Sherrell Shines in Turnpike Challenge Opener
Tulsa, Okla. (April 1, 2016) – Matt Sherrell of Owasso, Oklahoma inherited the lead late after starting inside row five and made POWRi history, claiming night one of the Turn Pike Challenge, co-sanctioned by the Lucas Oil POWRi National and West Midget Series. Sherrell is the only driver other than Christopher Bell to claim a Turnpike Challenge victory.
Rookie Chase Hill driving the Danny Felker BOSS Chassis entry shared the front row with Tyler Thomas to lead the field to green. Heading into turn one, Thomas would take to the high side and charge into the lead as Tanner Thorson took the second position. On lap three, coming off turn four, Thorson would utilize the bottom to power past Thomas and gain control of the lead. Before lap four could be completed, Carson Macedo would bring out the caution, looping his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Toyota-powered Bullet entering turn one, collecting Dustin Morgan, Kevin Bayer, and Cody Brewer.
Coming back to green, Tyler Thomas would mount a challenge entering turn one on the high side of the 1/8th mile Port City Raceway oval while Thorson worked the bottom. Austin Brown entered the picture, creating a battle for second. By lap five, Brown would work past Thomas and into the second position, setting his sights on Thorson. As Brown worked to reel in Thorson, Thorson closed in on lap traffic, allowing Brown to close quicker and apply pressure, all the while as Matt Sherrell worked into the third position. After getting pinned behind lap traffic, Brown would make a dive to the bottom of turn three on a lap machine, only to make contact and spin in turn three, bringing out the yellow.
With 21 laps in the books, Thorson looked dominant leading the field back to green as Matt Sherrell commanded the second position. The action would be stopped on lap 23 as Andrew Felker got upside down in turn three, bringing out the red. Felker would be alright and restart at the tail. Returning to racing, Thorson appeared to have the race all but won, until the rear end locked up aboard his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Toyota-powered Bullet entering turn three. Thorson would re-fire and join the tail of the field, as Matt Sherrell inherited the lead on lap 28.
Capitalizing on Thorson’s misfortune, Sherrell would dominantly hold off Zach Daum for the final two laps in route to his first career Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget Series victory. Jason McDougal of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma would round out the podium after starting deep in the 15th position and Tyler Thomas took home fourth. Justin Peck of Monrovia, Indiana completed the top five.
“It feels good,” stated a victorious Sherrell. “It feels like it’s been a long time coming. We’re fast at places and we have a lot of good runs, but we finally put it together. I’ve got to thank my family for always sticking behind me. My pregnant wife, we’re due May 19th with a little boy, so we’re excited about that. I’ve got to thank all my sponsors, and both series for putting on this race.”
“Huggie pole around the bottom like that isn’t a lot of fun for anybody,” explained second place finisher Zach Daum. “That’s the racetrack we had, so that’s what we had to race on. We weren’t very good tonight and we lucked in the second. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Some of those lap cars don’t have any respect. When you’re a lap car, normally you don’t try to race the leaders. That’s just common courtesy and some of these guys don’t have that yet.”
“That was pretty fun,” third place finisher Jason McDougal said. “Just to stay conservative for that long of a race and not get caught up in any of those wrecks, it’s a blessing to be here. I’d like to thank BOSS Chassis, Tommy Gray with CTE, Factor One Racing, Hoosier Tire, Butler Built Seats, and Hinchman Suits.”
(Photo courtesy of Dylan Duvall)
Speedway Motors Heat Race Winners: Heat 1: 11H – Chase Hill, Heat 2: 5X – Justin Peck, Heat 3: 93 – Dustin Morgan, Heat 4: 91T – Tyler Thomas, Heat 5: 5D – Zach Daum, Heat 6: 21 – Ty Hulsey, Heat 7: 8 – Alex Sewell
C Main Winner: 14B – Kevin Bayer
Semi Feature Winners: 73 – Jason McDougal, 17 – Logan Seavey
Great Clips Feature Winner: 35 – Matt Sherrell
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series Feature Results (30 laps): 1. 35 – Matt Sherrell 2. 5D – Zach Daum 3. 73 – Jason McDougal 4. 91T – Tyler Thomas 5. 5X – Justin Peck 6. 97 – Spencer Bayston 7. 8 – Alex Sewell 8. 21 – Ty Hulsey 9. 67K – Holly Shelton 10. 17 – Logan Seavey 11. 8J – Jonathon Beason 12. 96 – Cody Brewer 13. 3N – Jake Neuman 14. 11A – Andrew Felker 15. 11H – Chase Hill 16. 27 – Tucker Klaasmeyer 17. 67 – Tanner Thorson 18. 7 – Austin Brown 19. 7S – Pat Schudy 20. 14S – Grady Chandler 21. 14B – Kevin Bayer 22. 71K – Carson Macedo 23. 71 – Ryan Robinson 24. 93 – Dustin Morgan
For more information, visit www.powri.com.