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Wilhite set to join 2024 Sooner Late Model title race

by John Rittenoure

TULSA, Okla.(April 3, 2024) - The race for the 2023 Sooner Late Model championship was a long hard fought battle among the top 10 drivers in points, and Brett Hansen came away with the crown. The 2024 APEX Healthcare Partners Sooner Late Model Series points race gets underway Saturday at Enid Speedway and Christopher Wilhite, Jr. of Meeker wants to add his name to the 2024 title race.

“I would really like to win the championship, or at least a top 5. I plan to make all the races I can,” said Wilhite of his plans to concentrate on the Sooner Series. “I usually race five or ten times a year, I plan on doing about 30 races this year. I want to make all the Sooner races and hit some Comp Cam shows.”

Last season Wilhite raced in five Sooner shows logging one top 5 in four top 10 finishes. Wilhite also raced five times in 2021.

Wilhite is going all out this season and is looking for luck to go his way Saturday after hard luck has already cost him two motors in the past month.

“I have not had the best of luck so far,” Wilhite said. “I blew up two motors this year already. We bought some motors from a guy that were suppose to be new and they wasn’t. I went to Arrowhead and blew one there and blew the other one in practice at Kellyville.

“I got a new one from Modco Racing Engines and so far so good with it. We have two motors being down that should be ready in a month or so.”

Wilhite hot lapped the car and new motor at Red Dirt Raceway last Saturday and all went well.

“Everything felt pretty good at Meeker,” Wilhite said. “I actually went back to some of my lap times from last year. I had a good car there last year, but not very good luck. (Last year) I was leading and a lapped car pulled off in front of me. That was my best run of the year. I was just in the wrong spot.”

It may be only the third year behind the wheel of a late model, but Wilhite has been around the race track since he was three and started racing at an early age. His grandfather, Dickie Walton built what is now Red Dirt Raceway in 1985 and Wilhite grew up around the speedway where his dad Chris raced.

“This is my third year. I started racing when I was 14 and that was my end goal,” Wilhite said of his dream to drive a late model. “My grandpa’s brother James had one when I was a little kid and I actually have that car now. I always had a soft spot for it. I have raced factory stocks, modifieds, sport mods but I always want to race a late model since I was a baby running around with (grandparents) Connie and Dickie (Walton).

“My first year was in the old car I got from James then last year was in this car. Last year I felt pretty competitive.”

Wilhite has a host of people to thank for helping make his late model career possible.

“Willie’s Salvage, Mike’s Machine Shop, Martin’s Trading Post, my wife (Chelsea), kids (Race, Adalynn), my father (Chris Wilhite), Michelle Ann Blood, my uncle Carl Smith and my grandpa and grandma (Connie and Dickie Walton).” said Wilhite. “Most of the time it is just me and my dad.”

Saturday Wilhite will start a new chapter in his dream to race a late model stock car.

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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