Salina teen takes his turn

Most high school sophomores would have been hitting the books.

Not Dallas Dunn -- at least not Tuesday.

Dunn was one of the few sport compact drivers from Kansas to compete in the 30th annual IMCA Super Nationals, fulfilling a dream he's had since he began racing in the class last July.

The sophomore at Sacred Heart High School in Salina and a regular at Salina Speedway was piloting his car around the dirt track in Boone, Iowa, instead of attending class.

"Some of them did (understand),"  Dunn said about his classmates and teachers. "I'm the only one in my whole entire school who races, so they don't know what the deal is."

The national event is special to drivers who regularly compete at weekly shows in Kansas, and it's a feather in the cap if you're lucky enough to race on the historic track.

Just ask Dunn. What made Tuesday even more special was he drew the pole position on the first sport compact heat of the day.

"I got extremely nervous," Dunn said. "I thought I would start in back. It was a big surprise, but the nerves went away on the track."

Dunn failed to qualify directly to the night's feature, finishing sixth in his heat. That didn't matter in the least, though.

"I've been looking forward to it since about June,"  Dunn said. "My dad said we'd go up here with Wade Heller, so it was kind of exciting being one of the few drivers from Kansas in a sport compact."

Dunn went on to finish fourth in his B-main.

He was one of the youngest drivers to compete in the week-long event.

"I know some of these guys have been doing it for six or seven years -- some 10 years," Dunn said. "I've been doing it since last July. It's cool being up here for Super Nationals, but I think as experience goes on, I'll get better at it."

After staying the night Tuesday, Dunn and his father were hitting the road today to get back to Salina.

School was calling for the teenager Thursday.

While he might trade in the learning experience of Boone for books now, his mind just might be in Iowa the rest of the week.

"It's going to be tough," Dunn said. "I've got a lot of homework to do still."