Wheatland, MO (September 1, 2018) - Saturdays annual Larry Phillips Memorial may go down as one of the greatest MLRA events at the Lucas Oil Speedway-a fitting tribute and finish in honor of one of the greats short track racers of all time. In an event that saw three different leaders and back and forth battles in front of a packed house, it would be Will Vaught grabbing his second consecutive series victory and 5th on the season.
A great field of 29 Lucas Oil MLRA Late Models came to do battle, and the 23 starters would have to follow front row starters Will Vaught and Dave Eckrich to the green. Vaught would patiently search the multiple grooves of the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks" until he was able to secure a strong run and take over the top spot on lap number nine.
Following a caution before the events first lap could be completed, the MLRA field would log 35 laps caution free before the first yellow flew for Chris Spieker who slowed on the back stretch. Upon the restart, Vaught would jump back out in front this time with Sunoco Rookie leader Payton Looney in hot pursuit on the bottom side of the speedway. Looney would have a great battle with series point leader Chad Simpson for the runner-up spot prior to another yellow just two laps later.
On the ensuing restart Simpson would take advantage of the top side momentum and take the race lead away from Vaught with just 12 laps to go. However, for the second night in a row Vaught would not be denied and exchanged passes with Simpson and was back in front at the stripe as the field came to ten laps to go.
From there Vaught was able to distance himself from Simpson and collect yet another series win, this time taking home the $5,075 winner's check in the Larry Phillips Memorial. Simpson who entered the night with a 30-point lead over Vaught for the series crown, did what he had to do and maintined the series lead with his runner-up finish.
Jesse Stovall picked up the Allgaier Racing Shocks "B" main and rallied from his 17th starting spot to finish 3rd ahead of Payton Looney and Logan Martin who would conclude the top five.
Following the 50 lapper Vaught celebrated in Andy's Frozen Custard Victory Lane and commented on the battle with Simpson by saying, "I knew my stuff was too tight, to be on the bottom and Chad got by me there and I knew I had to make something work, and then we finally got the top working again."
Vaught who is no stranger to victory lane at Lucas Oil Speedway used his past experiences on this night in helping to pick up the win. "I think it helped me with him(Eckrich) being out in front there for a little bit. Early in the race back in the past, I have sealed over the tires, and about half way through the race went backwards. I've learned from my mistakes, and I love Wheatland, Missouri," exclaimed Vaught.
The win did not provide much help to Vaught in the championship chase with series leader Simpson clinging to him at the end. "Chad is a heck of a racer and we race each other hard and clean. We're battling for this point lead and him finishing second I ain't never gonna gain on him, joked the driver of the XR-1 Rocket from Crane, Mo.
Simpson would collect his second consecutive podium finish and said of his charge on the top side, "The top was decent, but it's just such a long ways around that top. In one and two it was getting pretty thin, so it was hard to carry all that speed and momentum around down there. Getting into three it was so slick getting in, you had to slow up so much getting in you couldn't carry that speed off the exit."
Labor Day weekend will wrap up on Sunday night at the Monett Motor Speedway in Monett, MO as the MLRA will headline the 48th annual 4-State Dirt Track Championship. This $3,000 to win event will mark the first time since 2007 that the MLRA has been in action at the 3/8-mile facility.
Lucas Oil Speedway Contingencies 9/1/18
Andy's Frozen Custard Victory Lane - Will Vaught
Casey's General Store's "Hard Charger of the Race" - Jesse Stovall
DirtonDirt.com "Pole Award" - Will Vaught
Hooker Harness "11th Place Finisher" - Jeremy Grady
Malvern Bank "Most Laps Led" - Will Vaught
Midwest Sheet Metal "Points Leader Spoiler Challenge" - Chad Simpson
Mittler Brothers Machine and Tool "Crew Chief of the Race" - Eric Barnes
Performance Bodies "Performer of the Race" - Will Vaught
Sunoco "Rookie of the Race" - Payton Looney
Wehrs Machine - Dave Eckrich
RacingJunk.com "Hard Luck Award" - Mitch McGrath
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks Award - Payton Looney
Lucas Oil Racing TV A Feature (50 Laps): 1.Will Vaught 2.Chad Simpson 3.Jesse Stovall 4.Payton Looney 5.Logan Martin 6.Mason Oberkramer 7.Johnny Fennewald 8.J.C. Wyman 9.Scott Crigler 10.Tony Jackson, Jr. 11.Jeremy Grady 12.Jake Neal 13.Austin Siebert 14.Joe Gorby 15.Chris Spieker 16.Dave Eckrich 17.Brad Looney 18.John Driskell 19.Mark Burgtorf 20.Mitch McGrath 21.Cade Dillard 22.Jake Davis 23.Jeff Roth
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks B Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1.Jesse Stovall 2.Scott Crigler 3.Tony Jackson, Jr. 4.Brad Looney 5.Johnny Fennewald 6.Chris Spieker 7.Skip Frey 8.Larry Jones 9.Justin Zeitner 10.Reid Millard 11.Curt Acker 12.Joe Godsey (DNS) 13.Mitch McGrath(DNS)
Swift Springs Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1.Will Vaught 2.Cade Dillard 3.Mitch McGrath 4.Jake Davis 5.John Driskell 6.Reid Millard 7.Justin Zeitner 8.Joe Godsey (DNS)
Casey's General Stores Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1.Chad Simpson 2.Payton Looney 3.Logan Martin 4.Mark Burgtorf 5.Jesse Stovall 6.Larry Jones 7.Skip Frey
Chix Gear Racewear Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1.Jake Neal 2.Jeremy Grady 3.Jeff Roth 4.Mason Oberkramer 5.Scott Crigler 6.Johnny Fennewald 7.Tony Jackson, Jr.
Malvern Bank.com Heat 4 (10 Laps): 1.Joseph Gorby 2.Dave Eckrich 3.J.C. Wyman 4.Austin Seibert 5.Brad Looney 6.Chris Spieker 7.Curt Acker
For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.