(Mike Howard Photos)
Tulsa, OK | December 27, 2017 – Continuing the trend of up-and-coming racers, Ryder Laplante fits the perfect mold of a young man on the rise. At a mere 10 years old, the Calera, Oklahoma native has traveled across the country in his racing adventures and won nearly everywhere he has been. A former Tulsa Shootout champion in the 2016 Jr. Sprints main event, Laplante is returning the 33rd annual race this year in pursuit of a second Golden Driller. Focusing solely on the Restricted class this year, Laplante should be a strong challenger as he pilots his family-owned Snap On Tools, Dacus Heating & Air, CS9 Chassis No. 88R.
“I have been extremely impressed with his improvement from last year to this year with his driving and ability to adapt to any race track or condition in just a few laps,” said Ryder’s father, Kevin Laplante, on his development. “It would be amazing to win another Golden Driller this year, especially with him being only 10 years old. To have two Drillers by 10 or 11 is probably unheard of. When he won the Jr. Sprints title it was icing on the cake of an awesome season, and I feel like this year could be the same.”
Competing in his sixth-straight Tulsa Shootout, Laplante has seen plenty of success in limited time spent in the Tulsa Expo. Making the Jr. Sprint main event for three consecutive years from 2015-17, Laplante never finished worse than fourth. With a fourth-place run in 2015 and 2017, the Oklahoman sandwiched a thrilling Tulsa Shootout title from 2016 in between. In his lone Restricted attempt last year, Laplante qualified for the feature and looked as if he was set to earn a solid run, but a DNF would send him home with a tough 24th-place result.
However, on the heels of a phenomenal season, Laplante looks more ready than ever to add a second Golden Driller to his collection. Focusing on the Restricted class all year long, Laplante snagged a stellar count of 17 victories to go along with 35 top-five finishes. He was also crowned the NOW600 North Texas Regional champion and finished second in the NOW600 National points chase.
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.