From John Lemon / OCRS Staff
Muskogee, OK – (May 7th, 2011) – Gastineau was only a dash victory away from sweeping the sprint car program. Driving the Shell Rapid Lube, Larry Allen Engines, Goodyear Tire special number 2w, Gastineau began the main event on the outside of the front row along side pole sitter and dash victor, Kacee Frazier, who was the culprit that took the dash win from Gastineau and was looking to sweep herself after having won her heat race earlier in the night in the Wesmar, Kiezer Aluminum Wheel special.
Frazier sped into the lead at the drop of J.D. Etters green flag only to have OCRS defending champion, Jamie Passmore, blast into the lead in his GAP Roofing / Shenee chassis machine by going wide around Frazier in turn two and blasting down the backstretch. Fred Mattox would dispose of Frazier while they raced down the same back straight. At the end of lap two, it was: Passmore, Gastineau, Fred Matox, Frazier, and Matt Sherrell.
Positions in the back of the field were being contested at will. The yellow flag waved on lap eight when unexpectedly, race leader Passmore got loose in turns one and two, jumped up into the cushion and smacked the wall causing damage that would sideline him for the remainder of the event. The restart had the Gasman still on the point with Mattox second followed by Sherrell, Frazier and Sean McClelland.
Back underway, Gastineau continued to lead and then disaster struck for a couple of drivers just two laps later. Lawton Speedway opening night winner Kyle Cobb and Kyle Clark got together on the back straight sending Clark into a series of rollovers, neither would continue. Clark would checkout OK. Back to green and Sherrell would find his way past Mattox in turn one from second then Mike Goodman would make a move of his own in the Premier Homes / F5 Twister machine by passing Rafe Essary and Frazier for the fifth position. The next lap would see McClelland in the Timco Automotive / Carter-Davis Machine Eagle, overtake Mattox for third.
Frazier would bring out the feature’s last stoppage in action when she slowed to a stop in turns one and two with mechanical difficulties. She would not be able to continue and thus retired pitside. Goodman would pass Mattox in turn one for fourth on the ensuing restart only to have Mattox retake the spot before getting back to the line. The half way point saw the top ten with Gastineau on top, followed by Sherrell, McClelland (from 12th), Mattox, Goodman (from 17th), Essary, Danny Smith (from 20th), Kevin Guinn, Andrew Deal and Travis “Hollywood” Jenkins.
Smith would pass Essary two laps letter in his XXX Same Day Auto Repair mount. The top three put a little distance between themselves and the rest of the field while still trying to overtake one another. In the closing laps, McClelland would begin to drift back allowing the Gastineau / Sherrell duo to get away. The Gasman would hold on to win by four car lengths over Sherrell with McClelland, Mattox and Goodman completing the top five. Rounding out the top ten were: Smith, Essary, Guinn, Jeremy Allen and Deal. “I was really tight at the beginning of the race” said Gastineau. “By the end of the race, I was just cruising around at the bottom. Normally its pretty dry here and tonight the bottom was pretty tacky. If someone was going to pass me, they were going to have to go around me” said the victor. Sherrell commented on Gastineau’s win by saying “I wish one of us would have gotten him now that this makes two in a row for him. Nobody likes to see that happen with the exception of him of course. We have been fighting fuel issues all night” said the Sherrell Paint & Auto Body driver. “Its (motor) been kind of popping and sputtering, especially entering the corners. That’s what’s been really killing me tonight. On those restarts, he (Gastineau) would just pull away until my car would get going. If not for that problem, I think we could of challenged him a little bit” said the runner-up.
Fred Mattox was happy with the performance of his AKL Oilfield Services / D&J Tank Trucks / Pacer Marketing / XXX chassis and he specifically pointed out the Goodyear tire as a reason why he ran well. “That Goodyear tire was a difference maker. Tonight was our first time out on Goodyear’s and it seemed to have a better bite than the other tires we have ran before. Im impressed a lot with it”, said Mattox. Asked why he faltered back just a bit towards the end of the race, Mattox held nothing back: “Im just out of shape” said the 18 year old. “I just got tired and I need to get in better physical shape and run a little bit more.”
