by John Rittenoure - PRYOR CREEK, Okla. (September 25, 2021) - A night off from racing on the Lucas Oil ASCS National tour turned into an unexpected payday for Blake Hahn Saturday at Salina Highbanks Speedway.
Driving in his first AmeriFlex / OCRS IMCA Sprint Car feature, Hahn charged from 13th starting position and rolled into the lead with nine laps remaining on the way to winning the AmeriFlex Challenge VI main event.
Hahn became the fifth driver in six years to win the AmeriFlex Challenge and it paid him $3,000 from a $27,000 purse.
Hahn drove alone up against the cushion which allowed him to quickly advance through the field of drivers.
“The track was great from top to bottom and it worked out good for me as it seemed like everyone was on the bottom early on,” Hahn said of his move to the top.
“Starting 13th you can try more things than the guys up front. I was moving around quite a bit. I was running the bottom the first couple of laps. I felt like I did not really have a lot of miles per hour so I went to the top and got the car going. Once I did it got better and I started picking off some cars.
“They left me the lane on top so it was good and as the race wore on and got into lapped traffic the car would go anywhere I needed it too.”
At the drop of the green Zach Chappell roared off the pole into the lead with Whit Gastineau giving chase. As the laps clicked off Hahn was working traffic and won a battle with Sheldon Barksdale for fifth on lap 8. On lap 11 Gastineau got around Chappell for the lead and Hahn raced into fourth. Gastineau jumped the cushion in turn four on lap 14 but was able to keep the lead. But that just allowed Hahn to get closer as he flew into third behind Chappell. Hahn passed Chappell for second on lap 16 then took the lead away from Gastineau.
It was Hahn’s first time to drive a 305 cubic inch sprint car.
“Being the first night in a 305 you don’t expect to be the best,” said Hahn who is more use to driving a 360 cubic inch sprinter. “Our heat race was alright, but after that we were kind of worried. We did not change a whole lot and the track came to us in the A-feature.
“With our ASCS car we are not afraid to get up in the cushion. With this 305 you have to keep the car pretty free. I figured out in the heat race I had to keep up my momentum.”
A red flag stopped the race with one lap remaining when Chappell got into the safety tire at the top of turn four. Chappell was not hurt. It was during the stoppage that Hahn found out he was leading the race.
“When we had that red flag I had to ask,”Hahn said. “It was so hectic with traffic I had to ask who was leading.”
The whole night of racing became possible for Hahn when Elizabeth Philllips was unable to drive and the family turned to Hahn.
“It was good for me my first night in a 305 and it was good for the Phillips family,” Hahn said.
“She (Phillips) broke her wrist so it was nice to fill in. I had an off weekend and it was close to home.”
The win was special for Hahn who recalled winning at Salina early in his career.
“To tie it all together this is the track I won my first ASCS National race,” he said. “It was sweet to be able to pick it up.”
Gastineau, who ended up with second place after winning by a wide margin Friday at Thunderbird Speedway, felt the miscue on lap 14 did not help his cause.
“I messed up in three and four,” Gastineau said. “He was probably better anyway, but that did not help. We were not far off.”
At the finish 2nd starting Jordan Knight held on to third with Danny Smith and Sheldon Barksdale picking up fourth and fifth respectively. Two-time defending Challenge champion Alex Sewell advanced to seventh and stayed there behind sixth place Tanner Conn.
AmeriFlex / OCRS IMCA Sprint Cars
AmeriFlex Challenge VI
Salina Highbanks Speedway - Pryor Creek, Okla.
