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Ryan Oehler overcomes mechanical woes to collect second career victory

Ryan Oehler’s weekend at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals began with a triple brake failure that put his EBR into the top-end sand trap but ended up with he and his crew standing in their second career winner’s circle
18 Apr 2021
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
Race coverage
Ryan Oehler

Ryan Oehler’s weekend at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals began with a triple brake failure that put his Flying Ryan EBR into the top-end sand trap at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but his weekend ended up with he and his crew standing in their second career winner’s circle after winning the final quad.

Oehler, whose only other four-wide final resulted in a fourth-place finish at the 2019 Charlotte event, collected the victory by beating Cory Reed to the win stripe, 6.911 to 6.942, after Scotty Pollacheck fouled and Steve Johnson broke.

Oehler, whose first career win came last year at the E3 Spark Plugs Nationals in Indy, also had drama in round one when he lost oil pressure en route to winning his opening quad on a holeshot over Angie Smith, 6.97 to 6.94.

After an engine change, Oehler reached the final round by finishing second behind Johnson, 6.93 to 6.98, but ahead of Chip Ellis and Angie Smith.

“We started the weekend off in the sand at the end of the track and round one, we basically ruined the engine,” Oehler said. “We changed motors and made a rapid turnaround, and I can’t thank my family, my team, my crew and my sponsors enough. This is awesome. We got our second Wally and there’s going to be more.”

Reed, whose only previous final-round appearance was a runner-up at the 2016 Reading event, reached the final despite twice finishing second. He finished second behind low qualifier Matt Smith in his first quad and second to Pollacheck in the semifinals, escaping after Matt Smith and Angelle Sampey both had handling problems.