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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wheatland, Missouri (October 8, 2018) - The culmination of the 30th Anniversary season for the Lucas Oil MLRA comes to a close this weekend as the 5th Annual Fall Nationals takes center stage at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO on Oct. 12th & 13th. The weekend will provide drivers and fans two full nights of racing action with a $3,000 to win event on Friday leading up to Saturday's $5,000 finale. Both nights will be co-sanctioned with the COMP Cams Super Dirt Series, Presented by Lucas Oil.
A wild points battle will await fans as Mount Vernon, IA's Chad Simpson clings to a 24-point margin over Will Vaught. Vaught has been almost unstoppable since July, grabbing five wins including the last three, and chipping away at Simpson's point lead in the process, which had stood at a comfortable 134 points just six races ago.
Simpson has carried the floursent Midwest Sheet Metal spoiler, indicative of the series point leader since late April at the Thunderbird Speedway, in Muskogee, OK. He started off his 2018 campaign recording top five finishes in all but one of the series' first nine events, as it appeared he would easily cruise to his 2nd career MLRA title. However, a forgettable month of July found the Wehrs Machine/Gatr Truck Centers # 25 plagued by bad luck and unable to catch a break, resulting in three consecutive DNF's.
The veteran driver of the Brinkman Motorsports entry has rebounded well, grabbing podium finishes in the last three events, including a runner-up finish at the series most recent visit to Lucas Oil Speedway. Simpson is no stranger to tight points battles and the pressure it can present, and says he is ready to get back to the track and decide the championship.
Knowing championships are won in the shop as well as on the track, in preparation for the championship weekend Simpson and team have been busy going over their Black Diamond Chassis. "I have pretty much completely disassembled the whole car and checked everything. I have had the rear end out, the motor out, the oil pump out, the drive shaft out, and pretty much the entire body off," noted Simpson.
A two time MLRA winner at LOS, Simpson also likes his chances as the series returns to the Diamond of Dirt Tracks for the 4th time this season. "I would say out of all the years I've ever been to Wheatland, the set up that we have and just how I have been driving it, is just about the best I have ever been down there."
Saturday night's MLRA finale will also bring an end to an era for Simpson and longtime car owners Bud & Denise Brinkman. Simpson commented that the teams focus is on bringing a 2nd MLRA title to Brinkman Motorsports. "We have had a hell of a 15 year run with them and we're just trying to get ourselves to where we can finish strong for them and get them what they deserve. This (championship) is something at the end of the year that would top off a great season and career with them."
Vaught enters the weekend in a relaxed position, seeing only an upside for his Wright Asphalt/Integra Shocks racing team when they roll into LOS. Having been idle since recording a three race sweep over the Labor Day weekend, he feels like their point position allows them the ability to take some chances in the final weekend.
Vaught came just 39 markers short of the title in 2013 to eventual champion Tony Jackson, Jr. and recalls that title hunt as a total opposite of what 2018 has presented him. "In 13' we led the points for most of the year. I was on the upside going down and now we're on the low side going up. This time I have a lot less pressure than him (Simpson). I know we're going to perform well, and it's a long shot for us to win the championship, so all we can do is go win heat races and win the races," said Vaught.
The driver of the XR-1 Rocket Chassis, Vaught has now recorded MLRA wins at LOS in three consecutive seasons and is excited to get back to Wheatland. "It took us a lot of years to finally win a race there. As of recent, it's been good to us and I have learned to drive the place a little better than I used to."
Jack Sullivan, the three-time series champion and current leader of the COMP Cams Super Dirt Series(CCSDS), will lead a strong contingent of southern based drivers to the weekend showdown. This will be the third such co-sanctioned event of the year between the two regional series which should present a high car count and increased level of competition. Vaught commented of the addition of the CCSDS to the championship weekend, "It will bring so many more good cars to the mix. It gives me a better chance to have a few more cars in between me and Chad at the end of the night."
Saturday nights 50 lapper will also come with an additional $500 bonus to the winner, in memory of Ron Jenkins, the original builder of Wheatland Raceway.
Joining the high powered super late models each night will be the 1st annual B-Mod "Clash of Champions". Friday night will feature a double heat race qualifying format to set the field for Saturday's $3,000 to win main event.
Lucas Oil Speedway: Wheatland, MO Race Day Info- Friday 10/12/18
Gates: 4:00 PM
Lucas Oil Speedway: Wheatland, MO Race Day Info- Saturday 10/13/18
Gates: 4:00 PM
For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.