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Thursday, June 11, 2020
Tony Toste plans to make the long trek from his California home to chase the 2020 Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year Award. Photo--Lloyd Collins FastTrack Photos

Wheatland, Missouri (June 11, 2020) - Pismo Beach California's Tony Toste is not one to shy away from a challenge, even if that challenge is half a country away. The long time west coast racer is set to embark on his first full season with Lucas Oil's Midwest Late Model Racing Association (MLRA) in 2020. His announcement to follow the series adds to an already deep field of drivers planning to contend for the Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the year award, including fellow west coast racer Justin Duty, and Midwest racers Jeremiah Hurst and Jeremy Conaway.

Toste joins a number of western state drivers who have found their way to Midwestern dirt tracks in recent years. "Back when we were racing late models here on the west coast we were lucky to get in twelve races a season, and as the late model division died out here in California and along the west coast we started traveling to the Midwest and trying to hit as many races as possible. We like to fly out to hit four or five races before we head back home," commented Toste.

He will bring with him a lengthy racing resume that includes starts in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour and Winston West Series, along with what is now the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. With a growing family, he made the decision to back away from the asphalt scene and found himself chasing dirt modifieds before settling into the dirt late model scene nearly ten years ago.

The operator of Toste Construction by day, he plans to commute from his California home to the Midwest during the 2020 race season to compete alongside his California teammate, Jason Papich. Papich contended for the series rookie title back in 2016, and has made numerous starts with the series since that time. Both drivers will operate out of Papich's race shop located in Camdenton, MO.

Sharp Look-- Toste XR-1 Rocket sits ready to go at the teams Camdenton, MO race shop. Photo--Tony Toste Motorsports

At 52-years old, Toste admits that the travel grind has its ups and downs. "The hardest part is the rainouts, traveling all that way to get rained out and having to come home. The majority of the time we get out there and if it rains somewhere we can still travel 3-4 hours in another direction and hit a track. That's what is good about going back to the Midwest, there are multiple tracks within just a few hour radius."

Toste most recently followed what was the West Coast Late Model Shootout, capturing the series title in 2015. This time around he will rely heavily on teamwork from afar to make sure his Clements powered XR-1 Rocket is ready come race day. "It's going to be a little different now following a series," said Toste. "Tim Douglas is our crew chief, so we will typically fly into where ever the race is and he will meet us there. Once we meet up we can hopefully run three or four races and then travel together in the rig before we fly back out of an airport closest to the final race."

"We really rely on Tim because we don't see the car until we get to the race track or to the shop and it's all ready to go to the track. We're not hands on with the race car until we get to the track, so Tim has to have everything ready to go come race day."

Travel aside, Toste is ready to get the upcoming season underway. "When we finally land and wherever the track may be, it's always a good time and fun to race a new track. Our options are just a lot bigger in the Midwest than they are here. Obviously I would rather drive fifteen minutes to my local track and race and sleep in my own bed, but we have become accustomed to it. Traveling to new areas is always fun too, and so is getting to meet new people at the track," he concluded.

With a growing number of drivers planning to follow the MLRA in 2020 Toste acknowledges it will be tough every night out. "Coming from the west coast, we are fast here, but when we go back there (Midwest) we are just happy to make the show. With the rookie deal, it will create a good challenge for us, and I'm always up for a good challenge," Toste concluded.

The Lucas Oil MLRA will go green this Friday night June 12th at the Randolph County Raceway in Moberly, Mo for a $3,000 to win main event before closing out the weekend with $5,000 to win events on Saturday and Sunday at the Maquoketa Speedway and West Liberty Raceway respectively.

Tony Toste Racing Partners: Papich Construction, Toste Construction, SealMaster, & Billabong.

Crew Chief: Tim Douglas