Allen repeats at Thunderbird, Hughes wraps up fourth consecutive Sooner Late Model championship
by John Rittenoure - MUSKOGEE, Okla. (October 9, 2021) - Dustin Allen picked up where he left off on Friday racing to his second Complete Well Testing Sooner Late Model Series victory in two nights Saturday at Thunderbird Speedway.
It was Allen’s fifth victory of the season and moved him into fourth in points and earned him Rookie of the Year honors.
Saturday’s show was the season finale for the Sooner Series and Kip Hughes finished fourth to wrap up his fourth consecutive points championship.
Zach Nickel led the first five laps of the 20-lap feature before the yellow waved on lap 6 for Gary Kilbourn who spun to the infield off turn two. When the race restarted Allen pulled alongside Nickel and took over the lead for good on the next lap.
On lap 8 Rob Powell passed Nickel for second and points runner-up Hayden Ross raced into third. On lap 10 Ross charged into second and pulled up behind Allen on lap 17. But Ross could not challenge Allen and settled for second at the finish. Powell, Hughes and Chris Kratzer rounded out the top five.
For Hughes he was just hoping to stay out of trouble and finish high enough to wrap up the championship after a spin and flat tire sabotaged him on Friday.
“I was pretty nervous about that,’ Hughes said of his Friday mishaps. “Tonight my goal was just go out and stay clear. I had it in my head where i had to finish if Hayden won. Tonight was not about the battle, but about the war.”
Hughes has plenty of battle scares from this season. Several mishaps had him chasing Ross in the points race most of the season.
“We had some motor problems here, and we crashed at Crawford (County Speedway),” Hughes recalled of his early season woes. “We were out in Lubbock and Amarillo and had a motor lay down on us. We had one lay down here (in Muskogee). There were a lot of little things stacked against us. We just tried to be smart about it and do the best we could.
“Hayden worked hard and ran good all year long and we had some bad luck early in the year. It got us behind the eight ball and we had to work our tails off. We just put our nose to the grindstone and got after it.”
Hughes feels this fourth championship was the hardest to get.
“You would think it would get easier as time goes on, but it has gotten harder,” he said. “Everybody that races in the series has gotten better. I told my guys over the winter this year is going to be tough with guys moving up and getting better.”
Ross, in just his second year of racing at the age of 19, ran a consistent season picking up 20 top 10 finishes. 13 of those were in the top 5.
“I feel good,” Ross said of his season. “We led the points for awhile. We made some mistakes. I am ok running second to Kip, He is a great driver. It was a real consistent year. I am happy about it.
“When I first started racing my dad and uncle Tommy (Laster) got on my for my starts. They really were not that good. I have gotten real good at that since they are always on my back about it.”
Ross showed how he has improved when he won his first Sooner feature two weeks ago at Enid Speedway.
“It felt really good to get my first win with the Sooner Series,” he said. “We, my crew and I, worked really hard for it.”
Complete Well Testing Sooner Late Model Series
Thunderbird Speedway - Muskogee, Okla.
October 9, 2021
O’Reilly Auto Parts Heat 1 (10 Laps)
1, 77-Zach Nickell. 2, 55K-Chris Kratzer. 3, 4-Kip Hughes. 4, 84-Gary Kilbourn. 5, 25-Rob
Powell. 6, 33-Steven Hawkins. 7, 88S-Richard Shepler. 8, 29S-Scott Donnell.
Design One Racewear Heat 2 (10 Laps)
1, 11-Dustin Allen. 2, 9-Joseph Gorby. 3, 1-Eddie Tidwell. 4, 11J-Steve Johnson. 5, 31-Gary
Lowe. 6, 66-Hayden Ross. 7, 65-Eric Brill. (DNS).
Complete Well Testing A Feature (20 Laps)
1, 11-Dustin Allen. 2, 66-Hayden Ross. 3, 25-Rob Powell. 4, 4-Kip Hughes. 5, 55K-Chris
Kratzer. 6, 1-Eddie Tidwell. 7, 33-Steven Hawkins. 8, 9-Joseph Gorby. 9, 65-Eric Brill. 10, 11J-Steve Johnson. 11, 77-Zach Nickell. 12, 31-Gary Lowe. 13, 88S-Richard Shepler. 14, 84-Gary Kilbourn. 15, 29S-Scott Donnell.
About Complete Well Testing
Based in Oklahoma, Complete Well Testing is a family owned and operated company specializing in hydrostatic tubing testing and EMI tubing scanning.
About Sooner Late Model Series
The Sooner Late Model Series was formed in 2016 by Enid Speedway co-promoter Mark Brill. Brill felt there was not many opportunities for late model competitors to race in Oklahoma and the Sooner Late Model Series was formed. Now the series has grown beyond the borders of Oklahoma with events held in the neighboring states of Kansas, Texas and Arkansas as well.