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Late pass sends Sanders to MLRA Spring Nationals win in a thriller at Lucas Oil Speedway

Rodney Sanders celebrates his Lucas Oil MLRA Spring Nationals victory Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Kenny Shaw photo)

Wheatland, Missouri (April 15, 2017) – The final night of the 4th annual Lucas Oil MLRA Spring Nationals Presented by RacingJunk.com was a thriller, as Rodney Sanders passed Randy Timms coming to the white flag and hung on to capture the feature win at Lucas Oil Speedway.

“We had to dig deep for that one,” said Sanders, a long-time national-level Modified driver who’s is committed to chasing MLRA Rookie of the Year honors in 2017. The Happy, Texas, driver took home $3,000 plus an additional $500 in memory of Ron Jenkins, who built the original Wheatland Raceway.

Other feature winners on night two of the Spring Nationals doubleheader were Stormy Scott (Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds) and James Flood (Big O Tires Street Stocks).

Sanders closed on Timms, who led a race-high 26 of the 40 laps, as Timms found lapped traffic over the final five laps. He made the winning pass on the outside coming out of turn four and finished about two car lengths in front of Timms.

Reigning MLRA Series champion Jesse Stovall of Billings rallied from a ninth-starting spot to finish third. Crane’s Will Vaught, who captured the Spring Nationals opener on Friday, wound up fourth.

“Randy had a hell of a car,” Sanders said. “The lapped traffic kind of got him boxed in. I kind of had to throw a Hail Mary there at the end. We were kind of searching for the moisture. I was a little bit too free, but if I could get to the top we were pretty good.

“I just have to thank all the fans for coming out. That was a fun race.”

Sanders, starting outside Terry Phillips on the front row, won the start and led until Phillips passed him on the outside coming to the flag stand to conclude lap six.

The race was red-flagged on lap 11 when Josh Hughes came to a stop in turn four, flames shooting from under his hood. Hughes, of West Plains, escaped unharmed.

Timms, of Wheatland, Okla., moved past Phillips and into the lead on lap 13 and Sanders settled into third where he staged a three-way battle with Phillips and  Vaught – before launching the late, winning rally.

“We had a car that rotated the bottom well and it exited good,” Timms said. “I just committed to staying down there. We had a lead … but when I got into lapped traffic, I probably committed to the bottom too much. You never know when you’re up front and can’t see who’s behind you.”

A  consolation for Timms was that his Western Flyer Trucking business is a sponsor on each of the top three cars. Stovall is a teammate this season as he and Timms drive Black Diamond race cars.

“I’m proud of him. I wish he could have won that race,” Stovall said of Timms. “All in all, I guess it was a good night for us. We’re still lacking a little bit of where we want to be. I’m just a tick off and we need to get better.”

Sanders is hopeful it’s the first of many visits to victory lane in his MB Custom Late Model.

“We’re going to focus a lot more on the Late Model this year and run this whole deal,” Sanders said. “It’s one race at a time. You can be a hero one night and a zero the next. We’re just going to keep digging and do the best we can.”

Late model heat race winners were Timms, Chase Junghans, Phillips and Sanders.

Scott rolls to Modified win: New Mexico native Stormy Scott, now of Cameron, Mo., started from the pole and led all 25 laps to grab the Pitts Homes USRA Modified feature.

“I’ve never really been too great at this place,” said Scott, who took home $750. “This is my first win. I’ve liked this track, we’ve just never been able to get a handle on it. I feel we’re pretty good now. This is an awesome facility.”

Jason Pursley finished second, in front of fellow Hermitage resident Eric Turner. Matt Dotson was fourth and NASCAR veteran Kenny Schrader fifth.

Late pass lifts Flood: James Flood of Crane slipped past Toby Ott with three laps to go and prevailed in the Big O Tires Street Stocks feature. Flood earned $500 courtesy of Elite Auto Repair in Warrensburg.

“Toby had me covered the whole race and I think maybe his tires gave out,” Flood said. “We had some trouble last night. I have a good car. We just bought it Thursday night and it’s unbelievable to be here.”

Ott was attemping to take the field wire-to-wire in the 25-lap feature, leading all the way until a caution flew on lap 21. Flood was able to take advantage of the restart to make his winning move.

Brian Schutt finished third with Kenny Carroll fourth.

Next up: The Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series resumes next Saturday. Presented by the Springfield News-Leader Media Group, it will be $uper $aver $pecial Night with four admissions, four hot dogs and four 20-ounce Coca-Cola products for just $30 for fans arriving before 6:30 p.m.

Classes in action will be the Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models, Ozark Golf Cars B Mods, Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds and Big O Tires Street Stocks. The B Mods will be featured with a special 25-lap, $500-to-win feature.

Gates open at 5 p.m. with hot laps at 7 and racing at 7:35.

