The first championship of Richmond Raceway’s (Richmond) fall race weekend has been awarded to Shannon O’Keefe as winner of the Smithfield Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Tour Championship. This was O’Keefe’s first major PWBA championship of her career. The three-day PWBA Tour Championship was held in the historic Old Dominion Building at the Richmond Raceway Complex.
O’Keefe outlasted the 16-player field of PWBA members to win the championship. In the title match, O’Keefe struck six times in the first seven frames against Kelly Kulick, and claimed her sixth PWBA title by a 222-203 margin. The win earned O’Keefe $20,000, while Kulick took home $10,000 as the runner-up. The championship round was broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network.
“I’ve dreamed of this moment for a really long time, and I don’t know if there are words to describe how I feel,” said O’Keefe. “I’ve been a contender at the U.S. Women’s Open for the last decade and haven’t been able to pull it off, which has been frustrating. I’m just overwhelmed right now by how this feels.”
In the semifinals, O’Keefe defeated the 2017 PWBA Tour Player of the Year Liz Johnson. After finishing in a 222-222 tie, the competitors battled in three one-ball roll-offs before O’Keefe locked up her spot in the championship match. Both players struck on their first two opportunities, and O’Keefe won the third, 10-9.
“With Richard Petty’s famed No. 43 next to the bowling lanes, we awarded the first championship of race week to Shannon O’Keefe as winner of the Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “It was an honor to award the PWBA Tour Championship trophy to Shannon for her outstanding performance before a capacity crowd at the Old Dominion Building.”
The last time O’Keefe bowled for a major title was the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, where she left, and missed, a final-frame washout, allowing United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Johnson to claim the second of her four consecutive U.S. Women’s Open titles.
The 16-player PWBA Championship field was comprised of PWBA members who have won a 2017 event and completed by point earners for the season. All eligible 2017 PWBA Tour champions received automatic invitations to the Tour Championship, and the remainder of the 16-player field was filled through the PWBA points list. O’Keefe earned her spot at the season-ending event with her recent win at the PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open.
Virginia-based Smithfield Foods was the title sponsor of the PWBA Tour Championship for the third consecutive season. QubicaAMF, whose U.S. headquarters are in Richmond, installed four state-of-the-art bowling lanes in the Old Dominion Building at the Richmond Raceway Complex. QubicaAMF is the world’s largest manufacturer of bowling products.
To learn more about the PWBA Tour Championship, visit PWBA.com for information about the PWBA Tour including news, player biographies and more.
Richmond Raceway hosts NASCAR for two nights of racing “under the lights” on September 8-9. The fall race weekend, presented by Who’s Your Driver, will see history on display as Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes his final, career, two-race appearance as a driver.
The weekend gets started on Friday, Sept. 8, with on-track practice for both series and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Pole Qualifying for both weekend races. The action then dials up as the rising stars of tomorrow compete in the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m., the sport’s best take to the track for the Federated Auto Parts 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race as NASCAR crowns 2017 Regular Season Champion.
Tickets are available for both races and can be purchased online at richmondraceway.com or by calling the Richmond Ticket Office, toll-free, at 866-455-7223.