By NICK SCHWIEN
The competition was nipping at his heels, but Jason Schoenberger wasn't about to let off the gas.
With a stacked field of fellow drivers chasing, the modified driver from Russell held his own and returned to victory lane Saturday night at RPM Speedway in Hays.
Schoenberger, who has had a strong car all season but still hadn't cracked the winner's circle, kept four-time IMCA national champ David Murray and hard-charging Cody Gearhart at bay long enough to snap the winless streak.
"I knew Murray was starting second row, and I saw him on that restart," Schoenberger said. "I waited and never seen him then, so I just kept doing what I was doing."
Schoenberger bolted to the lead of the 20-lap feature Saturday. But at the halfway point, Murray got a chance to close the gap thanks to a caution.
"I thought I might have a chance," Murray said. "He took off better out of four than I was. I'd spin the tires before it would take off."
That proved to be the difference as Schoenberger piloted his No. 6x to the win.
"I needed that," Schoenberger said. "It's been a long winter."
"We've had a fast car, but just had no luck. Last weekend, we should have had that thing but didn't. We had a chance at it."
The Russell driver led the final 10 laps as Murray stayed a few car lengths behind, never really threatening for the lead.
"I tried about four different lanes and never did get one that fit me good," Murray said. "One and two were pretty racey with different lanes, but Jason just had the better car tonight."
Gearhart started deep in the field and worked his way to third on lap 17. But he'd run out of time before making a serious charge at the top two cars.
"This track was racey as can be," said Gearhart, who finished third. "Starting eighth row was tough. I just needed about five more laps."
Dylan Sherfick rounded out the top four, and Clay Sellard was fifth.
* Colby's Jeff Tubbs won his second stock car feature in a row at RPM, but he had to work hard and pass his younger brother, Nick Tubbs. The two battled the final few laps, with Jeff Tubbs securely leading the final two for the win. Nick Tubbs was second, followed by B.J. Wagoner.
* Tyler Frye and Trenton Kleweno battled it out for the top spot in the Northern sport mod feature, with defending track champ Frye taking his third win this year in Hays. Kleweno was second, followed by Daniel Gottschalk and Austin Carter.
* Adam Armstrong took the lead on lap 13 of the hobby stock feature and pulled away for his third-straight win this season at RPM. Ron Wehling finished second, with Colton Pfeifer third. G.W. Fuller was fourth.
* Kiowa Higdon won his first feature in the sport compact at RPM. Higdon led all 12 laps. Kirk Pfannenstiel was second, with Michael Smith third and Art Herzog fourth.
* Racing returns to RPM Speedway on May 10, with kids night and the annual bike giveaway.