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NICK SCHWIEN â ¢ Hays Daily News Brenden Damon leads Chris Heim during a Northern sport mod heat race Sunday night at WaKeeney Speedway.

Damon does it at WaKeeney

Every time Brenden Damon got close to victory, something happened.

The Northern sport mod driver from Great Bend had a fast car this year, but either mechanical failure or wrecks kept him from his first trip to victory lane.

It seemed that might happen again Sunday night at WaKeeney Speedway.

Damon started outside the front row and made an aggressive move to get the lead.

"I was debating as we were getting ready to take the green whether to go in on the high side or try to pinch him down and try to get to the bottom,"  Damon said. "I knew the bottom line was going to be the way to go. I went to pinch him down and came through turn one and came out ahead. I never looked back from there."

Indeed, Damon didn't look back, holding on to earn his victory -- despite his car starting to run hot.

"My motor got up to about 280 (degrees) and was popping and missing and cutting out,"  he said. "That's about all I was concentrating on."

While the rest of the field tried to catch up to Damon, he kept hitting his marks and running the car to the best of its ability -- despite the rising water temperature.

This time, he wouldn't be denied.

And he was all smiles afterward, something he should have experience long ago.

Like I said, Damon had been fast this year. But being fast and being able to finish was a struggle at times.

On Friday night, Damon was caught up in an accident at Salina Speedway. He took Saturday night off, then raced Sunday at WaKeeney.

Then he piloted his "damaged" car to the win.

"Friday night, I got hit in the right rear, and it bent the whole rear end," Damon said. "We pieced it together this morning. ... I was just coming out to make laps. We're taking a different car to Boone. ... It was definitely a surprise."

Damon led races earlier this year and eventually finished second -- twice. He also led races this season before eventually finishing third -- twice more.

Now, he has confidence -- and a win.

It was only a matter of time before he won, and I was glad I got to see it.

Nick Schwien is online racing editor at the HDN.