September 25, 2021
AmeriFlex Hose Accessories A-Main (25 Laps): 1. 08E-Blake Hahn; 2. 2C-Whit Gastineau; 3. 10-Jordan Knight; 4. 5$-Danny Smith; 5. 20S-Sheldon Barksdale; 6. 78-Tanner Conn; 7. 8-Alex Sewell; 8. 5-Joe Bob Lee; 9. 88-Terry Easum; 10. 50Z-Zach Chappell; 11. 55-Johnny Kent; 12. 22-David Stephenson; 13. 7F-Noah Harris; 14. 9$-Kyle Clark; 15. 22M-Rees Moran; 16. 31-Casey Wills; 17. 6-Alison Slaton; 18. 30X-Larry Bratti; 19. 4-Robert Sellers; 20. 55W-Danny Wood; 21. 11-Avery Goodman; 22. 3C-Roy Larkin
Hoosier Racing Tire B-Main 1 (12 Laps): 1. 3C-Roy Larkin; 2. 22-David Stephenson; 3. 22M-Rees Moran; 4. 79-Tim Kent; 5. 62-James Shoun; 6. 22T-Frank Taft; 7. 2L-Brandon Leland; 8. 777-Jaiden Hughes; 9. 3G-Lane Goodman; 10. 77-Dean Drake Jr
Hoosier Racing Tire B-Main 2 (12 Laps): 1. 31-Casey Wills; 2. 9$-Kyle Clark; 3. 7F-Noah Harris; 4. 15D-Andrew Deal; 5. 50-Cody Whitworth; 6. 11K-Tyler Knight; 7. 33-Justin Patocka; 8. 30X-Larry Bratti; 9. 51-Alan Cunningham; 10. 6-Alison Slaton
Schure Built Suspension Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 50Z-Zach Chappell; 2. 20S-Sheldon Barksdale; 3. 55W-Danny Wood; 4. 8-Alex Sewell; 5. 08E-Blake Hahn; 6. 777-Jaiden Hughes; 7. 6-Alison Slaton; 8. 33-Justin Patocka; 9. 22T-Frank Taft
Lightning Wings Powder Coating Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 88-Terry Easum; 2. 11-Avery Goodman; 3. 55-Johnny Kent; 4. 9$-Kyle Clark; 5. 22M-Rees Moran; 6. 22-David Stephenson; 7. 15D-Andrew Deal; 8. 79-Tim Kent; 9. 11K-Tyler Knight
Smith Titanium Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 5$-Danny Smith; 2. 2C-Whit Gastineau; 3. 3C-Roy Larkin; 4. 78-Tanner Conn; 5. 50-Cody Whitworth; 6. 77-Dean Drake Jr; 7. 3G-Lane Goodman; 8. (DNS) 30X-Larry Bratti
Car Fleet Parts Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 10-Jordan Knight; 2. 5-Joe Bob Lee; 3. 4-Robert Sellers; 4. 31-Casey Wills; 5. 62-James Shoun; 6. 51-Alan Cunningham; 7. 7F-Noah Harris; 8. 2L-Brandon Leland
About the AmeriFlex / OCRS Series -
Established in 2002, the Tulsa OK based AmeriFlex / OCRS series sanctions dirt track sprint car racing in the southern region of the central plains. Fan appeal and quality race teams, combined with our solid core of supporting sponsors are the nucleus of the series. Thrilling competition providing the ultimate quality family entertainment is the essence of what the AmeriFlex / OCRS series is all about.
About Ameri-Flex Hose & Accessories -
Located in Tulsa OK, AmeriFlex Hose & Accessories is a family owned and operated company. From food grade hose to hoses for the petroleum industry, Ameri-Flex will strive to fill your needs. AmeriFlex can build a hose to your specifications or we will assist you in creating what you have designed while you wait. Ameri-Flex has several hard to find items that some vendors can’t get or find. Product can be shipped quickly and efficiently. If we do not have what you are looking for, we will direct you on where to find it. Give us a try, after all…………..
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AmeriFlex / OCRS IMCA Contingency Sponsors
AmeriFlex Hose & Accessories, Hoosier Tires, Amsoil, Car and Fleet Parts, Smith Titanium, lightning Wings and Powder Coating, Schure Built Suspensions.