Turner, Ragsdale, Gillmore earn wins at Tri-State. Day Motorsports Recap

POCOLA, Oklahoma (Apr. 5, 2024) — Open-wheel masters Shadren Turner, Dalton Ragsdale and Ryan Gillmore all won special 33-lap qualifiers, as KR Promotions and Scotty Allen hosted Night 1 of their inaugural Ninety 9 Nationals on Friday at the mighty Tri-State Speedway. 

Tuner pulled off an amazing last-lap, last-corner pass to steal the victory from Kyle Slader in the first qualifier; Ragsdale held off Terry Schultz to claim the second tilt, while Gillmore claimed the third contest with a dominant performance. 

Allen Owen Jr. (Factory Stock) and Cody Jones (Stock Cars) earned feature wins in support class action on a beautiful night for racing at the historic oval. 

Turner, of St. Joseph, Missouri, started 25th in his qualifier and began a steady, methodical march to the front. Slader opened the door in the final corner and settled for the runner-up position, while Jacob Campbell finished third. Texans Jimmy Day and Gregory Muirhead completed the top five. 

Replay Night 1 of the 9 Ninety Nationals Here!

“I don’t know that I’ve ever had that much fun in a race car,” Turner, who won 26 races in 2023, told veteran announcer Zach Clark in Victory Lane. “I usually draw poorly, so I had Jeff do it today, and he didn’t fare any better than I would have.  

“So we started 25th, and man, when they get strung out like that, it’s so hard to know where you’re at. I knew my car was really, really good. I just had to bide my time, and be patient. When they had that big melee and told me I was in fourth, I was thrilled. I’ll thank all my sponsors; this is an awesome track.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the first 33-lap qualifier for B-Mods were Stephen Clancy, Eric Turner, Jaxon Ledford, Daniel Tarkington and Dakota Lowe (who started 22nd on a 25-car grid). The top nine finishers transferred into tonight’s Gold Feature, which pays an impressive $5,000 to win. 

Ragsdale, of Muskogee, Oklahoma, started sixth on a 26-car grid and wasted little time moving up into contention. Schultz turned heads as he charged up from his 17th starting position up to claim second, while Fanshawe, OK, racer Cody King filled out the podium with an impressive performance. 

Chad Clancy (Polo, MO) and Devin Barker (Elkins, AR) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. 

“I tell you what, I’ll give those USMTS guys props right now,” an elated Ragsdale told Clark after his win. “When they run those 100-lap shows, man, I’m tired after running just 33. It’s very hard. I saw his (Schultz) nose down there once; I knew I had to go. So I just let it hang out, and it paid off. 

“To get it done here tomorrow night, I’ll have to make fewer mistakes. I made quite a few tonight. I watched Shadren Turner win that first one; he’s a helluva wheel-man. He and I duked it out at the Nationals; I have nothing but respect for that guy. I’m just ready for tomorrow, and hope to get a win.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the second 33-lap qualifier were Dan Culp, Tye Hollingsworth (who drove up from 25th on the grid), Kyle Ledford, Kevin Guinn and Allen Owen Jr. The top nine finishers transferred into tonight’s Gold Feature, while positions 10 through 17 head to the Silver Feature. 

Gillmore, of Springfield, Missouri, started 10th on a 24-car grid and put his No. 66 machine into high gear. He was pulling steadily away when the checkered flag waved, with Trevor Drake settling for  second. Sturgis Streeter (also from Springfield) filled out the podium with a solid effort. 

Brian Williams (Fayetteville, AR) and oval master J.C. Morton (Springfield) rounded out the top five. 

“The car was great tonight,” Gillmore said following his victory. “It was very neutral; I was able to go wherever I wanted for the most part. When I did the right things, the car was good. I just kept making some bad decisions and getting tight on the top. 

“The track was awesome, this is my favorite place to race. I love coming here, everything worked out pretty good for us tonight. I thought at any minute if I was going to run the top the whole time, there was going to be a wreck, and it was going to be me. So I stayed on the bottom, but kept my eyes open.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the third 33-lap B-Mod qualifier were Jake Richards, Robbe Ewing, Kort Morgan (who started 20th), Casey Thomas and JC Newell (who drove up from 22nd on the grid). With the field now set for the Gold, Silver and Bronze features, fans are in for a real treat this evening. 

Night 1 of the inaugural Ninety 9 Nationals saw 110 cars pack the pits among three divisions. While Rogers and Allen’s original plans called for 99 entries (hence the name), only 77 of them were actually able to make it to Pocola. Sadly, some suffered significant damage to their cars in early-season action.  

This weekend’s event marks the 54th consecutive year of racing at Tri-State Speedway. Rich in history, the facility opened as a dirt track in May of 1971, yet was paved later that same year. Former NASCAR stars Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace won titles here. The track went back to dirt in 1979. 

Track operators Jake and Kelsey Davis did an exemplary job of preparing the racing surface and overall facility for this event. Everything looked clean and well-lit, and the track surface was praised by racers from around the country. Tri-State Speedway is simply one of the finest oval tracks in the nation. 

You can replay every lap of Friday night’s inaugural Ninety 9 Nationals at Tri-State Speedway with a subscription at RaceON.com. Newly re-branded with a commitment to promote local racing, RaceON (formerly RaceON) has over 400 Live events on tap this year from tracks in several states. Click here to stream tonight LIVE!

When you sign up today, choose your favorite (or hometown) track and start enjoying great content while supporting your local track even when you can’t attend in person.

By Phil Whipple, RaceON.com Staff Writer