Thunderbird, Challenge VII at Salina set for this weekend

By John Rittenoure

– TULSA, Okla. (September 19, 2022) – It has been nearly two months since the AmeriFlex / OCRS IMCA Sprint Cars have raced in sanctioned competition. But that is about to end.

Friday racing resumes at Thunderbird Speedway’s historic half mile. Saturday Salina Highbanks Speedway will host AmeriFlex Challenge VII.

It will be the second visit to Thunderbird this season. John Carney II won his first career OCRS feature at Thunderbird on March 26 with Whit Gastineau finishing second.

One year ago Gastineau won at Thunderbird then finished 2nd the next night at the AmeriFlex Challenge VI. Gastineau undoubtedly would like to improve on that this weekend by winning at Thunderbird again and improving on his finish in the AmeriFlex Challenge.

This years AmeriFlex Challenge will once again pay $3,000 to the winner with no less then $1,000 to anyone qualifying for the 20-car main event.

Blake Hahn is the defending champion. Hahn was driving in his first OCRS career event behind the wheel of the Elizabeth Phillips owned sprinter. Alex Sewell is the only repeat Challenge winner with wins coming in 2019-20. Mike Goodman won in 2018, the late Mickey Walker picked up the 2017 victory and Sean McClelland won the first Challenge in 2016.

Race time Friday at Thunderbird is 7:30 p.m. with pit gates open at 4. Saturday gates open at 3 and racing begins at 7.

Top 10 Standings: Blake Edwards 1514; 2. Rees Moran 1491; 3. Terry Easum 1444; 4. Whit Gastineau 1155; 5. Sheldon Barksdale 1116 6. Elizabeth Phillips 981; 7. Joe Bob Lee 901. 8. Johnny Kent 856; 9. Danny Smith 800; 10. Steven Shebester 770.

2022 Winners: 3/4 – Steven Shebester (Red Dirt Raceway); 3/5 – Tyler Drueke (Red Dirt Raceway); 3/19 – Blake Edwards (Creek County Speedway); 3/25 – John Carney II (Thunderbird Speedway); 3/26 – Tanner Conn (Lawton Speedway); 4/9 – Terry Easum (Oklahoma Sports Park); 4/23 – Johnny Kent (Creek County Speedway); 5/20 – Danny Smith (Tulsa Speedway); 5/21 – Steven Shebester (81 Speedway); 5/28 – Alex Sewell (Salina Highbanks Speedway); 6/24 – Tanner Conn (Red Dirt Raceway); 6/25 – Kyle Clark (Tri-State Speedway); 7/9 – Steven Shebester (Lawton Speedway); 7/22 – Whit Gastineau (Lake Ozark Speedway); 7/23 – Rees Moran (Lake Ozark Speedway).