Dodge City Raceway Park opened up its 14th season in the sunlight of Saturday afternoon, but there were definitely some fireworks on the track that more than took care of any light display that would have taken place at night.
Three of the four dirt track events wasn't decided until the final lap and the Hornets asphalt race saw the last person in the starting grid come through the pack to win the first features of the season.
The IMCA 20-lap modified race was primarily a two-car dual between DCRP veterans Cody Gearhart and Mike Lunow. Lunow, the pole-sitter, led Gearhart around the track for the first 10 laps before Gearhart was able to find a spot that gave him speed as he passed Lunow down the backstretch on the 11th lap.
Gearhart was slowly able to pull away in the final laps to win by a couple of lengths ahead of Lunow, but the two drivers showed they had two of the stronger cars on the course.
"It was a slick race track and everybody has to stay in line, unless you get where they're not or push somebody out of the way and get everybody mad at you," Gearhart said after the win. "We were just following Mike and the wheels were just spinning at times. After one of the cautions, we were able to carry more speed and pinch the corners to get the lead."
Kyle Rohleder, who won the 12-lap B feature just to make the main, finished third in the final standings, six lengths ahead at Austin Allen.
The IMCA stock modified 20-lap race showed the domination of Clay Sellard as he led by a quarter-lap by lap 12. But a yellow flag and lapped traffic allowed Josh Appel to catch up and make a challenge, but Sellard was able to weave through the traffic over the last few laps to win by four lengths.
The 20-lap IMCA stocks feature race saw pole sitter Mike Kennedy leading the first five laps as Billy Phelps and Brandon Fisher battled behind for second place. Kennedy and Phelps slowed down going into turns one and two on the sixth lap, allowing Fisher to take the lead. Fisher stayed in front as he held off the challenges of Kennedy and Phelps over the next seven laps.
Shannon Maughlin was moving through traffic from the inside of the fifth row and made his run on lap 13, getting by both Kennedy and Phelps. Maughlin was faster coming off turn four and down the frontstretch, finally getting by Fisher by the end of the 18th lap. The two drove side-by-side on the last turn of the final lap, but Maughlin beat Fisher to the line by a half-length. Phelps finished third and Josh Crombie was able to fight his way to fourth place.
Page 2 of 2 - The 20-lap Thunder feature saw a battle between Toby Schield and Cody Davis during the first 14 laps, but a crash between the two drivers when Schield's car broke knocked both out of contention for the win.
Dustin Walker took over the lead, but it lasted for only one lap as Scott Messino went inside of Walker at turn one of the 16th lap to take over a lead he would never relinquish. Bryan Habiger finished third in the race, while Davis was able to get through the traffic and finish fourth.
Jarett Lunow started seventh in the seven-car field in the 10-lap Hornets feature, but quickly moved up through the field. Lunow was fourth by the end of the second lap and gained a spot on each of the next laps to take over the lead by lap five over Marci O'Hair.
Lunow won the race by a quarter-lap with Brandon Bogner getting by O'Hair by the eighth lap. O'Hair finished third.
The next event at DCRP is the TORC Off Road Trucks two-day event scheduled for April 12 and 13, with 7 p.m. starts both days. The next weekly event will be April 20, starting at 7:30 p.m.