Pryor Creek, OK (June 19, 2021) – The domination continued on Saturday night for Jesse Stovall, as the Billings, Missoui driver laid claim to his fifth career coveted Eagle Trophy by winning the 8th Annual “Freedom Classic” at the Salina Highbanks Speedway. The win was his second of the season and 28th all-time under the Lucas Oil MLRA banner.
Stovall and team rebounded in a big way after recording a DNF on Friday night after running inside the top three for the majority of the race. On Saturday night, Stovall would take the green from the outside front row alongside of DirtonDirt.com pole sitter Jason Paich, who claimed his fourth pole and fourth Illini Racing & Supply Fast Time Award of the season earlier in the night for his 15.209 second qualifying lap.
Stovall secured the top stop at the drop of the green only to see back-to-back StopTech Brakes Cautions slow the pace on laps one and two. After another stoppage on lap five the race leaders would find a rhythm as Stovall showed the way over current MLRA point leader Tony Jackson, Jr. and Papich. On lap number thirteen with the leaders working lapped traffic, disaster would strike for Friday night’s runner-up Garrett Alberson, as he slowed down the back stretch and retired from the event.
The longest green flag run of the night would follow with Stovall putting himself out in front by 5.275 seconds over the field as he maneuvered heavy lapped traffic. With Stovall in control, a back and forth battle ensued between Jackson and Papich, with Papich holding down second when the caution again stopped the event on lap 31 for Justin Duty who suffered an apparent flat right rear tire.
Back under green, this time lady luck struck down Papich as he would slow just one lap later off the exit of turn four, also with a flat right rear bringing his night to a close. Stovall again put a quick 1.5 seconds between himself and Jackson on the restart only to see if dwindle in the closing laps with Jackson gaining ground as Stovall’s rear tires began to fade. Jackson would take one final shot in turn three but at the line it was Stovall taking the $5,000 victory by 1.03 seconds over Jackson.
Tony Toste collected his second MLRA podium finish of the year in third, while Kylan Garner and Chris Kratzer rounded out the top five, each with career best MLRA finishes. It also marked the second consecutive Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Race award for Kratzer.
“This car is new to me (Capital Chassis) and I’m just kind of getting used to it,” commented Stovall after his second MLRA win of 2021. “Man it’s got a lot of traction in it and wears you out at times just to hold onto it. Marshall has been really good to me and it’s just been a phenomenal car.”
“With about three to go there I lost my right rear and I seen Tommy Boy (Tommy Rogers) giving me the sticks that Tony come to me pretty quick there. I don’t know what happened there, why I lost grip but I just lost grip,” said Stovall. “I thought I threw the tread off my tire, but the tread is still pretty decent so I don’t know. We’ll take ‘em as you get ‘em, they are pretty hard to get as everyone here knows, he concluded.”
Jaskson’s second place run marked his seventh MLRA podium finish of the season as the he also took advantage of trouble from Papich and Alberson to stretch out his Midwest Sheet Metal point lead to 270 points. “It’s tough out there, but I thought I had a chance to get him a couple of times and the opportunity just didn’t present itself. I was trying to ride there and then when Papich passed me the center was starting to clean up, so I had to go back. Our right rear tire was flat when we came in and we were probably fading equally together, but I thought I was closing on him,” commented Jackson.
Toste who rounded out the podium noted, “I was just kind of riding around, I knew it was forty laps and trying to preserve my tires. I started seeing some guys going out with flat tires and then it kind of got into my head, I started feeling vibrations and smelling rubber and I was like oh man I just need to kind of ride this out or I’m going to be in the infield of in the fence. Congratulations to Stovall and Jackson, those guys were rolling, I didn’t have anything for them, but we’re happy with a third place.”
MLRA Heads To The Gopher— For the first time in series history, the Lucas Oil MLRA will be in action as a part of the NAPA Auto Parts “Gopher 50” next weekend at the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, MN. The event will be co-sanctioned with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) where Friday nights main event will pay $12,000 to win, before drivers take to the track for Saturday nights $15,000 to win finale.
Salina Highbanks Speedway Contingencies 6/19/21
Lap Leaders— Stovall (1 – 40)
Stop Tech Brakes Cautions— D. Miller (lap 1), J. Hurst (lap 2), D. Miller (lap 5), G. Alberson (lap 13), J. Duty, (lap 31), J. Papich (lap 32)
Illini Racing & Supply “Fast Time” — Jason Papich (15.209)
Casey’s “Hard Charger of the Race” – Jason Redman (+9)
DirtonDirt.com “Pole Award” – Jason Papich
Dynamic Drivelines Crew Chief of the Race –Tommy Rogers
Gorsuch Performance Solutions “10th Place Finisher” – Dustin Bolster
Hooker Harness “11th Place Finisher”— Jason Redman
Midwest Sheet Metal “Points Leader Spoiler Challenge” – Tony Jackson Jr.
Performance Bodies “Performer of the Race”– Jesse Stovall
Racing Junk “Hard Luck Award” – Jeremiah Hurst
StopTech Brakes “6th Place Finisher”- Steve Stultz
Sunoco “Rookie of the Race” – Chris Kratzer
Swift Springs “Move of the Race”— Tony Jackson Jr.
Wrisco Feature Winner– Jesse Stovall
A Feature 1 40 Laps | 00:38:55.913 | Lucas Oil Products
- 00-Jesse Stovall; 2. 56JR-Tony Jackson Jr; 3. 91T-Tony Toste; 4. 45-Kylan Garner; 5. 55K-Chris Kratzer; 6. 78S-Steve Stultz; 7. 3W-Brennon Willard; 8. 14M-Reid Millard; 9. 36D-Mark Daye; 10. B1-Dustin Bolster; 11. 36R-Jason Redman; 12. (DNF) 91P-Jason Papich; 13. (DNF) 15-Justin Duty; 14. (DNF) 13-Joey Smith; 15. (DNF) 59-Garrett Alberson; 16. (DNF) 12-Cory Green; 17. (DNF) 3C-Dalton Cloyd; 18. (DNF) 55-Danny Miller; 19. (DNF) 41-Jeremiah Hurst; 20. (DNF) 22-Daniel Hilsabeck; 21. (DNF) 93-Mason Oberkramer
Heat 1 8 Laps | 00:03:26.166 | Dynamic Drivelines
- 91P-Jason Papich; 2. 56JR-Tony Jackson Jr; 3. 78S-Steve Stultz; 4. 3W-Brennon Willard; 5. 13-Joey Smith; 6. 36D-Mark Daye; 7. 36R-Jason Redman
Heat 2 8 Laps | 00:05:47.960 | Midwest Sheet Metal
- 00-Jesse Stovall; 2. 91T-Tony Toste; 3. 41-Jeremiah Hurst; 4. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck; 5. 3C-Dalton Cloyd; 6. B1-Dustin Bolster; 7. (DNF) 55-Danny Miller
Heat 3 8 Laps | 00:04:27.250 | Sunoco
1. 59-Garrett Alberson; 2. 55K-Chris Kratzer; 3. 15-Justin Duty; 4. 45-Kylan Garner; 5. 14M-Reid Millard; 6. 12-Cory Green; 7. (DNF) 93-Mason Oberkramer