From Lonnie Wheatley
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (July 31, 2010) – Dustin Barks snared his first career American Sprint Car Series feature win by racing to victory lane in Saturday night’s 25-lap American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region main event at Springfield Raceway.
The Farmington, MO, shoe did it in impressive style as well, driving past three former ASCS Sooner Region champions over the final half of the race to take top honors in the inaugural edition of the track’s Ozark Empire Nationals.
While Barks started fifth, front row outside starter Sean McClelland outgunned pole starter Joe Wood, Jr., and paced the early rounds ahead of Wood and Andy Shouse on the top side of the ¼-mile clay oval.
With the top three using the top portion of the racetrack, fourth-running Barks began working the low line and was closing in when the race’s only caution flew after ten circuits when Gavin Punch spun to a stop in turn two.
With McClelland continuing to lead the way on the restart, Shouse slid past Wood for second with Barks making his move to the front by disposing of both Wood (the defending series champion) and then Shouse (the 2004 Sooner co-champion) for second by the 15th round.
Barks reeled in McClelland and squeezed underneath exiting turn four on the 20th round to take command. McClelland contested the lead over the next two laps before slowing as his mount began to overheat.
Barks raced on to his first ASCS checkered flag, commenting that, “We had it working good on the bottom, I was just hoping none of those other guys would move down there before I got to ‘em.”
Shouse took the runner-up position in the final rounds, with McClelland holding on to the show position in front of Wood and 12th-starter Nick Smith.
Making his first Sprint Car start in more than a year, Toby Brown posted a solid sixth-place run carrying the No. 29 on his wing in tribute to Travis Rilat, who continues to recover in a Seattle hospital from burns.
Brian McClelland climbed from 14th to seventh, with J. Kinder, Tyler Blank and Kenneth Walker completing the top ten.
Barks, Kyle Bellm and Wood topped heat race action for the event co-sanctioned with the Winged Outlaw Warriors.
American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Results from Springfield Raceway:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 22-Dustin Barks, 2. 27-Andy Shouse, 3. 88-J. Kinder, 4. 81au-Gavin Punch, 5. 87-Brian McClelland, 6. 81au-Gavin Punch.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 2. 55-Donnie Ray Crawford, 3. 9m-Jon Corbin, 4. 04-Brad Graham, 5. 17-Kyle Carpenter, 6. 2-Kenneth Walker.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 2. 1-Sean McClelland, 3. 29-Toby Brown, 4. 15s-Nick Smith, 5. 21T-Eric Todd, 6. 21$-Michelle Decker.
“A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 22-Dustin Barks, 2. 27-Andy Shouse, 3. 1-Sean McClelland, 4. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 5. 15s-Nick Smith, 6. 29-Toby Brown, 7. 87-Brian McClelland, 8. 88-J. Kinder, 9. 75-Tyler Blank, 10. 2-Kenneth Walker, 11. 04-Brad Graham, 12. 21$-Michelle Decker, 13. 17-Kyle Carpenter, 14. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 15. 81au-Gavin Punch, 16. 9m-Jon Corbin, 17. 21T-Eric Todd, 18. 55-Donnie Ray Crawford.
American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Sean McClelland 1,345, 2. Joe Wood, Jr. 1,280, 3. Kenneth Walker 1,231, 4. Andy Shouse 1,223, 5. Donnie Ray Crawford 1,171, 6. Brian McClelland 1,116, 7. Michelle Decker 825, 8. Tony Bruce, Jr. 687, 9. Nick Smith 634, 10. Danny Jennings 555.