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NICK SCHWIEN â ¢ Hays Daily News Brian Calhoon (43C), Ronnie Hill (41) and David Murray (97M) race down the back stretch during a modified heat race Saturday at RPM Speedway in Hays.

Murray holds off Sherfick

By NICK SCHWIEN

nschwien@dailynews.net

He knew there was a challenger on his tail, but David Murray thought it was someone else.

When Dylan Sherfick showed his nose, Murray -- a four-time IMCA national champion in the modified class -- realized he better get to work.

That's just what the Oberlin driver did Saturday night at RPM Speedway as he powered his No. 97M to victory lane for the second time this season in Hays.

"I've been in a dry spell for a little while,"  said Murray, who won the modified feature March 29 in Hays. "I'm glad we won one. But we'll try to come back and do it again."

Murray won a track title at RPM in 2012, and he used that knowledge of how to get around the 3âÑ8-mile dirt oval to his advantage.

After taking the lead from Jesse Richter on lap nine, Murray started to pull away from the field. But Sherfick, who started 10th, began his charge to the front.

While Kyle Rohleder hounded Murray for the top spot by reeling him in, Sherfick picked away at the gap between him and Rohleder.

He made the pass for the runner-up spot on lap 13, then closed the gap on Murray.

"I just started on the outside, and everybody was just bunching up on the bottom," Sherfick said. "I got around a few guys on the start, and it seemed like I was going forward. Then I kind of stayed up there, and there we were, in the top three. I got up there with Dave and thought I had something for him, but I just messed up a few times."

On lap 16 at the flagstand, Murray and Sherfick were side-by-side.

"With Rohleder on the outside, I thought that was him. I thought he found a line," Murray said. "I couldn't tell. But it doesn't surprise me. Dylan's a good little racer."

Murray put a few car lengths between him and Sherfick on the next lap when Sherfick lost a bit of traction in turns three and four. It was enough to let Murray escape with the win.

"It seemed like I couldn't get my car to roll over enough to get it to turn around the corners good,"  Sherfick said. "I guess it is what it is. I can't complain."

"Man, it was side-by-side and three-wide for awhile," Murray said. "That's when it's fun. I enjoy that, whether you come out winning or not -- three-wide racing. And that track was fun tonight."

Rohleder was third, and Mike Petersilie was fourth.

"There was a couple, two, three different lanes,"  Murray said. "That's what was so nice about it. You weren't stuck train racing around the bottom or the top. It was kind of fun."

Sherfick was second to Murray on March 29, too.

"It's definitely saying something, I guess, to run down (Murray)," said Sherfick, who also was second April 12 to Rohleder. "You know you're doing something right."

* The inaugural cruiser feature went to Tony Driscoll and Talbot Driscoll, as they ran down Austin Tammen and Cole Dinges with three laps remaining. Brady Bauer and Dee Bauer were third, and Jeff McQuad and Jordan Steinert were fourth.

* It took Kiowa Higdon just a few laps to go from the back to the front as the Hays High School senior took the lead on lap three of the sport compact feature. That resulted in his second win in a row at the track. Dean Herzog was second, followed by Art Herzog and Kirk Pfannenstiel.

* Ron Wehling led all but four laps of the hobby stock feature, but he was pressured the entire time by Garett Hager and Adam Armstong -- all staying within a car length in the final half of the race. It was Wehling's first win at the track since earning the Fall Nationals title in October. Hager held off Armstrong, who had won three in a row in Hays, for second, and Trevor Schmidt was fourth.

* Tyler Frye got the lead in the Northern sport mod feature on lap 11, then kept Clay Money behind him to win his fourth feature this year at RPM. Money was second, followed by Daniel Gottschalk and Tracy Holloway.

* Jason Rogers led all but the first lap of the stock car feature for his first win this year. Rogers was followed by B.J. Wagoner, Dustin McClurg and Jason Davis.

* Racing returns to RPM Speedway on May 24, with the regular five IMCA classes and school buses.