Cody Gardner Wins Bandit Outlaw Sprint Series Event at 67 Speedway

2021 Bandit Outlaw Sprint Series top Story Logo

Texarkana, AR (9/18/21) Veteran, yet young, sprint car driver Cody Gardner drove the wheels off his number G6 sprinter Friday night at Texarkana 67 Speedway in the opening night of the Bandits Outlaw Sprint Series Razorback Nationals, besting a field of 27 drivers. The event was presented in part by Smiley’s Racing Products, Mallory Print and Griffith Truck & Equipment.
This was by far the largest field of sprint cars to assemble at 67 in several seasons, and what an exciting and unpredictable night of racing it was.
But for the ‘Bandits, lets just call it predictably unpredictable, as fans that follow the series know – it is never over til it’s over.
New track owner Duke Whiseant commented: “We were really excited about hosting the ‘Bandits here and the teams and staff were all top notch. We can’t wait to bring them back next season!”
And this writer would say the same in return, as they were a dream track partner and kept their fans informed with the latest Series updates along the way building up to race day, and their entire staff was helpful, knowledgeable and totally pleasant to work with. We absolutely look forward to returning there next season.
The fan turnout was excellent, but it could have been even bigger, if it wasn’t for the pestering tropical system Nicholas located a few hundred miles to the southeast – as it was spewing an occasional shower in the general area during the mid-afternoon hours. But the fans in the stands didn’t feel even as much as a raindrop from when the gates opened through the final checkers, and it was quite pleasant outside with temps around 80 degrees throughout the evening.
Back to the racing action. The bottom line in the heat races was, if you didn’t start deep in the field, you weren’t going to amass enough passing points to start on the front two rows of the feature event, as basically the top 4 qualifiers all started 6th-8th! So that pretty much tells you what the heat race action was like: lots of passing!
Dustin Gates (started 8th in his heat) garnered enough points to become the top qualifier, while Cody Gardner (started 7th in his heat race) was on the front row outside.
When the green flag dropped on the 25-lapper, Gates jumped out to an early lead, but the start would be called back after a 3-car skirmish took place in corner one.
On the next start, Gates and Gardner roared down the frontstretch with Gardner taking the extreme high-side and sneaking by Gates to take a 5-car length lead down the backstretch.
About 5 laps in, the lead pair would catch the back markers, setting the stage for an exciting chess match negotiating those cars across the wide, slick, smooth racing surface.
A few caution flags would realign the field, and with clear track ahead Gardner would maintain his spot at the point of the field.
Meanwhile several drivers were quietly advancing through the field, one of them being 13th place starter Claud Estes III. Estes would power his way up to 4th place mid-race when he cut a right rear tire down, by what appears to have been debris, relegating him to the infield.
Another driver that was absolutely blasting through the field was 15th place starter Koty Adams.
It was at that point in time where this writer witnessed second place runner Dustin Gates tag the retaining wall upon entry to corner one.
And on lap 21, disaster would find Gates, as his right rear tire detonated at the end of the frontstretch, sending his car spinning and the rest of the field scrambling.
Amazingly, no one got tore up in the wild fracas, but Gates would be forced to retire from the event. But he certainly had nothing to hang his hat about, as he knew he had a front-running car all night long. Again, it was a big sigh of relief to all that no one crashed during that exact moment – as it could have gotten quite ugly, quick.
This would set the stage for a quick shootout to the finish, as the 14th place starter of Koty Adams would now be restarting in 2nd with 6th place starter and 2020 ‘Bandits champion Michael Day lining up in 3rd.
Cody Gardner would continue to take command of the tricky and technical racing surface with seemingly no issues as all and would take the checkers first by five car lengths over Koty Adams, and 11th place starter Zane Lawrence – that zipped under Michael Day to collect a hard-earned podium finish, with Michael Day and 10th place starter Colby Estes (and 2018 ‘Bandits series champion) rounding out the top five.

Gary Wright, who came out of retirement to thrill the fans would start 8th and finish in a solid 6th place in the Mark Huddleston-owned, Chris Stivers wrenched number 45x car. Everyone in attendance was excited to see him race – and he did not disappoint. Several times he’d pop a wheelie coming off the corners, yet never miss a beat along the way. So, thank you Gary for joining us last night!
ADDED BONU$: $500 “Last Lap Pass For The Win” Award. If a driver passes the lead car on the last lap of the A-feature event – and takes the win – that driver will win a $500 bonus from Kool Trikes of Clarksville, Texas! This bonus was recently won by Koty Adams at LoneStar Speedway on July 4th – and there is one Kool Trikes $500 bonus remaining for the 2021 season available!
We’d like to thank the hard-working Whiseant family, their staff, the amazing 67 fans and the 27 ‘Bandits teams that supported the event in making the night so fun and successful – and we definitely look forward to returning in 2022.
Duke told this writer that after their last event coming up this month that they have a massive list of construction projects slated for the track, which will take it to the next level. Items such as concrete walls, new catch fence, LED light strips, a digital scoreboard and track widening are all in the works.

Bandit Outlaw Sprint Series
67 Speedway
Texarkana, Arkansas
Friday, September 17, 2021

Heat Race #1 (10 Laps)
1. 91-Michael Day[2]
2. G6-Cody Gardner[7]
3. 12W-Dale Wester[6]
4. 45X-Gary Wright[9]
5. 30-Joseph Miller[1]
6. 3W-Willy Reed[5]
7. 9-Josh McCord[3]
8. 21K-Kevin Hinkle[8]
9. 90M-Mark Seiple[4]

Heat Race #2 (10 Laps)
1. 82-Austin Saunders[3]
2. B99-Blake Mallory[7]
3. 80-Josh Hawkins[8]
4. 71-Colby Estes[5]
5. 82C-Christian Kinnison[9]
6. 19J-Jason Long[6]
7. 25-Blaine Baxter[4]
8. 5-Richard Reynolds[2]
DNS: 4X-Heath Nestrick

Heat Race #3 (10 Laps)
1. 74-DJ Estes[2]
2. 6-Dustin Gates[8]
3. 76-Zane Lawrence[1]
4. 74E-Claud Estes III[4]
5. 99B-John Ricketts[3]
6. 71B-Bradyn Baker[6]
7. 16-Koty Adams[9]
8. 21B-Brandon Hinkle[7]
9. 23-Junior Jenkins[5]

A-Main (25 Laps)
1. G6-Cody Gardner[2]
2. 16-Koty Adams[14]
3. 76-Zane Lawrence[11]
4. 91-Michael Day[6]
5. 71-Colby Estes[10]
6. 45X-Gary Wright[8]
7. 80-Josh Hawkins[4]
8. 82-Austin Saunders[5]
9. 82C-Christian Kinnison[9]
10. 12W-Dale Wester[27]
11. B99-Blake Mallory[3]
12. 21K-Kevin Hinkle[21]
13. 74E-Claud Estes III[12]
14. 23-Junior Jenkins[24]
15. 6-Dustin Gates[1]
16. 21B-Brandon Hinkle[22]
17. 5-Richard Reynolds[23]
18. 71B-Bradyn Baker[17]
19. 30-Joseph Miller[15]
20. 74-DJ Estes[7]
21. 25-Blaine Baxter[19]
22. 99B-John Ricketts[13]
23. 19J-Jason Long[16]
24. 90M-Mark Seiple[25]
DNS: 3W-Willy Reed
DNS: 4X-Heath Nestrick
DNS: 9-Josh McCord