NICK SCHWIEN â ¢ Hays Daily News Jake Bubak (9x) battles Jed Werner (50) during a United Rebel Sprint Series heat race Friday night at the Bullring Nationals at Rush County Speedway in La Crosse.
By NICK SCHWIEN
La CROSSE -- Trying to tame the quarter-mile "Bullring" known as Rush County Speedway can be a daunting task, leaving some drivers shaking at the knees.
Jake Bubak isn't one of those drivers, though. Instead, the young driver from Colorado grabs the bull by the horns and proceeds to do what he does best at the track -- drive a sprint car.
That's exactly what Bubak did Friday night at the Bullring Nationals in La Crosse, and it led to his sixth United Rebel Sprint Series feature win this season.
"You just have to be really aggressive," Bubak said. "It just fits my driving style, I guess."
Bubak didn't shine right away -- well, at least until the first lap was finished.
He started 10th in the 30-lap feature and was seventh after the first circuit.
But on lap two, he was fifth, then moved to fourth on the next lap.
"I love coming to this event here," Bubak said. "The track is awesome, and I'm looking forward to next year already."
Bubak was third on lap six and hot on the heels of race leader Koby Walters the next lap.
"Coming from Colorado, we have a majority of little tracks like this," said Bubak, who is from Arvada, Colo. "Out here, this is really the only small track we come to. I think us Colorado guys are at a little bit of an advantage for that."
Bubak was side-by-side with Walters on lap 17, then fully took the lead on the next lap.
"Once he got out there, I didn't think I was going to catch him again," Walters said. "Then I got back under him, and the caution came out."
The reigning URSS national champ pulled away from Walters on the restart, then maneuvered through lap traffic to pull away for the convincing win.
"I have a little more experience than him, but he did a heck of a job," Bubak said. "He made it tough."
In four races in La Crosse, Bubak's worst outing was third. That came in 2012 on the first night of a two-day show at the track.
The next night, he was in the winner's circle.
Last year, he worked his way to second and was closing on the leader when rain shortened the event to only 17 laps.
"You can't get better than that," Bubak said. "It would be nice to win all of those, and we were in a position to win all of those."
Walters would finish second, followed by Steven Richardson -- who started eighth.
"We've had a real good year, haven't finished any worse than eighth," Richardson said. "Man, if anybody has a year going better, it's (Bubak). This is his sixth win, and he puts it together every weekend. It's frustrating at times because usually I feel we're fast enough to compete with him. He just manages to catch opportunities and takes advantage of them. That's something we need to improve on. The season isn't over yet. There's still time."
Richardson got by Zac Taylor for third on lap 23 and was closing on Walters before running out of laps.
"There at the end, it would have been nice to have a caution and reel Jake back in," Richardson said. "I think we were faster than the second-place car, and I think we could have had something for Jake as well. But it's kind of a toss-up. Sometimes you like getting into lap traffic, and it slows some guys up and you have an opportunity to get around them. But that's not the way it fell tonight."
Luke Cranston, who started seventh and fell back to 10th early in the race, rallied to finish fourth. He didn't crack the top five until lap 24 when he passed Jed Werner -- who started on the pole and ran in the front pack of drivers until fading late and finishing seventh.
Taylor rounded out the top five, and Zach Blurton was sixth.
Justin Schwien, Werner and Josh Fairbank won the three special cash dashes during the night.