Barksdale in the right place at the right time
By John Rittenoure - OCRS PR (Muskogee, OK) -- Sheldon Barksdale has had his share of tough luck. In fact, it was just last weekend when Barksdale destroyed his car in a hard crash at Humboldt Speedway but Friday at Thunderbird Speedway, the tables were turned in his favor.
PHOTO CREDIT: Phil Pace
Barksdale was in the right place at the right time when race leader Whit Gastineau coasted to a stop in turn three with two laps remaining. Barksdale assumed the lead on the lap 19 restart and picked up his second Ameri-Flex / OCRS Sprint Car victory of the season on the opening day of the 5th annual Harold Leep Classic presented by Carter-Maxwell.
“You hate to win it like that sometimes and I hate it for Whit,” Barksdale said. “Those guys were really fast tonight. I don’t think we would have had anything for them. It was unfortunate for him, but sometimes you take them how you can get them.”
Ameri-Flex / OCRS points leader Zach Chappell jumped into an early lead in the 20-lapper with Gastineau right behind. Gastineau closed on Chappell and the two battled wheel-to-wheel before Gastineau finally took over on lap 4.
The move avenged two earlier loses last weekend to Chappell. Gastineau was on a rail all night turning 19-second lap times as he cruised to a win in his heat race and soon was pulling away from the field in the feature.
On lap 9, Chappell pulled off on the backstretch with mechanical problems and Barksdale took up the chase. However, with two laps remaining Gastineau suddenly lost power bringing out a yellow flag. Barksdale led the final two laps for the victory.
The win was much needed for the Barksdale Overhead Door team who drove back home to Norman (OK) last Friday with a totaled race car, dropped the engine into a backup car and then drove back to Nevada Missouri to race on Saturday.
“Tonight was huge for us,” Barksdale said. “Last week was rough losing our best car then trying to get this thing out the next night and really struggling."
“We went to work this week and put in a lot of hours and it paid off for us. That is all you can ask for. We definitely improved and made the car a lot better this week.”
The Thunderbird half-mile is the largest track on the Ameri-Flex / OCRS schedule and one that Barksdale really enjoys.
“I like it,” he said. “It is a fun track. We have two wins here. I like the chance to get on a big half-mile. It is something different. It is fun to get up to those speeds.”
At the end of the 10-mile race rookie contender Jase Randolph was second after starting on the pole. Shane Sellers charged his way from 15th to finish third earning him the York Plumbing Hard Charger award. Defending Ameri-Flex / OCRS champion Alex Sewell was fourth and Andrew Deal fifth.
Another driver suffering tough luck was Perry Pickard who flipped his sprinter eight laps into the race. Pickard was not hurt and went home with the M&W Aluminum Hard Luck award.
James Shoun went home with an extra $50 as the last place finisher on the final lap thanks to money put up by former racer Jerry Medlin. Medlin will also pay the last place finisher on Saturday.
Ameri-Flex OCRS Results
June 21, 2019
Car count: 20
Drive Shafts, Inc. Heat 1 (8 Laps)
1, 8-Alex Sewell. 2, P78-Perry Pickard. 3, 15-Jase Randolph. 4, 5-Joe Bob Lee. 5, 222-Jaiden Hughes. 6, 22T-Frank Taft. 7, 14-Shane Sellers.
Bravado Wireless Heat 2 (8 Laps)
1, 2W-Whit Gastineau. 2, 50Z-Zach Chappell. 3, 6-Alison Slaton. 4, 88-Terry Easum. 5, 1-Casey Buechler. 6, 62-James Shoun. 7, 4AM-Mike Goodman.
Car and Fleet Parts Heat 3 (8 Laps)
1, 20S-Sheldon Barksdale. 2, 15D-Andrew Deal. 3, 9-Kinzer Edwards. 4, 11-Avery Goodman. 5, 777-Bailey Hughes. 6, 18J-Cody Jarvis.
Ameriflex Hose and Accessories A FEATURE (20 Laps)
1, 20S-Sheldon Barksdale. 2, 15-Jase Randolph. 3, 14-Shane Sellers. 4, 8-Alex Sewell. 5, 15D-Andrew Deal. 6, 88-Terry Easum. 7, 11-Avery Goodman. 8, 5-Joe Bob Lee. 9, 6-Alison Slaton. 10, 2W-Whit Gastineau. 11, 9-Kinzer Edwards.
12, 1-Casey Buechler. 13, 62-James Shoun. 14, 4AM-Mike Goodman. 15, 22T-Frank Taft. 16, 50Z-Zach Chappell. 17, 222-Jaiden Hughes. 18, P78-Perry Pickard. 19, 18J-Cody Jarvis. 20, 777-Bailey Hughes. (DNS).
Lap Leaders: Zach Chappell 1-3, Whit Gastineau 4-18, Sheldon Barksdale 19-20.
Margin of victory: 01.401 seconds.
Contingency Award Recipients:
Ameri-Flex Hose A Feature Winner: Sheldon Barksdale.
Drive Shafts Inc. Heat Award Recipient: Alex Sewell.
Bravado Wireless Heat Award Recipient: Whit Gastineau.
Car and Fleet Parts Award Recipient: Sheldon Barksdale.
York Plumbing Hard Charger Award: Shane Sellers +12
M&W Aluminum Hard Luck Award: Perry Pickard.
Amsoil High Point Driver Award: Whit Gastineau.
Rod End Supply Recipients: Kinzer Edwards, Casey Buechler, James Shoun.
Wesmar Racing Engines Recipient: Whit Gastineau.
Night #2 of the 5th Annual Harold Leep Classic presented by Carter-Maxwell @ Thunderbird Speedway. Race time is 7pm.
Submitted By: Kirk Elliott