Oil Center —
Shane Sellers stood tall in the saddle Saturday and captured his first-ever Oil Capital Racing Series sprint car feature win when he capitalized on a miscue by feature race leader Fred Mattox at George Welch’s Oklahoma Sports Park on an unusually cool summer evening.
With the victory in the 25-lap affair, Sellers becomes the 10th different winning driver in 15 events conducted in the 2013 OCRS racing season and the seventh driver this season alone to win his first-ever series main event.
Mattox started on the pole and got the jump at the start to lead over Sellers, who started alongside Mattox in his sprinter. Casey Wills, who won the last OCRS main event two weeks ago, settled into third position at the completion of the opening lap followed by Chance Morton, a winner at the Caney Valley Speedway in May.
An early battle for the fifth position saw “The Princess," Shayla Waddell, and Johnny "Hotrod" Kent go at one another side by side for an entire lap and a half while never once separating from one another until Kent got the advantage on Waddell at one point, coming out of turn four only to have Waddell get back by him before another lap was completed. The action of these two drivers alone had the crowd enthralled with what it was witnessing.
Entering lap seven, Mattox came upon lapped traffic, and what lead he had on Sellers began to evaporate. Sellers would reel Mattox in but would not muster enough steam to make a pass.
Working the 10th and 11th laps, a big battle was taking place among Kent, Gary Owens (who won at the Oklahoma Sports Park last May) and current points leader Harli White for the seventh position. Working lap 12, White would get by Owens and as the field took the halfway sign from OCRS starter JD Etter, a huge crash occurred between Brandon James and Dillon Ake in turn three with both cars flipping. Fortunately, both drivers would be OK.
The restart lineup saw Mattox, who was celebrating his 21st birthday, on top followed by Sellers, and then the lapped cars of Chuck Bellefeuille and Michael Tyre with the third-place car of Casey Wills next, then Chance Morton and Waddell. Back under way, Sellers made a charge to take the top spot, but Mattox refused to relinquish the point. Danny Smith would work his way to sixth behind Waddell, and White would begin to make her presence known at this point, moving in behind Smith.
White would get around Smith on lap 16. Back up front, the leaders were staring down lap traffic for another time. On the 21st lap, it became doomsday for Mattox. Entering turns three and four, Mattox got caught up with a lapped car and tuned over, bringing out the second red flag of the race.
Mattox, who lost a race at the local dirt track when he turned over just 25 yards from the finish line in September 2011, was OK but obviously highly disappointed that he wasn’t able to provide himself the birthday present he set out to get.
This would put Sellers on the point for a five-lap shootout with Wills second, followed by Morton, Waddell, White (up from 10th), Smith, Owens and Kent.
On the restart, it was White who really went to work, as she shot by Waddell coming out of turn two and immediately went by Morton as well to move into third place. Smith and Owens would each work their way past Waddell as well.
Coming down for the white flag lap, White swept past Wills for the runner-up spot, and she would retain that spot as Sellers would cross the line for the win the next time by. Wills held on for third, with Morton, Smith, Owens, Waddell, Sheldon Barksdale, Kent and Alex DeCamp rounding out the Top 10.
Barksdale would earn the AmeriFlex Hose and Accessories "Hard Charger" award by passing 11 cars in the feature from his 19th starting position. Mattox would be the recipient of the Dyno Services of Oklahoma “Hard Luck" award.
“It's really good to get this win for my guys,” said Sellers from victory lane. “He (Mattox) had a good car tonight, and we were doing everything we could to stay with him and when he got into trouble, it played into our favor. The track was good and you could run just about anywhere, but you really had to be careful with the lapped traffic tonight.
"OCRS has done a good thing with their new starting format, as it allows an even chance to win. We hope to win some more soon.”
Welch was thrilled at the attendance for this OCRS event.
“We had another big crowd, over 3,000,” he said. “They came out to watch the sprint cars.”
The next event on the OCRS 2013 tour will be held Aug. 17 at the Southern Oklahoma Speedway in Ardmore. For more information on the OCRS sprint car series, including updates, stories, photos, complete 2013 point standings and future schedules, log onto www.ocrsracing.com.