DODGE CITY, Kan. – Defending Dodge City Raceway Park track champion Luke Cranston picked off his first sprint car win of the season by racing to victory in Friday’s 20-lap feature during Driver & Fan Appreciation Night at the three-eighths-mile clay oval.
Along with Cranston, Matt Rucker in IMCA Sport Modifieds and Duane Wahrman in IMCA Hobby Stocks posted first wins of the season as well, while Dakota Sproul and Troy Burkhart became the first repeat winners of the season at DCRP in the IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Stock Cars, respectively.
The drama of the night took place in the 25-lap IMCA Sport Modified feature with Brandon Kenny accepting the Back-to-Front Challenge that would have been worth $10,000 to a lucky race fan had he notched the win from the 20th starting position.
And Kenny came painfully close, dicing among the top three in the final laps as the crowd roared in support.
Ultimately, contact with Luke Stallbaumer in the final corner dropped Kenney to seventh at the stripe as Matt Rucker held off the dueling pair to post his first win of the year after taking command on the fourth round.
The last-corner chaos netted Kamren Gruber the runner-up finish with Mike Appel, Monte Nordyke and Mike Appel rounding out the top five.
In the 20-lap DCRP sprint car feature, Cranston capitalized on the pole starting by leading the entire distance.
While Brian Herbert chased in second over the early portion of the feature, Taylor Velasquez took over second on the 12th round and tried to chase down the leader.
Cranston weathered a pair of late cautions and successfully kept Velasquez at bay over the closing rounds to secure the win.
“Those restarts had me nervous, I wasn’t really sure what I should do so I just kept doing what I had been doing and it worked out,” Cranston commented.
With Velasquez crossing the stripe in second, Jeremy Huish made a late move to claim third with Herbert and Steven Richardson rounding out the top five.
In the 20-lap IMCA Modified feature, Dakota Sproul put on a clinic as he posted his second win of the year.
Gunning into the lead at the outset, Sproul ripped the top side of the track and checked out on the field as Clay Sellard and Brendon Gemmill worked into second and third. A late caution negated Sproul’s hefty advantage, but he slipped away with ease to post the win.
Troy Burkhart worked his way past early pacesetter Chris Oliver at the midway point then held him off the rest of the way in the 15-lapper for his second IMCA Stock Car win of the season. Oliver settled for runner-up honors with Jeff Kaup filling out the podium in third.
Sellard settled for second with Gemmill, William Nusser and Nick Link rounding out the top five.
In IMCA Hobby Stock action, Duane Wahrman became the fourth different winner of the year in as many events by topping the 15-lap main event.
Wahrman took command on the sixth round and slipped away from the field until Tathan Burkhart raced into second at the midway point. Burkhart chipped away at the lead, but ran out of laps to catch Wahrman. Burkhart was second with Skeets Salazar in third.