Owasso, Oklahoma-based NASCAR driver Russ Dugger got more time on the track than many. Entered in two classes, Dugger ran heat races in both the "A" class and Non-winged 600cc sprint car classes. His heat race performance in the winged "A" Class #24x Reset Restoration Services car earned him a valuable spot in the B Finals, bypassing both the last-chance qualifiers and C Finals and placing him in the top half of the massive field.
However, his luck ran out early in the final, effectively ending a strong run in his first Tulsa Shootout appearance.
"Our winged B Feature race was doomed from turn one, right after the green," said Dugger. "We started 12th of 14 cars. When the green dropped, the outside line stacked up in-front of me and I creamed the rear of the car in my path. The steering wheel was knocked out of my hands and I instantly knew I'd injured my right thumb."
Despite the jarring first few seconds of the race, Dugger soldiered on. "I did NOT pull off the track - the car was fine so off I went," he said. While he did eventually manage to run down the pack ahead of him, the laps click by rapidly under green and no time remained for him to advance further.
Considering that Dugger has not competed on dirt nor been in a sprint car since the 2009 Pete Frazier Memorial event at Port City Raceway, in a non-wing car, making it all the way to the B Final in the winged class his first time out was an impressive accomplishment.
"Our weekend over all was a good one, in that we took care of our equipment, had a blast representing Reset Restoration and hosting Ryan Lefter and Aaron Talton. I really can't thank them enough for coming on board and making this race happen," said Dugger.
"I also have to thank Rob and Bill Donnelly with D2 Motorsports for all of their help and advice throughout the weekend. It was invaluable and made my dealing with my inexperience in these cars a lot easier," he said.
In all, Dugger and the owners of Reset Restoration had a great time competing at this premier event in front of passionate race fans among some of the most talented circle track drivers in the country. His modest success in the 2012 edition of the Speedway Motors Tulsa Shootout has built confidence, and a desire to do it all again.
"The weekend was one I'll never forget, and now I can say that I've run with the best in the country at The Tulsa Shootout! Hopefully I can continue to run this race for years to come," said Dugger.