Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Rejuvenated Jackson returns for 8th annual MLRA Ron Jenkins Memorial

Tony Jackson Jr. captured his second Lucas Oil MLRA win of the season on Saturday at the Maquoketa Speedway. Photo Credit: Lloyd Collins FastTrack Photos

WHEATLAND, MO. (Sept. 1, 2022) – With two recent Lucas Oil MLRA feature wins in his pocket, Tony Jackson Jr., will bring a renewed enthusiasm to Lucas Oil Speedway for Saturday night’s 8th annual Ron Jenkins Memorial.

A rough start to the season, including failing to qualify for the Show-Me 100 big show at Lucas Oil Speedway, led Jackson to sell his stable of Late Model cars and take a break to regroup.

Armed with a new Capital Race Car, the 25-year racing veteran from Lebanon returned a couple of weeks ago to capture MLRA events in Iowa.

“I feel rejuvenated and blessed to be where we’re at,” Jackson said.

The Ron Jenkins Memorial, paying tribute to the man who built the original Wheatland Raceway, is the final Late Model special of the season at Lucas Oil Speedway. The Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modifieds will run for $1,000 to win and O’Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars will have a $750 feature prize. The Ozark Golf Car USRA B-Mods will battle for a special $1,000-to-win top prize Presented by the Titan B-Mod Series.

Jackson, the MLRA Series champion in 2013 and 2021, said he took a brief break over the summer when results weren’t up to par and his cars just didn’t feel right.

“I don’t know, I’d raced for a long time and I knew what kind of feel you look for and I didn’t feel that I had it,” Jackson said. “Obviously everybody thinks they can get the job done, but you start doubting yourself.

“I had no intentions of quitting. I just needed to regroup. That’s what we did. We kind of stopped, took a deep breath and rebuilt on a program that we know what it takes to win.”

The connection to Capital Race Cars owner Marshal Green made sense, Jackson said, because he had known Green for a long time and he recommended a Capital car to fellow area racer and friend Payton Looney a few years ago.

Looney went on to win the 2019 Show-Me 100 in his Capital, giving the Georgia-based company additional national credibility.

“Payton was at a point where he was struggling and I told him that Marshal was a very good person and he went that route,” Jackson said. “He’s had a bunch of success and at the same time, when I was struggling, I was talking to Payton and he’s like ‘I think you’d be happy with a Capital.’

“I had stayed in contact with Marshal and it was just an easy move.”

But winning right out of the box with a new car is pretty rare. Jackson said Green’s advice seemed to fit perfectly from the get-go.

“It just fit me, the way we talk and communicate,” Jackson said. “You want good balance in your race car and it was just a really good race car when we unloaded.

“We definitely have a lot of confidence and momentum going forward.”

Jackson said his goals the rest of the way are simple. His time away from racing didn’t affect any plans to chase points, as he intended all along to be selective with his racing choices.

“It was a kind of a weird year. We had no points racing plans,” he said. “Business is really busy and my daughter is getting older. We planned on hitting a lot of the bigger-paying shows … but we just had no speed, so we stopped and regrouped.

“Now we’re going again and look forward to trying to win as many races as possible and just basically build our notebook with these cars and be ready to come out strong next year.”

Last year, he drove Chad Wheeler’s Modified at the USRA Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway and would consider hopping in someone else’s ride again this October if given the opportunity.

“I like supporting all the local tracks around,” Jackson said. “I’m still that guy who just likes to race. If somebody gives me something to race, I’ll go race it.”

The $7,000-to-win, $700-to-start Lucas Oil MLRA event is the middle night of a three-race MLRA swing that begins Friday at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, and concludes Sunday at Randolph County Raceway in Moberly.

Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, will be looking to continue his pursuit of the MLRA season championship. He begins the weekend with a 280-point lead over his nearest pursuer, Kolby Vandenbergh of Ashland, Illinois.

Grandstands and the pits open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05.

MLRA Ron Jenkins Memorial dirt-track admission:

Adults (16 and up) – $25

Seniors (62 and up)/Military – $22

Youth (6-15) – $10

Kids (5 and under) – FREE

Family Pass $60 (Click Here for more information)

Pit Pass $40

(FREE admission with Diamond Drag Boat Nationals Saturday ticket, two-day pass or three-day pass)

Drag boats in action on Lake Lucas: Earlier on Saturday, fans can catch qualifying rounds next door on Lake Lucas as the 12th annual Diamond Drag Boat Nationals continues.

The three-day Kentucky Drag Boat Association-sanctioned event begins early Friday morning with a live telecast from Lake Lucas on Ozarks Fox AM on KRBK Channel 5 out of Springfield. The show will conduct driver interviews during the first hour with drivers from the four fastest divisions of the KDBA – Rick Allen (Top Alcohol Hydro), Tyler Speer (Pro Outlaw), Shelby Ebert (Pro Mod) and Terry Williams (Quick Eliminator).

Following driver interviews, the TV crew will be touring the vendors, gift shop trailers and beer tent. During the 8-9 a.m. hour, live qualifying runs will be shown as Kentucky Drag Boat Association president Barry Salsman will join show co-hosts Jeremy Rabe and Kelly Smith for commentary, with vendor visits in between the runs.

Qualifying will continue throughout the day on Friday and begin again at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Eliminations are set to get underway at 9 a.m. on Sunday.

On Friday night, a barbecue dinner and beer tent will be set up on the Lake Lucas midway for the drag boat racers and teams. All donations collected will be split between the Racers Emergency Support Program and Racers For Christ.

Diamond Drag Boat Nationals grandstand admission:

(Friday)

Age 6 and up GA-Pit Pass Combo – $10

5-and-under GA-Pit Pass Combo – FREE

Adult 3-day GA-Pit Pas Combo – $50

Seniors (62 and up)/Military 3-day GA-Pit Pass Combo – $44

(All tickets include access to Drag Boat pit area)

(All 3-day tickets include access to dirt-track event on Saturday night)

 

(Saturday)

Adults GA/Pit Pass Combo (16 and up) – $30

Seniors (62 and up)/Military GA/Pit Pass Combo – $27

Your GA-Pit Pass Combo (ages 6-15) – $10

Kids GA-Pit Pass Combo (ages 5-and-under) – FREE

Family Pass GA/Pit Pass Combo (includes admission for two adults and up to three kids ages 6-15) Adults 2-day GA/Pit Pass Combo – $40

Seniors (62 and up)/Military 2-day GA-Pit Pass Combo – $37

Youth (ages 6-15) 2-day GA-Pit Pass Combo – $20

(All tickets include access to Drag Boat pit area)

(All Saturday or 3-Day and 2-Day tickets include entry to dirt-track event on Saturday night)

 

(Sunday)

Age 6 and up GA/Pit Pass Combo – $10

5 and Under GA/Pit Pass Combo – FREE

(All tickets include access to Drag Boat pit area)

 

To purchase tickets for any event on Lucas Oil Speedway’s schedule, or to inquire about camping information, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 295-6043 or via email at nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com