2003 IMCA Modified champion David Murray wins 40-lap Duel in the Desert A-Feature

Saturday, November 22, 2003

David Murray of Oberlin, Kans., won the 40-lap A-Feature for IMCA Modifieds during the sixth annual Duel in the Desert at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s half-mile dirt oval. John Saathoff led the A-Feature from the first lap and enjoyed a full-straightaway lead over second-place Murray until a caution flag for a stalled car on lap 20 tightened the field. Murray, the 2003 IMCA National Modified champion, challenged Saathoff on the restart and eventually took the lead. Once in command, Murray managed to pull away from the rest of the field to record his 35th victory of the season. Saathoff was destined to finish second until his engine expired on the final lap, which dropped him to 22nd.

Ten 15-lap IMCA Modified qualifying heats were held on Friday night. Heats were won by John Saathoff, Jason Black, Kellen Chadwick, Jason Friesen, Kyle Busch, Jon DeBenedetti, David Murray, Ken Hatfield, Brian Poppa and Justen Yeager. Due to the lateness of the hour, the G-Feature and F-Feature were postponed to Saturday night.

G through B Feature winners: Curt Barwell (G), Art Lacy (F), Bumper Jones (E), Darin Center (D), Dan Schwartz (C) and Phil Penney (B). IMCA Modified Dashes were won by John Saathoff and Chris Alcorn.

Darin Grimsley took the lead on lap 12 and went on to win the 15-lap Thunderstock feature. Thunderstock heats were won by Grimsley and Steve Springer. The always-entertaining Thunderstock contingent included a 1950 Studebaker sedan, a station wagon and an asphalt Late Model.

A total of 159 IMCA Modifieds and 16 Thunderstocks entered the two-day event.

IMCA Modified A-Feature (26 cars, 40 laps):

1. David Murray, 2. Jon DeBenedetti, 3. Chris Alcorn, 4. Justen Yeager, 5. Bob Hogge, 6. Kyle Busch, 7. Jason Friesen, 8. Terry Tipton, 9. Brian Poppa, 10. Mark Allison, 11. Phil Penney, 12. Darin Duffy, 13. Dave Byrd, 14. Scott Duval, 15. Julie McDermott, 16. Kellen Chadwick, 17. Ken Hatfield, 18. Chad Chadwick, 19. Jason Black, 20. Keith Brown, 21. Brian Cass, 22. John Saathoff, 23. Scott Busby, 24. R.C. Whitwell, 25. Mike Wedelstadt, 26. Denny Schwartz.

Thunderstock feature (10 cars, 15 laps):

1. Darin Grimsley, 2. Steve Springer, 3. Anthony DiBiase, 4. Gary Bodell, 5. Larry Black, 6. Troy Rawling, 7. “Grandpa Bob” Taylor, 8. Brent Rawling, 9. Chris Clyne, 10. Howard Smith.