Wheatland, Missouri (October 12, 2021) – A championship battle that started in Mid-April at the I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, NE will finally come to a climax this weekend when the Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Racing Association (MLRA) invades the Tri-City Speedway for two big nights of racing.
This weekends action will mark the second consecutive season in which the MLRA championship is decided at the 3/8-mile Tri-City Speedway, located just east of St. Louis, MO in nearby Granite City, IL. A Thursday night practice session is set to get the weekend underway on Thursday night from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM.
On Friday night Bullet Racing Engines will present night # 1 of the Championship weekend with a complete show paying out $5,000 to the winner. Following Friday nights on track action fans and race teams will be treated to a post-race pit party, featuring a live band, bonfire, and mechanical bull riding. In addition to the post race activities, breakfast will be available on both Friday and Saturday mornings from 8:30 AM to 11 AM on the midway of the main concession area.
Saturday night the action will heat up when $7,000 goes up for grabs and $600 to start in the MLRA’s season finale. Officials are excited for another strong car count, following on the heels of the 2020 Tri-City Championship weekend, which saw 47 & 45 cars respectively check in for battle in the two-night affair.
Tony Jackson Jr. has led the Midwest Sheet Metal Point Leader Spoiler Challenge standings for all but one event in 2021 as he will look to wrap up his second series title, and first since 2013. The leader from Lebanon, MO will come into the weekend with a 160-point advantage over Garrett Alberson in a two-man, two-race battle to determine the Championship. When the dust clears on Saturday night the series Champion will walk away with a $15,000 payday.
The 160-point margin between the top two drivers may seem insurmountable, but last year’s dramatic point battle proved that that the chase is not over until the final checkered flag waves on the last lap. Jackson is the series leading winner on the season with four victories while Alberson enters the weekend with a pair of wins, the most recent coming on October 1st at the Sycamore Speedway. With that win, Alberson was able to take a considerable 60-point bite out of the point lead.
The MLRA point structure awards 200 points for a feature win, descending down to 75 points for drivers finishing in 21st or below leaving no room for error. With the high potential for a large car count this weekend it will put even more importance on every finishing position for the lead duo.
Jason Papich enters the weekend in the third slot, while Mason Oberkramer and Justin Duty round out the top five.
One season ago, Oberkramer picked up his second MLRA win of the season in the weekend opener and is again expected to be a contender this weekend. Oberkramer also comes into the weekend having all but locked up the 2021 Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year Award. Billy Moyer Sr. went on to record the win in the Saturday night season finale in 2020.
Tony Jackson Jr.: (Point Leader) Wins (4), Top 5’s (10), Top 10’s (14)
For Jackson, the season finale couldn’t be at a better track. “Primetime” has recorded non-MLRA wins in each of the last three seasons at Tri-City including a $3,000 win just three weeks ago. During the 2020 championship weekend he brought home a pair of top ten results, finishing 9th & 4th respectively. With a 160 point cushion the driver of the Willard Quarries / Lebanon Ready Mix XR1 Rocket Chassis should be the position to go out and race for the win this weekend as opposed to chasing points. If Jackson can head into Saturday with the title already at hand, don’t be surprised if the winner of the season finale is also the 2021 MLRA Champion.
Garrett Alberson: (-160 points) Wins (2), Top 5’s (10), Top 10’s (11)
Fresh off an MLRA win just two weeks ago, Alberson appears to have the momentum on his side rolling into Tri-City Speedway. Over his last four series starts he has two wins and a remarkable average finish of 2.25. Alberson was a part of the championship celebration one year ago with Roberts Motorsports teammate and MLRA Champion Jeremiah Hurst, so he knows all too well that an unthinkable comeback is possible. Alberson will have the luxury of coming into the weekend knowing that all of the pressure will be squarely on Jackson. Alberson will definitely need a great run on Friday night and a little luck to position himself to within striking distance come Saturday.
***TRI-CITY CHAMPIONSHIP RODEO–SUNDAY 10/17 @ 2PM***
Race teams and fans alike are welcome to stick around and enjoy the Tri-City Championship Rodeo following the racing action on Sunday afternoon starting at 2:00 PM. A special adult admission of just $5.00 will be offered to any driver or crew who is wearing a Pit Pass/wrist band from Friday or Saturday nights racing action. You must be wearing the wrist band and present it at the front ticket booth to redeem the special offer. The Rodeo is sanctioned by the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) and will feature Bareback, Saddle Bronc, Bull Riding, Steer Wrestling, Barrel racing and more.
Tri-City Speedway: Granite City, IL Practice Info- Thursday 10/14
Pit Gates: 3:00 PM
Grandstand: 5:30PM (Free to watch)
Practice Time: 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Tri City Speedway: Granite City, IL — Friday 10/15/21 ($5,000 to WIN)
Pit Gates Open: 12PM
Grandstand Gates: 5:30 PM
Hot Laps: 6:30 PM, Racing to Follow
Admission: GA Adults $25, Kids 12 & Under FREE
Support Classes: UMP Mods–$2,000 to Win
Tri City Speedway: Granite City, IL — Saturday 10/16/21 ($7,000 to WIN)
Pit Gates Open: 11AM
Grandstand Gates: 3:30 PM
Hot Laps: 4:30 PM, Racing to Follow
Admission: GA Adults $30, Kids 12 & Under FREE
Support Classes: UMP Mods–$2,000 to Win, B-Mods–$1,000 to Win
Tri City Speedway: Granite City, IL — Sunday 10/17/21 (TRI-CITY RODEO)
Gates Open: 12 PM
Rodeo: 2:00 PM
General Admission: $20 (Just $5 if wearing a Pit Pass Wrist Band from Friday or Saturday—must present at front gate Sunday to redeem)
Juniors (kids) $10 ages 3 – 12