By the URSS
OBERLIN -- The high-banked, bowl-shaped dirt track known as the Belleville High Banks can be intimidating to some drivers.
But for Luke Cranston, the half-mile track is starting to become old hat, and he hopes that feeling is the same when the United Rebel Sprint Series returns to Belleville on Friday night.
"It's something you just have to get used to," Cranston said. "I feel more comfortable there now than when I first started racing there. You get going so fast. It's just learning how to drive the car when you come up to pass people. If you let off the gas, it kills your momentum and can slow you down when you're trying to pass."
Cranston has found success at Belleville in his sprint car. Last year, the Plains driver won both features on the historic half-mile track. The final one, on Aug. 4, led to a large payout for him.
The first time the Rebels were there last year, the lights went out during the feature, putting a scare into Cranston and the other drivers who were traveling at a high rate of speed. But the red flag also gave Cranston a chance to pull up on Zach Blurton's bumper and eventually make the pass for the win.
"I'm not going to lie," he said. "We've had a lot of luck with the lights going out. I don't think we would have caught up to Zach because he was running so good. The next time, I think it was an inverted start that helped. It all plays into it. You just have to be there at the end. At this point, sometimes it takes a lot of luck."
Friday's race will be the fourth time the Rebels have competed on the half-mile track.
Ray Seemann won the inaugural race in August 2010. Seemann, last year's URSS national champion, is hoping to fine tune a few things Friday night in order to be ready for the big two-day Belleville Nationals in August -- a race that features another large payout.
"We want to get where we're dialed in for that two-day show later on," Seemann said.
Cranston hopes his success at the track continues, much like the forecasted hot temperatures gripping the state.
"I think a little bit of it is experience," he said. "Kirk (Reinert) has raced there, and I've raced there a few times. We know where to be at different places on the track as it changes. That track has been real predictable for us. Both times in the 305, it's been the same."
The World of Outlaws also will be running Friday night. Racing action is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.
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