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Now's The Time:  Aaron Marrant To Chase MLRA's Sunoco Rookie Title
398
3/11/2024

3/11/2024

Lucas Oil MLRA


Now's The Time: Aaron Marrant To Chase MLRA's Sunoco Rookie Title

Wheatland, Missouri (March 11, 2024) – Aaron Marrant will be the first to tell you that the 2023 race season was quite possibly the toughest in his near 20-year racing career. However, with the turn of the calendar the Richmond, Missouri driver is ready to flip the script in 2024, as he and his team embark on their journey to capture the Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Association (MLRA) Rookie Of The Year, presented by Sunoco Race Fuels.

Marrant, along with team owners Michael and Misty Meise, have made their fair share of starts with the MLRA series in recent years, but with a transition to a Longhorn chassis and a move to Durham Ford horsepower in the offseason, he feels now is their best opportunity to commit full time to the series 27 race schedule.

“I work a 40-hour a week job, my car owner (Michael) owns a small business and works in that business. So, I mean it just hard for us to make the whole schedule usually and it seemed like this year the schedule wasn’t quite as bad on the midweek races and Thursday, Friday, Saturday shows and all that, so we’re going to give it a shot,” commented Marrant.

The 38-year-old Marrant has been circling the dirt in and around the Kansas City area since 2005, racking up numerous victories and championships along the way in the modified ranks before hooking up with Meise nearly eight years ago. “They had somebody else driving for them and then they had other commitments or whatever, and they just called and asked if I wanted to drive their late model and I was like heck yeah I’ll drive it! I drove it a couple of nights at the end of the year I think back in 2015 I believe, and then Mike was like do you wanna do this and run for points at Lucas (Oil Speedway) and ULMA stuff, and again I was like yeah, we can do that.”

From the start of their late model ventures the team found early success, with Marrant winning track titles at Lucas Oil Speedway and numerous features at a collection of tracks in the central Missouri area in addition to ULMA (United Late Model Association) championships in 2017 and 2019.

The 2020 season brought the driver of the Burlington Auto Repair entry his first real taste of super late model racing, as they ventured into the open motor world for the first time. Proving he knew his way around the Lucas Oil Speedway, Marrant collected his first ever “Fast Time Award” with the Lucas Oil MLRA that season at the Ron Jenkins Memorial, before going on to record a fifth place finish that night.

Now, after four years of part time racing with the MLRA, he is confident they have the equipment and some experience to compete full time for rookie honors, while also knowing how challenging the task at hand will be. “We were really successful in ULMA and we even raced our ULMA car with the MLRA a couple times and run top ten and run decent. But I’m here to tell you there is a big difference in chassis going from 650 horsepower to 900 horsepower. Experience goes out the window, when you drive a 900-horsepower race car there’s nothing that’s going to prepare you for that.”

Marrant is hopeful the team can get in a couple of nights of racing on the new package in Mid-March at Arrowhead Speedway and Springfield Raceway before the MLRA opener on April 5th - 6th at the Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, IL. “2023 was a huge struggle,” he noted. “I started racing cars in 2005 and last year was by far the worst year of racing I’ve ever had. I mean we struggled, and it didn’t matter what we did, it didn’t help. That’s why it prompted the whole change of the entire program-- motor, car, everything.”

With the plans on running the full MLRA schedule, Marrant also explains how important seat time will be when it comes to contending for top fives and victories. “Our struggles from last year were kind of part of the decision on trying to run the whole schedule. We need to race more, and I mean we’re so far behind on experience and it’s hard to gain experience when your racing 22 times a year and everybody you’re racing against is racing 45 or 50 nights. We really don’t have a comfort, so the new car is not going to be that different for us. We’re just hoping that we can get out there and race more, because you’re not going to get experience from just staying home.”

“These cars have got so advanced and it’s really hard on the super late model level to keep up with everything that’s going on without an engineer or a crew chief or someone you know that’s just in it all the time. I mean me and Michael, we just come home on Saturday night, he washes the car on Sunday and we go back to work on Monday and that makes it really hard for us. We just gotta race more, we need laps, so that’s what were going to try to do this year with planning on running the whole schedule.”

In 2023 Marrant competed in only 12 MLRA events and logged just one top ten, that being an 8th place at the Randolph County Raceway in Moberly, MO. His best season came just one year prior when he logged a pair of MLRA top five runs including a 3rd place podium run in his back yard at the Lakeside Speedway.

It’s tracks like Lakeside and Lucas Oil Speedway that have him excited to get this seasons MLRA schedule underway. “It’s a big help going to a track you’re familiar with, because when you’re traveling, you’re trying to learn the car, trying to learn the set-up, and then you throw on top of it a new track that I’ve never been to, or I’ve been to once. I mean yeah, that makes it hard. It makes a huge difference when I’m already comfortable at the track that were going to and I already know the track, that makes it easier on us to just focus on learning the car and set-up and keeping up with the track and I’m not having to learn the track as we go.”

With the 2023 season of struggles now behind them, Marrant is optimistic he can get the team back to their winning ways once again. “I mean its crazy to even say after last year, but we’ve had multiple top fives and a quick time, so I know we’re capable of doing it if we can just put it all together. This year we’re really trying to get it in victory lane and that’s saying a lot, but I mean I don’t see why we couldn’t do it if we get the new car and motor figured out, and like I said racing more isn’t going to do anything but help us get faster.”

Aaron Marrant Racing/Marketing Partners: Burlington Auto Repair, Summit Heating & Cooling, Rickets Meise Properties, Mainstreet Auto Body, Mark & Doni Conarroe, Bob Morton Enterprises, AT Transportation.

Car Owners: Michael and Misty Meise

Special Thanks: Kurt Swenson & Scott “Big Riggs” Young


Article Credit: Billy Rock

Submitted By: Billy Rock

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Lucas Oil MLRAas of 4/13/2024
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