Dirt track racing has been part of Dan Daniels’ life from an early age. His father and uncle raced on the local tracks.
It wasn’t until the Humboldt native came back from serving in the Navy that he got into dirt track racing himself. In his 17th year behind the wheel, Daniels has collected some major hardware for his trophy case.
“I’ve run in the NCRA (National Championship Racing Association) series before but never could win it. This season (2009) I really went after the title which meant being there for every series race,” Daniels said.
Daniels became the sixth driver to win the O’Reilly/NCRA Modified Championship in the division’s 12-year history. Daniels drove in all eight races of the series in 2009.
“I didn’t win any of the races but won heat races and ran in the top 10 throughout the series. I had four top-ive finishes including the final race,” Daniels said.
“I could finish ninth with Brian Powers leading the race but I couldn’t finish 10th behind him and win the championship. That’s how close the points were going into the final race.”
Neither Powers, who is from Wichita, nor Daniels won the race but they finished second and third which put the championship in Daniels’ hands.
“We had both won our heat races. I just got behind him a followed him throughout the race.
Daniels finished third in the NCRA series in 2008 and fifth in 2000. He said those two seasons and this past season were the ones in which he concentrated mainly on the NCRA series since getting into racing in 1992.
“It’s great to finally get the championship. I just love racing and really went after it hard this past year,” Daniels said.
Daniels’ 3D racing car can be seen at his home track — Humboldt Speedway — throughout its season plus he races at Mid-America Speedway in South Coffeyville, Okla. He was the Mid-America modified champion in 2006 and 2007.
“I was in the running for the championship this past year but missed a couple dates there because of the NCRA series. Rodney Sigg won it (South Coffeyville),” Daniels said.
Daniels said the secret of a championship run is consistency. Maintaining the car so “you don’t have breakdowns and that you finish every race. Every place means points.”
Daniels said he couldn’t have been on the road racing without his sponsors — Johnson’s Cattle Company of Humboldt, Johnson Law Office of Iola, Cactus Jack Cattle Company of Humboldt, MRE Racing of Yates Center and H&H Grill of Humboldt.
“We love racing but we can’t do what we love without sponsors,” Daniels said. “So we’re always looking for anybody wanting to add their sponsorship to our cars.”
The NCRA modified series ran races at Kansas dirt tracks in Park City, Belleville and Hutchinson.
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