Wheatland, Missouri (March 26, 2021) – Last October Chad Simpson was on the verge of securing his third career Lucas Oil MLRA title, only to end up a mere five points shy of the top spot to eventual champion Jeremiah Hurst when the final checkered flag waved. Now, with a new Black Diamond Chassis at his ready, the always determined driver from Mount Vernon, IA is excited to get back on track and see where the season takes him.
While he admits losing out on the 2020 title was disappointing, it has not deterred the team from coming back even stronger in 2021. “It was definitely tough when it was all said and done to know that we lost by five points, knowing that we were to get one more night in and unfortunately that got cancelled on us due to weather. At the end of the day, like I told my guys, you know we gave it up braking a driveshaft at Farley earlier in the year and having a flat tire at Moberly when we were leading. We gave plenty of opportunity and I feel like we gave the championship up rather than losing it just by some mistakes and DNF’s on our behalf.”
The 2020 MLRA campaign found the “Duece Nickel” collecting 13 top 10’s and 7 top 5’s, including four podium finishes en route to finishing as the series runner-up. While he didn’t visit MLRA victory lane he did collect a pair of feature wins at Mississippi Thunder Speedway, a track that now finds itself on the current MLRA schedule for the first time in 2021.
To get a jump start on the new season, and a better feel for the new car, Simpson and team made their first ever trip to the Wild West Shootout at Arizona Speedway this past winter. “With the new car I think it definitely helped,” he said of the trip. “We found some new issues and I never really got comfortable in the car. It’s a new design and I think there is a lot of potential there because the first night out we ran 8th and had another decent run later in the week”.
“We definitely had some nights at practice that helped out and gave us some chances to change some things and move some things. Am I closer today than I was when I showed up in Arizona? Yes. But you never know what you’re going to get out of a new car until you kind of get it to your liking.”
Simpson’s plans for the upcoming season are still a work in progress, but he has the first fourteen MLRA dates circled on his schedule. In addition, he has continued plans of running part time with Moring Motorsports in select national events, as he has done over the past couple of seasons.
For the 42-year old Simpson to position himself for another MLRA title run he knows it will be critical to come out of the gates swinging. “It’s going to be huge,” Simpson said of the MLRA’s first two weeks of action, which includes a total of seven events. “If you go to Wheatland (Spring Nationals April 9th – 10th) and have some problems there you might not be able to get yourself onto the second week.”
“For a regional racer it is going to make it really tough." “The national guys do it for a living, but us regional guys we try to go home after every week and regroup and get our stuff put back together. Manpower is going to be huge just trying to get all the crew and help there. It’s going to be pretty brutal, almost like a mini summer nationals tour. You’re going to want to make sure you get in there and finish every race, and get yourself to the next race and keep yourself placed for sure.”
Simpson and team don’t plan to hit the track again until the season opener at Wheatland, instead focusing the next few weeks on getting customers and racers ready for the upcoming season through his business Twenty5 Design. When he does hit the track he expects the first couple of weeks to be loaded with stiff competition, which is a challenge he is once again ready for.
“I feel like we have always been competitive with the series and that’s what kind of keeps turning us back to going and running those races(MLRA). A lot of the race tracks we have been to, so we have an idea of what to expect when we’re there and we have run well at them. On the flip side, it also shows that there are a lot of good caliber drivers that run the whole series. Every year I would say that one or two guys drop off, but you have three or four guys that jump on, so the series always seems to be pretty darn competitive with the cars that follow it.”
Crew Members: Waylon Schultz, Marcus Orr, Duane Orr, Cory Kessler, Curtis Sexton, Bud Brinkman
Chad Simpson Racing Partners: IDEAL Ready Mix, Allgaier Performance Parts, Michelle Ruefer Chiropractic, Simpson Farms, Graves Oil, Wehrs Machine, Randy Davidson Trucking, Heath Grimes, TWENTY 5 Design, Performance Bodies, Burich Trucking, Five Star Shop Service, MDI Enviromental, Freeport Recycling, Graphic Arts Express, Midwest Frame and Axle, Hoosier By Zoo, Allgaier Racing Shocks, Midwest Sheetmetal, Grasshopper Lawncare, Marty and Cherry Getting, Race Buds, VP Heartland, Jay Dickens Racing Engines, Stuckey Enterprises and Black Diamond Chassis, Allstar Performance, Swift Springs, Stealth Carburetors, Fast Shafts, Arizona Sports Shirts, Speedwerx Headers, Hooker Harness, Petersen Fluid, Wilwood Brakes, Quartermaster, Scorz Bar and Grill, Mike Ruefer Photography, Strange Axles, Klotz Lubricants