NICK SCHWIEN • Hays Daily News Modified driver Corey Lagroon powers his way through turn one Saturday night at RPM Speedway in Hays.
By NICK SCHWIEN
In the span of three laps, Corey Lagroon found something that made his eyes light up.
It also helped him streak through the top half of the field en route to winning Saturday night's modified feature at RPM Speedway in Hays.
Lagroon started ninth and was seventh after a caution on lap five. Three laps later, the Salina driver was in the lead.
"One lap, I got something on the bottom and the car just hooked and took off," Lagroon said. "I don't think I could find it the rest of the race, but I maintained. We got to burning our fuel load off so much that I lost all my rear percentage and the car got real loose at the end. I was just trying to hold on."
Lagroon rocketed out of turn two on the restart and was in fourth on lap six. The next time around, he was third behind leader Mike Petersilie and Joe Cleveland.
Entering turn three, Lagroon dove down low, passing his way into the lead.
"I must have been low enough on the tires to get that little bit of moisture," Lagroon said. "Man, it hooked and took off. If I had a car that could do that every week, I could win a lot."
Lagroon would go on to lead the rest of the 20-lap feature, although it didn't come without a few tense moments.
Cleveland moved into the runner-up spot on lap 12 and closed the gap on the leader. Lagroon bobbled going into turn one after hitting a rut, and Cleveland closed in as Lagroon spun.
But track officials ruled Cleveland got into the back of Lagroon and caused him to spin, sending him to the back. He protested, but wasn't given his spot back.
Lagroon said he was "99 percent sure" Cleveland didn't make contact.
"We've all been on the other end of a deal like that," Lagroon said. "I feel bad for Joe because I race with him every week, and he's fast and been on a roll the last year. He's been killing everybody. I know he's mad right now, and I hope he's not mad at me because I'm not blaming him at all because it was not his deal."
Lagroon would go back to the front, leading the field to green on the restart. That's when Kyle Rohleder got by Ronnie Hill into second on lap 15, and Travis Sherfick followed him into third.
Rohleder and Sherfick would battle side-by-side the rest of the way, one time even pulling nearly even with Lagroon for the lead down the front stretch.
"If anything, it gets your adrenaline pumping to push the gas a little bit harder," Rohleder said about the close racing.
"Between Rohleder, Lagroon and I, it was anybody's ball game," Sherfick said. "It was just if anybody would screw up. That's all it would have taken was for somebody to screw up just a little bit, and somebody would have been there. But Lagroon drove a good race, and so did Rohleder."
Lagroon held down the top spot to take the win, while Rohleder edged out Sherfick for second. Hill finished fourth, and Dylan Sherfick -- who spun on lap five and went to the back -- rallied for a fifth-place finish.
"Honestly, these guys that race here are talented -- every one," Rohleder said. "You can't have one hiccup in the 20 laps, or you're going to get passed. There's some talented guys out here."
* The stock car feature also showcased side-by-side action, with Jeff Tubbs taking the win. Tyler Tipton held down the second-place spot until lap 17, when Dustin McClurg got by him. McClurg finished second after a tight battle with Scot Granzella and B.J. Wagoner, who inched his way to third ahead of Granzella. Tipton was a close fifth.
* Tyler Frye -- who started 12th -- won his third straight at RPM in the sport mod class, but it didn't come easy. Frye won for the sixth time in seven races this year by running down front-row starting Dustin Daniels, who led the first 15 laps. Frye passed Daniels coming out of turn four on lap 16 and distanced himself for the win. Cory Stuckhoff finished third, and Kurtis Pihl was fourth.
* Ellis' Aaron Honas, in his first night out at RPM this year, led every lap of the hobby stock feature. Honas started on the pole and quickly pulled away to the lead, never really being threatened in the caution-free race. Tommy Fose was second, with Garrett Hager in third and Leon Pfannenstiel fourth.
* Art Herzog won the sport compact feature, leading all 12 laps. Michael Smith was second, followed by Kirk Pfannenstiel and Dean Herzog.
* Racing returns to RPM at 7 p.m. May 4.