Murgic wins special raceRace car driver Steve Murgic won the first Dwain Behrens memorial race in 1993, a year after his good friend Behrens died due to a snowmobile accident.
By: Trey Mewes, Intern, Rosemount Town Pages
Race car driver Steve Murgic won the first Dwain Behrens memorial race in 1993, a year after his good friend Behrens died due to a snowmobile accident. On Aug. 2 Murgic saw his son Nick beat the likes of Jake Ryan, Adam Royle and Donny Reuvers to win the 15th annual Dwain Behrens Memorial 40 NASCAR Whelen All American Series event at Elko Speedway.
“It's one of them things that you know, everybody hopes to win because everybody liked Dwain,” Murgic said. “It's just pretty special. For (Nick) to do such a good job on that particular night just seems extra special.”
Nick “The Hammer” Murgic, the leading contender for this year's Rookie of the Year in the American Speed Association's Midwest Tour, is in his second year racing in the Late Model category. Murgic is a third generation, driver carrying the legacy of a family that has raced for more than 50 years. The significance of the race was certainly on his mind, as it meant a lot to his family.
“I always wanted to win that one, especially because of how well my dad knew Dwain,” Nick Murgic said.
Steve Murgic grew up with Dwain Behrens, both second generation drivers whose fathers raced against each other. Behrens is the godfather of Nick Murgic's sister Katie while Steve Murgic and wife Jean are godparents to one of Behrens' children. When Steve Murgic won the first memorial race, it was 150 laps. Watching Nick Murgic win this year's memorial race brought back some of the emotions he felt.
“It's kind of hard to talk about it actually,” Steve Murgic said. “There were just a lot of memories from the past.”
Nick Murgic began the event by setting the Yellow Tail Fast Qualifying standard at 13.827 seconds, beating out Jonathan Eilen of Hampton by .002 seconds. Murgic won one of the 15-lap semi features before the 40-lap feature began. He took an early lead by blowing past Royle on the outside early in the third lap.
Murgic battled Royle and Reuvers for the lead spot for 11 laps before rookie contenders Matt Goede and Ryan Johnson tangled, starting lap 14 as the first caution lap of the race. Murgic held off Royle on the restart to take the lead while Royle and Ryan crept up from behind.
Royle was taken out of the equation when he and Joey Miller made contact, making lap 33 the second and final caution lap of the race. Murgic ended the race on top, outgunning a fast-moving Ryan while Reuvers took third, Jason Schneider placed fourth and Eilen came through the heap from 17th place to finish fifth.
“If he'd have made one mistake, one minor twitch-up he wouldn't have won,” Steve Murgic said. “He was just flawless on this particular occasion.”
Dwain Behrens' son, with whom Nick Murgic raced go karts when they were little, presented Murgic with the trophy, a miniature grandfather clock.
Murgic, only 17 years old and an RHS senior, has raced since he was 14. He hopes to continue in the ASA tour next year and gain a little more prominence among tough competition. While his record is good on the local tracks, Murgic has consistently finished in the top 20 on other tracks in the Midwest tour. That should change come this Sunday at 6 p.m. when Murgic Racing competes at Raceway Park in Shakopee.
“All of the out-of-town guys will be on our home track, so we're looking forward to that,” Steve Murgic said.
As for this year's Dwain Behrens memorial win, the Murgics have already put the trophy in a special place.
“It's on our entertainment center above our TV in the living room, right in front of everybody,” Nick Murgic said.