Rohleder rolling with another Modified win

By Nick Schwien, Hays Daily News

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Kyle Rohleder IMCA Modified feature winner

There’s a racing superstition that drivers should stay away from green on their cars and chicken on race days.

But Kyle Rohleder is blowing the whole “green” thing out of the water the last few weeks.

The modified driver from WaKeeney had nothing but a smile on his face in tech lane Saturday night at RPM Speedway in Hays. Rohleder captured the hard-fought victory — his fourth in a row spanning multiple tracks.

“Everyone always said green is bad luck, but I’m not superstitious,” Rohleder said.

While he might not be superstitious, he definitely has been fast — mad fast.

Rohleder started ninth in the modified feature Saturday night and made up three spots in the first lap before a caution.

On Lap 3, he moved up to fifth, then fourth on the next circuit. The next lap, he was third and moved to the runner-up spot behind Mike Lunow on Lap 7.

“I just kinda had to be patient and wait for the right time to make my move,” Rohleder said. “I was fortunate enough to get out front early.”

After moving into second, Rohleder found himself in a tight battle with Kurtis Pihl. The two raced side-by-side for several laps before Rohleder comfortably got in front of him.

Then he set his sights on Lunow, running a bit higher line as he waited to make his move for the lead.

That came on Lap 13, and he’d never look back.

“I figured the first one around (Lunow) was going to take it,” Pihl said. “He got around him before I did, but that’s all right. We had a good run.”

Pihl moved into second with five laps remaining, but by that time, Rohleder had set sail in his yellow and green-trimmed machine.

“It just seems like my car is a little bit better when I have momentum,” Rohleder said. “And the track was kind of that style. That went for me as far as that style of driving.”

Rohleder eventually moved out to a 1.5 second lead on the next-to-last lap and rocketed to the win a night after he won at Thomas County Speedway in Colby.

“I don’t really ever know. You just try to drive it as hard as you can every lap,” Rohleder said. “You never know what can happen. Sometimes you can get lucky and find something in the race track the other guy didn’t. It works for you that way.”

Dylan Sherfick, who started 11th, was third, followed by David Murray, who started 14th. Daniel Gottschalk, in his first year in a modified, started 16th but worked the high side to a fifth-place outing.

Rohleder, who was two wins at RPM and Colby this year, said his father has been the key to the car being fast.

“Steve’s special setup,” Rohleder said.

Results from the other classes:

‒ Robert Rutherford held down the top spot in the stock car feature for the first eight laps after starting on the pole. Then Tyler Tipton got around him and held off a hard-charging Jason Rogers for the win. Chris Heim was third, and Rutherford fourth.

‒ After he worked his way to the front after starting 10th, the only thing Blaine Walt had to worry about was a rash of cautions behind him in the Northern sport mod feature. Walt won going away, followed by Dakota Sproul, Tyler Watts and Tracy Holloway.

‒ Cody Williams led the first 15 laps of the hobby stock feature before spinning in Turn 2. That allowed Eric Cross to take the point and lead the rest of the way. Brady Bencken was second, followed by Shay Simoneau and Tathan Burkhart.

‒ Justin Yarmer and his co-pilot got into Jeff McQuade in the third turn on the next to last lap of the cruiser feature, sending both cars off the track. But McQuade was given his spot back en route to winning the cruiser main event. Thomas Pyle was second.

‒ Richard Crow walked away with the win in the sport compact feature.

‒ Racing returns to RPM Speedway on Saturday and Sunday for the Ellis County Fair races. The featured event will be the Wheatshocker Rebel Nationals, showcasing the 305 sprint cars. The regular IMCA classes will be competing as well on respective nights.