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NICK SCHWIEN • Hays Daily News Daniel Gottschalk takes the low line around RPM Speedway in his Northern sport mod July 30 in Hays.

Gottschalk ends week on good note

By NICK SCHWIEN

nschwien@dailynews.net

It nearly was an identical situation for Daniel Gottschalk.

The driver of the No. 3D Northern sport mod made sure the result was identical as well.

After lining up in the same position for Sunday night's feature at Thomas County Speedway in Colby, Gottschalk was in a familiar position. The lineup was similar for his heat race, as well, with the same seven cars.

"I thought the lineup was the same when I looked at it,"  Gottschalk said. "I ended up coming through in the feature the same as I did in the heat race. The car felt good."

The sport mod win was his first of the season. As close as he came to winning his first race earlier this year, things just wouldn't go his way or he'd run out of laps while working his way through the field toward the front.

"It's been a long wait," Gottschalk said.

The week started off rough, though.

On July 30 at Mod Mania at RPM Speedway in Hays, Gottschalk was credited with a 17th-place finish after leaving the feature on the tow hook when his car suffered significant damage without even making contact with another driver.

"The car just gave out,"  he said.

Instead, Gottschalk pulled out his older car, one he ran last season.

The car didn't have much dust on it, though. Fellow driver Austin Carter had piloted it at WaKeeney Speedway at a race earlier this season after his car was damaged in Hays the night before.

Gottschalk hopped in the older car and drove it without much of a hiccup July 31 at WaKeeney for the fair races. He finished fourth in the backup car.

"At WaKeeney, I could feel it pull better," Gottschalk said about the backup car.

One of the main differences between the two cars -- in addition to the chassis -- was his backup car had a claim engine and his newer BMS car had a crate engine.

"It was completely different horsepower," Gottschalk said about the claim engine on the heavy track. "You can carry the RPMs better. That claim motor just wraps a little better."

That engine propelled him to the front Sunday in Colby. And it helped him capture that elusive win.

Gottschalk beat Clay Money, who was second, to the stripe. Andy Barton was third.

"We checked out to a pretty good lead,"  he said. "There was a caution with about four or five laps to go. (Money) wasn't too far behind me at the checkered flag then."

Now, Gottschalk plans to remain in the backup car until he gets his newer one fixed.

And the car is no stranger to victory lane. Former sport mod driver Clayton Wilson, who won a track title at RPM in 2010, drove the car while he was competing.

"It's had plenty of feature wins by Clayton," Gottschalk said. "I sent it down in the offseason to get fixed up for situations like this."

RPM Speedway will host its regular five classes at 7 p.m. Saturday, while WaKeeney Speedway will host races at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. IMCA-sanctioned modifieds, stocks, Northern sport mods, hobby stocks and sport compacts will compete at both tracks.