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Gastineau out duels Deal for OCRS victory at Thunderbird

Gastineau out duels Deal for OCRS victory at Thunderbird

By John Rittenoure (Muskogee, OK) - Whit Gastineau and Andrew Deal put on a thrilling duel to the finish on Friday in what was a return to the historic Thunderbird Speedway half-mile oval for the Ameri-Flex / OCRS sprint cars after a four-year absence.

The race was also the first of the three-race Truck Lungs High Plains Shootout Series that will pay a $5,000 point fund to the top finishers in what is a three-race mini series. And Gastineau fired the first shot edging Deal in the closing laps for his first victory of the season.


Deal, who won three weeks ago at Lawton, took the early lead and Gastineau was close behind. Deal was running the low groove while Gastineau gave chase from near the wall. Lap after lap Gastineau would make a run at Deal pulling alongside at times.

“It was a good one,” Gastineau said of the back-and-forth battle. “He (Andrew Deal) was on the bottom and I was on the top.”

However Gastineau was doing his best to keep his car off the wall as he entered the turns.

“I had brakes but they would go to the floor in the middle of every corner then I would pump them going down the straightaways to help the car turn,” Gastineau said of his efforts to catch Deal. “When I pushed up into the wall is when the brakes would go to the floor. I had to sling it in there.”

Unable to get the lead Gastineau briefly moved down behind Deal midway through the race but that did not work and nearly cost him second as Shane Sellers closed in.

“I was just trying something different,” Gastineau said. “You are up there every lap you might as well try something.

“There were times I would get a run on him and he would get runs on me. You just had to be patient with it.”

In the closing laps Deal had to contend with some lapped traffic and Gastineau was able to sneak past in his Exterior Specialties sponsored WESMAR powered sprinter for the lead.

“I just hit my line right,” Gastineau said of his pass for the lead. “If he hit his line right he was better than me and If I hit mine line right I was better than him.”

Deal agreed the race was a fun one, but he would have liked another yellow flag to give him open track for the finish.

“That was a fun one,” smiled Deal when asked what he thought of the race. “I thought I had the car to win there, but lapped traffic kind of got me. If the lapped cars would have been on the top I would have had the advantage, but they were on the bottom and I had the disadvantage. I needed one more caution late to get those lapped cars out of there.”

At the finish Sellers finished in third just a half second ahead of series points leader Zach Chappell. Alex Sewell was fifth.

Joe Wood, Jr. turned in a strong run in the 12-lap WESMAR B feature leading Danny Smith, Sheldon Barksdale and defending Ameri-Flex / OCRS champion Robert Sellers across the line. Brett Wilson, Shayla Waddell, Cameron Hagin and Casey Wills finished fifth through eighth to earn transfer positions in the main event.

Ameri-Flex / OCRS Results
Thunderbird Speedway, Muskogee, Okla.
August 18, 2017
Car count: 30


Drive Shafts, Inc. Heat 1 (8 laps)
1, 2W-Whit Gastineau[2]. 2, 4-Shane Sellers[7]. 3, 4X-Robert Sellers[3]. 4, 28-Joe Wood Jr.[5]. 5, 31-Casey Wills[4]. 6, 17-Brent Bates[8]. 7, P78-Perry Pickard[6]. 8, 30-Joseph Miller[1].

A1 Machine Shop Heat 2 (8 laps)
1, 2-Mickey Walker[1]. 2, 9$-Kyle Clark[3]. 3, 1-Sean McClelland[7]. 4, 87F-Brian McClelland[6]. 5, 53-Brett Wilson[4]. 6, 5-Cameron Hagin[2]. 7, 22X-Matt Cash[5]. 8, 8J-James Fabian[8].

Car and Fleet Parts Heat 3 (8 laps)
1, 8-Alex Sewell[1]. 2, 55-Johnny Kent[2]. 3, 20S-Sheldon Barksdale[3]. 4, 222-Jaiden Hughes[7]. 5, 76S-Shayla Waddell[5]. 6, 22T-Frank Taft[4]. 7, 88-Chris Jensen[6].

Car and Fleet Parts Heat 4 (8 laps)
1, 50Z-Zach Chappell[4]. 2, 5L-Joe Bob Lee[2]. 3, 15D-Andrew Deal[6]. 4, 25-Noah Gass[5]. 5, 5$-Danny Smith[1]. 6, 007-Michael Bookout[3]. 7, 23A-Travis Ashwood[7].

Wesmar Racing Engines B Feature (12 laps, top 8 transfer)
1, 28-Joe Wood Jr.[3]. 2, 5$-Danny Smith[8]. 3, 20S-Sheldon Barksdale[2]. 4, 4X-Robert Sellers[1]. 5, 53 Brett Wilson[6]. 6, 76S-Shayla Waddell[7]. 7, 5-Cameron Hagin[10]. 8, 31-Casey Wills[5]. 9, P78-Perry Pickard[13]. 10, 30-Joseph Miller[17]. 11, 23A-Travis Ashwood[16]. 12, 8J-James Fabian[18]. 13, 22T-Frank Taft[11]. 14, 22X-Matt Cash[14]. 15, 88-Chris Jensen[15]. 16, 007-Michael Bookout[12]. 17, 25-Noah Gass[4]. 18, 17-Brent Bates[9].

AmeriFlex Hose & Accessories A Feature (25 laps)
1, 2W-Whit Gastineau[2]. 2, 15D-Andrew Deal[1]. 3, 4-Shane Sellers[4]. 4, 50Z-Zach Chappell[8]. 5, 8-Alex Sewell[6]. 6, 2-Mickey Walker[5]. 7, 20S-Sheldon Barksdale[15]. 8, 1-Sean McClelland[7]. 9, 5$-Danny Smith[14]. 10, 53-Brett Wilson[17]. 11, 9$-Kyle Clark[3]. 12, 28-Joe Wood Jr.[13]. 13, 87F-Brian McClelland[12]. 14, 31-Casey Wills[20]. 15, 5L-Joe Bob Lee[10]. 16, 4X-Robert Sellers[16]. 17, 55-Johnny Kent[9]. 18, 76S-Shayla Waddell[18]. 19, 5-Cameron Hagin[19]. 20, 222-Jaiden Hughes[11].

?Contingency Awards
Drive Shaft Inc. Heat: Whit Gastineau
A1 Machine Shop Heat: Mickey Walker
Car and Fleet Heats: Alex Sewell, Zach Chappell
Wesmar Racing Engines B-Feature: Joe Wood jr.
Amsoil Hard Charger: Sheldon Barksdale +8
M&W Aluminum Hard Luck: Robert Sellers
Rod End Supply Recipients: Kyle Clark, Joe Wood Jr, Brian McClelland

Next Up:
August 26th
Ameri-Flex Challenge II presented by Grand National Trailer
$3,000 To Win - $1,000 To Start
Salina Highbanks Speedway - Salina OK.

Pictured: Whit Gastineau in victory lane
Photo Credit: John Parham