By John Rittenoure
SALINA, Kan. (May 28, 2022) – Over the past four years, Salina Highbanks Speedway has become one of Alex Sewell’s favorite places to race. But that has not always been the case.
On Saturday, he won for the fifth time in six straight trips to the Highbanks.
“Used to when we came here we kind of dreaded it, but now we look forward to it,” recalled Sewell after the Ameriflex/Oil Capital Racing Series IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car feature.
In 2019 Sewell won at the one event held that year at the highbanks. Sewell swept both Salina races in 2020 and won again early in 2021 before losing the AmeriFlex Challenge VI to Blake Hahn in September.
Sewell got off to a slow start Saturday night but came on strong in the final laps for the win.
“When they dropped the green, I did not get off to a very good start,” said Sewell. “When we had that yellow, we had 17 or 18 laps left and I knew it was go time.”
Sewell chased down second place Zach Chappell and passed him midway of the 20-lap main event. With his car getting faster with each passing lap Sewell closed on race-long leader Joe Wood Jr. and wheeled inside him on lap 17 for the lead.
“It looked like he missed the rubber or something, but I got by Chappell and I was hoping for a yellow,” Sewell said of his hopes of catching Wood. “I could tell I was pulling Joe Wood down a little bit. I knew five laps to go was coming and I felt I had to go for it and try as hard as I can. Luckily we got to him and got by him.
“My car was really good and I think he (Wood) was a little tight and having trouble with lapped traffic.”
Experience from past wins played to Sewell’s late race performance.
“It was moving down and I figured it would get hard to pass but my dad (Andy) and Rob (Forehand) had the car really, really good,” explained Sewell of the racing groove.
Wood remained in second followed by Chappell in third. Whit Gastineau climbed from 11th to fourth earning him the D & G Contracting Hard Charger award and Blake Edwards finished fifth.
The next event for the AmeriFlex/OCRS IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars is June 11 at Enid Speedway.
Feature results – 1. Alex Sewell; 2. Joe Wood Jr.; 3. Zach Chappell; 4. Whit Gastineau; 5. Blake Edwards; 6. Joe Bob Lee; 7. Casey Wills; 8. Johnny Kent; 9. Fred Mattox; 10. Terry Easum; 11. Sheldon Barksdale; 12. Ryker Pace; 13. Rees Moran; 14. Frank Taft; 15. James Shoun; 16. Brandon Leland; 17. Dean Drake Jr.; 18. Kale Drake.