Roy Armstrong, Beatrice; 4. Jesse VanLaningham, Beatrice; 5. Nathan Meyer, Ohiowa; 6. Schuyler Sutton, Odell; 7. Jacob Harms, Beatrice; 8. Brendon Stigge, Fairbury; 9. Travis Snyder, Beatrice; 10. Jordan Junker, Beatrice; 11. Lee Horkey, Fairbury; 12. Nicholas Warnke, Plymouth; 13. Benj Arvdal, Fairbury; 14. Shelby Barnard, Beatrice; 15. Colter Imes, Beatrice; 16. Ryan Gilland, Beatrice; 17. Ryan Roschewski, Beatrice; 18. Andrew Lewis, Sprague; 19. Jackson Weeks, Beatrice; 20. Eric Chab, Beatrice; 21. Tyler Davis, Fairbury; 22. Jacob Waldron, Beatrice; 23. Aaron Pella, Lincoln.
IMCA Sport Compact
A Feature: 1. Nick Lindblad, Beatrice; 2. Scott Spellmeier, Marysville, Kan.; 3. Tyler Fralin, Beatrice; 4. Brock McDougall, DeWitt; 5. Nate Scribner, Crete; 6. Miranda Lineweber, Beatrice; 7. Kaylee Diekman, Blue Springs; 8. Car #59, na; 9. Jeff Davis, Lincoln; 10. Christi Crannell, Beatrice; 11. Nick Snyder, Beatrice; 12. Jerrod Stream, Beatrice.