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Cranston survives, wins at Thomas County Speedway

COLBY — It might have been a race of survival from the get-go. At least it was for Luke Cranston.  The Plains driver escaped significant damage during the opening lap Friday night at Thomas County Speedway in Colby to claim his third United Rebel Sprint Series victory of the season.

Judd Sheaffer and Blake Bogenhagen started on the front row, but the two got together going into turn one at the drop of the green flag — and mayhem followed. A large portion of the 20-car field was tangled up in the crash, leaving parts littering the 3/8-mile track and several cars leaving on the wrecker.

Cranston was caught up in the later portion of the carnage, suffering some damage to his wing and a few other areas, but nothing significant.  “It was perfect,” Cranston said about the car after the early stoppage. “It was probably one of the best cars I’ve driven. It felt way faster than everyone else. Kirk (Reinert) had the set-up nailed. We've been trying different things with the set-up, and it worked well. … It was fast.”

Brian Herbert, who finished second, also survived the early wreck.  “I don't even know how I made it through that deal,” he said. “There was so much stuff all over. I was looking ahead quite a bit. When I went into (turn) one, there was such a melee. There were cars everywhere. … That was wild.”

Once the race got underway, Cranston proved he had the car to beat, and the real battle was for second place between Herbert and Keefe Hemel.

Cranston built a sizable cushion once he was out front, and Hemel settled into the second spot until the final lap when Herbert got by him for the runner-up spot.

“It was a good race,” Herbert said. “There's no doubt Luke Cranston had the car to beat at Colby. He was way out there. ”

Hemel finished third, one of his best finishes of the season, while Blake Smith Jr. was fourth and Patrick Bourke was fifth.

Heat race winners were Kaden Taylor, Cranston and Ray Seemann. Josh Fairbank won the B-main.

The Keizer Aluminum Racing Wheels Hard Charger Award went to Jeff Crook, who finished 11th after starting 20th.

Feature results

1. Luke Cranston, 2. Brian Herbert, 3. Keefe Hemel, 4. Blake Smith Jr. 5. Patrick Bourke, 6. Josh Fairbank, 7. Kaden Taylor, 8. Mark Walinder, 9. Ray Seemann, 10. Adam Trimble, 11. Jeff Crook, 12. Bob Sheaffer, 13. Dan Brummet, 14. Chuck Lutters (DNF), 15. Jordan Randles (DNF). 16. Blake Bogenhagen (DNF), 17. Judd Sheaffer (DNF), 18. Lance Davis (DNF), 19. Zach Blurton (DNF), 20. Jeff Radcliffe (DNF).

B-feature results

1. Josh Fairbank, 2. Patrick Bourke, 3. Mark Walinder, 4. Adam Trimble, 5. Jeff Radcliffe, 6. Chuck Lutters, 7. Jordan Randles, 8. Dan Brummet, 9. Bob Sheaffer, 10. Jeff Crook, 11. Larry Radcliffe (DNF), 12. Garth Griffith (DNF), 13. Mike Parker (DNF), 14. Chad Salem (DNF).


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