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HERZOG AIMING TO CONTINUE CLIMB TOWARDS THE TOP WITH LUCAS OIL MLRA
338
3/15/2024

3/15/2024

Lucas Oil MLRA


HERZOG AIMING TO CONTINUE CLIMB TOWARDS THE TOP WITH LUCAS OIL MLRA

Wheatland, Missouri (March 15, 2024) – Jeff Herzog had high aspirations of following the full Lucas Oil MLRA tour one year ago. But as racing often goes, those plans were derailed in a single corner in early June, forced him to the sidelines for a trio of events. Now, with the season opener at the Tri-City Speedway just three weeks out, the driver from Festus, Missouri is locked and loaded and ready to give it another shot at a full tour run in 2024.

Having already completed some pre-season testing, Herzog will get his MLRA season under way at a pair of familiar tracks, the Tri-City Speedway on April 5th – 6th, followed by the first of five weekend get-a-ways on the season to the Lucas Oil Speedway on April 12th – 13th. “It’s a huge positive going somewhere that we’ve went almost every weekend the past several years,” commented Herzog of Tri-City. “We have had some luck there and we’ve had some decent runs, but never got the win there yet, so it kind of eludes me.”

The driver of the Dan Althoff Trucking # 11 got his best career MLRA finish at the time at Tri-City during the MLRA season finale in 2021, a 6th place run after qualifying for the pole in the main event. “I have high hopes for this year. If everything starts out good, I’m gonna try for the championship, but it’s a big hill to climb so we will just see what happens.”

Weekend number two also sets up nicely for Herzog, as he and the series return to the confines of the Lucas Oil Speedway, a track where he raced into the national spotlight during the 2023 “Show-Me 100”, after setting overall quick time during the “Tribute to Don & Billie Gibson” qualifying night. He would go on to score the win in his respective heat race that night, but his results as a whole in 2023 at Lucas has him excited to get back to the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks."

“What’s weird about Wheatland is I went back there probably in 2015/16 or so, and the track was dry. No traction, no cushion to lean on, nothing. We went out there and slid off the racetrack going into the corner, and I backed it into the wall, and I was like man I hate this place. We never really went back until this past year, and now I love the place.”

After advancing twelve spots and finishing a very strong 16th in the Show-Me 100, the season took a nose-dive for Herzog just days later at Tri- City where he nosed into the turn three wall before rolling and destroying his Capital Chassis in a World of Outlaws event.

However, thanks to a great relationship with Capital Race Cars, the 39-year-old was back up and running by mid-summer. “Capital jumped on top of it and got me a new one in pretty short order,” he notes. “I just can’t say enough about them guys with Charles (Swaney), Marshall (Green), and Shane (Clanton) and everybody there. They are great to work with, and you know everything just clicks being able to have that kind of a relationship with a chassis builder.”

He expects that relationship to continue to prove beneficial in 2024 with friend and fellow competitor Tony Jackson Jr. now piloting the Capital house car. “We’re kinda teaming up with Tony on things and we are gonna try testing some things and try some new things coming up here shortly. After their Florida trip, I think we’re seeing everybody (Capital) really jumping in now and wanting to push forward some more. I believe he’s trying some new things to help make the Capital program better, which is good for everybody.”

Herzog is a three-time track champion at the Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, claiming the top spot three out of four years from 2017 to 2020, making him no stranger to chasing championship hardware if he so chooses to in 2024. But as he explains, for the time being his days of running weekly for points are on the back burner with bigger aspirations.

“Track championships are a little different than a series championship you know. People don’t really tend to look at track championships anymore, it doesn’t really pay the bills you know. It’s just kind of another regular night payout basically to win a championship. It is a notch in your belt you can say, but I’m ready to go after bigger things these days, trying to keep putting our best foot forward and keep trying to get better and better.”

The Lucas Oil MLRA series champion is set to collect a $20,000 pay day at seasons end, something that would be huge for this single car, single engine, race team. “You gotta kinda take your licks on the chin and keep moving, but at the same time with these cars anymore man you’ve got to be on kill all night long. You’ve gotta take chances when they arise, but at the same time you can’t go out and tear up your stuff either, so luck plays a huge role in everything.”

Despite missing three nights due to his misfortunes a year ago, Herzog was able to finish the year with three MLRA top tens and a 7th place finish in the overall standings, just 30 points out of the top five. He also matched his career best finish of 6th in the "Wiener Nationals" at the Moberly Motorsports Park, an event that ended up being the season finale for the MLRA.

“Racing is a year-to-year deal, and you never know what’s going to happen. You’ve got to start out every year with a positive attitude, and I’m kind of one of them guys where I feel you kinda make your own luck in a way," explained Herzog. “A lot of races are won at the shop, so we do our due diligence with trying to keep spare parts, make sure we nut and bolt check everything every week, and go through the car and try to do preventative maintenance more than anything, just to make sure that we don’t have any parts failures or something stupid that puts us behind the eight ball.”

"At the end of the season we want to be able to say we were there and in contention you know. I have high hopes and expectations. If you go to the track thinking your gonna lose you might as well not even go, so I’m trying to stay positive and put the best foot forward.”

Jeff Herzog Racing/Marketing Partners: Dan Althoff Trucking, Bloomsdale Bank, Fixture Contracting, Painting Solutions, Lance Drury Law, National Electrical, Cashinyourguns.com, LiveWire Express, SMCI, P&A Drywall Supply, McCains Towing and Auto Body, Ste. Gen County Abstract, Presley’s Glass, Bauman Oil, Tire Bargains, Lakenan Insurance, Arnold Farms, Phine Designs, Custom Service Crane, & Mulllins Race Engines.


Article Credit: Billy Rock

Submitted By: Billy Rock

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Points

Lucas Oil MLRAas of 4/13/2024
  • 1.Chad Simpson 400pts
  • 2.Tony Jackson Jr375pts
  • 3.Chris Simpson 375pts
  • 4.Justin Duty 330pts
  • 5.Gordy Gundaker 320pts
  • 6.Trevor Gundaker 310pts
  • 7.Dillon McCowan 305pts
  • 8.Jeff Herzog 305pts
  • 9.Dustin Hodges 290pts
  • 10.Matt Johnson 260pts
Full Points