There is something about “special events” at the Oklahoma Sports Park that suits Gary Owens just fine when the Oil Capital Racing Series comes to town.
For the second time in five events at George Welch’s 4/10-mile track, Owens took advantage of his front row starting spot and became the fifth winner in as many attempts of the Harold Leep Jr. Memorial Race held earlier this month. Owens last took checkers at OSP in the fall of 2011, when he won his first OCRS feature event at the Oklahoma State Championship event.
“The track was in pretty good shape tonight,” said Owens. “We had a pretty good little cushion, and I knew that if I could keep it (the car) there, hopefully everything would line up, and it did and we had a pretty good run tonight.”
At the drop of the green flag, Owens shot his vehicle into the lead as the cars attacked the first two corners. Perry Pickard followed Owens into turn one from his pole position berth, only to have Shayla Waddell, who started outside second row and behind Owens, overtake Pickard as the cars exited turn two.
Alex Decamp, Casey Wills and Jeremy Allen would be the next few cars to cross the stripe with the leading trio, as the field would complete the opening round of the 25-lap affair.
DeCamp would pass Pickard on the third lap to move into the show position. Soon after, Pickard would drift high in turn two and lose several positions. On the ensuing lap, Waddell would break loose and get crossed up in turn four. “The Princess” would wind up in the infield but gassed it to keep her revs up and bolted right back onto the track, only losing two positions.
Owens was out to a 12-car length lead by this point and was showing everyone in attendance he meant business. As the field was working lap 13, Chuck Bellefeuille came to a stop in turn two to bring out the first caution of the race. He would not restart, as he was towed back to the pits. The restart order would have Owens at the top, with the lapped car of Joshua Tyre next, then DeCamp, Allen, Waddell, Wills, Joe Wood Jr., Harli White, Kade Morton, Whit Gastineau, Strike Hill and Johnny Kent.