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 1.043 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.