(Dylan Duvall Photo)
Tulsa, OK | December 4, 2017 – With just more than three weeks separating us from the 33rd running of the Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout, the anticipation continues to mount as the stacked pre-entry list only expands. Serving as the biggest event of the year for micro sprint racing, this year’s running is almost sure to bring in over 1,000 entries to the Tulsa Expo Raceway as the best of the best contend for the illustrious “Golden Driller.” As of this morning, the Tulsa Shootout website is displaying a stellar count of 777 total entries!
Leading the way as expected is currently the Stock Non-Wing class with 185 entrants. Ever since 2013, the SNW division has recorded no less than 223 entries every year and has been leading the car count class for six straight events. Boasting an average count of 220.4 since 2011, the division will welcome back former champions Frank Flud, Trey Marcham, Chris Cochran, Koen Shaw, Chris Andrews and Ronnie James. The “Sooner State” has had a stranglehold on SNW almost all decade, winning seven of the eight features and the last six straight.
Shortly behind with 172 entries is the winged counterpart to SNW, the A-Class division. Holding an average car count of 184.0 since 2011, A-Class has recently been on the rise as they enter the 2018 running with back-to-back events of 200+ entries. Contrary to Oklahoma’s domination of Stock Non-Wing, A-Class has been largely handled by the Pace Chassis brand. Pace is riding a six-year win streak with titles from Ayrton Gennetten (’17), Miles Paulus (’16), Giovanni Scelzi (’15), Tucker Worth (’14), Michael Faccinto (’13) and Mitchell Faccinto (’12).
Immediately behind A-Class with 167 entries is this year’s Outlaw Non-Wing division. Entering the eighth year of competition, ONW has already risen to claim an average car count of 194.4. As of now, just three former champions are signed up, including a two-time winner in Chris Andrews (’13, ’16), the 2015 victor of Trey Marcham, and the reigning champion, California’s Tristan Guardino.
For the headlining Winged Outlaw class, the total entry count currently sits at 123. Outside of a huge spike in 2016 with 214 entries, the premier division has yet to hit the 170 mark this decade, but the average car count of 161.7 has always supplied a thrilling show for the fans. As of now, just three former champions are entered and they are all chasing their second crown in Outlaw. Missouri’s Joe B. Miller will be back to defend his historic 24th-to-1st triumph from a year ago, but he will have to contend with two other former champs that have already grown familiar with each others company. Frank Flud (’14) and Michael Faccinto (’15) will both be heavy favorites again, a duo that created quite the social media firestorm with their on-track feud during last year’s 55-lapper.
The stars of tomorrow will makeup this year’s Restricted class, which currently boasts 71 entries. Reigning champion, Grady Mercer, will be back to defend his “Golden Driller,” but the Oklahoman will face a tough task in fighting off a strong field from top-to-bottom. Mercer will have to deal with the likes of Chase Randall, Ryder Laplante, Garth Kasiner, Ryan Timms, Aubrey Smith, Gunner Bowden, Braden Knipmeyer and so many more.
In the Jr. Sprints class, fans will be guaranteed to witness the crowning of a new champion as 2017 winner, Caeden Steele, will be moving up into the Restricted division. With 42 entries at the moment, the “Driller” is anyones to win, but look for young guns such as Ryan Timms, Joshua Gentry, Garrett Benson, Jase Mosley and Freddy Rowland, among others to be contenders at the front.
Since the inception of Outlaw Non-Wing in 2011, the daunted quadruple duty slate of ONW, Winged Outlaw, A-Class and Stock Non-Wing, has been an intriguing attempt every year. In the seven years since, only seven drivers hold the honor of starting all four feature races in the same event. Nate Lauderbaugh did it first in 2011, Chris Andrews followed in 2013, Tyler Walton followed suit in 2016, and last year it was Frank Flud, Jake Hagopian, Zeb Wise and Tyler Courtney all accomplishing the elusive feat. This year, we currently have over 40 drivers set to attempt the slate and etch their name in the record books. Among the big names, Andrews, Flud, Walton, Christopher Bell, Cole Bodine, Ayrton Gennetten, Tristan Guardino, Jordan Herrman, Dylan Kadous, Jason McDougal, Joe B. Miller, Matt Moore, KJ Snow and Kyle Spence will be running all four classes.
The 33rd running of the Tulsa Shootout kicks off on Thursday, December 28th with a practice session in the morning followed by heat races in the afternoon. Friday will provide a day full of heats and qualifiers, while Saturday will highlight more qualifiers and semi features. Sunday, the notorious “Driller Day,” will begin with semi features and following opening ceremonies, the eight classes will run their championship main events.