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Gardner's Dalton Kirk is a rookie, at Heartland Park anyway, but the 16-year-old is performing like a veteran.

Kirk is in his first season in the Super Saturday Showdown Series and has already established himself as one of the drivers to beat in the B-Modified class.

"This is my first year running at Topeka,'' Kirk said. "I ran at Humboldt and Warrensburg (Mo.) last year and we just wanted to try different tracks.

"I like the way the track's set up, and we're fast.''

Kirk didn't know what to expect when he decided to compete at HPT, but finds himself in the points lead heading into the summer.

"I'm very surprised I'm leading the points,'' Kirk said. "Coming over here I had no idea what to expect.''

Kirk said that the key has been "just finishing, finishing the race.''

Kirk got the racing bug from other family members and got his start in go-karts.

"My uncle and cousin were racing way back when I was three,'' he said. "I started racing go-karts and then at the age of 13 I got to B-Mods.''

While happy in his current class, Kirk hopes to make the next career jump as soon as possible.

"We're looking to be in an A-Mod real soon,'' he said.

In addition to racing, Kirk also plays football at Gardner-Edgerton, a state power.

Kirk says he gets the same thrill competing in both sports.

"There's a lot of competitive guys I run against out here, just like in football.''

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