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SPOTLIGHT ON SPEED: MARTY GRIST

With a nudge from his wife, Topekan Marty Grist decided he wasn't going to worry about points this dirt track season.

It's a strategy that just could take the Champ Mod competitor all the way to his first track championship.

"That was one thing my wife requested at the beginning of the year,'' Grist said. "She just said, "Let's not race for points, let's go have fun.' ''

With the season Grist is having, suffice it to say he's having a bunch of fun.

Grist notched his first feature win of the season Saturday night and is now just 26 points behind fellow Topekan Lance Lincoln in the Champ Mod standings.

"We're there (in the race),'' Grist said. "I don't know why, but we're still up there.''

Grist did not run in the season-opener, but has run and finished every race since there.

Grist said that the reasoning in not racing for points this season was simply to take a more relaxed approach.

"We can take off (if we want to), and I stay more relaxed,'' he said. "I don't worry about it and just go have fun. That's what this is about. It's been a real fun year.''

And even though he's right in the thick of the championship race, Grist won't talk, or think, about it.

"I don't even want to worry about it,'' he said. "I don't even want to worry about the points right now.''

Grist has won a championship before, but you have to go back a ways.

"The last track championship I won was probably about 1984, go-kart racing at Woodgate Speedway,'' he said.

Grist's enjoyment this season has been magnified by the fact that he took a decade off from racing before returning in the mid-2000s.

"We completely quit, got away from it. Then I got a wild hair,'' Grist said. "The kids had grown up and we could go do it and have a little fun. The kids helped me, and that helps.

"It's been more fun than I've ever had.''

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