Wheatland, Missouri (January 2, 2020) -Jeremiah Hurst may not have the typical look of your average young-gun "rookie" driver, but for the 2020 season he will gladly wear a rookie stripe once again. Excited for an opportunity to compete with one of the Midwest top open late model touring series, Hurst has announced his intentions to follow the Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Racing Association (MLRA), competing for Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year honors.
The 43-year old driver from Dubuque, Iowa brings a wealth of experience and a successful track record with him into the upcoming season. Entering his fourth season driving for car owner Ken Roberts, the duo has already accomplished more than many do in a career, leaving them searching for a new challenge. "Ken has always wanted to go full time open motor racing and we are at a point where we can do it," commented Hurst. I have always wanted to take the next big step too, and this is my shot, so I am going to take advantage of it and go for it."
Hurst has steadily moved up the ladder since starting out in a shared hobby stock ride at the age of 19, followed by stints in Pro-Stock and Modified before finding his comfort zone in late model racing. The highly competitive Hurst is no stranger to season long points battles, scoring the 2018 IMCA Late Model National Championship, and coming up just five points shy of a repeat effort in 2019. His most recent campaign also netted the team track titles at Marshalltown Speedway, his hometown Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway, and they came up one-point shy of a third title at the Maquoketa Speedway.
"I have always been really competitive at anything I do and I want to do good at everything I do," stated Hurst. "If you can start out good and keep the momentum going at the end of the year you never know how it will shake out."
With a heavy dose of the 2020 (MLRA) schedule taking place at tracks in Hurst's backyard of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, it presents a great opportunity to be competitive and challenge for wins right out of the gate.
"I'm super pumped about going to Moline (R.I.C.O Fairgrounds, East Moline, IL) and Maquoketa (Speedway), it should give us a little advantage over some of the guys that haven't been there," noted Hurst. "I'm sure I will feel more comfortable at those places as opposed to tracks like Wheatland (Lucas Oil Speedway) that I have never been to."
Jeremiah Hurst in action at the West Liberty Raceway in 2019. The MLRA Series returns to the 1/2 mile facility on May 9th, 2020 in a $5,000 to win event. Photo Credit--Mike Reufer
Hurst and the Roberts Motorsports # 58 team will campaign with a pair of Black Diamond Chassis, powered by a Clements Racing Engine. "It's going to be quite a bit different," commented Hurst on the transition to the open late model MLRA series. "Just from us doing it a little bit at the end of last year we learned a lot, and that's why we did it to hopefully get a head start on things. The cars drive a little different because you are going faster. I was never one for bump stops and things like that, so it's definitely going to be different."
MLRA officials previously announced that the series will transition to time trial qualifying in 2020, something that will come new to Hurst. "I have never really had to time trial before. I'm just used to starting in the back of your heat (via point average) and racing your way in, so I'm looking forward to it (time trials), because hopefully it will mean that I will get to start towards the front if I'm decently fast in qualifying."
The MLRA schedule includes a new second date in 2020 at the 34 Raceway in West Burlington, IA (April 18th & July 3rd) along with the second annual "Scottie 46" (Sept. 6th) at the Quincy Raceway in Quincy, IL--both venues in which Hurst has scored past wins while competing with the former IMCA Derry Brother Summer Series for Late Models.
The Lucas Oil MLRA will bring its 32nd season of action to life on April 10th - 11th when the Lucas Oil Speedway plays host to the 7th Annual Spring Nationals in Wheatland, MO. A pair of complete $3,000 to win shows will highlight opening weekend.
Hurst will get his first opportunity in front of his home state fans the following weekend when the series travels to Davenport Speedway ($5,000 to win) and the 34 Raceway for the annual Slocum 50 ($10,555 to win).
"I'm really glad it is coming around here again (open late models) because it is kind of dying. Hopefully this will bring it back to life around here the way it used to be. Late models are an elite class and they shouldn't be put in a box," concluded Hurst.
Hurst would like to thank car owners Ken & Beth of Roberts Motorsports, his wife Stacy and children Louden & Layna, parents Rick & Kathy Hurst, Crew Chief Jeremy Roeth and wife Amanda, Justin Tharp, Ian Hurst, Mike Torrey, Chris Smith, and his sisters Heather, Corinne, & Brianna for their support.
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