Nebraska’s Drueke wins first career OCRS Sprint feature

Seizing his opportunity following a lap 18 restart, Tyler Drueke took the lead and eventual win in Saturday’s AmeriFlex Oil Capital Racing Series main event at Red Dirt Raceway. (Photo by Richard Bales)

By John Rittenoure

MEEKER, Okla. (March 5, 2022) – Tyler Drueke traveled a long ways to race his IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car on Saturday. But the trip was worth it. 

The Eagle, Neb., resident took the lead with 10 laps remaining and went on to win his first career AmeriFlex Oil Capital Racing Series feature during the second day of the Spring Nationals at Red Dirt Raceway. 

After a restart on lap 18, Drueke saw his chance to pass Blake Edwards and Sheldon Barksdale for the lead and never looked back. 

“I just went around on the outside,” Drueke said of his pass of the two for the lead. 

It was heartbreak for Barksdale who started on the pole and led from the opening lap. Edwards and Rees Moran gave chase and the trio stayed 1-2-3 ‘til the yellow waved on lap 18. Edwards shot around Barksdale for the lead on lap 20 then quickly gave way to Drueke on lap 21. Barksdale fell to fourth.  

“I was leading those laps and was trying to keep my momentum up and count down the laps but had a little stumble in my motor,” Barksdale said of losing the lead. “The late caution kind of hurt us. If we had not had that caution I felt like we could have kept on maintaining.  

“That got me a little tight and the 17e car (Edwards) slid me down in turn three and that kind of stacked me up. I tried to cross him over, but it did not play out at the end.”

Still, Barksdale was happy with his overall run. 

“We got the motor running better after Friday night and tweaked on the car a little bit and were rolling around the race track a lot better,” explained Barksdale. “We have been struggling here in the last day or so, it was good to have a good run.  

“Even though we did not win it, was still a good run from last (Friday) night.”

In the final laps Moran drove around Edwards to finish second. Edwards was third, followed by Barksdale and Danny Wood in fifth.  

Feature results – 1. Tyler Drueke; 2. Rees Moran; 3. Blake Edwards; 4. Sheldon Barksdale; 5. Danny Wood; 6. Chris Kelly; 7. Steven Shebester; 8. Joe Bob Lee; 9. Joe Wood Jr.; 10. Tanner Conn; 11. Whit Gastineau; 12. Terry Easum; 13. Austin Shores; 14. Cameron Hagin; 15. Shane Sundquist; 16. Brandon Jennings; 17. Elizabeth Phillips; 18. Bradley Fezard; 19. Noah Harris; 20. Dean Drake Jr.