By David Smith Jr.
ARDMORE, Okla. (April 15) – John Carney II took the lead at the start and never looked back as he cruised to his third Sprint Series of Oklahoma IMCA EMI RaceSaver Sprint Car victory of the season Friday at Southern Oklahoma Speedway.
Carney and Sterling Hoff started on the front row for the 20-lap feature with Carney taking the lead as the green flag fell. Third starting Joe Wood Jr. quickly moved into second from his third starting position while Gary Kelley, Hoff and Lloyd Clevenger followed in the top five.
Carney had built a four car length lead over Wood before the first and only caution of the feature fell when Ty Williams and Clevenger tangled in turn four.
On the restart, Carney again bolted out into the lead with Wood on his rear bumper. Andy Shouse, who had a bad start at the beginning of the feature after starting fourth, had worked his way up to the third position before the caution and would begin a battle with Wood for the runner-up position that lasted the balance of the feature.
Shouse took second from Wood while Carney began pulling away from the rest of the field.
Slower cars first came into play on lap nine yet Carney worked the top side of the 3/8-mile oval to perfection and threaded his way through the back of the field with no problems.
Wood and Shouse continued their battle for second with Shouse maintaining the position on lap twelve as Carney had opened a half stretch lead.
Carney, aboard the John James owned no. 4j, went on to capture the checkers in his first-ever appearance at the track.
“I really like this place, very racy,” said Carney in victory lane. “I want to thank John for giving me the opportunity to drive this thing as the car worked perfectly. We will definitely come back here again.”
Wood finally gained control with three laps to go and finished second. Shouse settled for third while ninth starting Brandon Long came home fourth. Eleventh starting Jake Martens rounded out the top five.
Feature results – 1. John Carney II; 2. Joe Wood Jr.; 3. Andy Shouse; 4. Brandon Long; 5. Jake Martens; 6. Chris Kelly; 7. Zach Blurton; 8. Gary Owens; 9. Gary Kelley; 10. Blake Dacus; 11. Shayla Waddell; 12. Cody Whitworth; 13. Chad Koch; 14. Jerry Jumper; 15. Sterling Hoff; 16. Chuck Bellefeuille; 17. Blake Scott; 18. Lloyd Clevenger; 19. Ty Williams; 20. Bryson Oeschger.
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