NICK SCHWIEN • Hays Daily News Tyrel Smith (12) battles Colton Pfeifer (71) and Adrienne West (777) during a hobby stock heat race Saturday night at Thomas County Speedway in Colby.
By NICK SCHWIEN
COLBY -- It could be described as a good run of bad luck.
That was Tyrel Smith's life this season on the dirt tracks of northwest Kansas.
Smith moved up to the stock car class to start this season, having a solid second-place finish early this season at WaKeeney Speedway.
Then things took a turn for the worse, and the Goodland driver had to deal with significant motor issues and the cost of repairing said motor.
The car quickly went up for sale, and Smith jumped back into the hobby stock ranks -- a class he competed in the last several years.
He picked up right where he left off in the hobby stock, running up front and battling for wins.
But it wasn't until Saturday night at Thomas County Speedway in Colby that Smith finally picked up the first win of the season.
"I loved the stock car, don't get me wrong," Smith said. "It was just real expensive with how everything was going for me this year and blowing all the motors. With all the expenses, if I wanted to keep racing, the hobby is what I had to do. I love it. I was tired of getting second. The first win is great."
Smith's victory didn't come easy. He started outside the second row and was in the lead by the end of the first lap.
That's when Daniel Irwin began to challenge, moving into the runner-up spot behind Smith.
The two would battle for the rest of the 15-lap feature.
"I think I (was holding on) the whole race," Smith said. "I saw a glimpse of Irwin the whole race, I think. I just kept racing my line. I saw him come under me once, so toward the end I kind of blocked him a little on the bottom to make sure he wasn't diamonding it off the top on the white flag to get me."
The race featured only two cautions, one on the initial start and one after lap four. From then on, Irwin was on Smith's bumper the entire time, trying to sneak by him but never being able to find the traction to do it.
"I was definitely sweating, and I don't usually get the jitters," Smith said. "But on the caution, I kind of shook a little bit and had to back off the throttle a little bit and shake it off then get back in it and hope nobody else pulled up alongside me."
Irwin finished second, followed by Richard Boon and Colton Pfeifer.
"Three seconds and one win," Smith said. "The first race, I came from 16th to first and took second to (Cody) Graham. I'm real happy with Bigg Johnson race cars."
* Clay Money picked up another sport mod win in the feature Saturday at Colby. He passed leader Gage Coen on lap seven and never looked back. Josh Appel was second, with Coen in third and Darren Crouch in fourth.
* Bryan Guyer led the first four laps of the econo feature before Alex West got by him for the win in the 10-lap event. Josh Colby was second, with Guyer in third and Levi Jones in fourth.
* Jeff Tubbs made a final-lap pass of Jason Rogers to steal the win in the stock car feature when Rogers got hung up with a lap car. Rogers led 13 of the 15 laps. Brent Moss was third, with B.J. Wagoner in fourth.
* Wheat Lippelman led the first three laps before Matt Morris got by him in the modified feature. Morris led the rest of the way to win. Todd Schwarz was second, followed by Darren Deloach and Adam Morris.