MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 25, 2014

The right stuff: Setup sparks early dominance for Muskogeean

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— Planning ahead is good advice in many aspects.

Count the IMCA Stock season at Outlaw Motorsports Park toward that for Muskogee driver Matt Burnett, who is a perfect 3-for-3 in checkered flags this spring. He leads the division with 109 points with Kevin Flock of Muskogee and Ryan Waltman of Fort Gibson next in line, both with 100 points.

With OMP shifting to the IMCA sanctioning this year for its Factory Stock class, drivers had to make adjustments on their vehicles. Burnett was ahead of the game. His car met the new specifications at the end of last year.

“It’s the same setup that we were already having success with,” he said this week. “The car is a better chassis than we ran last year in factory stock but less motor. We did have to get an engine but all the other stuff was stuff we were already using.”

The two-barrel carburetor is half of what it was.

“It takes quite a bit of horsepower from the engine but last year the cars were about 300 pounds heavier than they have to be under the new guidelines.” he said. “The lighter chassis helps offset the horsepower difference and the lap times are a little less quicker.”

In his first outing he started on the front row in the heat and feature, winning both. He won his heat in week two but because points leaders start on the second row, he was pushed off the front yet still won and repeated that in week three.

“We’ve been able to go anywhere on the track, and it’s been able to be faster than any lines there,” he said. “The racing has been good and clean so far. When you can trust people to stay in their line it can allow you to pass and be passed without wrecking.

“It takes a lot of effort at the shop and at the track, and that effort also comes from the fellow drivers not wrecking. I think we’re all trying to help each other get toward the end of the year by racing clean. That helps everyone and right now it’s working for us.”

Burnett has had hot streaks before in Factory Stock but has never won a points title. His longest streak was 11 between a pair of tracks, the old Thunderbird Speedway in the stockyards area and Salina Highbanks Speedway. He’s won eight in a row before at Outlaw.

“Even the guys starting on the back are putting in hard work, so you really can’t call it that,” he said. “I don’t like to call it luck either, but sometimes you just hit on the right setup and you carry it as far as you can.”

The general manager of United Sports and Autos is part of a race team that includes Dale Richardson, who owns the dealership Burnett manages, and Kyle Stevens.  The pit crew consists of Jay Claypool, Brady Smith, Brady Branchcomb and Trevor Claypool.

“Just as in previous years, I’m still not focused on points,” Burnett said. “We’ve let the pieces fall where they have and so far it’s all come together.”

Racing gets underway Saturday at 6 p.m.

Auto racing at a glance

Points standings

OUTLAW MOTORSPORTS PARK

Grand Nationals: 1. David Whittle, 200. 2. Jason Leatherman, 179. 3. Dan Leatherman, 162. 4. Dale Richardson, 95. 5. Robert Knowles, 91.

Late Models 1. Dalton Ragsdale, 195. 2. Dillon Rupe, 186. 3. Garrett Murrell, 168. 4. Kinzer Edwards, 165. 5. Jason Sperry, 151.

Modified: 1. Dalton Clay, 190. 2. Tate Cole, 181. 3. Andy Morris, 171. 4. Gary Andrews, 169. 5. Heath Weston, 152.

IMCA Sport Modified: 1. Kinzer Edwards, 119.  2. Kyle Slader, 105.  3. Frank Graven, 104. 4. Chris Spencer, 102. 5. Kayden Menasco, 97.

IMCA Stock: 1. Matt Burnett, 109. 2. Kevin Flock, 100. 3. Ryan Waltman, 100. 4. Keith Heaslet, 67. 5. Phillip Branan, 64.

IMCA Modifieds: 1. Danny Womack, 115. 2. Chuck Bumgarner, 105. 3. Caleb Edwards, 104. 4. Dalton Ragsdale, 94. 5. Jeremy LaCoe, 92.

This week’s race: Super Six Weekly Series, gates open at 4 p.m., racing at 6 p.m. Adults: $10. Kids 8-12, $5.



NASCAR

Sprint Cup: 1. Jeff Gordon, 297. 2. Matt Kenseth, 296. 3. Carl Edwards, 278. 4. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 271. 5. Jimmie Johnson, 270. 6. Kyle Busch, 269. 7. Brad Keselowski, 246. 8. Joey Logano, 245. 9. Ryan Newman, 236. 10. Austin Dillon, 235.11. Greg Biffle, 227. 12. Tony Stewart, 224. 13. Brian Vickers, 224. 14. Kyle Larson, 223. 15. Denny Hamlin, 223.

This week’s race: Toyota Owners 400, Richmond, Va. (6 p.m. Saturday, FOX)

Nationwide: 1. Chase Elliott, 271. 2. Regan Smith, 258. 3. Elliott Sadler, 251. 4. Ty Dillon, 248. 5. Trevor Bayne, 241.  

This week’s race: ToyotaCare 250, Richmond, Va. (6 p.m., Friday, ESPN News).