By John Lemon
Tulsa Okla. (December 13, 2018) – Caney Valley Speedway promoter Kerry Gorby has acquired the Oil Capital Racing Series sprint car organization from long time series owner Barry Grabel. The process of the sale has been in motion for a few months and is now official. Grabel had owned the series since 2005 when he and Tulsa businessman Tom Sewell partnered together. Grabel became the sole owner in 2012.
Ameri-Flex Hose and Accessories, a Tulsa Oklahoma based business, has agreed to continue as the series title sponsor.
“The OCRS series is a good series and I see a solid future ahead for OCRS,” commented Gorby. “I am not looking to make a bunch of changes. The current rules package needs to be retained and we can build on the success that the series has accomplished to date. The racers have a great title sponsor behind them in Corvan (Robison) and I have some marketing ideas that I will look to implement as well.”
Gorby added, “First off is to finish getting the 2019 racing schedule in order and go to work from there. I feel a couple of new venues will work out well while continuing to produce great racing events for our regular partners (racetracks). My track, Caney Valley Speedway (Caney Kansas) will book about the same number of races as normal while traditional shows like the Harold Leep Classic (Thunderbird Speedway) and the AmeriFlex Challenge (Salina Highbanks Speedway) will still be some of our marquee events.
Grabel felt it was time to turn the reins of the series over and feels Gorby was the right person to take over.
“Been at this game a long time. The highs, the lows and everything in-between,” said Grabel. “This sport gets in your veins and it stays in your bloodstream for life. Then you find there comes a time when you need to relax even if it means letting go of something you enjoy so much and that’s where I’m at now.”
“Kerry is ready for this and he is the right man for the job. Since he is a track promoter also, he will be speaking to his peer group when wanting to book race dates. By hearing what other track operators have to say in terms of their wants and needs, Kerry can empathize with their issues more than most anyone else and this gives him instant credibility.”
“I know I will miss having the series as you kind of adopt these things like they are your favorite pet but in saying that, I know I will enjoy the much needed break as it is a job that can be taxing at times too. It’s been quite a ride”
When asked what he will miss most, Grabel didn’t have think.
“The people, plain and simple, it will be the people. From the race teams to the track owners / promotors, the sponsors, the fans and the staff that supported me for so long.”
“Most people dont know this but a sizable portion of the staff is made up of people that worked the Tulsa Speedway back in the day. We have been together a long long time and I appreciate every one of them more than they will ever know. That said, I’m not going into the abyss as I will be popping into some of the racing events from time to time. I do wish everyone well as they continue to produce a great racing series.”
The Oil Capital Racing Series started out as a spin off of the former Oil Capital Racing Association that Len & Allenda Larkin headed up. Current racer Danny Smith and his wife Tina took the group over in 2002 and changed the name to its current state. After about a year and a half, the Smith’s sold the series to Kenneth and Saundra Walker. The Walker’s sold the series to Grabel & Sewell thus Kerry Gorby makes the 4th owner in what will be the 18th season for the series when the green flag drops next March for another season of racing.
The first look at the 2019 AMERI-FLEX / OCRS schedule will be out and posted very soon.