Joey Oksas continued his impressive run in Pro Mod, picking up his third straight win with his victory on Friday at the first race of the Osage Hotel Casino Throwdown in T-Town for the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service.
It’s a perfect start to the double-race weekend at Tulsa Raceway Park as Oksas knocked off Jim Whiteley in a pivotal final round to extend his points lead in Pro Mod.
Oksas has won every race since the MWDRS returned to action in August in his turbocharged ’67 Mustang, getting the win on Friday when Whiteley went red.
Joining him in the winner’s circle for the first race at the Throwndown in T-Town was Sean Bellemeur (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Doug Wegner (Race Star Wheels Top Dragster), Michale Chitty (Pat Musi Racing Engines Top Sportsman), Mike Labbate (Pro Mod Slammer), Penn Long (Summit Racing Pro Jr.) and Tyler Wells (Zimmerman Properties Construction Sportsman Jr.).
The victory capped off a long day for Oksas, who made three qualifying runs — including one for Saturday’s race — and four runs through eliminations, but the victory made it more than worth it.
“It was awesome and definitely a good day,” Oksas said. “It’s so exciting to have so much success and it just shows how well we’re working together. (Tuner) Jeff Pierce is doing a great job giving us a consistent car and I’m just trying to do the best I can because I know we’ve got a really good hot rod right now. We made a good amount of passes on Friday, but it was just keeping everything the same, having the same rhythm every time I get in the car.”
After qualifying third, Oksas went 3.691-seconds at 216.45 mph to open eliminations. After a bye run in the second round, Oksas dueled with Ed Thornton in the semifinals, posting a killer reaction time of .008 to go with his winning run of 3.698 at 215.93 to advance to the final round on a holeshot.
There, he slowed to 4.145, but Whiteley left early by .003 to hand a third straight victory to Oksas. The young standout then ended his night was a strong run of 3.693 at 215.68 to qualify second for Saturday’s race, putting him in a great position to possibly sweep the weekend and put a stronghold on the Pro Mod championship race.
“We had a great race surface in Tulsa and everyone at the track has done a phenomenal job,” Oksas said. “Every time we go to the starting line, we’ve got a good idea of what we’re going into and that really helps. Jeff will look at that, made a few adjustments and we’ll be good to go. He’s very meticulous and I definitely think he makes the best calls.
“We’re just trying to keep everything normal and keep picking at it one round at a time. There’s great competition in this class and it’s pretty cutthroat. We’re just going to stay focused and looking forward to what happens in eliminations today.”
In Top Alcohol Funny Car, Bellemeur picked up his second straight win, getting the holeshot over Chris Marshall in the final round with a run of 3.626 at 210.77. Bellemeur wasn’t at the race in Martin, but won the previous event and picked up right where he left off with another impressive performance, jumping back into the points lead.
Bellemeur, the reigning world champ in the class, qualified No. 1 and opened eliminations with a 3.658 a 210.70. He went 3.722 at 207.72 to advance to the final round, where he was able to hold off Marshall’s quicker 3.609 thanks to a great reaction time of .021.
Entering the weekend trailing Bill Bernard by four points, the victory put Bellemeur back in the lead heading into Saturday.
After getting in a pair of qualifying sessions, eliminations for Saturday’s race begin at 4 p.m. CT. Keith Haney, who advanced to the semifinals on Friday, is the No. 1 qualifier in Pro Mod after a standout run of 3.678 at 206.35. It’s a must-win situation for Haney, as well as Whiteley, who qualified a spot behind Oksas for Saturday’s race with a 3.695. Ron Muenks is right behind after going 3.697, with seven more drivers making runs in the 3.70s.
Marshall will take the No. 1 spot into eliminations in Top Alcohol Funny Car after his impressive pass of 3.607 at 213.54. Bellemeur’s 3.626 has him second, while Annie Whiteley went 3.668.