Pryor Creek, Oklahoma (June 29, 2018) - For the second time in 2018, Chad Simpson made the most of the DirtonDirt.com pole and raced to the checkers in night one of the Freedom Classic at the Salina Highbanks Speedway. Earlier in the night, Simpson rolled from the sixth spot on the grid to pick up his heat race win in convincing fashion, setting the stage for the $3,000 to win feature event.
Front row starters Simpson and Billy Moyer, Jr., took off at the drop of the green only to see the races first caution wave on lap three. On the initial restart, Simpson would continue to work the top side of the 3/8 mile speedway while Dillard would try to work his magic by using the short way around. Dillard was able to run close with Simpson entering the corners, but Simpson's high side momentum would prove difficult to beat.
Additional cautions would wave on laps 14 and 16, this time putting Sunoco Racing Fuels Rookie point leader Payton Looney on Simpson's tail. Simpson would master the re-starts by diamonding off the bottom of turn four to grab the valuable momentum and race into turn one. Simpson said of the restarts, "There was a ton of traction off the bottom of four, so I knew if I could get down there and get a good run I would have a good head of steam going down the front stretch. I knew as long as I entered into one pretty hard it was going to be hard for them to get up alongside of me."
Lapped traffic also came into play on multiple occasions, but in the end Simpson was able to park his Brinkman Motorsports, Black Diamond Chassis in Andy's Frozen Custard Victory Lane. "That lapped traffic was a little tricky there a few times and I know it held me up. I needed to get my butt going because I figured those guys were coming," said Simpson.
The win is the second of the season for Simpson who was also able to increase his points advantage over Tony Jackson, Jr. Using a provisional, Jackson came home 11th via a borrowed car, after making heavy contact with the turn four wall while going for the lead in the "B" main. Looney and Dillard would complete the podium, while USMTS modified veteran Jason Hughes finished fourth driving for Shannon Scott. Logan Martin ran towards the front all night and would complete the top five.
Looney's runner up finish is his best of the season, and 4th MLRA top five finish. Looney said of his run, "The longer the runs it seemed like the better we were. Chad was better than us in clean air, but it seemed like he was having a hard time with lapped cars and that's the only reason I was able to catch him. He was a lot better in 3-4 and that was pretty much the race."
Dillard's third place run follows a runner up finish on Thursday night at the Tri-State Speedway. The Robeline, LA driver has numerous starts and successful runs on the Highbanks in his USMTS modified, but this marked his first late model start at the Oklahoma facility.
Dillard started off by winning his qualifying heat and said of the main, "It was a blast. The track come around better than I thought, I just thought the cushion would be there a lot longer. We were there with them at the end, I just needed a little more so hopefully we will learn from it and go onto tomorrow." Dillard concluded by saying, "I have always liked racing a mod here and it's a fast place--especially in a late model.
Saturday will bring night # 2 of the Freedom Classic back to the Salina Highbanks. The event will again be co-sanctioned with the Comp Cams Super Dirt Series & Present by Lucas Oil, as drivers will via for the $5,000 top prize and the coveted eagle trophy that awaits the winner. Pure Stocks and Modifieds will also be in action with a spectacular fireworks display set to close out the night.
Due to the expected warm temperatures, the start time for Saturday has been backed up one hour and will again start at 8pm.
Salina Highbanks Speedway Contingencies 6/29/18
Andy's Frozen Custard Victory Lane - Chad Simpson
Casey's General Store's "Hard Charger of the Race" - Hunter Rasdon
DirtonDirt.com "Pole Award" - Chad Simpson
Hooker Harness "11th Place Finisher" - Tony Jackson, Jr.
Malvern Bank "Most Laps Led" - Chad Simpson
Midwest Sheet Metal "Points Leader Spoiler Challenge" - Chad Simpson
Mittler Brothers Machine and Tool "Crew Chief of the Race" - Gus Farmer
Performance Bodies "Performer of the Race" - Chad Simpson
Sunoco "Rookie of the Race" - Payton Looney
Wehrs Machine - Will Vaught
RacingJunk.com "Hard Luck Award" - Tony Jackson, Jr.
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks Award -Cade Dillard
Lucas Cattle Copmany A Feature (30 Laps): 1.Chad Simpson 2.Payton Looney 3.Cade Dillard 4.Jason Hughes 5.Logan Martin 6.Jack Sullivan 7.BJ Robinson 8.Will Vaught 9.Mitch McGrath 10.Billy Moyer, Jr. 11.Tony Jackson, Jr. 12.Hunter Rasdon 13.Jon Mitchell 14.Cole Wells 15.Jake Neal 16.Jake Davis 17.Tanner Kellick 18.Jeff Roth 19.Raymond Merrill 20.David Payne 21.Jesse Stovall 22.J.C. Wyman 23.Jeremy Grady 24.Gavin Landers
Casey's General Stores B Feature (10 Laps): 1.Jon Mitchell 2.Jesse Stovall 3.Tanner Kellick 4.Jeremy Grady 5.Gavin Landers 6.Jake Neal 7.Cole Wells 8.Austin Theiss 9.David Payne 10. Joey Stark 11.Cliff Morrow 12.Joseph Gorby 13.Tony Jackson, Jr. 14.Gary Gorby 15.Joe Godsey 16.Sloppy Hog 17.Hunter Rasdon
Swift Springs Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1.Cade Dillard 2.Will Vaught 3.Jason Hughes 4.BJ Robinson 5.Tony Jackson, Jr. 6.Cole Wells 7.Jeremy Grady 8. Austin Theiss (DNS)
Casey's General Store Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1.Logan Martin 2.Jeff Roth 3.Raymond Merrill 4.Jack Sullivan 5.Jesse Stovall 6.Gavin Landers 7.Joseph Gorby 8.Jake Neal
Chix Gear Racewear Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1.J.C. Wyman 2.Billy Moyer, Jr. 3.Mitch McGrath 4.Tanner Kellick 5.David Payne 6.Sloppy Hog 7.Hunter Rasdon 8.Joe Godsey
Malvern Bank Heat 4 (10 Laps): 1.Chad Simpson 2.Payton Looney 3.Jake Davis 4.Jon Mitchell 5.Cliff Morrow 6.Gary Gorby 7.Joey Stark
For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.