SAPULPA, Okla. – Brandon Hanks became a sprint car champion for the first time in his young career this season.
Hanks wrapped up the ASCS Red River Region championship during the Fall Fling at Creek County Speedway on Nov. 4-5, where the doubleheader was co-sanctioned with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour.
“I guess it hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said. “We put such a good year together. It’s pretty awesome. That’s been the goal all year long. I’m proud to call ourselves champions.”
While the ultimate goal was reached, the weekend was frustrating for Hanks and his team as they battled handling issues at the quarter-mile oval.
“I’ve been using the same 360 car all year,” he said. “We were doing really good and had fast cars. Ever since the race at Timberline Speedway (last month) things have fallen off. When the tracks start changing and getting slick the car has no forward drive, no side bit, no anything. We were changing shocks and bars. I felt like we changed everything but the numbers. At Creek County we finally shed some light on what our problem has been.”
It wasn’t without a few dramatic changes throughout the weekend, which began on Nov. 4 with Hanks advancing from sixth to fourth place in a heat race before he won a qualifier. That locked him into the eighth starting position for the main event.
“I was about ninth or 10th for about 12 laps,” he said. “I was able to hold my own on the top for a while. The longer the race went the worse I got. I couldn’t run the bottom.”
Hanks faded to a 20th-place result.
The trouble continued on Nov. 5 as Hanks placed eighth in a heat race and was relegated to starting at the back of a B Main.
“The car was just awful,” he said. “(J-R1 Founder) Jerry Russell was at Creek County and saw what I had been talking about. He waved his magic wand before the B Main and it worked. We finally got the right help with some experience. We started figuring things out at the end of Saturday night. I think it was multiple problems that were adding up to a big problem. We kept finding out little by little as the night went on.”
Hanks rallied to finish sixth in the consolation race. That forced him to use a provisional to tag the back of the field in the main event. Hanks maneuvered from 24th into ninth place by the midpoint of the race before he ended 14th.