The lead may have slipped away from him temporarily, but Aaron Turnbull made sure he got it back.
Turnbull passed Travis Hagen on lap 37 of 40 to win the McComb Automotive Fast 40 at Estevan Motor Speedway on Saturday, earning himself a cheque for $3,000 in the process.
"I just didn't give up. He got ahead of me and I just found a line to get around him," said Turnbull.
"It was tough in lap traffic and he kinda got held up a little bit, and I got back by him. I guess it was meant to be."
The Fast 40 modified feature is a prelude to the Estevan stop on the Dakota Classic Modified Tour, which ran last night. See the upcoming edition of the Southeast Trader Express or visit estevanmercury.ca for the results.
Turnbull had the pole for Saturday's 40-lap feature and wasted absolutely no time in building a massive lead on the very first lap.
"I didn't know how much of a lead I had. I figured (the other drivers) were fairly close, but I tried to stretch it out as much as I could in case it went caution-free," said the Estevan native.
Alas, that plan didn't work out, as the first caution came on lap 12 with Turnbull still nursing a giant lead while trying to dodge lap traffic.
Another yellow flag came two laps later. After the restart, Turnbull spent a few laps battling Minnesota's Kevin Stoa but managed to hang on.
"Lap traffic, there were a few of them that were running my line and that was when Kevin was right on my bumper. That made it difficult," said Turnbull.
"I thought he was going to get me right there, but I managed to get him back."
Hagen later grabbed the lead on lap 28 and held it until Turnbull retook the honours late.
"The car was working pretty decent, just good enough to win. I didn't run away with it, obviously," said Turnbull.
It was at about this time last year when Turnbull went on a tear, winning four of five races at the Speedway, only to fall just short of the season points championship in the mod class.
He said he's optimistic he can do it again, and with only one race for track points in the books so far, the field is wide open.
"I hope so. It's been going good. We haven't raced much here, but I've been racing in Williston quite a bit and it's been going pretty good."
Stoa finished second in the Fast 40, followed by Hank Berry, Tyson Turnbull and Allen Kent.
Berry, a consistent threat from Sidney, Mont., climbed from 12th into the top five, but said he didn't have the horsepower to get out in front.
"Once I got there, I kinda was with them but I just didn't have enough to try to make a pass. There were a couple of different lines I tried, and I could kinda get up there and look like maybe I was going to be able to get ahead of them, but I just couldn't get 'er done," he said.
A total of 26 drivers qualified for the feature through heats and a B-main.
Like many American drivers who come to Estevan for the mod tour, Berry doesn't get to this side of the border often and he said the Fast 40 is a good tune-up for the tour stop.
"It's like a practice night. I haven't been here for awhile and I don't get here too often, so it's like practising for (Tuesday) night."
He added that he was very impressed with the condition of the track.
"The track was wonderful. It was awesome, really. There were multiple grooves, it was smooth, it was a really good race track they had.
"They deserve a lot of credit, the guys who prep the track, because I know it takes a lot of work to do that and get a race track right. They did a fantastic job."
In the stock car class, Estevan's Austin Daae passed Joe Flory on the 13th lap and hung on for the win.
Flory had taken the lead early and held off Kelly Henderson and Alvin Dube before being overtaken by Daae.
In the hobby feature, Brad King of Fairbanks, Alaska passed Dustin Byler in the second half of the race and hung on for the win. Byler had the pole for the feature and led for a significant chunk of the race.