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Hughes wins Sooner Late Model season opener at Enid Speedway

By John Rittenoure

ENID, Oklahoma. (April 6, 2024) - Winning Saturday’s APEX Healthcare Partners Sooner Late Model Series season opener at Enid Speedway was just what four-time champion Kip Hughes needed after a long week.

After working with the Garfield County Fairgrounds to get a new pit area and sound system ready for the season opener Hughes was ready to get back behind the wheel.

“It has been a long week with all the work we have done out here,” Hughes said of the work he was involved in as co-promoter. “To come out here and pull off a win was good.”

Damian Patocka raced off the pole with the early lead in the 25-lap main while Hughes worked his way into second on lap 4 from his outside second row starting position. Hughes caught Patocka on lap 12 and drove into the lead then pulled away for his 37th career victory.

“Damian was really good and I kind of followed him and felt when we got in traffic this is my chance,”Hughes said. “With the wind like it is people do not realize what a difference it makes. It was a race to clean air.”

A day of high winds played havoc with the racing surface but Hughes found it to be racy.

“The track was probably the weirdest I have seen this place and with the wind and stuff I was really nervous on how this track was going to come in,” he said. “It had some choppy spots in it, but it was wide. You could run the top or bottom. Everywhere was really good.”

Patocka fell back to fourth before regaining the runner-up spot on lap 18 where he stayed. Jon Herring, Jr. charged from 13th to finish third, Zach Nickell was fourth and Kenny Sweet rounded out the top five.

Hard luck hit Christopher Wilhite, Jr. who blew his third engine of the young racing season in hot laps and missed the entire show. Richard Shepler also failed to start the main after becoming involved in a heat race crash that damaged his front end.

APEX Healthcare Partners Sooner Late Model Series

Enid Speedway, Enid, Oklahoma

April 6, 2024

APEX Heaithcare Partners A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 60-Kip Hughes[4]; 2. 229-Damian Patocka[1]; 3. 96JR-Jon Herring Jr[13]; 4. 55-Zach Nickell[7]; 5. 87-Kenny Sweet[2]; 6. 81-Troy Bynum[3]; 7. 9XX-Dakota Dellinger[11]; 8. 27X-Ron Brown[14]; 9. H1-Steve Hewitt Sr[6]; 10. 4X-Dalon Helm[9]; 11. 66-Eli Ross[12]; 12. 84-Gary Kilbourn[8]; 13. (DNS) 96-Jon Herring Sr; 14. (DNS) 21-Christopher Wilhite JR; 15. (DNS) 88S-Richard Shepler

O’Reilly Auto Parts Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. 229-Damian Patocka[4]; 2. 88S-Richard Shepler[8]; 3. 87-Kenny Sweet[5]; 4. 55-Zach Nickell[6]; 5. 4X-Dalon Helm[7]; 6. 9XX-Dakota Dellinger[2]; 7. (DNS) 96JR-Jon Herring Jr; 8. (DNS) 21-Christopher Wilhite JR

Design One Racewear Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. 60-Kip Hughes[1]; 2. 81-Troy Bynum[7]; 3. H1-Steve Hewitt Sr[3]; 4. 84-Gary Kilbourn[6]; 5. 96-Jon Herring Sr[5]; 6. 66-Eli Ross[4]; 7. (DNS) 27X-Ron Brown

Lap Leaders: Damian Patocka 1-11, Kip Hughes 12-25.

Margin of victory: 4.974

Next Race: April 13, Beaver County Raceway.

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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