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Frye flying high at start of season

The position Tyler Frye is in is not unfamiliar by any means.

The Northern sport mod driver who regularly competes at tracks throughout the area knows what it takes to be in the championship hunt.

In 2011, Frye battled IMCA champ Bryan LaRiviere and runner-up Jesse Sobbing for the coveted crown. All those wins and top-fives left him just a few points out of the top spot.

Now, Frye is on a mission -- and he knows what it's going to take to get the job done.

Frye has started the 2013 season on fire, winning five out of his first six events. That includes wins at Beatrice (Neb.) Speedway, Salina Speedway, RPM Speedway and WaKeeney Speedway.

"To start out that good, hopefully it's showing us what the rest of the year will be like," Frye said. "But you never know what you're going to hit throughout the year, so you have to get as many wins as you can. We've found some new stuff that's working for us right now. When everybody else finds it, it might help them out a lot, too. We're just trying to pick up as many as we can right off the bat."

Wins are important and help in the long run.

"You really need to pick up your 30 wins out of your first 55 starts, then get as many bonus points off your tracks as you can," Frye said. "You have to keep your car average up at all your tracks and get the wins you can."

Frye has had success in the past. He's won his share of races.

But this season, he's made it a point to chase a national title in the class. And in order to chase that crown, he's expecting to compete in approximately 70 shows -- give or take a few for rainouts.

"That's the goal,"  he said about the title. "It's going to take a lot of money and time to do it, but that's the goal."

Frye's worst finish this season has been a fourth-place outing on the second night of the Spring Nationals on March 16 in Beatrice.

Nick Roberts of Des Moines, Iowa, won the feature that night, and Frye expects him to be near the top in the season points battle, too. He also thinks Ben Kates of Kansas City will be a hefty opponent.

"Neither one of those guys are slow by any means. It's going to take a lot of work," he said.

Now, Frye is considering his options about where to race regularly. Running successfully at regular tracks opens up the possibility of winning track titles and helps a driver get familiar with the surface and competition.

He might race regularly at Salina and Hays, or that might turn into tracks in Nebraska. Frye isn't sure at this point, but will continue to weigh his options.

He knows he'll get a challenge at RPM Speedway, and winning a track title there would be a feather in his cap.

But Frye also knows that track has one of the best fields of sport mod drivers in the nation. When you're looking at the big picture like a chance at a national title, winning is a huge factor.

"You don't really want to run against (Trenton) Kleweno, (Blaine) Walt, (Jake) Krone, (Cory) Struckhoff," Frye said about the talent of drivers at Hays. "You don't want to run against them every week, but you know they have good cars.

"That's the deal with Doniphan (Neb.). They've never ran them there before. You don't know if they'll have 10 cars or 50 cars. You have to try to figure out where your chances are, most likely. You know you're going to have your 20 cars at Hays. It's just going to be 15 of them are going to be able to win it on any given night."

If he's able to be recognized at the national banquet at the end of the year as the sport mod champ, it would be a truly special feeling.

"It would mean a lot,"  Frye said. "We're racing for one of my friends who died this winter, and we're trying to win it for him. I'd love to be able to show up at the end of the year with that title."

NICK SCHWIEN

nschwien@dailynews.net