Goodman’s take on his 17th to fifth run wasn’t as enthusiastic as one might think. “We’ve been struggling” said the former series champion, “We’ve been struggling a lot. I don’t even know were to start, I just know we have been struggling. We have a combination of issues and have battled things from last year to now like battling heat (in the motor) all last year and we have done some different things. We are still battling it but I do think it is something we will fix.” On a more upbeat tone, Goodman did share what he felt helped him in improving 12 positions, “Well, I have always ran good here and it seems me and this track were just meant for each other and I think some of that just goes my way. We are a good experienced team and we know how to fight through battles to make us better and fortunately tonight, we did that. I think the new surface may have caught some of the guys off guard. We got to run the B Feature and that gave us an idea on what the track was going to do.”
McClelland shared his thoughts on how his race unfolded for him as well. “We got a good start and passed about 4 or 5 cars those first couple of laps and then we just started riding and the last couple of restarts the car just kind of went away. Not sure why but we just weren’t very good those last ten laps. So we just rode it out trying to finish where we were.” About the team and why they work well together when they have only six races together including 3 from 2010: “He (owner Tim O’Toole) has a good car and he spends some money on new tires (rather than pre raced tires) and he does a good job and I can damn sure get around these racetracks that we go to since Ive been on them about a 100 times and won races at about all of them so it’s a pretty good combination and we finish in the top five every night so I guess you cant beat that.”
As with last week, McClelland sits atop the points chart with the same margin (16 pts). Only this time, its Owasso’s Matt Sherrell in the second spot as last weeks second place points holder, Choctaw’s Kyle Cobb, tumbles to sixth. With his second victory, The Gasman jumps three spots to number three while Rafe Essary moves down to fourth (from third). Danny Smith rounds out the top five. The biggest gainer is Fred Mattox improving from 17th to ninth.
The Oil Capital Racing Series will now move onto the Oklahoma Sports Park in Ada Oklahoma for the third annual “Harold Leep Jr. Memorial” next Saturday, May 14th. Mike Goodman is the defending champion of that special event. OCRS would also like to thank their series sponsors and partners including Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Carter-Maxwell, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, John Boy Racing Components, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Grand Prix Auto Center, Same Day Auto Repair and Shoenfeld Headers.
Heat 1: 1. Kerry McAlister 2. Kevin Guinn 3. Glen Passmore 4. Josh Toho 5. Mike Goodman 6. Brady Demeree 7. Rob Hooper 8. Dean Drake Jr
Heat 2: 1. Whit Gastineau 2. Rafe Essary 3. Travis Jenkins 4. Sean McClelland 5. Kyle Clark 6. Casey Wills 7. Chris Pillars
Heat 3: 1. Matt Sherrell 2. Shayla Waddell 3. Jeremy Allen 4. Tim Kent 5. Kyle Cobb 6. Danny Smith 7. Keith Bolton
Heat 4: 1. Kacee Frazier 2. Fred Maddox 3. Jamie Passmore 4. Andrew Deal 5. Beau Gastineau 6. Terry Easum 7. Johnny Kent
Dash: 1. Kacee Frazier 2. Whit Gastineau 3. Jamie Passmore 4. Fred Maddox 5. Matt Sherrell 6. Kerry McAlister
B Feature: 1. Mike Goodman 2. Kyle Cobb 3. Danny Smith 4. Brady Demeree 5. Dean Drake Jr 6. Johnny Kent 7. Terry Easum 8. Casey Wills 9. Beau Gastineau 10. Keith Bolton 11. Rob Hooper 12. Tim Kent 13. Chris Pillars
A Feature: 1. Whit Gastineau 2. Matt Sherrell 3. Sean McClelland 4. Fred Maddox 5. Mike Goodman 6. Danny Smith 7. Rafe Essary 8. Kevin Guinn 9. Jeremy Allen 10. Andrew Deal 11. Travis Jenkins 12. Glen Passmore 13. Kerry McAlister 14. Shayla Waddell 15. Josh Toho 16. Kacee Frazier 17. Kyle Clark 18. Kyle Cobb 19. Jamie Passmore 20. Brady Demerre