David Murray of Oberlin was among Saturday night’s Dodge City Raceway Park feature winners as the premier dirt track racing facility kicked off the 2012 season with 97 cars filling the pit area.

David Murray of Oberlin was among Saturday night’s Dodge City Raceway Park feature winners as the premier dirt track racing facility kicked off the 2012 season with 97 cars filling the pit area.
     While Murray topped the IMCA Modified main event, Wichita’s Bryan LaRivere topped the United Wireless IMCA Sport Mods, Garden City’s Perry Misner prevailed in a photo finish in IMCA Stock Car action, Bucklin’s Cody Davis surged into a late lead to win the Poor Boy Kustomz Thunder Car main event and Spearville’s Brandon Sprott held off a late charge to win the Hornet feature.
     With David Murray working forward from the tenth starting position in the 20-lap IMCA Modified feature, front row outside starter Jason Edwards paced the initial rounds in front of Randy Wilson and Van Gemmill. Murray worked through the field and was challenging Edwards for the point before a caution after eight laps and then charged into the lead in turns three and four on the lap nine restart.
     While the turns one and two cushion nearly sucked Murray into the wall a time or two over the final circuits, he went on to claim his first DCRP triumph since a BST score a handful of years ago in front of reigning track champion Brendon Gemmill, who took second from Edwards in the final pair of circuits after starting 13th.
     “The track was a little racy tonight, there was a bottom groove and a top groove, but for all the new dirt they hauled in there, they did a heck of a job,” Murray said. “The 32 car was good tonight, we were side by side and I thought if I could just clear him, maybe I could get some runway. In the end, it all worked out for us.”
     For Murray, this is career win number 494 on his mission for 500, which could be met in just a couple of months when the modifieds return to Dodge City.
Edwards crossed the stripe third behind Murray and B. Gemmill, with Cody Gearhart and Randy Wilson rounding out the top five.
     Bryan LaRivere showed exactly why he ranks as the reigning IMCA Sport Mod National champion with a convincing victory in the 12-lap United Wireless Sport Mod main event. LaRivere took the checkered flag ahead of defending track champion Clay Sellard, with Bart Baker, Mike Wadel and Dale Wanger rounding out the top five.
     After leading from the outside front row from the outset of the IMCA Stock Car feature, Perry Misner found himself ebroiled in a fierce three-car battle with Rod Wadel and Nick Tubbs over the final half of the 20-lapper after a mid-race caution.
     With the lead trio swapping positions, Misner ultimately took the checkered flag by less than a bumper over Tubbs, with Wadel, B.J. Wagoner and Jeff Tubbs rounding out the top five.
     “In the beginning I got the jump on the restart, which I was hoping to do, and with about five laps to go, I saw Tubbs and knew I had to pick up the pace,” Misner said. “I wasn’t expecting him to drive it in that hard going into the final lap. I knew he was going to pass me on the bottom coming off (turn four), but i figured if I can keep my momentum going, it would be a race to the finish.”
     After pacing the initial six circuits of the Poor Boy Kustomz Thunder Car feature, Cody Davis surrendered the point to Dan Rogers with a turn two bobble on the seventh round. But, with traffic a factor in the non-stop 20-lapper, Davis surged back into the lead on the 18th round to snare the checkered flag in front of Rogers with Jordan Randles, Cody Orth and W.D. Matteson rounding out the top five.
     “After I fell into second five laps in, I was able to watch his lines in front of me and then took over where he was running and was able to hold him off for the lead,” Davis said. “Confidence wise this is huge. I’ve led a lot of laps but always seem to lose it on the last lap. Now I’m just going to try to chase a championship here in Dodge and see if I can get that under my belt.”
     After battling side-by-side with Dewayne Bowman over the initial half of the 12-lap Hornet feature, Brandon Sprott slipped away only to have a fast-closing Jaret Lunow nearly steal the win away after starting ninth. Sprott finished just ahead of Lunow at the line, with Bowman, Jarred Nightingale and Kenneth O’Hair rounding out the top five.
     Action resumes at Dodge City Raceway Park on the weekend of May 4-5 with two full nights of USAC National Midget racing action.  Modifieds and Sport Modifieds will be in action on both nights as well, with Thunder Cars joining in on Friday festivities and then Stocks on Saturday night.