By the URSS
BELLEVILLE -- Luke Cranston heard just about everything before Saturday's United Rebel Sprint Series race at the Belleville High Banks. He took it all in good fun, as did the other people teasing him about his luck at the track. The night before on the first day of the URSS 305 Belleville Nationals, Cranston won his fourth straight race at the track.
"I don't remember who it was, but somebody came up and asked if I was going to slow down and let someone else win," Cranston said. "It's going to happen. I told everyone it was going to be hard to win five in a row. If we went out and ran good, that would have been good enough." The Plains driver ran good enough to win again at the High Banks, earning a $2,000 payout Saturday at the second day of the nationals.
"I don't know what the deal is," Cranston said. "I'm not sure what to say anymore. Everyone asked if we could do five in a row. Kirk gets everything set up to where there's a level of consistency. ... And Dad puts good tires on the car. It's exciting."
The fifth win in a row at the north-central Kansas track didn't come easy. In fact, Cranston's father, Steve, drew one of the worst pills to start the day, meaning Cranston would have to start near the back of his heat race. But Cranston had a solid run in the heat, finishing third. That left him starting on the outside of the third row for the feature.
Lance Davis paced the A-main to the green flag, with Zach Blurton alongside. Blurton took the early lead and paced the field until Cranston came calling. In past races, Cranston had motored around the high side of the big half-mile track. But Saturday night, he found the bottom to his liking. That worked into his favor with Blurton pacing the field along with high side. "It was a different scenario this time," Cranston said. "I went to the bottom right away, and Zach probably had eight car lengths on us. I knew he was running the top, and I knew I couldn't get around him at the top because there wasn't any room between him and the fence." Cranston worked his way around Blurton on the bottom to take the lead as the two entered lap traffic.
Once into lap traffic, Brian Herbert -- who started eighth -- closed in on Cranston as the Plains driver went to the top side of the track to maneuver around traffic. Herbert would close the gap, but the checkered flag would wave before he could get within striking distance.
"I don't know what the deal is," Cranston said. "We've just been real fortunate. It's fun. It's pretty crazy. There's so many good drivers up there -- Herbert, Seemann, Zach and Mike Peters and others. So many cars can win. At that track, if you can get into some clean air, you can check out."
Herbert finished second, followed by Blurton in third. Ray Seemann finished another solid run with a fourth-place outing.
Heat race winners were Blurton, Judd Sheaffer and Seemann.
The Keizer Aluminum Racing Wheel Hard-Charger Award went to Herbert, who started eighth and finished second.
1. Luke Cranston, 2. Brian Herbert, 3. Zach Blurton, 4. Ray Seemann, 5. Judd Sheaffer, 6. Adam Trimble, 7. Lance Davis, 8. Keefe Hemel, 9. Reed Bernbeck, 10. Howard Van Dyke, 11. Mike Spear, 12. John Webster, 13. Brian Hardman, 14. Butch Hardman, 15. Jake Bubak, 16. Jeff Radcliffe, 17. Wyatt Burks, 18. Mike Peters.