Pryor Creek, OK (June 18, 2021) – Tony Jackson, Jr. continued his career season with the Lucas Oil MLRA on Friday night, by capturing the win in night # 1 of the 8th Annual Freedom Classic at the Salina Highbanks Speedway in Pyror Creek, OK. Jackson led wire-to-wire in capturing his fourth win of the season.

Jesse Stovall came into the night in search of his fifth Freedom Classic victory and scored the Illini Racing & Supply Fast Time Award with his 14.700 second lap time. Heat race victories would go to Jason Papich and Jackson, putting the pair alongside on the front row for the nights 30 lap main event. 

Papich, behind the wheel of a new Longhorn Chassis rolled from the pole for the third time on the season, but it was Jackson taking advantage of the top side and taking the top spot on lap number one. Jackson quickly began to stretch out the advantage until lap six, when he began working his way through lapped traffic. The lapped traffic would slow the leaders pace just enough to allow Papich and Stovall to close the gap with the top three running nose to tail as the event made its way past the halfway point.

On lap 16, Stovall would slip the cushion in one and two and eventually came to a stop on the front stretch to bring out the first of three StopTech Brakes Cautions of the night. Jackson again assumed the lead on the restart, but the pace was again slowed on lap 19 when Tony Toste slowed on the speedway with a flat right rear tire, sending him to the hot pit area. Toste would rebound for a 6th place finish. 

The lap 19 woes would continue on the restart, as this time Papich jumped the cushion and exited the speedway, avoiding disaster by nearly missing contact with the end of the turn two wall. Garrett Alberson and Jeremiah Hurst would restart side-by-side behind Jackson with just eleven laps remaining, but Jackson once again proved to be too strong, going on to capturing his fourth MLRA win of 2021 and a $3,000 pay day.

Alberson picked up his second runner-up finish of the season along with earning the Casey’s Hard Charger of the race by advancing five spots, while Hurst finished in third. Daniel Hilsabeck rebounded from a roll-over at the Show-Me 100 to collect a career best MLRA finish of fourth along with being credited with the Swift Springs Move of the Race. Justin Duty rounded out the top five finishers at the line.

“We had to work on it a little bit tonight, but it was good”, noted Jackson of his Cornett powered Rocket XR-1 Chassis from Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Victory Lane. “When you get good race cars up there it’s hard to get by them, so you know the first few laps are pretty crucial. We were able to get a pretty good start and hold them off.” 

Alberson completed another solid night and noted, “I feel like I was pretty good right there if I had clean air, I got close to Tony that one time and I pushed real bad, and that’s just kind of the nature of the racing there. Tony did a great job, he has been good all year and congrats to them guys.” 

“Seems like the key here is to be able to turn on the gas, you know when that cushions got speed like that. We were just way too tight early in the night, but I think we are a little closer now and maybe if I can get our starting spot a little better we can race with these guys,” concluded Alberson, who continues to hold down the second spot in the MLRA’s Midwest Sheet Metal Championship Standings.

Hurst, the series defending champion continued his hot streak with his fourth top five finish in the series last five races. He said of his podium run, “Not too bad, I’ll take it. We just got to work on it for tomorrow and hopefully get a little more speed. There was nothing on the bottom, it was too fast on the top and they’ve got to mess up to get around them. You just have to have a free car to rotate around that cushion and we just didn’t have one of them tonight, we were a little too tight.”

Saturday Night Showdown: Lucas Oil MLRA action at the Salina Highbanks continues with the 8th Annual Freedom Classic on Saturday night June 19th, when drivers battle it out in a $5,000 to win and $500 to start weekend finale. Gates will open at 5PM, with racing action going green at 7:00 PM.