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Oklahoma’s Terry Easum Scores First ASCS Victory at Red Dirt Raceway

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SOONER THE BETTER: Terry Easum Scores First ASCS Victory at Red Dirt Raceway

MEEKER, OK (May 10, 2024) – The new chapter of the American Sprint Car Series continues to add intriguing storylines with each new paragraph, such as two “firsts” in one night for the National Tour on Friday.

During the National Tour’s debut at Red Dirt Raceway, in Meeker, OK, “Sooner State” native and 2024 Rookie of the Year contender, Terry Easum out dueled veterans and local stars to score his first ASCS victory.

He did so the hard way, too, starting a few rows deep in seventh and driving his way up through the field around the ¼-mile bullring.

“It feels great,” Easum said about picking up his first ASCS victory. “It’s good to be able to come through there, starting that far back and just drive through there. A real good field here. A lot of good cars. Even that [Last Chance Showdown] was full of guys who can win anywhere. It’s tough for sure.”

The night opened with 38 cars trying to fill 24 spots in the Feature. Easum was one of eight drivers that made it into the five-lap Dash, however, luck gave him the eight pill and he was only able to pass one car – placing him inside row four for the 30-lap Feature.

Oklahoma natives made up the first three starting positions with 19-time National Tour winner Matt Covington on the pole, Ryder Laplante – in his first National Tour start – on the outside pole and Whit Gastineau staring third.

When the race commenced, Laplante stayed on Covington’s tail the first two laps before jumping the cushion in Turn 4 and losing several positions.

A few spots back, Easum and current Series points leader Seth Bergman were already marching forward. By Lap 9, Bergman was up to third from fifth and Easum was up to fifth from seventh.

Then, Easum’s progress excelled lap by lap.

On Lap 10, the rookie moved into fourth, while Gastineau and Bergman reeled in Covington. A lap later, Easum joined the party to make it a four-way battle for the lead. Another lap later, he snuck by Bergman for third and then dove into Turn 3 to make it a three-wide battle for the lead with Gastineau on the top and Covington in the middle.

When they exited the turn and crossed the line to bring the race to Lap 13, Easum was the new leader.

He couldn’t enjoy it too long, though, as a caution for two cars spun on the backstretch slowed the race for the first time, putting Gastineau on his bumper.

The black No. 2w tried to stay with Easum on the restart, but the No. 88 was too strong on the bottom and pulled away. Instead, Gastineau had to play defense with Bergman finding a head of steam around the top of the track. The TwoC Racing machine passed Covington for third on the restart and then worked Gastineau for a few laps before stealing second with 10 laps to go.

With Easum having to navigate heavy traffic, Bergman began to play Jaws. Lap after lap, he gained on Easum. But with less than five laps to go, the traffic that slowed Easum also began hindering Bergman’s run. Then, his chance for back-to-back victories drove away.

“We were close, it just didn’t go our way there,” Bergman said. “We were really actually off at the beginning of the night. Then, it’s an uphill battle when you don’t unload that good. But, we fought at it and the boys did a great job and gave us a piece to contend for the win at the end. So, I look at it as anytime you can turn a negative into a positive late that’s a really good thing.”

While all eyes were on the battle for the lead, local star Tanner Conn was having a career run, charging from 15th to third in only his fourth start with the National Tour. As Bergman began closing on Easum, Conn was on a trajectory toward them both. But like Bergman, once they encountered traffic, their runs evaporated.

“This was our first ASCS show with our own program,” Conn said. “The night started off a little rough, just getting acclimated to the 360 (motor). I’m used to the 305 (motor)… We kind of dug ourselves a hole after Qualifying and the Heat Race. But just did what we know best with the track and was able to drive up to third, just pick some guys off on the bottom, some on the top, throw some slide jobs. Kind of what this track is known for.”

Ahead of them, in only his eighth career start with the National Tour, Easum drove away with his first career win in the closing laps.

“The car was really good,” Easum said. “It would drive anywhere. That’s all you can ask for as a driver… You had to run really tight on the bottom, against the tires, to catch that grip strip. If you missed it, there was a very fine line. If you missed it, it was tough.”

The race also counted toward the ASCS Sooner Region standings, giving Easum his first Sooner Region victory too.

UP NEXT: The American Sprint Car Series National Tour returns to Kansas for a doubleheader weekend with a visit to Rush County Speedway on Friday, May 31, and then to Dodge City Raceway Park on Saturday, June 1. For more information and the full ASCS schedule, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every ASCS National Tour race live on DIRTVision.

FEATURE RESULTS:
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 88-Terry Easum[7]; 2. 2C-Seth Bergman[5]; 3. 78-Tanner Conn[15]; 4. 45X-Kyler Johnson[23]; 5. 2W-Whit Gastineau[3]; 6. 1-Sean McClelland[6]; 7. 15D-Andrew Deal[16]; 8. 36-Jason Martin[13]; 9. 95-Matt Covington[1]; 10. 9$-Kyle Clark[11]; 11. 71-Brady Baker[19]; 12. 10-Landon Britt[14]; 13. 55B-Brandon Anderson[10]; 14. 88R-Ryder Laplante[2]; 15. 2J-Zach Blurton[21]; 16. 938-Bradley Fezard[4]; 17. 03-Joe Wood Jr[22]; 18. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[17]; 19. V8-Robert Vetter[20]; 20. 55-Chase Brown[18]; 21. 91-Michael Day[24]; 22. 16G-Austyn Gossel[12]; 23. 6-Koty Adams[9]; 24. 8-Alex Sewell[8]

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