OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Though plenty has changed since the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League last visited I-44 Riverside Speedway, the face in victory lane remained the same on Friday night.
Logan Seavey opened the seventh annual Turnpike Challenge with a dominant victory at the fifth-mile dirt oval, starting from the pole in the 30-lapper and leading all the way for his 21st career POWRi win.
It was the Sutter, Calif., native’s third triumph in a row at the Oklahoma City bullring, as well as his first POWRi-sanctioned win with Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports – the squad he joined over the winter and races full time with on the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series trail.
“When you’re leading, it’s so hard to run as hard as you want to, because you don’t want to make a mistake … but I knew that anyone running second was going to have to run hard to keep up with me,” Seavey said in victory lane. “I just had to not mess up and make sure I got through the corners well. I slipped up a few times and Cannon (McIntosh) almost got by us, but we hung on to it.
“I can’t say enough about this team. They’ve been working so hard,” he added. “We didn’t have the speed we wanted to last week (at Port City Raceway with USAC) and they put their heads together, never stopped working and made a lot of big changes that paid off for us. To come out here and have some pretty big speed is really exciting, and I’m excited to get the rest of the year going with this bunch.”
Ironically Seavey, who set the POWRi single-season wins record one year ago with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports, defeated two members of his former team for top honors Friday night.
He outdueled 17-year-old hotshoe McIntosh on a late restart with four laps left, while KKM newcomer Kaylee Bryson completed the podium in just her second weekend with the organization.
Right from the drop of the green, it was clear the race was Seavey’s to lose, as he opened up a margin over the duo of Thomas Meseraull and Buddy Kofoid from the get-go and comfortably kept the field at bay.
Cautions on laps eight and 15 – for the stalled cars of Zach Daum and Meseraull, respectively – did nothing to slow Seavey’s roll, as he jetter away from his nearest pursuers each time.
However, as the race wound on, the KKM young guns climbed closer and closer to the front.
Kofoid slowed from due to a flat tire with nine to go, bringing out a yellow flag, but that only moved two of his teammates up onto the provisional podium in Bryson and McIntosh.
When the green flag waved for the ensuing restart, Bryson ran right up to the back of Seavey’s No. 19az and delivered a tap to his rear nerf bar, but that move broke her momentum and allowed McIntosh to deliver a deep slider in turns one and two to wrest the second spot away.
Despite two more incidents that slowed the pace – one for a flipped Ethan Mitchell with six laps remaining and one for a multi-car accident with four to go – that was how the trio ran to the finish.
Behind Seavey, McIntosh and Bryson, Trey Marcham was fourth and Tanner Thorson finished fifth.
Kevin Thomas Jr., Daison Pursley, Robert Dalby, Jake Neuman and Justin Grant filled out the top 10.
The Turnpike Challenge continues Saturday night with a second round of racing from I-44 Riverside Speedway. All the action can be streamed live through POWRi TV, part of the SPEED SPORT Network.
1. 19az-Logan Seavey, 2. 71k-Cannon Mcintosh, 3. 71-Kaylee Bryson, 4. 32t-Trey Marcham, 5. 19-Tanner Thorson, 6. 5-Kevin Thomas Jr., 7. 9-Daison Pursley, 8. 4-Robert Dalby, 9. 3n-Jake Neuman, 10. 4a-Justin Grant, 11. 28-Ace McCarthy, 12. 73t-Jake Swanson, 13. 67-Buddy Kofoid, 14. 98-Clinton Boyles, 15. 35-Tanner Carrick, 16. 91t-Tyler Thomas, 17. 44s-Andrew Felker, 18. 5d-Zach Daum, 19. 15-Emerson Axsom, 20. 19m-Ethan Mitchell, 21. 00-Trey Gropp, 22. 89-Chris Windom, 23. 7x-Thomas Meseraull, 24. 71t-Zac Taylor.
Lap Leader(s): Logan Seavey 1-30.