How flipping a car led to winning two championships
In 2018, Jake Powers was in a heated battle for both the IMCA Illinois Stock Car State Championship and the Adams County Speedway Track Championship.
“We had flipped the car in the heat race, and the car was in bad shape,” Powers said. “It was the last night for points, and if I didn’t start the race, we would lose the championship.”
It looked eerie for Powers, as Michael Larsen was close in points. But with the help and kindred spirit of others, Powers was able to hit the track once more.
“Many of the other crews and drivers helped me put the car back together,” Powers said. “We ran the feature that night and picked up the 2018 Adams County Speedway Track Championship and the IMCA Illinois Stock Car State Championship.”
At the time, that was the last year for the IMCA Stock Cars at Quincy, and Powers has since made the transition to running a UMP Street Stock, which is what he will race at Adams County Speedway this season.
But the complications between then and now haven’t been easy on fans, drivers, crew members or tracks. Not having racing at the local bullring was hard on Powers and his family.
The 2020 season threw many through a loop, but racers found a way to hit the track and get seat time. Lee County Speedway and 34 Raceway in Iowa were two of the short tracks that many locals turned toward. But for some, it just wasn’t the same.
“My family has been going to Adams County Speedway since it opened in the early-to-mid ’70s,” Powers said. “My dad started building and owning cars in the ’80s. The speedway is close to our hearts.”
Jerry Powers, Jake’s father, is a storied car builder, owner and crew chief with multiple championships to his name.
In a Herald-Whig article from 2005, reporter Steve Eighinger wrote: Jerry Powers is to the bomber division at Quincy as Jack Roush or Rick Hendrick are to the NASCAR Cup Series.
To put that into perspective, both Roush and Hendrick are in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and Hendrick Motorsports is currently the winningest team in NASCAR.
In 2007, Jake Powers began his very own racing journey in the front-wheel drive four-cylinder division.
“I moved up to the Hobby Stocks in 2009, Powers said. “We ended up third in points that year with five wins and Rookie of the Year honors.”
“In 2012, we had won 10 races out of 20. We finished first in points in 2012, picking up the track championship.”
In 2013, Powers moved up to the IMCA Stock Car division after the Hobby Stock class was dropped from the schedule in 2012. But the road to racing stock cars wasn’t easy.
“The cost to build and maintain a car in this class are much higher,” Powers expressed. “Wins are a lot more difficult to come by. I don’t think you’ll find a more competitive class than the IMCA Stock Cars.”