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NICK SCHWIEN â ¢ Hays Daily News Kade Hagans (24) leads Steven Richardson (0) and Jordan Randles (007) through turns one and two during a URSS 305 sprint car heat race Saturday night at RPM Speedway in Hays.

NICK SCHWIEN â ¢ Hays Daily News Jill Roberg (10J) tries to take the high side around Daniel Smith (92s) during a late model heat race Saturday night at RPM Speedway in Hays.

Richardson uses opportunity to win sprints

By NICK SCHWIEN

nschwien@dailynews.net

With 25 laps in a feature race, there's time to be patient.

But when opportunity arises, a driver has to strike.

That's exactly what Steven Richardson did Saturday night in the United Rebel Sprint Series 305 sprint car main event at RPM Speedway in Hays.

Richardson started outside on the second row, just behind Brian Herbert.

Herbert paced the field for several laps, only to slip up one time in turns three and four. That allowed Richardson to get by him to win his first URSS feature this year.

"When it's rubbered down like that in three and four, you just kind of take your time and wait for someone to slip up and then take your chance," Richardson said. "That's when you have to get them.

"I saw him get in a little high, and he got up in the slick. I thought, 'All right. Here we go. Let the race begin.' "

Herbert jumped to the lead at the drop of the green flag, with Jeff Radcliffe hot on his tail.

Richardson settled into the third spot and moved into second on lap six. By then, Herbert had built a several-car-length advantage.

"You have to take your opportunities when you have them,"  Richardson said. "You have to be patient, which is hard at times. You just want to get to the front. It's a long race --  25 laps. It's a lot of time for people to make mistakes, and yourself to make mistakes. You have to bide your time, and when those opportunities come, seize them."

Richardson closed the gap on Herbert on laps 13 and 14. On lap 15, Herbert entered turn three a bit too high, losing momentum. Richardson stuck the nose of his sprint car down low and edged to the front.

"Once the race track rubbers up, you're pretty much going to get into just one line," Herbert said. "I drove her in a little hot going into three, and I knew I was a sitting duck pretty much then. It was a good job by Richardson. He did a heck of a job. We just over-drove it a little bit. Maybe I'm getting a little too old for these guys."

The caution would wave on lap 16, giving Herbert a chance to get back on Richardson's bumper. But the leader pulled away on the restart and led the rest of the way for the win.

"Once we got out front, I was feeling real good," Richardson said. "The restarts bring everyone up to you, gives everybody a chance to make a move on the initial lap. But we held our ground and got out there in front of Brian and brought it home."

Herbert settled for second.

"I just over-drove it one time,"  Herbert said. "It was fun to race like that and not tear anything up."

Zac Taylor, who won a night earlier in Nebraska, worked his way through the field to finish third.

"It was really tough, really rubbered down," Taylor said. "You couldn't really pass. It was one lane, unless you moved up top. It was a really fun race, though."

J.D. Johnson started 13th and finished fourth, passing defending URSS national champion Jake Bubak with five laps remaining. Bubak was fifth.

"We ain't finished no worse than sixth, no better than third," Richardson said. "We were dying for this thing. To finally pick it up is weight off my shoulders. Now it's just aim for the rest of the season, go for a championship and keep picking up wins."

* Daniel Smith won his first late model feature in the NeSmith late model inaugural event at RPM. Smith took the lead on lap 11 and led the rest of the 20-lap feature. Delbert Smith was second, with Shaylon Holloway third and Chris Kartzer fourth.

* The lead switched hands twice in the final two laps of the cruiser feature. The Bauers led lap 11, only to see the Kraus-powered No. 79 sneak by for the win on the final lap.

* Kiowa Higdon started eighth and was in the lead by the time he hit turn three on the opening lap of the sport compact feature. He'd lead every lap to win another feature at RPM. Art Herzog was second, followed by Michael Smith. Kirk Pfannenstiel was fourth.

* Racing returns to RPM Speedway at 7 p.m. Sunday with IMCA modifieds, stocks, Northern sport mods, hobby stocks and sport compacts.