BEAT THE BUTTONS: Tyler Carpenter Strikes First In Gateway Dirt Nationals Opener

December 2, 2021 at Gateway Dirt Nationals ($5,000 to win)

By Cole Perkins

Photo Ryan Roberts

ST LOUIS, MO – The defending Gateway Dirt Nationals champion Tyler Carpenter picked up right where he left off – in Victory Lane – inside The Dome at America’s Center on opening night of the indoor spectacle’s 5th anniversary. 

The Parkersburg, WV driver held off the likes of Scott Bloomquist, Brandon Sheppard, Shannon Babb and Ricky Thornton Jr, among others, in the weekend’s first preliminary feature to capture the $5,000 victory.

“I love it man. I love being the face of this place. Love me or hate, me, I don’t even care. I’ll tell you why I love this place. It’s an equalizer,” said Carpenter. “I can’t run with these guys. I can’t even (keep up with them) on them big tracks. And it ain’t because I ain’t got the capability. I can wheel just as good as anybody. Because I ain’t got the (backing) that these guys have got. I’ve gotta work every day, feed five kids and my family, and run a business. I’m here where it shows (a) real racer. If you’ve gotta earn it, bust your ass and you’ll get it.”

Tyler Carpenter led all but one lap of the 25-lap main event, with Ricky Thornton Jr edging him for the lead on lap 14 while racing in lapped traffic. The following lap, close quarters racing between the leaders and a lapped car led to a multi-car pileup, ending Thornton Jr’s night as well as third running Brandon Sheppard. 

Ricky Thornton Jr voiced his displeasure with Carpenter in his R-rated interview shortly after the incident. “I mean clearly the (expletive) 28 is a (expletive). I don’t know what the (expletive) he’s doing, we’re over here making laps and he just wants to (expletive) wreck all the lapped cars.” said the frustrated Thornton Jr from inside the cockpit of his wrecked #20RT. “Hopefully someone dumps his stupid (expletive).

In the second half of the race, Carpenter was able to hold off runner-up finisher Bob Gardner en route to a $5,000 payday, his third straight triumph inside The Dome at America’s Center. “You don’t come here to make friends,” Carpenter said in the winner’s circle. “I don’t want to make no damn enemies, but I didn’t come here to make friends, and I’ll be doggoned if I gave up this race over lapped traffic. I don’t think he had a (chance) in clean air, I ain’t trying to toot my own horn, but I was going to win this race.”

“The Kamikaze Kid” will look to keep his momentum rolling as he is locked in to Saturday’s finale, where he will be chasing $30,000 and his second straight Gateway Dirt Nationals championship.

Race Results

A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 28-Tyler Carpenter[6]; 2. 4G-Bob Gardner[3]; 3. 81E-Tanner English[12]; 4. 45-Kyle Hammer[11]; 5. 18-Shannon Babb[7]; 6. 25-Jason Feger[10]; 7. 24C-Tanner Collins[14]; 8. 76-Blair Nothdurft[18]; 9. 4S-Ryan Montgomery[9]; 10. 18L-Jeffrey Ledford[1]; 11. 45B-Scott Bell[20]; 12. 9Z-Jayme Zidar[15]; 13. 0K-Dewayne Kiefer[16]; 14. 44W-David Webster[13]; 15. 87-Jason Zobrist[19]; 16. 15-Brandon Sheppard[4]; 17. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[2]; 18. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[8]; 19. 11C-Rachel Carpenter[17]; 20. 0-Scott Bloomquist[5]

B Feature 1 (8 Laps): 1. 44W-David Webster[1]; 2. 9Z-Jayme Zidar[8]; 3. 11C-Rachel Carpenter[2]; 4. 87-Jason Zobrist[3]; 5. 11S-Arlen Stewart[4]; 6. 4D-Doug Tye[5]; 7. 11B-Blake Bailey[7]; 8. 51-WL Stile[12]; 9. 28JS-Jeffrey Shackelford[9]; 10. 20-Todd Brennan[6]; 11. (DNS) 90-Joel Willman; 12. (DNS) 6-John Trowbridge; 13. (DNS) 78-Chad Zobrist; 14. (DNS) 111-Jon Woods

