Troy Morris III: Chasing the Dream in Iowa

Troy Morris III: Chasing the Dream in Iowa

Driver Troy Morris III has a race car and a dream. He traveled from Bakersfield, California, to the Midwest to compete in the heart of IMCA modified country, where has now competed at 16 different dirt ovals.

“Racing five and six nights a week, with the level of competition in Iowa, is a win for me,” Morris, 18, said. “I’d be lucky to race once a week back in California.”

During the first week of July, Morris and his father ventured from California to Jamestown Speedway in North Dakota, for the start of the Dakota Classic Modified Tour. They hauled his race car in a 24-foot enclosed trailer with a Chevrolet 2500 pickup. Ten days later, his father left Morris to fend for himself in the Midwest.

“I learned a lot about my car by being by myself,” said Morris. “On the West Coast, I was reliant on my dad. He was on the fence, giving me signals on how far the leader was, and who was coming up behind me. Here, I’ve learned how to be competitive on my own.”

Being a one-man band can be tough. Morris found that out when he had to repair his car after flipping it at Boone Speedway in Iowa.

Fortunately, he’s made friends in the Midwest.

Last year, after he blew an engine, Jeff Aikey invited Morris to his shop to use his lift and pressure washer. This year, they invited him to stay for three months.

When Morris blew an engine this year, Morris traveled to Missouri to borrow a power plant from Jardin and Jadin Fuller, whom he befriended at the track.

It has been a tough go for Morris in the Midwest. Back on the West Coast, Morris racked up eight feature victories. He has struggled to even qualify in the Midwest, although he finished second one night at Interstate Speedway in Jefferson, South Dakota.

“It’s been rough,” Morris said. “Two blown motors. Two rear axle tubes. Replaced the body. Lost the driveline the other night.”

Nevertheless, Morris ventured to Midwest for the experience. He has raced at 16 tracks among five different states and provinces:

  • Benton County Speedway, Vinton, Iowa
  • Boone Speedway, Boone, Iowa
  • Clay County Fair Speedway, Spencer, Iowa
  • Dacotah Speedway, Mandan, N.D.
  • Deer Creek Speedway, Spring Valley, Minn.
  • Estevan Motor Speedway, Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Fayette County Speedway, West Union, Iowa
  • Hancock County Speedway, Britt, Iowa
  • Independence Motor Speedway, Independence, Iowa
  • Interstate Speedway, Jefferson, S.D.
  • Jamestown Speedway, Jamestown, N.D.
  • Kossuth County Speedway, Algona, Iowa
  • Marshalltown Speedway, Marshalltown, Iowa
  • Nodak Speedway, Minot, N.D.
  • Park Jefferson International Speedway, Jefferson, S.D.
  • Southwest Speedway, Dickinson, N.D.

“The competition level [in the Midwest], everyone is way better than on West Coast,” said Morris. “[The Midwest racers] are a little more advanced. It takes a little longer for tech to get to the West Coast. There is a lot of R&D going on in Iowa [with a] lot of chassis manufacturers [in the Midwest].”

Troy Morris III will continue racing up to five to six times a week until the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals in September. Then, his parents and grandparents will arrive and they’ll all travel back to California.

“I don’t miss California as much as I miss my parents and my church,” Morris said. “Racing in California has been like a reality TV show every night,” Morris said. “In Iowa, it is a whole different vibe. Racing is a little more professional — it’s a way of life rather than a hobby. I like that.”