4th annual MLRA Spring Nationals

Lucas Oil Feature (40 Laps): 1. Rodney Sanders 2. Randy Timms 3. Jesse Stovall 4. Will Vaught 5. Chase Junghans 6. Tony Jackson Jr. 7. Terry Phillips 8. Tim Manville 9. Payton Looney 10. Justin Reed 11. Justin Asplin 12. J.C. Wyman 13. Scott Crigler 14. Matt Buller 15. Al Humphrey 16. Raymond Merrill 17. Cole Wells 18. Joey Moriarty 19. Brantlee Gotschall 20. Jeremy Grady 21. Scott Lewis 22. James Shereck 23. Josh Hughes 24. Billy Moyer

Impact Signs, Awnings, Wraps B Feature #1 (12 Laps): 1. Tony Jackson Jr. 2. Jeremy Grady 3. J.C. Wyman 4. Logan martin 5. Payton Looney 6. Joe Godsey 7. Ricky Thornton Jr. 8. Eric Turner 9. Jeff Roth 10. Shane Essary

Hoosier Tire B Feature #2 (12 Laps): 1. Cole Wells 2. Billy Moyer 3. Brantlee Gotschall 4. Al Humphrey 5. Joseph Gorby 6. Dylan Hoover 7. Cliff Morrow 8. Evan Hubert

HotRodProcessing.com Heat #1 (10 Laps): 1. Randy Timms 2. Matt Buller 3. Josh Hughes 4. Scott Lewis 5. Jeremy Grady 6. Tony Jackson Jr. 7. JC Wyman 8. Jeff Roth 9. Shane Essary

Casey’s General Stores Heat #2 (10 Laps): 1. Chase Junghans 2. Justin Asplin 3. Jesse Stovall 4. Raymond Merrell 5. Logan Martin 6. Payton Looney 7. Joe Godsey 8. Eric Turner 9. Rick Thornton Jr.

Chix Gear Heat #3 (10 Laps): 1. Terry Phillips 2. Justin Reed 3. Tim Manville 4. Joey Moriarty 5. Joe Gorby 6. Billy Moyer 7. Al Humphrey

Malvern Bank Heat #4 (10 Laps): 1. Rodney Sanders 2. Will Vaught 3. Scott Crigler 4. Jim Shereck 5. Cole Wells 6. Dylan Hoover 7. Cliff Morrow 8. Evan Hubert.
Big O Tires Street Stocks
 Feature: 1, James Flood. 2, Toby Ott. 3, Brian Schutt. 4, Kenny Carroll. 5, Darrin Crisler. 6, Burl Woods. 7, Marc Carter. 8, Tod Welschmeyer. 9, Bobby Barnett. 10, Chad Coleman. 11, Dalton Imhoff. 12, Shawn Hendren. 13, Johnny Coats. 14, Josh Halbrook. 15, Bradly Gideon. DNS Zach Zeugin.
Heat 1: 1, Darrin Crisler. 2, Toby Ott. 3, Brian Schutt. 4, Bobby Barnett. 5, Burl Woods. 6, Johnny Coats. 7, Bradley Gideon. 8, Zach Zeugin.
Heat 2: 1, James Flood. 2, Josh Halbrook. 3, Kenny Carroll. 4, Chad Coleman. 5, Marc Carter. 6, Shawn Hendren. 7, Dalton Imhoff. 8, Ted Welshmeyer.

Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds
 Feature:  1, Stormy Scott. 2, Jason Pursley. 3, Eric Turner. 4, Matt Dotson. 5, Kenny Schrader. 6, Jeff Cutshaw. 7, Darron Fuqua. 8, Lucas Gibbs. 9, Chase Domer. 10, Terry Kirk. 11, Jody Tillman. 12, Daniel Wosoba. 13, Ethan Young. 14, Gene Nicholas. 15, James Nicholas Jr. 16, Lance Town. 17, Jon Sheets. 18, Shawn Strong. DQ Chase Junghans.
Heat 1: Jeff Cutshaw. 2, Chase Junghans. 3, Gene Nicholas. 4, Kenny Schrader. 5, Lance Town. 6, Jody Tillman. 7, Chase Domer. 8, Lucas Gibbs. 9, Daniel Wosoba. 10, James Nicholas Jr.
Heat 2: 1, Stormy Scott. 2, Matt Dotson. 3, Eric Turner. 4, Jason Pursley. 5, Jon Sheets. 6, Darron Fuqua. 7, Ethan Young. 8, Terry Kirk. 9, Shawn Strong.
For complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket info and the 2017 racing schedule, visit LucasOilSpeedway.com.  Three-day passes for the 25th annual Show-Me 100 Presented by ProtecttheHarvest.com are now on sale. Only about 500 of the three-day passes remain. Call admission director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email Nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com for more information.

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With it’s entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.

Click www.LucasOilSpeedway.com for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984.


In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking “Like” at www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway.

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