Jesse Stovall of Billings will be looking to begin a successful title defense of his first MLRA Series championship. Stovall wrapped up the 2016 season with a feature win on night one the season-ending MLRA Fall Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway, then celebrated the title on night two.
“I want to win another one, but I’m not a greedy person,” Stovall said of how important a second straight championship would be. He noted that winning one was a primary goal when he began driving Late Models a decade ago.
“As a kid when I started doing this, and when I dreamed of racing a Late Model, just winning one would be fine back then,” Stovall added. “I’m not saying we’re not going to try to win it. Absolutely, we’re going to try and win it. But … I really, really wanted to win at least one of them.”
The Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds and Big O Tire Street Stocks also will run full programs both nights. The Modified program will include long-time NASCAR standout Ken Schrader, a native of St. Louis and member of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
“It’s always exciting to have our first special of the season and we’re doubly fired up to have the MLRA season kicking off with a big doubleheader,” said Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager Dan Robinson, who doubles as MLRA Series Director.
“Then you add the USRA Modifieds, with Ken Schrader joining the always-competitive field of regulars, along with the Street Stocks and it’s going to be two tremendous nights of racing,” Robinson added.
Stovall will face a strong field that’s expected to include former MLRA champ Terry Phillips of Springfield, who has a series-record 111 MLRA feature wins, and Crane’s Will Vaught, winner of last September’s MLRA Larry Phillips Memorial at Lucas.
Billy Moyer and Brian Shirley captured the MLRA Spring Nationals feature wins a year ago.
Friday night’s feature winner will collect $2,000 with Saturday’s winner earning $3,000, plus $500 in bonus money in memory of Ron Jenkins, the original builder of Wheatland Raceway.
Stovall picked up his first feature win of 2017 on Sunday at Monett Speedway, a night after settling for 15th in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Bad Boy 98 in Batesville (Ark.) Speedway). He ran top-10 for much of that race before his tires gave way.
“We’re getting rolling a little bit. We’re quite where we want to be yet, but we’re getting there,” said Stovall, who added that he’s eager to get into a more regular racing schedule in the coming weeks.
A new qualifying format for the Late Models will see each driver draw for their respective heat race, then use timed laps against others in those heats during hot laps to set the lineups for the heat races.
The MLRA’s originally scheduled opener, the Spring Meltdown at I-80 Speedway in Nebraska two weeks ago, was rained out. It has been rescheduled for Thursday Aug. 31. The complete MLRA schedule can be found at MLRAracing.com.
The Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds will compete for a special $750 to win feature on Saturday while the Big O Tires Street Stock second-night feature will pay $500 courtesy of Elite Auto Repair in Warrensburg.
In season-opening action last weekend at Lucas Oil Speedway, three-time reigning USRA Modified track champion Jeff Cutshaw of Bolivar opened with a feature victory and Darrin Crisler of Clever prevailed in the Street Stock division.
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Both Friday and Saturday nights, gates at Lucas Oil Speedway will open at 5 p.m. with hot laps at 7 and racing at 7:35.
Tickets on Friday:
Adults (16 and up) $15
Seniors (62 and up)/Military $12
Youth (6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $30 ONLINE
Pit Pass $35
Tickets on Saturday:
Adults (16 and up) $20
Seniors (62 and up)/Military $17
Youth (6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $40 ONLINE
Pit Pass $40
Reserved with Electric and Water- $35/Night (Limited Availability)
Reserved Dry Spots- $20/Night (Limited Availability)
Dry Camping- $10/Night
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.