David Murray Jr. pilots his modified through turns one and two during a heat race Saturday at RPM Speedway in Hays. NICK SCHWIEN • Hays Daily News
By NICK SCHWIEN
Things are different this year for David Murray Jr.
The results are the same, but something is missing.
And that missing link is his father, David Murray Sr., who died in December.
"It's a lot different racing without my dad," Murray said. "So every race -- I don't race as many as I have -- I'm more serious than I used to be just because I'd like to win them for my dad."
On Saturday at RPM Speedway in Hays -- a day before Father's Day -- Murray went out and won the modified feature for the Murray family.
Posted on the side of his car is a large picture of his father, who was with him all the time.
"He didn't miss a race for 20 years, I don't think," Murray said. "You don't get much more loyalty than that."
Along with that loyalty, Murray's father watched as his son became one of the greatest modified drivers the nation has seen. The Oberlin driver has won more than 500 features so far, and he's won the feature event at the IMCA Super Nationals in Boone, Iowa, and the Fall Nationals in Hays.
Murray knows how to win, and get around RPM Speedway. He won the track title there last year in impressive fashion but hasn't raced as much this season.
"We hadn't been here for a while. And when you stay away for a while and then get back, you hope you were as good as when you left," Murray said.
He didn't miss a beat. Murray started 10th and worked his way to the front by lap seven, passing leader Corey Lagroon.
"I don't know how big of a lead I had, but holding off Murray is about inevitable," Lagroon said. "I knew he was coming. I had to get through there fast. I don't know what kind of lead I had, but I didn't need the caution. That kind of killed my momentum."
Lagroon held his own with Murray, staying on his bumper and making a few moves at the lead.
But Murray took away Lagroon's line down low and drove away for the win.
"That would be the only thing I've shown that guy," Lagroon said about the racing line. "He's that good. If I have to run second to him, I guess there's a lot worse people to run second to."
Brian Calhoon was third, and Tim Watts was fourth. Jerry Teel was fifth.
* Nick Tubbs took the lead on lap seven and was chased by Jason Rogers the rest of the way in the stock car finale. But Tubbs held on for the win, with Rogers in second and Nolan Remus in third. Josh Hudson, who started 11th, was fourth.
* Clay Money won for the second time in a row at RPM in the sport mod feature, only this time he made it even more impressive. The teenager from Hill City had to pit after the first lap, then came from the back of the field to take the lead on lap seven. He held off Trenton Kleweno the rest of the race. Brian Fink was third, and Cory McGann was fourth.
* Cody Graham won for the fourth time in the hobby stock class. Graham started eighth and passed G.W. Fuller on lap 13 for the lead. Fuller was second, with Aaron Gray in third and Leon Pfannenstiel in fourth.
* Monte Honas continued his winning streak, taking the sport compact trophy -- his fourth in a row at RPM. He led all 12 laps. Shyla Hughes was second, with Dean Herzog in third and Art Herzog in fourth.
* The regular five classes return to RPM on June 29.