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NICK SCHWIEN Jesse Sobbing drives through turn one during a modified heat race Sunday afternoon at WaKeeney Speedway.

Sobbing takes opener at WaKeeney

By NICK SCHWIEN

nschwien@dailynews.net

WaKEENEY -- Jesse Sobbing has won at many tracks.

But the type of track he and the other modified drivers competed on Sunday night at WaKeeney Speedway wasn't exactly his forte.

It didn't matter much, though, as the long drive from his home in Glenwood, Iowa, resulted in a $1,000 payout for Sobbing -- who dominated the sport mod class for years before taking the leap into the mod class this season.

"I'm actually not very good on rubber, so I guess it's good I started where I did," Sobbing said. "It's a lot easier to maintain when I started there. My tires are junk. The right rear is gone."

On an afternoon and night that saw gusty north winds and a dry track as officials battled Mother Nature, Sobbing started on the pole and led all 25 laps to earn his sixth win in 16 events.

"It isn't as awesome starting out front, but being a rookie in the modified, I'll take it wherever I start," Sobbing said.

Sobbing jumped to a sizable lead at the drop of the green flag and had a 1.5 second advantage after five laps. When he entered lap traffic on lap 12, that's when the rest of the field slowly started to reel him in.

Corey Lagroon was holding down the runner-up spot and pulled within a few car lengths as the two hit lap traffic.

But before the field could get too deep into the traffic, the first caution flew.

"That's kind of nerve-racking. You don't know what they're going to try on restarts,"  said Sobbing, who won the April 6 feature at RPM Speedway in Hays. "I just felt pretty comfortable running where I was running, so I just stuck there the whole race."

Sobbing held his line through two more restarts the remainder of the race to win. His lead grew during the final half of the race as Lagroon, Jason Schoenberger, Travis Sherfick and Marty Clark battled it out.

Lagroon eventually would have to retire from the race with four laps remaining after Schoenberger got by him in turns one and two.

"It got a little better. After about the first 10 laps, it got real good,"  Schoenberger said. "Then after all the cautions, I was getting low on fuel and the rear percentage was going away. I struggled on that last caution. It wasn't near as good as it was the first few."

Schoenberger would finish second, with Sherfick in third and Clark in fourth.

"The ol' track was pretty rubbered up on the bottom," Sherfick said. "These big races like this, there's a lot of cars you have to run against. It kind of lays down rubber in a one-lane groove. But we all still run on the same race track, so it doesn't matter if it's one lane or 10 lanes."

The win for Sobbing came a night after he was battling for the lead at a track in Missouri, only to break something and ending his chances to win.

The second-place finish was Schoenberger's best in several modified races.

"There ain't nothing wrong with that. I'll take it," he said about finishing second to Sobbing.

* Art Herzog claimed the first sport compact feature win in several years as the class made a return to WaKeeney. Michael Smith was second, followed by Kirk Pfannenstiel and Allen Rice.

* Cody Graham continued his assault on area tracks, coming from his 11th-place starting spot to win the hobby stock feature by a slim margin. It was his fifth win in five starts this year after claiming two wins Saturday night at Norton in the regular show and a make-up feature. Rookie Colin Heim led all but the final lap of the race before finishing second. Garrett Hager was third, and Austin Tammen was fourth.

* Tyler Frye started on the pole and led all 15 laps in the sport mod feature to claim his fifth win of the year. Dustin Daniels came from fifth to finish second. Trenton Kleweno was the big mover of the night, transferring from the B-main to start 14th. He finished third after an impressive run. Blaine Walt, last year's track champ, was fourth.

* Scott Granzella took the lead on lap eight and led the rest of the 25 laps in the stock car feature. Justin Temeyer, who started 10th, was second, followed by Jeff Tubbs and Michael Meyer, who led six laps.

* Racing returns to WaKeeney at 5 p.m. April 28.