Channin Tankersley in Smiley's Racing Products ASCS Gulf South Region victory lane at Golden Triangle Raceway Park in Beaumont, TX, on Friday night. (ASCS Gulf South photo)

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– CHATHAM, La. (July 5) – After watching sprint car racing in Ohio and Pennsylvania for two weeks, Channin Tankersley was more than ready to hop back into the cockpit of his own race car.

The 20-year-old from Highlands, Texas, capitalized on that enthusiasm last weekend with a trio of top-10 finishes with the ASCS Gulf South Region to move himself into fifth in the standings.

“I enjoyed watching and learning from those guys in Ohio and Pennsylvania, but it just made me want to race even more,” he said. “I’m trying to do everything I can to learn as a driver and I think we’re on the right path.”

That path continued last Friday at USA Speedway in Sterlington, La., where Tankersley took the road less traveled to charge from 11th to sixth on a less than desirable track.

“It was just right on the bottom,” he said. “There was a little burm right up by the wall and I was the only one up there. I just stayed up by the wall the whole race.”

The highlight of his weekend was Saturday at Jackson Motor Speedway in Jackson, Miss. Tankersley earned a bid in the redraw after winning his heat race from third place. He grabbed the No. 8, which is the highest starting position for the feature.

“At first, my car was average,” he said. “But about the last 15 laps, we started clicking them off really fast.”

Tankersley was mired in sixth place midway through the race when his sprint car started to come to him. When everyone went to the top on a restart, Tankersley dove to the bottom. He picked off a car and the momentum continued until he climbed to second with a handful of laps remaining.

On a late restart, a lapped car that separated Tankersley from the leader spun his tires. By the time Tankersley had passed the lapped car, the leader had almost a straightaway advantage. Tankersley closed to within three car lengths on the final lap, but ultimately settled for second place.

The momentum was quickly stymied on the opening lap of Sunday’s heat race at Jones Motor Speedway in Chatham, La.

Starting on the outside of the front row, Tankersley was caught up in an accident in the first turn when the polesitter slid into him.

“I entered in the middle and he entered on the bottom,” Tankersley said. “I went into the corner and he turned right up into me or slid into me. It spun me out and I backed into the wall.”

The impact knocked the rear end out, tore the nose wing off, bent some radius rods and popped a tire. The team pieced the car together enough to get him back on the track and finish the heat race in fifth.

They didn’t have a lot of time before the B Main, so the crew scrambled to fix most of the damage. Tankersley charged from ninth to second in the consolation race, earning himself a transfer to the main event.

The team was then able to square up the rear end and make sure the car was back to running properly. Unfortunately, that didn’t leave much time for setup.

“We got everything fixed right, but we spent all night battling to get it fixed,” Tankersley said. “We didn’t have enough time to think about what kind of setup we’re going to put on the car. That screwed us because when we went out for the feature it was really, really loose.”

Tankersley drove from 16th to 10th, earning his third top 10 of the weekend and ninth of the season.

“The whole weekend was actually really good even though we had that little incident,” he said. “We salvaged that night. All in all, three top 10s, that’s not too bad.”

Tankersley will be off this weekend before returning for a pair of ASCS Gulf South events on July 15 at Golden Triangle Raceway Park in Beaumont, Texas, and on July 16 at Gator Motorplex in Willis, Texas.


July 1 – USA Speedway in Sterlington, La. – Heat race: 3 (2); Feature: 6 (11).

July 2 – Jackson Motor Speedway in Jackson, Miss. – Heat race: 1 (3); Feature: 2 (8).

July 3 – Jones Motor Speedway in Chatham, La. – Heat race: 5 (2); B Main: 2 (9); Feature: 10 (16).


19 races, 16 features, 2 wins, 6 top fives, 9 top 10s, 10 top 15s, 14 top 20s


July 15 at Golden Triangle Raceway Park in Beaumont, Texas, and July 16 at Gator Motorplex in Willis, Texas, with the ASCS Gulf South Region


1,724: Points this season in the ASCS Gulf South Region, which ranks him fifth overall and only 24 points out of fourth place.


Twitter: www.twitter.com/Tankersley71

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“Bruce Griffith pretty much started my sprint car racing career and he put me on the ASCS National Tour in 2010,” Tankersley said. “Griffith Truck & Equipment has been a huge support for me the past few years and I recommend for anyone interested in trucks and heavy equipment, check out Griffith Truck & Equipment.”

Tankersley would like to thank his sponsors, including Custom Vinyl Designs and Miller’s Machine & Welding for their continued support.