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Wheatland, MO (September 20, 2018) - Change was in the air on Thursday night in Wheatland, Missouri as the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprints League debuted a completely revamped format to kick off the eighth annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway. At the conclusion of the Mesilla Valley Transportation qualifying night, it was Denton, Nebraska's Terry Richards standing in victory lane following his first-career triumph with the series, however, it was Sapulpa, Oklahoma's Kyle Clark who used consistency all night to stand atop the point standings heading into Friday's Rockwell Security qualifying night.
Ditching the old and outdated format that would have slated nine heat races and a B-Main for the 80+ car field, instead a group of 39 racers tackled the 3/8th-mile surface on Thursday to run the Mesilla Valley Transportation qualifying night. A program including four group qualifying sets, four heat races, three qualifiers, two B-Mains and a preliminary feature would be on the schedule.
Opening the night, it was Korey Weyant (15.246), Landon Simon (15.517), Chris Phillips (15.469) and Thomas Meseraull (15.659) topping the time sheets in their respective group qualifying sets. Heat race action saw wins go to Wesley Smith in Hinchman Racewear heat one, Clinton Boyles in Bell Racing USA heat two, Ryan Kitchen in Schure Built Suspension heat three and Kyle Clark in Wilwood Disc Brakes heat four. Moving onto a trio of qualifiers, it was Landon Simon taking High Side Design qualifier one, Mario Clouser scoring Indy Race Parts qualifier two and Ryan Kitchen winning Chalk Racing Stix qualifier three. A pair of B-Mains would transfer six more drivers into the feature as Chris Parkinson and Slater Helt led the way with B-Main wins.
Entering the preliminary feature as LRB, Inc. #HighPointMan, Ryan Kitchen would be slotted on the outside of the fourth row due to an eight-car inversion, allowing the front row to consist of Terry Richards and Wesley Smith. Taking the lead at the drop of the green flag, Richards of Denton, Nebraska put his No. 18 machine out front first. He was chased by Smith and Tyler Thomas in the opening laps while Thomas Meseraull jockeyed for the fourth spot with Mario Clouser and Kyle Clark.
As Richards held command out front, all eyes were on "T-Mez" Thomas Meseraull as he had charged from seventh-to-second in the opening six laps and was poised to challenge for the win and high point honors. Closing on Richards lap-after-lap, Meseraull presented his bid for the lead just shy of halfway when he pulled the Don Whitney Racing No. 00 even with Richards. Switching to the top of turns one and two while diamonding off turns three and four, Meseraull quickly gained an edge and snuck around the outside to lead lap 11.
In the end, Denton, Nebraska's Terry Richards led 23 of 25 laps, battled a relentless Thomas Meseraull and fended off a hard-charging Kyle Clark, as Richards scored the win in Thursday's Mesilla Valley Transportation night at the Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial, which also marked his first-career victory with the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprints League.
Rounding out the podium behind Richards was Kyle Clark of Oklahoma in the second position and Mario Clouser of Illinois in the third spot, who fell as low as 13th on lap two of a whirlwind feature. Closing out the top five on Thursday night was Landon Simon of Brownsburg, Indiana in fourth aboard his Mount Baker Vapor No. 24 and Tyler Thomas of Collinsville, Oklahoma in fifth aboard the Smith Motorsports No. 91 entry. Closing out the top ten was Chris Phillips in sixth, Ty Hulsey in seventh, Chris Parkinson in eighth, Slater Helt in ninth and Clinton Boyles in tenth.
With the split preliminary format, drivers are fighting for points every time they hit the race track, from hot laps/group qualifying all the way until the feature. Following the first preliminary night, it is Kyle Clark sitting atop the points with 233 markers. Closing out the top ten is Landon Simon (227), Terry Richards (219), Mario Clouser (215), Chris Phillips (209), Ty Hulsey (209), Tyler Thomas (208), Chris Parkinson (203), Slater Helt (199) and Clinton Boyles (196).
Action resumes tomorrow, Friday, September 21st with a whole new field of competitors taking on the Lucas Oil Speedway as part of Rockwell Security qualifying night at the Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial. Following the conclusion of Friday's program, points will be calculated and the top 12 will lock-in for Saturday's main event, point-getters 13th-44th will split into two B-Mains and point-getters 45th-84th will split into two C-Mains.
Group Qualifying Session One (3 Laps):
Group Qualifying Session Two (3 Laps):
Group Qualifying Session Three (3 Laps):
Group Qualifying Session Four (3 Laps):
Hinchman Racewear Heat One (8 Laps):
Bell Racing USA Heat Two (8 Laps):
Schure Built Suspension Heat Three (8 Laps):
Wilwood Disc Brakes Heat Four (8 Laps):
High Side Design Qualifier One (10 Laps):
Indy Race Parts Qualifier Two (10 Laps):
Chalk Racing Stix Qualifier Three (10 Laps):
Hoosier Tire B-Main One (10 Laps):
Speedway Motors B-Main Two (10 Laps):
POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprints League Main Event (25 Laps):