West Burlington, Iowa (April 17, 2021) – After a long time of trying and countless travel miles from his home in Arroyo Grande, California Jason Papich finally broke through on Saturday night to score his first ever Lucas Oil MLRA feature event in the 13th annual running of the “Slocum 50” at the 34 Raceway in West Burlington, IA. The $10,555 victory came in front of a near capacity crowd at the 3/8-mile dirt oval.
The driver of the Clements powered Longhorn Chassis rolled off from 3rd on the grid for the 50 lap main event behind pole sitter Garrett Alberson and four time Slocum 50 winner Bobby Pierce. With Pierce seeking his third win in a row in the event he, took control from the drop of the green, until the first StopTech Brakes caution of the night waved on lap three for then 4th running Terry Phillips who slowed on the track with a flat tire.
On the restart, 2015 Slocum 50 winner Jason Unzicker spun at the entry to turn number one, also while running in fourth. Mason Oberkramer was unable to avoid Unzicker’s parked MB Custom and made heavy contact sending both drivers to the pit area. The race would return to green again with Pierce finally able to being to distance himself from the field until the final caution of the night waved on lap 19 for debris in turn three. Just prior to the caution Papich was able to clear Alberson and move into second.
Pierce again took control on the restart and appeared headed for yet another Slocum win as he pulled away from Papich. As the laps clicked off Pierce began to lose the handle of his car, allowing Papich to reel in the leader as they approached the twenty to go mark. On the 32nd lap, Papich was able to navigate the low line and move to the top spot for the first time on the night.
Papich continued to distance himself from the field as Pierce jumped the turn one and two cushion with eight laps to go, resulting in an 8th place finish. In the closing laps, Midwest Sheet Metal Point Leader Tony Jackson Jr. moved into the runner up spot and began to pursue Papich only to come up short at the line. Papich scored the win by 1.66 seconds over Jackson Jr. for the biggest win of his career. Jackson Jr. retained the point lead with his second place run followed by Alberson’s second podium finish of the year in third. Billy Moyer Sr. and Chris Simpson rounded out the top five.
Papich was all smiles in Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Victory lane, where he commented on the win by saying, “There was a hell of a lot of good racers here, I’m just speechless. A great group of fans, amazing drivers back there behind me and one of the best in the country (Pierce) and somehow I got around him and took it to the end.”
It appeared the key to victory for Papich was how well his car rotated around the low line of the speedway. “Down in one and two I could get in there and whoa it up and stay below the bumps, and he was kind of sliding through the bumps and it was upsetting his car. I just tried to stay disciplined and not spin the tires, it was awful slick out there. Tim Douglas has got this Longhorn chassis just rolling, and I’m looking forward to a great season ahead.”
Jackson Jr. scored his third top five and second podium finish on the week long MLRA swing, but still came up one spot shy of his ultimate goal, after nearly winning the same event one year ago before a mechanical failure ended his night. “We had a couple of good runs this week and we do have a good car. I just really wanted to win this race for all the fans, we were really let down last year,” commented Jackson Jr. “We put ourselves into position, we just couldn’t get it done.”
Alberson continued his strong start to the season with his second podium finish in the last four nights. “I really want to win another one of these big races,: said Alberson. “We missed it by just a little bit there, we were just a little too tight to be able to circle that bottom really really nice. Hats off to my crew, we had a fan blade go out in qualifying and they thrashed and got it back together, they are a super group of guys. They have been working their tails off and deserve a good run.”
The Lucas Oil MLRA will return to action with a return trip to the Hawkeye state on May 14th & 15th. The ¼ mile Davenport Speedway will again welcome racers on Friday night in a $3,000 bout, followed by Saturday nights $5,000 to win event on the historic ½ mile West Liberty Raceway.
34 Raceway Contingencies 4/17/21
Casey’s “Hard Charger of the Race –Tyler Bruening
DirtonDirt.com “Pole Award” –Garrett Alberson
Dynamic Drivelines Crew Chief of the Race –Tim Douglas
Gorsuch Performance Solutions “10th Place Finisher” –Tyler Bruening
Hooker Harness “11th Place Finisher” –Rodney Sanders
Illini Racing Supply “Fast Time Award –Ryan Unzicker (16.257 sec)
Midwest Sheet Metal “Points Leader Spoiler Challenge” –Tony Jackson Jr.
