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Conkwright takes advantage to post first Sooner Late Model win at 81 Speedway

By John Rittenoure  (Photo by Gary Cornelison)

PARK CITY,  Kans. (June 8, 2024) - For 22 laps Daniel Smith appeared to be on his way to victory in the APEX Healthcare Partners Sooner Late Model Series main event Saturday at 81 Speedway. But in the blink of an eye that all changed. Smith glanced into the wall and Brandon Conkwright roared past and led the final two laps for the win.

“It looked like Dan got up into the wall a little bit. He said he had a flat tire,” Conkwright said of his move for the lead. “It was just luck on our side. We did not have any body damage or anything. We just happened to get through the lapped traffic at the right time and made the move to pass him on the white flag lap.”

The win is one Conkwright will remember for a long time. It has been seven years since he last drove a late model.

“It is something I will remember for ever,” Conkwright said. “I have not been in a late model since 2017 and I don’t have any laps on this car either. We got this car done Thursday night and were going to come here no matter what. Everyone here worked hard either in the shop or at the track.”

After finishing second in his heat race Conkwright made some minor adjustments that helped him in the feature.

“In the heat race I did not have all rear brake in the car, just front brake and I had to hold on to what I had,” Conkwright said.  “I did not want to mess with much, I knew the car would be great.

“We have been racing modifieds and stock cars the last couple of years and a stock car is way different than a modified and a modified is way different then these cars.”

Conkwright has turned his share of laps at 81 and has nothing but good things to say about the track.

“81 (speedway) has one of the best racetracks day in and day out.”

In the  final two laps it was a scramble to the finish. Smith was doing his best to stay in the running but Dusty Leonard, who held second place for eight laps earlier in the race, got around him on the final lap to regain the runner-up position. Smith did hold on for a third place finish just ahead of his dad, Delbert Smith, who finished fourth. 16-year old Eli Ross came from tenth to finish fifth.

“The car was getting tighter and tighter and I misjudged and gassed it up trying to get it to turn and caught the fence with the right front,” Smith said of his misfortune. “Then right after that the right rear went flat. There is a good possibility the right rear was going flat all the time. I was just hanging on and ended up third. Luckily we did not wreck anybody.

“I am happy Brandon won it, we have been helping him with that car. I was ecstatic when he came under me. I knew it was going to be one of us.”

Sooner Late Model Series Results

81 Speedway - Park City, Kansas

June 8, 2024

APEX Healthcare Partners A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 24C-Brandon Conkwright[5]; 2. 7D-Dusty Leonard[3]; 3. 92S-Dan Smith[2]; 4. 92-Delbert Smith[1]; 5. 66-Eli Ross[10]; 6. 4X-Dalon Helm[12]; 7. 25P-Mike Petersilie[11]; 8. 55-Zach Nickell[13]; 9. 10 4-Adam Popp[6]; 10. 10-TeeJay Janousek[14]; 11. 18B-Bob Bills[8]; 12. 19-Shane Cook[18]; 13. 96-Jon Herring Sr[15]; 14. 1X-Ryan Harris[19]; 15. B1-Dustin Bolster[7]; 16. 87-Kenny Sweet[4]; 17. 19C-Colby Moore[9]; 18. 9XX-Dakota Dellinger[17]; 19. 151-Theron Boswell[16]

Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. 10 4-Adam Popp[1]; 2. 92S-Dan Smith[4]; 3. B1-Dustin Bolster[2]; 4. 66-Eli Ross[5]; 5. 55-Zach Nickell[3]; 6. 151-Theron Boswell[6]; 7. 1X-Ryan Harris[7]

Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. 87-Kenny Sweet[2]; 2. 92-Delbert Smith[6]; 3. 18B-Bob Bills[1]; 4. 25P-Mike Petersilie[3]; 5. 10-TeeJay Janousek[4]; 6. 9XX-Dakota Dellinger[5]

Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1. 7D-Dusty Leonard[3]; 2. 24C-Brandon Conkwright[1]; 3. 19C-Colby Moore[5]; 4. 4X-Dalon Helm[4]; 5. 96-Jon Herring Sr[2]; 6. 19-Shane Cook[6]

Lap Leaders: 1-23 Dan Smith, 24-25 Brandon Conkwright.

Margin of victory: 1.827.

2024 Winners: 4/6 - Kip Hughes, Enid Speedway; 4/13 - Jon Herring, Jr., Beaver County Raceway; 5/11 - Joe Godsey, Caney Valley Speedway; 5/17 - Kip Hughes, Longdale Speedway; 5/18 - Eli Ross, Oklahoma Sports Park; 5/26 - Geoff Aitken, Crawford County Speedway; 6/8 - Brandon Conkwright, 81 Speedway.

Next race: Thunderbird Speedway, June 28, Salina Highbanks Speedway, June 29.

2024 Top 10: 1. Dalon Helm, 2660; 2. Dakota Dillinger, 2450; 3. Zach Nichell, 2350; 4.Eli Ross 2010; 5. Steve Hewitt Sr., 1845; 6. Troy Bynum 1690; 7. Jon Herring, Jr. 1335; 8. Damian Patocka 1180; 9. Kenny Sweet 1100; 10. Adrien Hickman 1055.

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.

APEX Healthcare Partners

Specializing in Multidisciplinary Care Across Specialties, at APEX Healthcare Partners, a team of skilled and experienced providers, therapists, and support staff work together to provide personalized and compassionate care for patients with spinal and neurological conditions in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas.

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