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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wheatland, Missouri (August 28, 2018) - Following a five week break, the Lucas Oil MLRA will roar back into action this Labor Day weekend with a pivotal three race swing. Only five series events remain on the 2018 campaign, and with a championship battle that continues to tighten, this upcoming weekend's events will be crucial to crowing a champion.
The weekend gets started with a $3,000 to win event on Friday at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, IA before heading to the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO on Saturday for the running of the Annual Larry Phillips Memorial. Action concludes on Sunday with another $3,000 to win show at the Monett Motor Speedway, as the MLRA will take center stage in the Annual 4-State Dirt Track Championship.
One driver looking to carry some recent momentum into the weekend is Story City, Iowa's Jeremy Grady. The driver of the Clements powered Black Diamond Chassis said, "I'm excited to go back down there (Lee County) this weekend. I just feel we're in a different spot than we were last year and I'm getting excited to get after it. The track is always smooth and it usually slicks off in the feature giving us a good place to race."
The 2018 season thus far has not been what Grady had hoped for, but a 4th place run at Lake Ozark Speedway backed-up by another top ten at Lakeside Speedway, has team 43 ready for the stretch run. Grady debuted a new 2018 Black Diamond earlier this year at Davenport Speedway and feels they are ready to compete with the tours top teams. Grady commented of the new ride, "It was good out of the box and then we broke a power steering line in the heat and it's just been one thing after another. Salina we got into a wreck, it just seemed like we couldn't keep a body on it, and there was always stuff happening that we couldn't keep it on the track."
The recent time off has also allowed Grady some much needed time to regroup. The month of July was another bump in the road as motor issues at the Diamond Nationals, which carried over to the Silver Dollar Nationals, plagued the team. "We just got the motor back and set in the car, so we're getting close to being ready to go again."
Saturday will lead the MLRA to the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO for the Annual Larry Phillips Memorial, Presented by Rugged Radios. This prestigious race pays honor to the Nascar Hall of Fame nominee and one of the greatest short track racers of all time. The feature event will continue the tribute with its traditional $5,075 top prize and $500 starting money. This event continues to grow in popularity and is at the top of the "must win" list for many regional drivers.
This will be the MLRA's 3rd stop of the year at LOS, which is slated to hold three of the tours final five events, making it a critical part of the path to the series crown. Current series drivers Will Vaught and Jesse Stovall are among the list of drivers who claimed MLRA victories at the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks" in 2017.
Fans are also encouraged to come early and enjoy day one of the 8th Annual Diamond Drag Boat Nationals taking place adjacent to the speedway at Lake Lucas.
The Labor Day weekend trifecta wraps up on Sunday, September, 2nd at the Monett Motor Speedway in Monett, MO with the 48th Annual 4-State Dirt Track Championship. The MLRA series is excited for this upcoming event at the 3/8-mile red clay oval, which will be the series' first since 2007 when veteran Bill Frye claimed the win.
Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie leader Payton Looney grew up around the Monett facility, which his grandfather previously owned for many years. Looney said, "It (4 State Championships) has always been a big deal at Monett. Crowds were standing room only and we had to park cars in the infield many times because there were so many."
Looney will lead his Atnip Enterprises team into the weekend searching for the elusive MLRA victory. "I feel like we have been fast enough to win the past month. We have just had a lot of unfortunate things happen, but that's part of racing. If we keep our head down and keep working at it, I don't see any reason we can't run top three all weekend and knock one down," noted Looney.
Lee County Speedway: Donnellson, IA Race Day Info-- 8/31
Gates: 5:00 PM
Lucas Oil Speedway: Wheatland, MO Race Info-- 9/1
Gates: 4:00 PM
Monett Motor Speedway: Monett, MO Race Day Info-9/2
Gates: 4:00 PM