Tri-City and Lucas Oil Speedway’s Await Lucas Oil MLRA Competitors

MLRABy Trenton Berry

Wheatland, MO (July 8, 2014) -The Lucas Oil MLRA’s busy stretch of racing continues this weekend with a pair of co-sanctioned events alongside the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Friday action will commence from Kevin and Tammy Gundaker’s Tri-City Speedway for the Battle at the Beach, just outside of St. Louis, Missouri, in Granite City, Illinois. Saturday the series returns home to compete in the 8th Annual CMH Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri. Both events will pay the winner $10,000 respectively.

“We’re glad to be a part of the Battle at the Beach on Friday,” stated Lucas Oil MLRA Series Director Dan Robinson. “Kevin and Tammy have a fantastic track, and it makes for a nice weekend of racing when paired with our CMH Diamond Nationals event which is always fun!”

Jeremy Payne is the most recent winner in Lucas Oil MLRA action. He survived to score the $5,000 win last Saturday evening at Salina Highbanks Speedway in Salina, Oklahoma. Late race contact put his march to the checkers in jeopardy, but he had just enough left to get the job done.

“Looking back, that was one of the wildest finishes to any race I’ve ever won,” commented Payne. “I just knew something was broke on the car, or at the very least I had a flat tire or two. It was crazy how it all ended. I was real cautious on the restart, and when I went into one it was not as good, but overall there was not much wrong with the car. The front end toe was knocked out just a little.”

A pair of top five finishes at Salina, along with a special event Modified win at Humboldt Speedway last weekend, has given Payne a shot of confidence. The timing for him could not be better as the series embarks on arguably its toughest stretch of events over the next two weekends, with a standalone Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event thrown in the middle.

“I think in all the times I’ve raced at Tri-City Speedway I have one good finish there,” said Payne. “Wheatland, on the other hand is a real good track for me. I’m looking forward to racing at both this weekend. I know both will be incredibly tough with all of the Lucas Oil Late Model guys competing.”

His season to this point has been a mixed bag of sorts. His two Lucas Oil MLRA wins have stood out as bright spots.

“Coming into a completely new program over the winter and having two wins by July is something I would not have expected to do prior to the year,” Payne further commented. “We’re further along than I expected honestly. We just need to get qualified better. Leading the Casey’s Hard Charger Points is kind of a double edged sword. We’re glad to be passing cars and fast when the money’s on the line, but it would sure be nice to start a little closer to the front.”

Looking at the rest of the tour regulars, Chad Simpson continues to lead the standings by 69 markers over Terry Phillips. Payne sits third, with Travis Dickes hot on his heels in fourth. Dave Eckrich rounds out the top five. Scott Lewis is tops in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year chase, and Tony Jackson Jr. has captured the most Pole Awards to this point. Overall there have been 12 winners in 17 contested races thus far.

Tri City Speedway Information 7/11/14
Gates: 5:00 PM
Racing: Hot Laps 6:30 PM, Time Trials 7:00 PM, Racing 7:30 PM
Admission: Adults $28, Kids (12 and under) FREE
Support Classes: UMP Modifieds, UMP Crate Late Models

Lucas Oil Speedway Information 7/12/14
Gates: 5:00 PM
Racing: Hot Laps 7:00 PM, Racing 7:30 PM
Admission: Adults $25, Seniors (62 and up) $20, Youth (6-15) $10, Kids (5 and under) FREE, Family Pass $50, Pit Pass $40
Support Classes: USRA Modifieds