Performance Bodies “Performer of the Race” –Jason Papich
Racing Junk “Hard Luck Award” – Terry Phillips
StopTech Brakes “6th Place Finisher”-Ryan Gustin
Sunoco “Rookie of the Race” –Justin Reed
Swift Springs “Move of the Race”—Jason Papich
Wrisco Feature Winner—Jason Papich
A Feature 1 50 Laps | Lucas Oil Products
- 91P-Jason Papich; 2. 56JR-Tony Jackson Jr; 3. 59-Garrett Alberson; 4. 21-Billy Moyer Sr; 5. 32S-Chris Simpson; 6. 19-Ryan Gustin; 7. 3S-Brian Shirley; 8. 32-Bobby Pierce; 9. 18B-Shannon Babb; 10. 16T-Tyler Bruening; 11. 20-Rodney Sanders; 12. 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh; 13. 74-Mitch McGrath; 14. 91T-Tony Toste; 15. 11R-Justin Reed; 16. 4G-Bob Gardner; 17. 76-Blair Nothdurft; 18. 12W-Ashton Winger; 19. 25-Chad Simpson; 20. 15-Justin Duty; 21. 49T-Jake Timm; 22. 99-Frank Heckenast Jr; 23. 93-Mason Oberkramer; 24. 75-Terry Phillips; 25. 3W-Brennon Willard; 26. 24-Ryan Unzicker
B Feature 1 10 Laps | Hoosier
- 16T-Tyler Bruening; 2. 99-Frank Heckenast Jr; 3. 15-Justin Duty; 4. 25F-Jason Feger; 5. 12W-Ashton Winger; 6. 77Y-Jordan Yaggy; 7. 11-Jeff Herzog; 8. 1X-Aaron Marrant; 9. 89-Mike Spatola; 10. 14M-Reid Millard; 11. 93J-Jay Johnson; 12. 28-Dennis Erb Jr
B Feature 2 10 Laps | Sunoco
- 4G-Bob Gardner; 2. 91T-Tony Toste; 3. 11R-Justin Reed; 4. 25-Chad Simpson; 5. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck; 6. 3C-Mike Collins; 7. 49T-Jake Timm; 8. 3W-Brennon Willard; 9. 88L-Larry Clawson; 10. 00-Jesse Stovall
Heat 1 10 Laps | 00:07:17.032 | Casey’s
- 59-Garrett Alberson; 2. 24-Ryan Unzicker; 3. 3S-Brian Shirley; 4. 76-Blair Nothdurft; 5. 99-Frank Heckenast Jr; 6. 11-Jeff Herzog; 7. 89-Mike Spatola; 8. 25F-Jason Feger; 9. 1X-Aaron Marrant; 10. 14M-Reid Millard
Heat 2 10 Laps | 00:04:59.787 | Midwest Sheet Metal
- 91P-Jason Papich; 2. 56JR-Tony Jackson Jr; 3. 18B-Shannon Babb; 4. 93-Mason Oberkramer; 5. 16T-Tyler Bruening; 6. 15-Justin Duty; 7. 12W-Ashton Winger; 8. 77Y-Jordan Yaggy; 9. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 10. 93J-Jay Johnson
Heat 3 10 Laps | 00:04:29.310 | My Race Pass
- 32-Bobby Pierce; 2. 21-Billy Moyer Sr; 3. 74-Mitch McGrath; 4. 20-Rodney Sanders; 5. 91T-Tony Toste; 6. 00-Jesse Stovall; 7. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck; 8. 11R-Justin Reed; 9. 3C-Mike Collins
Heat 4 10 Laps | 00:03:01.600 | Performance Bodies
1. 75-Terry Phillips; 2. 32S-Chris Simpson; 3. 19-Ryan Gustin; 4. 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh; 5. 25-Chad Simpson; 6. 88L-Larry Clawson; 7. 4G-Bob Gardner; 8. 49T-Jake Timm; 9. 3W-Brennon Willard