NICK SCHWIEN • Hays Daily News Tyler Frye pilots his Northern sport mod during a heat race Saturday night at Elmwood Park Speedway in Norton.
Jay Hachmeister competes in a stock car heat race Saturday.
By NICK SCHWIEN
NORTON -- His car wasn't great, but it was good enough.
That's perhaps the best way Tyler Frye described his Saturday night at the half-mile dirt oval at Elmwood Park Speedway in Norton.
Frye, who battled car troubles in a makeup Northern sport mod feature to start the night, slipped to second after leading a good portion of the race.
Then, when the night's regularly scheduled feature came around, the Belleville driver took the early lead and never trailed en route to a win.
"We thought we'd have a pretty good shot, then we came in and went out for hot laps and the car ran good," Frye said. "Then we went out for that first makeup feature, and the car wanted to cut out really bad through the corners. We ended up running second for that one. Then we came back in the heat and tried some things thinking that would fix it, and it still didn't fix it. So we tried some things for the feature and got it better, but it still isn't right. But it still got the win for us tonight."
The night started with the makeup feature from the May 12 race, when the feature was postponed after an accident on the front stretch involved multiple cars and sent two drivers to the hospital.
Frye was leading Saturday's redo feature before his car pushed high in turns three and four, opening the door for Kensington's Cory Struckhoff.
"I couldn't figure out what happened at first, but it was an opportunity," Struckhoff said.
He'd go on to lead the rest of the race to earn his first feature win at Norton.
Frye started sixth in the late feature and took the lead on the first lap. He led all 15 circuits and held off a charge by Struckhoff after a pair of late cautions.
But the cautions didn't thwart Frye's run to victory lane, although his ailing ride didn't necessarily make the win a lock.
"The longer it went, the worse it ran," Frye said. "We must have broke the fuel pickup in the tank or something."
The cautions gave Struckhoff a chance, but he wasn't able to overcome Frye.
"It gave me a chance to at least try something," Struckhoff said. "He's way faster than I was. If I could have got around him, maybe I would have been able to hold him off, but I doubt it. He's just too quick."
Troy Attwood, who started 10th, finished third, and Kaid Calhoon was fourth.
"It's a hard track to drive," Frye said. "You can drive it in way too hard, like I did a couple laps. It seems like if you take it in a little easier, it actually is a little faster. It can kind of throw you off a little bit."
* Jay Hachmeister continued to prove he is the man to beat in the stock car class at Norton. Hachmeister won his fourth feature of the year in as many tries.
"It's just time and experience," Hachmeister said. "The past years, I've raced all over for state points at Hays, WaKeeney, Minneapolis, Jetmore. This year, I'm just running my own shop, and I don't need to be running all over."
Hachmeister started inside the third row and trailed only Eric Kinderknecht after the first lap. On the third trip around, Hachmeister had pulled alongside Kinderknecht at the stripe, then took the lead outright on lap four.
He'd lead the remaining laps to take the win.
"It's my home track, and I've been racing here for 11 years," Hachmeister said. "A lot of people don't like racing on the half-mile tracks because the straightaways are so long, but the ones who come see the track like it. We just need to get some more cars down here."
Kinderknecht held on for second, with Josh Hudson in third and Jason Davis in fourth.
"Josh Hudson and Jason Davis, when you've beat them, you've actually done something there," Hachmeister said.
* Darren Berry took the lead after a restart on lap eight and led the rest of the 15 laps to win the IMCA 305 sprint car feature. Howard Van Dyke was second, followed by Tommy Williams and Nate Berry.
* Tim Watts led all 10 laps in the modified feature to win. Brian Calhoon was second, followed by Matt Henke and Caven Portenier.
* Anthony Martin started fourth and made his way to the front quickly while leading all 10 laps of the hobby stock feature to claim his fourth in a row. Cody Graham was nipping on Martin's bumper all race long but never could make the pass. Theron Martin was third, and Cole Miller was fourth.