By John Rittenoure
Monett, Missouri (June 17, 2012) – The Oil Capital Racing Series made its first visit ever to Randy Mooneyham’s Monett Speedway on Sunday night and thanks to Whit Gastineau and Danny Smith, it was a night many of the Show Me state fans won’t soon forget.
Gastineau and Smith entertained the fans with their battle for the lead but it was Gastineau who found just enough traction to pass Smith on the final lap to win his second OCRS main event of the season. Gastineau started on the pole and led the first 12 laps of the 25-lapper before Smith roared past on lap 13 running up against the cushion.
“Danny Smith was really coming on the top,” said Gastineau of losing the lead. “We had been running the bottom most of the race and I was expecting the rubber (on the track surface) to come in a little bit. “When you are out leading, you don’t want to change your line so I did not move up there. Then I saw him and it was almost too late.”
Smith was working the high groove to perfection but Gastineau was not about to give up and remained true to his low line where he found just enough traction to mount a challenge and take the lead back on the final trip around the 3/8’s mile oval. “He was up pretty high and I was trying to work a groove underneath him where I would be able to pass him,” Gastineau said of Smith. “In one and two it was kind of hard to slide him because you could not come off as good in two so I knew it was going to have to be in three and four. I just keep working that groove below him and ended up working out.”
Smith felt it was better to be in second for most of the race where he could plan his move into the lead. But that also proved true for Gastineau. “It’s better to be in second place because you are moving around and can feel where the rubber is at,” explained Smith. “I had to run my line. I could hear him back there and thought, I have to watch for the slider, when he slid and stuck in the middle and got right by. There was nothing I could do about it.
Whit, Katie and Drew Gastineau enjoy victory lane laurels. Mike Spivey Photo
“I ran the first half of the race in second and moved around and found the line and was able to go on by him then later on he was able to return the favor.” Smith would have liked one more shot at Gastineau but time was running out. “On the last lap it did not give me a chance to go back at him,” Smith said.
Despite finishing second Smith enjoyed his battle with Gastineau. “I really enjoy racing with them,” Smith said of Gastineau. “They are professionals and race clean with me. We enjoyed it.
“I feel like I let my crew down a little bit because this is Sunday. They work hard for us.”
The victory was a satisfying ending to what started on a bad note for Gastineau. Saturday night Gastineau blew an engine during the OCRS feature event at Tri-State Speedway. Gastineau had to call home, which is five hours near Oklahoma City, and ask his engine builder to pull an engine from his other car and bring it to Monett where they swapped engines before the races.
“I am getting tired of these tough weekends,” said Gastineau who had a similar experience early this year when he crashed a car at Thunderbird Speedway in Muskogee and had to return home to get another one to run the next night at Caney. ”We have a good car about every night but sometimes you don’t have luck going your way. This is the motor that has won most of our OCRS races. “I appreciate Larry Messmer and Larry Allen for bring me that engine this afternoon.”
When the checkered flag waved it was Gastineau, Smith and points leader Jamie Passmore holding down third. Fred Mattox backed up his second place finish the night before at Tri-State with a fourth place finish and Johnny Kent rounded out the top five.
Hotrod Kent (55) and Jammin Jamie (4j) wage battle @ Monett Speedway / Mike Spivey Photo
Date of race: 6/17/2012
M&W Aluminum Heat:
1, Whit Gastineau (5) 2, Rafe Essary (1) 3, Jamie Passmore (6) 4, Kyle Clark (2)
5, Colton Brewer (3) 6, Tim Kent (4) 7, Rob Hooper (7)
Bob Hurley Auto Family Heat:
1, Johnny Kent (4) 2, Alex Sewell (5) 3, Fred Mattox (7) 4, Casey Wills (6) 5, Jeff Garnett (3)
6, Michael Bookout (2) 7, Russell Boren (1)
Drive Shafts, Inc. Heat:
1, Danny Smith (6) 2, Beau Gastineau (4) 3, Harli White (5) 4, Shayla Waddell (2)
5, Zach Beeler (1) 6, Len Larkin (3) 7, Taylor Huddleston (7)
1, Whit Gastineau (1) 2, Fred Mattox (2) 3, Danny Smith (5) 4, Beau Gastineau (4)
5, Alex Sewell (6) 6, Johnny Kent (3)
OCRS A Feature:
1, Whit Gastineau (1) 2, Danny Smith (3) 3, Jamie Passmore (7) 4, Fred Mattox (2) 5, Johnny Kent (6) 6, Harli White (9) 7, Rafe Essary (8) 8, Casey Wills (10) 9, Tim Kent (15) 10, Alex Sewell (5) 11, Kyle Clark (11) 12, Michael Bookout (16) 13, Shayla Waddell (12) 14, Zach Beeler (14) 15, Rob Hooper (18) 16, Taylor Huddleston (20), Russell Boren (19) 20, Len Larkin (17)
19, Beau Gastineau (4) 20, Jeff Garnett (13) DNS: Colton Brewer.
AmeriFlex Hose & Accessories Hard Charger: Tim Kent +6