Trenton Kleweno wheels into turn three during a Northern sport mod heat race.
NICK SCHWIEN • Hays Daily News From left, Wheat Lippelman, Jason Schoenberger and Terry Cunningham compete in a stock car heat race Sunday night at WaKeeney Speedway.
By NICK SCHWIEN
WaKEENEY -- The previous night, Terry Cunningham was kicking himself a bit.
On Sunday night at WaKeeney Speedway, though, Cunningham was ready to jump for joy.
The WaKeeney stock car driver notched his third win of the season at his hometown track, just ahead of Jeff and Nick Tubbs.
"I take notes every night, and I think for the last five races I wrote down: Car was good enough to win. Driver wasn't," Cunningham said.
He was good enough Sunday, his first victory at the track since May 27.
On Saturday night, Cunningham finished third to the Tubbs brothers. He was waiting in the wings for an opportunity to get by the talented two drivers from Colby as they banged it out up front. A few times, Cunningham even let off the gas to stay a comfortable distance away in case something happened.
He was ready to strike, but the opportunity never came.
Sunday night at WaKeeney shaped up the same way. The Tubbs brothers battled it out lap after lap for the top spot, with Cunningham biding his time.
"They are more aggressive than I am, drive her harder than I do and get through traffic better than I do," Cunningham said. "(Saturday) night, I watched them and talked to them, know them both good. They're brothers, and they're going to race each other that way. On (Saturday) night, the last four laps I felt like I was way faster than them. I was running around at times where I was half throttle. I was waiting for them to wreck. But they're not going to wreck each other. They're going to race each other hard. Tonight, I said I ain't going to do the same thing as (Saturday) night. I said when they start banging, I'm going to put it to the floor and drive by them. And it worked out."
Jeff Tubbs grabbed the lead on lap four, and three laps later, Nick Tubbs moved into the second-place spot. Cunningham slipped into third on lap 12.
"I can't say I'm gun shy, just conservative," Cunningham said. "I have to straighten things if they get bent. Sometimes I wait until things clear out a little bit. Sometimes it costs me. But they get through traffic way better than I do, and that's just driving hard. And they're younger than I am, too. Twenty years makes a big difference."
Jeff and Nick Tubbs battled lap after lap while holding down the top two spots.
"We raced real hard (Saturday) night, and I think some of that's still left over," Jeff said. "I needed to get in front of him tonight, and that just opened the door for somebody else. I guess it was time for somebody else here."
Cunningham's opportunity came on lap 16. The brothers banged wheels just enough to slow their momentum and push them a bit high coming out of turn four, and Cunningham drove by them both on the inside.
"That was a bad deal there," Nick said. "I had the right spot at the right time. He just pushed at the wrong time, and we caught wheels. Luckily nothing was torn up. I let off just because it was a points battle. If it wasn't a points battle, I would have tried to stay in it and see if I could stay in it. At least I brought home a car, and we'll get ready for next week."
Cunningham would lead the final six laps to earn the win. Jeff Tubbs would finish second, with Nick Tubbs in third. Jason Schoenberger was fourth.
"I gave that one away," Jeff Tubbs said. "I went away from the top, and that's what happens when you get there first. You don't know where the line is. By the time it was time to move to the bottom, they were already beside me."
"The car got better toward the end, and they started fading," Cunningham said. "But I think part of that comes because they start racing each other hard. I think they start driving their cars harder, and I just try to get a rhythm going and started running them down. It was just like (Saturday) night. But I wasn't going to run around half throttle this time. I saw them come together. Something happened with them. I just stood on it, and the next thing I knew no one was in front of me."
* Brian Stich waited until late in the hobby stock feature before taking the lead from Tyrel Smith to win his first feature of the season at WaKeeney. Smith was second, with Cody Ghumm in third and Cody Graham in fourth.
* Kurtis Pihl survived a wild, crash-filled Northern sport mod feature to claim victory. He ran consistently in the top five all night and was the recipient of some good luck late. Cory Struckhoff and Trenton Kleweno battled for the lead on a restart with three laps remaining, but Kleweno was sent to the back after officials ruled he rode Struckhoff off turn two. On the restart, Stuckhoff got too high and fell off turn two, allowing Pihl to take the lead on the restart. Clay Money was second, with Chris Heim in third and Austin Walker in fourth.
* Dylan Sherfick drove from the back to the front, edging by Van Gemmill at the checkered flag to win at his hometown track. Travis Sherfick finished third, and Wheat Lippelmann was fourth.
* Racing returns to WaKeeney Speedway on Aug. 26, with the regular four classes competing.