B Feature 2 (8 Laps): 1. 24C-Tanner Collins[1]; 2. 0K-Dewayne Kiefer[4]; 3. 76-Blair Nothdurft[5]; 4. 45B-Scott Bell[2]; 5. 11E-Adam Elliott[10]; 6. J12-Jason Wagner[3]; 7. 2S-Kevin Smith[8]; 8. B15-Bob Sidener[13]; 9. M14-David Marlow[11]; 10. 1-Josh Baker[6]; 11. 16T-Brandon Tibaldi[7]; 12. 16-Rusty Griffaw[12]; 13. 57-Landen Zakalowski[9]

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 18L-Jeffrey Ledford[1]; 2. 18-Shannon Babb[3]; 3. 44W-David Webster[2]; 4. 11S-Arlen Stewart[6]; 5. 11B-Blake Bailey[5]; 6. 90-Joel Willman[7]; 7. (DNS) 78-Chad Zobrist

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[3]; 2. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[1]; 3. 11C-Rachel Carpenter[4]; 4. 4D-Doug Tye[5]; 5. 9Z-Jayme Zidar[2]; 6. 6-John Trowbridge[6]; 7. 111-Jon Woods[7]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 4G-Bob Gardner[2]; 2. 4S-Ryan Montgomery[1]; 3. 87-Jason Zobrist[3]; 4. 20-Todd Brennan[5]; 5. 28JS-Jeffrey Shackelford[4]; 6. 51-WL Stile[6]

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 15-Brandon Sheppard[1]; 2. 25-Jason Feger[3]; 3. 24C-Tanner Collins[2]; 4. 0K-Dewayne Kiefer[4]; 5. 16T-Brandon Tibaldi[6]; 6. 11E-Adam Elliott[5]; 7. B15-Bob Sidener[7]

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 0-Scott Bloomquist[3]; 2. 45-Kyle Hammer[1]; 3. 45B-Scott Bell[4]; 4. 76-Blair Nothdurft[2]; 5. 2S-Kevin Smith[5]; 6. M14-David Marlow[6]

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 28-Tyler Carpenter[1]; 2. 81E-Tanner English[2]; 3. J12-Jason Wagner[6]; 4. 1-Josh Baker[5]; 5. 57-Landen Zakalowski[4]; 6. 16-Rusty Griffaw[3]

Qualifying 1: 1. 18L-Jeffrey Ledford, 00:11.700[3]; 2. 11T-Trevor Gundaker, 00:11.858[4]; 3. 4S-Ryan Montgomery, 00:11.898[1]; 4. 44W-David Webster, 00:11.939[2]; 5. 9Z-Jayme Zidar, 00:12.062[9]; 6. 4G-Bob Gardner, 00:12.100[5]; 7. 18-Shannon Babb, 00:12.146[15]; 8. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr, 00:12.165[19]; 9. 87-Jason Zobrist, 00:12.439[8]; 10. 78-Chad Zobrist, 00:12.601[14]; 11. 11C-Rachel Carpenter, 00:12.726[10]; 12. 28JS-Jeffrey Shackelford, 00:12.738[20]; 13. 11B-Blake Bailey, 00:12.815[6]; 14. 4D-Doug Tye, 00:12.817[13]; 15. 20-Todd Brennan, 00:12.823[17]; 16. 11S-Arlen Stewart, 00:12.914[12]; 17. 6-John Trowbridge, 00:13.064[18]; 18. 51-WL Stile, 00:13.262[16]; 19. 90-Joel Willman, 00:13.445[7]; 20. 111-Jon Woods[11]

Qualifying 2: 1. 15-Brandon Sheppard, 00:12.312[3]; 2. 45-Kyle Hammer, 00:12.318[4]; 3. 28-Tyler Carpenter, 00:12.363[13]; 4. 24C-Tanner Collins, 00:12.402[10]; 5. 76-Blair Nothdurft, 00:12.439[5]; 6. 81E-Tanner English, 00:12.441[6]; 7. 25-Jason Feger, 00:12.527[15]; 8. 0-Scott Bloomquist, 00:12.565[14]; 9. 16-Rusty Griffaw, 00:12.785[2]; 10. 0K-Dewayne Kiefer, 00:12.787[11]; 11. 45B-Scott Bell, 00:12.815[19]; 12. 57-Landen Zakalowski, 00:12.885[18]; 13. 11E-Adam Elliott, 00:12.904[8]; 14. 2S-Kevin Smith, 00:12.927[1]; 15. 1-Josh Baker, 00:12.956[7]; 16. 16T-Brandon Tibaldi, 00:12.980[12]; 17. M14-David Marlow, 00:13.052[9]; 18. J12-Jason Wagner, 00:13.134[17]; 19. B15-Bob Sidener, 00:13.366[16]

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