(Dylan Duvall Photography)
Tulsa, OK | December 26, 2017 – After spending much of his 2017 season focused on moving up to sprint car racing, Ayrton Gennetten will return to micro sprints this week in defense of his A-Class Golden Driller from a year ago. Scoring an emotional victory at the 32nd annual event, the Versailles, Missouri native has prepared for a four-class attack on this year’s Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout. Chasing his second-career Golden Driller, Gennetten will compete in the Winged Outlaw, Outlaw Non-Wing, Stock Non-Wing, and A-Class divisions.
“It was really emotional since we put so much work into this one race and it was by far the biggest and most special win of my career,” said Gennetten, on winning the 2017 A-Class feature. “It kind of felt like redemption for my grandpa [Gene Gennetten], when he was so close to winning the first Chili Bowl.”
Making his ninth appearance at the Tulsa Shootout, this will actually be Gennetten’s eighth in the micro sprint ranks after earning a second and third-place result in the kart classes in 2010. After fighting through the trials and tribulations of his beginning years, which included no feature starts from 2011-14, Gennetten has recently turned red-hot inside the Tulsa Expo with three consecutive top-ten runs and two podium results . After his initial starts in 2015 and 2016, the 17-year old broke through during the Winged Outlaw finale in 2016 with his best career finish of third-place in the 55-lap main event, trailing only Brady Bacon and Chris Andrews.
At last year’s 32nd running, Gennetten hit his peak and finally reached victory lane at the Tulsa Shootout. After sweeping his heat race and qualifier, Gennetten rolled off on the pole of the 25-lap A-Class feature and led flag-to-flag while fighting off challenges from Tyler Courtney and Frank Flud en route to his first-career Golden Driller. Later in the night, he capped off his week at the Shootout with another strong finish, charging from 18th-to-10th in the 55-lap Winged Outlaw feature.
A third-generation racer, Ayrton has followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Gene Gennetten, and his father, Steve Gennetten. Spending much of his 2017 season in the sprint car ranks, he faced a new challenge as he and his father were handed a new beat to conquer. Finding the peaks and the valleys that any new challenge will throw your way, the duo hit their high point when Gennetten topped the weekly sprint car feature at the famous Double-X Speedway in California, Missouri.
“After running so much sprint car stuff this year, I feel like my micro game might be a little off, but running four classes and having the practice sessions should have me back in stride and clicking by heat races,” noted Gennetten. “We had a huge run at the High Banks Hustle, but the last time we ran the micro I was not happy with where we were. We are sort of going into Tulsa a little low key and hungry.”
Slated for quadruple duty, Gennetten will seek action in the Winged Outlaw, Outlaw Non-Wing, Stock Non-Wing and A-Class divisions. While defending his A-Class title from a year ago, the 17-year old will also be seeking his third-consecutive top-ten finish in the Winged Outlaw main event and his second-career start in a Non-Wing feature.
Beginning on Thursday, December 28th with practice and heat races, the 33rd edition of the Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout will run through Sunday, December 31st when a new batch of Golden Driller winners are crowned. Walkapedia will continue our Tulsa Shootout coverage all week long with countless previews leading up to the race as we highlight this year’s contenders.