Coming into the racing season, Kevin Debaere was looking to capture a few firsts in his career.
And he did just that last weekend at Murray County Speedway.
The Marshall resident won his first IMCA stock car race since moving up to the class three years ago.
"My hopes coming into this year was to get my first win in a stock car," Debaere said. "I had never won in the stock car division before."
In his ninth year or racing, Debaere is challenging for the driver's seat in his class, sitting firmly in second place in the IMCA stock car division at Murray County Speedway, and is looking to beat his second-place finish from a year ago.
"The first year I got fifth in season points," Debaere said. "Last year I was second, and right now I'm running second."
For Debaere, the desire to race didn't come from his family, but from a group of friends.
"When I first started out there were three or four of us guys that ended up with an old race car," Debaere said. "We decided to build it up and then we started racing it a little bit. After you did it a couple times, it seemed like you were hooked on it.
"I have friends that pit crew (for me), but my family is pretty consistent about watching me."
After catching the racing bug, Debaere spent three years in both the hornet and hobby stock classes before moving up to the stock car class. This is his third year racing in the stock car class.
Weather slowed the start of the racing season, and right out of the blocks, Debaere ran into trouble. But he quickly recovered.
"I had a major problem the first night out. I blew an engine," Debaere said. "I've had some pretty good luck as far as breakdowns since then."
In seven races this season, Debaere has posted five top-five finishes and this last week took his first feature win.
DeBaere was able to take the lead early on and hold it through several cautions and challenges.
"We had a caution with three laps to go," Debaere said. "I had it running through my head that if I just drove the way I had been, I would be good."
Debaere said that with track conditions constantly changing at Murray County Speedway, he is constantly making small changes to his setup.
"It seems like I'm always trying something a little bit different," Debaere said. "The track is different every week. One week it's dry, one week it's tacky. It's tires and shock changes occasionally."
With just under half of the season left, Debaere knows what he needs to do to maintain, if not improve on his second-place standing.
"My goal is to finish in the top four every night," he said.