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Cranston goes back-to-back for first time

NORTON — Luke Cranston has competed in his fair share of sprint car races. But in his career, he never had won back-to-back races.  That streak came to an end Saturday night at the fast half-mile of Elmwood Park Speedway in Norton for the United Rebel Sprint Series driver.

Cranston, from Plains, won for the second night in a row after winning Friday night at Thomas County Speedway in Colby. It was his fourth URSS win of the season.

“When we won Belleville earlier this season and went to La Crosse, I told Kirk (Reinert) I'd never won two nights in a row. Then I didn't have a good run at La Crosse. When I won at Colby, I said it again. This time, it worked out well. I've never won back-to-back races before, and Kirk never had either.”

Cranston started on the pole alongside Brian Herbert after the starting order was specified by a pill draw to invert the starting grid.

Cranston bolted to the lead as Herbert moved to the bottom of the track. Herbert changed his line a few laps later, trying to reel in the leader. But the high line proved to be slower for the Dodge City driver, and Cranston added to his cushion.

“When I went to the top, the car was too tight to run the cushion,” Herbert said. “ … Luke said after the race he thought I was going to pass him a couple times before I moved up.”

But once Herbert moved back to the low groove, Cranston had checked out. He eventually lapped a large portion of the field.

“I'm obviously glad we won,” he said. “It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if we started back a few rows and then seen what we could have done. That would have been interesting to see because the car was so fast. But it's still pretty awesome with that field of cars and with the drivers who are in the series.”

Herbert held off the pursuers for the runner-up spot for the second night in a row.  “He had another good run,” Herbert said of Cranston. “He got out to a good lead.”

Jeff Radcliffe, who was caught up in the first-lap wreck the night earlier in Colby, rebounded to finish third, and Zach Blurton — also involved in the Colby wreck — was fourth. Darren Bowman finished fifth.

Heat race winners were Bowman, Radcliffe and Blurton

The Keizer Aluminum Racing Wheels Hard Charger Award went to Bowman, who started eighth and finished fifth.

Feature results

1. Luke Cranston, 2. Brian Herbert, 3. Jeff Radcliffe, 4. Zach Blurton, 5. Darren Bowman, 6. Darren Berry, 7. Ray Seemann, 8. Josh Fairbank, 9. Lance Davis, 10. Randy Bantam, 11. Troy Edwards, 12. Howard Van Dyke, 13. Mike Speer, 14. Cody Keiswetter, 15. Kaden Taylor, 16. Ron Hadley, 17. Mike Madden.

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