Sewell conquers the high banks of Salina
By John Rittenoure - SALINA, Okla. (July 21, 2018) - Alex Sewell has won at a lot of race tracks, but Salina Highbanks Speedway has not been one of them.
That is not the case anymore. Saturday Sewell raced from the eighth starting position to win the Ameri-flex / OCRS presented by Truck Lungs 25-lap main event atop the fast high-banked 3/8's mile Salina oval.
Sewell became the first repeat winner of the season behind the wheel of his Action Auto Collision, Sewell Mechanical, Turn 2 Nutrition sponsored sprinter.
"This is a place I wanted to conquer and we conquered it," said Sewell of his desire to get a victory at Salina.
Sewell made quick work of traffic in the early going working his way into fourth on the opening lap after a lengthy red flag delay. Perry Pickard had trouble with his car in turn one and rookie Alison Slaton could not avoid him and turned over. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
On lap two Sewell climbed to third behind Mickey Walker and the two tried to chase down race leader Alex DeCamp. The seven-time OCRS winner was setting a fast pace with hopes of picking up an eighth victory. DeCamp was well on his way leading 16 laps before Sewell found away around him.
"Seems like I would get around him and show him my line and the yellow would come out," Sewell recalled of his battle with DeCamp. "That happened with two or three cars tonight. Finally, I got around him in lapped traffic and held him off."
Sewell first had to pass Walker for second until lap nine then had to chase down DeCamp over the next seven laps before he could make his move.
' I felt like we made it through lapped traffic really good," Sewell said. "When you can get through traffic that quick it is a really good feeling."
A key to victory for Sewell was the ability to go anywhere on the track in his Forehand Engines powered number 8 sprinter.
"Just where ever the other car was not is where we would go," Sewell said. "This car was so good all night long. This car has been on a rail all season long. It is just a joy to drive."
Sewell also had high praise for the track surface.
"They had the track prep figured out tonight and it was definitely fun tonight," he said.
Defending Ameri-Flex / OCRS champion Zach Chappell, who started sixth, came into play late in the race passing Walker for third on lap 17. Chappell was able to finally get around DeCamp on lap 21 for second, but could not close on Sewell over the final four laps.
"We were just hitting those lap cars wrong," Chappell said. "Alex (Sewell) was racing them hard. I was hoping I would get a little breathing room, but I caught them at the wrong time.
"I had a car I felt would have been fun to race him with. It was working good on the bottom, the top and the middle. Just where ever I wanted to go. Alex is racing hard right now and you have to be up there with him.
"It was a great track. This new clay they put on was great. I loved it. It was fast and fun."
DeCamp saw his strong run come to an end with two laps left when engine issues took him out of the hunt. "It knocked the front nose wing down and about three laps after that my motor laid down. It got hot (after that).
"It might be bearing and stuff. We have to get it to the shop and see.
"Everything was going our way and we caught lapped traffic after the caution and I got in the back of Frank Taft," DeCamp said of his final laps of the race. "I don't know if the nose wing laying on the hood was taking air off the radiator or what. It got hot quick.
"We thought we had it won."
At the finish Walker was able to hang on to third, Shane Sellers, driving the Larry Collins number 22X, finished in fourth and Whit Gastineau came from 10th starting position to finish fifth.
Johnny Kent earned the York Plumbing Hard Charger award for advancing nine positions and Alison Slaton went home with the M&W Aluminum Hard Luck Award.
Ameri-Flex Hose and Accessories / OCRS Results
Salina Highbanks Speedway - Salina, Okla.
July 21, 2018
Car count: 22
Drive Shafts, Inc. Heat 1 (8 laps)
1, 84-Alex DeCamp. 2, 8-Alex Sewell. 3, 20S-Sheldon Barksdale. 4, 20G-Noah Gass. 5, 76S-Shayla Waddell. 6, 30-Joseph Miller. 7, 7D-David Baxter. 8, 88S-Alison Slaton.
A1 Machine Shop Heat 2 (8 laps)
1, 2-Mickey Walker. 2, 31-Casey Wills. 3, 94L-Layne Himebaugh. 4, 5L-Joe Bob Lee. 5, P78-Perry Pickard. 6, 62-James Shoun. 7, 55-Johnny Kent.
Car and Fleet Parts Heat 3 (8 laps)
1, 50Z-Zach Chappell. 2, 22X-Shane Sellers. 3, 4J-Jamie Passmore. 4, 2W-Whit Gastineau. 5, 17-Brent Bates. 6, 22T-Frank Taft. 7, 007-Michael Bookout. (DNS).
AmeriFlex Hose & Accessories A Feature (25 laps)
1, 8-Alex Sewell. 2, 50Z-Zach Chappell. 3, 2-Mickey Walker. 4, 22X-Shane Sellers. 5, 2W-Whit Gastineau. 6, 5L-Joe Bob Lee. 7, 94L-Layne Himebaugh. 8, 20G-Noah Gass. 9, 20S-Sheldon Barksdale. 10, 4J-Jamie Passmore. 11, 55-Johnny Kent. 12, 76S-Shayla Waddell. 13, 30-Joseph Miller. 14, 17-Brent Bates. 15, 84-Alex DeCamp. 16, 22T-Frank Taft. 17, 62-James Shoun. 18, 7D-David Baxter. 19, 31-Casey Wills. 20, P78-Perry Pickard. 21, 88S-Alison Slaton. DNS: 007-Michael Bookout.
Lap Leaders: Alex DeCamp 1-16, Alex Sewell 17-25.
Margin of victory: 3.900 seconds
Contingency Award Recipients:
Ameri-Flex Hose A Feature Winner: Alex Sewell
Drive Shafts Inc. Heat: Alex DeCamp
A-1 Machine Heat: Mickey Walker
Car and Fleet Parts Heat: Zach Chappell
York Plumbing Hard Charger Award: Johnny Kent +9
Wesmar Racing Engines Recipient: Jamie Passmore
M&W Aluminum Hard Luck Award: Alison Slaton
Amsoil High Point Driver Award: Alex Sewell
Rod End Supply Recipients: Johnny Kent, Shayla Waddell, Joseph Miller