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NICK SCHWIEN â ¢ Hays Daily News Cody Gearhart pilots his modified through turn one during a heat race Saturday night at RPM Speedway in Hays.

NICK SCHWIEN â ¢ Hays Daily News Nate Ginest takes the low line as Daniel Gottschalk is hot on his heels during a Northern sport mod heat race Saturday night at RPM Speedway in Hays.

Gearhart ends night in winner's circle

By NICK SCHWIEN

nschwien@dailynews.net

The decision was made to go where everyone else wouldn't.

The result? Cody Gearhart ended up somewhere no one else in the modified feature did Saturday night at RPM Speedway in Hays -- the winner's circle.

Gearhart, from Turpin, Okla., worked his way through the field using an unusual high line compared to other modified drivers. And it worked out as he had planned.

"It's just no fun following guys if you're just as fast as the guy in front of you,"  Gearhart said. "If you can get out by yourself, at least you have a shot at something. Kyle (Rohleder) and I said we were going to run where they were not, and if we run in last place, so be it. We weren't going to follow and run fifth or sixth. Nobody knows who gets second."

Gearhart started ninth in the 20-lap feature Saturday, but he had to rely on patience early. After moving into fourth on the second lap, he found himself looking at Ronnie Hill, Brian Calhoon and Jesse Richter -- all who had distanced themselves from the pack in the first few circuits.

"Very slowly," Gearhart said about catching the front-runners. "Because they were in traction, and I was up in the slick. You just have to hit your marks perfect every time to keep that speed up. If you lose it one time, you lose all you've done."

Calhoon took the lead on lap four, and Gearhart got around Richter into third on lap six. Then he worked the next several laps to get around Hill.

Finally, on lap 14, he passed Hill to reach second.

"It took me longer to get around Ronnie," Gearhart said. "I think those holes were slowing them down some, and I was able to keep the speed up. You just have to stay focused. My raceiver was making crazy static nose, so that didn't help on the focusness. Once we got out front, you can usually tell if you're car is turning good, you're going to win. If somebody passes you when it's like that, more power to them because that's as good as it gets."

Gearhart was side-by-side with Calhoon then, making the pass on the backstretch on lap 15.

"There was about two grooves, and Cody had a little better groove than I thought," Calhoon said. "I just couldn't kill his momentum up there, and I had to shut it down to turn the car."

Gearhart, with nothing but clean air in front of him, pulled away for the victory.

"You kind of know because when you're out there and pushing and wheeling it and hitting holes, you know somebody is coming. It's just a matter of time," Gearhart said. "When it's like that, it's fun to go out there. Let's run 40 laps then."

Calhoon, who led 11 laps, finished second. Hill was third, and Rohleder was fourth after starting 11th.

"It's always hard when you lose one like that,"  Calhoon said.

* Colby's Jeff Tubbs continued his hot streak, winning the stock car feature. Tubbs started eighth and worked his way to the lead on lap 13. B.J. Wagoner was second, with Kevin Wagoner third and Nick Tubbs fourth.

* Nate Ginest showed once again he knows how to motor around RPM. Ginest, who started eighth, grabbed the lead from Cory Stuckhoff on the fourth lap and pulled away for the win in the sport mod feature. It was his second win in the last three races in Hays. Clay Money finished second, followed by Blaine Walt and Struckhoff.

* Duane Wahrman started on the front row and led all 20 laps of the hobby stock feature for his first win at RPM. Trevor Schmidt hounded him for a majority of the race but couldn't make the pass for the win. Garrett Hager was third, and Kent Tammen fourth.

* Kiowa Higdon won the sport compact feature again. He got by Brandon Lobdell on the eighth lap. Lobdell was second, with Art Herzog in third. Michael Smith finished fourth.

* Racing returns to RPM Speedway on July 12 and 13 for the annual fair races. Highlighting the two nights will be the 305 sprint cars of the United Rebel Sprint Series.