DODGE CITY, Kan. – Coming off Rookie of the Year honors in 2013, Zac Taylor kicked off the United Rebel Sprint Series season by taking victory honors in Saturday night’s 25-lap feature atop the three-eighths-mile Dodge City Raceway Park clay oval.
The 15-year-old from Green River, WY, was awarded his third career URSS Sprint Car win after apparent winner Brian Herbert weighed in five pounds below the 1,550 pound weight limit, becoming the tenth different winner in as many series events at DCRP dating back to 2009.
While Taylor was the Sprint Car victor, Jesse Smith snared his first career IMCA Modified feature win at DCRP with Josh Appel topping the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Perry Misner victorious again in IMCA Stock Cars and Jarett Lunow best in the Hornets again.
With 28 cars on hand for the URSS opener, Herbert and Ty Williams led the feature field to the green flag. Herbert gunned into the early lead and set sail until the first of four cautions flew after seven laps when Kirby Hagans came to a stop in turn two.
Williams slid past Herbert for the lead on the ensuing restart with Herbert battling back on the low side. The duo battled for several laps before Herbert reclaimed the point on the 11th round with Williams surrendering second to Taylor Velasquez the next time around before a caution flew for Craig Jecha’s encounter with the turn one wall.
After a Velasquez pass of Herbert for the lead was waved off due to a caution, Herbert maintained the top position as Taylor took third from Williams on the 13th lap and then made what proved to be the race-winning pass of Velasquez on the 16th circuit.
Following one final caution with seven laps to go, Herbert slipped away from Taylor and took the checkered flag with a half straightaway advantage only to roll across the scales too light.
“It sucks to win it this way,” the young Taylor commented in victory lane.
Velasquez took runner-up honors behind Taylor, with reigning URSS Kansas champion Luke Cranston taking the show position. Williams slipped to fourth with defending URSS National champion Jake Bubak rounding out the top five.
Steven Richardson and Zach Blurton raced from the sixth row after winning “B” Mains to finish sixth and seventh, respectively, with 14th-starter Tyler Knight, Koby Pearce and 19th-starter Kaden Taylor completing the top ten.
Cody Caldwell, Cranston, Bubak and Velasquez topped heat race action.
In IMCA Modified action, Jesse Smith battled past defending track champion Austin Allen on the second lap and led the rest of the way in the 25-lapper for his first DCRP triumph.
“I’ve been trying to win one of these here for 10 years now,” the happy victor from Dodge City exclaimed in victory lane.
While Smith started the feature from the pole position, Allen led the opening round from the second row outside only to have Smith battle back into the lead the next time and stretch out a comfortable advantage until the race’s only caution with just five laps to go closed Allen back up to his rear bumper.
Allen challenged Smith for the point with the duo battling side-by-side for two laps before Smith reestablished command for keeps.
Smith took the checkered flag ahead of Allen, who held of ninth-starter Scott Drake for runner-up honors. Drake was third with Brendon Gemmill and Ryan Heger rounding out the top five.
Another Dodge City driver reigned supreme in the IMCA Sport Modifieds with Josh Appel taking control midway through the 20-lapper for his first win of the year.
While Appel worked his way forward from the third row, Randy Shenberger led the opening round before Kameron Gruber and Andy Barton took over the battle for the point.
Gruber assumed the lead after several laps with Appel marching forward and taking command on the tenth circuit. Appel led the rest of the way with Barton crossing the line in second. Gruber was third with Mike Appel and Toby Witthuhn in the top five.
Perry Misner continued his mastery of the IMCA Stock Car ranks, racing from tenth to take the lead nine laps into the 15-lapper en route to his third win in as many tries.
Misner took the lead away from Ron Hartman and raced on to the stripe ahead of Reagan Sellard with Marlin Hogie, Randy Dowell and Dusty Witthuhn in the top five.
Jarett Lunow reeled off his third consecutive win as well in Hornet action, taking the lead away from Marci O’Hair three laps into the 12-lapper on the inner asphalt oval before taking the checkered flag ahead of Kohl Ricke and O’Hair.