Stories

Murray ready for chance at Super Nationals

By NICK SCHWIEN

nschwien@dailynews.net

The chances of things going a driver's way in Boone, Iowa, at the IMCA Super Nationals? Slim to none.

And when there are hundreds of quality drivers trying to grab a piece of that "slim" portion, most of the drivers come away with "none."

But when things go amazingly well, when things work out just right and when a driver creates a few breaks here and there, well, magical things can happen.

That's the way IMCA modified driver David Murray Jr. looks at this year's annual event in Iowa. The week-long event showcases sport compacts, late models, hobby stocks, stocks, Northern sport mods and modifieds.

The modified race is no easy task to win, let alone qualify for. Murray did that in 2004, when he came away with his first and only Super National crown in a 40-lap main event that ended the week of races.

"Usually what I always say is, the majority of the time, you'll get one good chance all week long,"  Murray said. "You might get one good starting spot, or something will happen and you'll be in position. And when you get that chance, you have to make the best of it. There's a lot of guys that get a good chance. Some of those guys get lucky. You'll see a lot of the guys we race against at North Platte or Lexington (Neb.), they'll get on the pole or the front row three days out of four. I wish I could get that lucky, but luck's just on their side."

Murray lives in Oberlin and has built a name for himself through his years of racing. Earlier this summer, he notched his 500th career IMCA victory by taking the checkered flag in late May at RPM Speedway in Hays.

"When we won that (Super Nationals) deal, I think it took a week before it soaked in,"  Murray said. "On the way home, it's like, 'We won the Super Nationals.' Then, you really didn't feel it until like a week later. Then it's like, 'Man, I actually won that thing.' It's one of those deals."

Murray made the 33-car main event in 2011 by advancing out of the final qualifying race. He started 30th and finished 14th, one of the biggest moves forward for a driver in the race. That ended a long week of racing.

"You get there and you're all pumped up when things get started around 4 o'clock when things get rolling," Murray said. "Then you might have drew the 30th or 40th heat, so it's 11 o'clock before you even see the race track. Then all that adrenaline kind of drains off."

Welcome to the life of a driver at Super Nationals. The days can be long, and the nights can be even longer. There aren't many opportunities for drivers to make a mistake and get away with it, especially with the number of registered drivers each year.

"You get to see people you see only once a year that I've been friends with since we've been going there,"  Murray said. "So it's kind of fun that you get to meet them and see them again. And a little luck along with way doesn't hurt. There's a lot of racing, and you have to have a little luck."

On Aug. 22, Murray was fifth in the IMCA national standings, just a spot ahead of his future son-in-law, Jeremy Frenier. Murray has won the national title four times in his illustrious career, but has won only the one Super Nationals crown. He was 25 points behind the leader, Keith White.

In 2004, when Murray won the Super Nationals, he also won the All-Star race as well. This year, along with his modified heats, he'll also be competing in the Race of Champions and All-Star Invitational during the week.

After busy nights of racing this weekend, Murray was ready to head back to Iowa for a chance to battle with the best once again.

"I just like it up there,"  he said. "I like the race track."

* Many drivers who regularly compete at RPM Speedway, Salina Speedway and WaKeeney Speedway will be in attendance this week in Boone. For complete 2012 IMCA Super Nationals coverage, grab a copy of The Hays Daily News each day this week or visit www.HDNews.net/racing.