Brian Brown listens as the national anthem plays prior to the start of races Friday in Salina.
NICK SCHWIEN • Hays Daily News Seth Bergman pilots his ASCS 360 sprint car Friday night at Salina Speedway.
By NICK SCHWIEN
SALINA -- One mistake cost Seth Bergman a win at Salina Speedway a year ago.
On Friday night, the driver in the ASCS 360 sprint car National Tour atoned for the miscue that allowed someone else to win in 2012.
Bergman started on the pole and drove a tactically sound race to claim the victory. This time, the driver from Snohomish, Wash., hit the right line lap after lap to best the field in the 30-lap feature.
"It's a little surreal," said Bergman, who led 20 laps last year before finishing third. "I had high hopes coming into this race because we led so many laps here last year and gave it away at the end. Tonight was a new night. We got a good draw and won the heat, got an awesome redraw and started on the pole and was able to do something with it. The guys gave me a great car, and I was just trying to make laps around the bottom and not get too worked up while doing it. We were fortunate to cross the line first tonight."
Bergman started alongside Jason Johnson on the front row, but Bergman beat him to turn one and out of turn two to grab the lead. Johnson originally bolted to the lead on the start, but he started well in advance, jumping the start and bringing out the caution to restart the field.
"You just have to use your head," Bergman said. "Jason is a great racer, and usually he's tough to beat out there as well. You just don't worry about what he's doing. He can do everything he wants to do, and I'm going to do what I do. I was fortunate to make the right decisions tonight. Sometimes as a driver, you make the wrong ones and pay for it. But I'm just glad we made some good decisions, get around the 41 car early and distanced ourselves."
Johnson ran second until he got too high in turn four on lap seven, opening the door for Logan Forler. Forler tucked in behind Bergman and stayed there the rest of the night.
"You have to be patient because if you try to go somewhere else, the guy behind you is going to pass you," Forler said. "You just have to be patient and hope the leader screws up. If he doesn't, you just give it a Hail Mary on the last lap like I did. If you don't get him, you don't get him. You just go on down the road and hope for better race tracks."
Forler tried everything in his power to get by Bergman, pulling alongside him on lap 22.
"He peeked it in real good getting into (turn) one one time," Bergman said. "He got alongside me down the front stretch. He's a clean racer. I went down there and closed the door on him and got back out in front. That's when I knew the bottom was real good. Logan was behind me, and I saw him peek his nose on the bottom. At that point, I knew just not to give it up. We kept it down there, and it was good enough."
Danny Lasoski, who started eighth, ran out of laps and finished third. Johnny Herrera, who started 14th, moved up 10 spots to take fourth. Brian Brown was fifth.
"It's a brand-new car for us," Bergman said. "We picked it up last week and put everything together. We didn't know how it was going to work. It was a great surprise when we got here and it felt good. We tuned on it, and it got better and better as the night went on. I couldn't be happier. We have a new car, and it's a fast piece."
* Joe Cleveland used a late pass of Brian Knoell to win the modified feature. Knoell led from the ninth to 18th lap before Cleveland made the backstretch pass. Knoell was second, with Corey Lagroon in third and Brandon Blochlinger in fourth.
* Kurtis Pihl grabbed the lead near the halfway point and held on to win the sport mod feature. Fred Traskowsky was second, Josh Rice was third and Eric Ingram was fourth.