Tankersley takes ASCS Frontier season finale at Big Sky

Channin Tankersley Andrew Kunas Photo

By Andrew Kunas
BILLINGS, Mont. – The Brodix ASCS Frontier Region sprint car series closed out its tenth season of competition with its tenth different winner this season, as Houston, Texas visitor Channin Tankersley picked up the season finale Saturday night at Big Sky Speedway.

Tankersley, a former ASCS Gulf South Region champion who had never raced at Big Sky Speedway before Saturday night, dominated and led every lap but the first aboard the Michael Hayashi No. 12h Kannady-powered Maxim. Tankersley started on the outside of the front row and took the lead on the start from pole sitter Phil Dietz. Dietz challenged Tankersley early on, leading the opening lap by a small margin, and then kept pace with Tankersley for a time. Tankersley though was too strong and eventually pulled away in a race that went caution-free.

It was at first a repeat of Friday’s event at Gallatin Speedway where Dietz and Tankersley battled it out for the lead, but it was Dietz who won. This time, Tankersley bested one of Montana’s all-time greats. With the race going non-stop, Tankersley lapped every but the top five finishers.

With a runner-up finish on Friday and a win Saturday, it was a very successful weekend for Tankersley, who expressed his desire to come back and race at least once in Montana next season.

Dietz backed up his Friday win at Gallatin Speedway with a second place run aboard the Dietz Racing No. 72 Panella-powered Maxim. After losing the lead to Tankersley on Lap 2, the five-time sprint car champion ran second the rest of the race and was never threatened for the position. With two wins on the season, Dietz secured fourth place in the ASCS Frontier Region points standings despite missing three events.

Coaldale, Alberta’s Kelly Miller finished third aboard the KDM Motorsports No. 2jr AMS-powered EMi, and secured third place in the points standings, just 23 points back of Great Falls, Montana driver Kory Wermling, who finished fifth in the race behind New Mexico visitor Johnny Herrera, who was driving for local car owner – and Big Sky Speedway owner – Jerry Brey.

Ian Myers of Great Falls locked up Rookie of the Year honors, finishing fifth in the points, and the 16-year-old had one of his finest runs of his debut season in 360 sprint cars, finishing sixth in the season finale.

Chris Williams from Texas finished seventh. Billings driver Josh Ostermiller earned the hard charger nod as he drove from 12th to finish eighth on his home track. Abraham Hernandez finished ninth, a spot ahead of his father Willie Hernandez.

Trever Kirkland of Helena, Montana had his championship season end with a DNF. Kirkland had already clinched his second sprint car title Friday night at Gallatin Speedway, and on Saturday was merely racing for pride and perhaps another win. Kirkland, however, was experiencing fuel issues in the early laps of the main event, in which he started fourth. Not needing the points and therefore not needing to press on, Kirkland elected to exit the race track.

Kirkland finished 162-points ahead of Wermling in the final standings. A former champion of the Big Sky Sprints, a predecessor to the current series, Kirkland’s first title under the ASCS banner comes abord the Kirkland Racing No. 37 Shark-powered Maxim. Despite the final race ending on a low note, Kirkland celebrated with his team post-race and received congratulations from his fellow competitors.

Heat races earlier in the evening were won by Dietz and Wermling. Dietz’s win came from the sixth starting position in a dominating run. Also in a repeat of Friday’s show at Gallatin Speedway, Dietz defeated Tankersley in the final round to win the pole shuffle and secure the pole position for the main event.

Plans for the 2022 season banquet are underway, and work is already being done on the 2023 racing season for the Brodix ASCS Frontier Region sprint car tour.

More information on the Brodix Frontier Region of the American Sprint Car Series, along with news and info on the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour and other ASCS regional tours, can be found online at www.ascsracing.com. Stagg Motor Sports, the promoting company of the ASCS Frontier Region, can be found at www.staggmotorsports.com.

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Brodix ASCS Frontier Region
Season Finale
Big Sky Speedway
Billings, MT
September 10, 2022

Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 72 Phil Dietz, 2. 2jr Kelly Miller, 3. 37 Trever Kirkland, 4. 1m Willie Hernandez, 5. 2x Mike Manwill, 6. 12 Josh Ostermiller, 7. 81 Darren Smith.

Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 9k Kory Wermling, 2. 12h Channin Tankersley, 3. 17j Johnny Herrera, 4. 24m Ian Myers, 5. 63 Chris Williams, 6. 2m Abraham Hernandez.

Pole Shuffle: 12h Channin Tankersley d. 37 Trever Kirkland in Round 1. 12h Tankersley d. 2jr Kelly Miller in Round 2. 72 Phil Dietz d. 12h Tankersley in Final Round.

Feature (25 laps): 1. 12h Channin Tankersley, 2. 72 Phil Dietz, 3. 2jr Kelly Miller, 4. 17j Johnny Herrera, 5. 9k Kory Wermling, 6. 24m Ian Myers, 7. 63 Chris Williams, 8. 12 Josh Ostermiller, 9. 2m Abraham Hernandez, 10. 1m Willie Hernandez, 11. 2x Mike Manwill, 12. 37 Trever Kirkland, DNS – 81 Darren Smith.