NICK SCHWIEN • Hays Daily News Clay Money powers his way through turn one May 4 at RPM Speedway in Hays.
By NICK SCHWIEN
Any racer will tell you luck can play a key part in winning a race.
But when you're able to win on back-to-back nights, it might just be a little more skill than luck.
That's what Clay Money is thinking after a pair of Northern sport mod wins last weekend at Dodge City Raceway Park and Thomas County Speedway in Colby.
But the freshman at Hill City High School isn't about to start thinking he's got everything figured out on the track.
"I feel like I've had a little luck the last three races," said Money, who also was second to Dustin Daniels on May 5 at WaKeeney Speedway.
Money has been strong the early portion of this season, grabbing two heat race wins and three total wins -- including one April 28 at WaKeeney.
"My goal at the beginning of the season was to get five or more wins," said Money, who also won a B-main at the Sunflower Classic at RPM Speedway to start the year. "And, we're going to Las Vegas late in the year -- to the Duel in the Desert -- and I want to try to make the big show there."
Money has been putting on a show in Kansas already. He's was eighth in state points as of May 5, and that included a pair of DNFs.
All three of his wins have come in the last five races. His worst finish in that stretch was fourth.
"It would be fun for him to get a track championship," said his father, Doug. "It's not a goal, but it's in the back of his mind. But all that can be taken out really quickly."
Money almost was taken out of Saturday night's race at DCRP. The 15-year-old had to do some evasive driving to avoid wrecks in front of him.
"There were about five wrecks in front of me at the first of the race in Dodge," he said. "A couple would have totaled my car."
But Money survived. And with his increasing time in the driver's seat -- this is only his second full year in the division -- he's getting faster each night out.
"I'm a lot more comfortable, drive it in a lot harder and stick it in there," said Money, who will compete at a Class 2A regional track meet Friday at Sublette in the discus and then return to RPM Speedway for Saturday's 7 p.m. races in Hays the next night.
"The thing I've seen this year is he's a lot more aggressive on the starts," his father said. "He sees the holes and goes. ... He's a lot more hungry this year."
That only can mean trouble for his competition. He's held his own against the likes of Tyler Frye, Dustin Daniels, Blaine Walt, Kurtis Pihl, Cory Struckhoff, Clay Sellard and others.
In fact, he pulled away from Sellard and the field in the final laps Saturday at DCRP, then had another impressive showing to top the field at Colby. His win at Dodge City even came with an ailing upper A-arm on his left front.
"There were three cautions after he got into the lead, and Sellard and Jeff Kaup were right behind him," Doug Money said.
He's shown maturity that's not common to a freshman in high school, which has helped him be so successful on and off the track.
"My mom tells me that about every day, about how mature I am," Money said. "My football coach has told me the same thing. ... That helps me out, makes me a better person."
Perhaps his competition isn't ready for a "better" Clay Money, though.
Although the always humble teen never would admit that himself.
"Anyone can beat anyone," he said, "especially if you have the technique."