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NICK SCHWIEN • Hays Daily News Kyle Rohleder takes the high line around turn four during a modified heat race Sunday night at WaKeeney Speedway.

Rohleder gets redemption

By NICK SCHWIEN

nschwien@dailynews.net

WaKEENEY -- No one would have blamed Kyle Rohleder for being mad. Or angry. Or furious. Or, well, you get the picture.

But Rohleder wasn't about to think about what might have happened had a lapped car not slid up in front of him in the final laps of a race Aug. 11 at WaKeeney Speedway.

Rohleder spun his modified to avoid the car, sending him off the track in turns three and four -- and killing any chance he had at a win.

"It was (disappointing), but the way we looked at it when we left was that we had a good race car, and we knew just where we needed to get better,"  Rohleder said. "Honestly, we weren't even mad over the deal. It was more just that we were going to go to work this week and get it better. I knew that if things would fall in its place, we would be there."

On Sunday night at his hometown track, Rohleder got a bit of redemption, coming from his sixth-place starting position to win the modified feature.

"It's fitting,"  Rohleder said. "It really is. I led the whole thing the last race until the white flag. It was just bad luck. I guess maybe it was time to turn it around."

Rohleder moved into the runner-up spot behind Tim Watts on lap six. But Watts had a big enough cushion after starting outside the front row.

Lap after lap, Rohleder reeled in Watts, pulling right up to his bumper on lap 10. On lap 13, he made the pass for the lead coming out of turn two.

"We just had to have something go our way,"  Rohleder said. "You do it long enough, every cat catches a mouse once in a while."

From there, Rohleder pulled away, eventually building his lead to as much as 2.5 seconds on the dry, slick track.

"I love this race car itself," Rohleder said. "This GRT is probably the biggest reason, honestly. It's always pretty darn close."

Watts finished second, with Todd Schwarz third and Nate Moore fourth.

* Michael Smith won the sport compact feature, passing Andrew Soderlund on lap eight for the win. Soderlund was second, and Kirk Pfannenstiel was third. Monte Honas rounded out the top four.

* Cody Graham won his fifth hobby stock feature at WaKeeney, working his way through the field after starting ninth. Graham passed Brian Stich on lap seven and held on for the win. Garrett Hager, who started eighth, finished second. Colin Heim and Daniel Irwin finished third and fourth, respectively.

* Brenden Damon claimed his first Northern sport mod win, leading all 15 laps. Clay Sellard tried to put up a challenge late, but it was too late. Blaine Walt was third, with Daniel Gottschalk fourth.

* Shannon Maughlin led the first six laps of the stock car feature, only to see Jeff Tubbs pass him on the next lap. Tubbs cruised to his sixth win at WaKeeney this year. Maughlin was second, followed by Josh Hudson and Jason Davis.

* The 2013 season ends Sept. 15 at WaKeeney Speedway.