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Ozarks Weekend:  MLRA Rolls Into Callaway Raceway & Lake Ozark Speedway
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4/22/2024

4/22/2024

Lucas Oil MLRA


Ozarks Weekend: MLRA Rolls Into Callaway Raceway & Lake Ozark Speedway

Wheatland, Missouri (April 23, 2024) – The Lucas Oil MLRA will aim to get back on track this weekend as they close out the month of April with a pair of stops in the heart of Missouri’s Ozark County this Friday and Saturday.

For the first time in the 36-year history of the MLRA, the Callaway Raceway located just north of Jefferson City in the town of Fulton, Missouri, will open their doors to the touring series on Friday night April 26th. Just the third stop on the 2024 MLRA tour, Callaway has been described as a speedy ¼ mile semi-banked bull ring oval, known for producing great multi-groove racing. Friday night’s main event will pay $5,000 to win.

On Saturday April 27th, the MLRA will make its lone stop of the year at the Lake Ozark Speedway located just outside of Eldon, MO. The 4th Annual “Battle at the Beach” on the 1/3-mile venue will pay $7,000 to win and $700 to start. Chris Simpson and Chad Simpson split time in victory lane one year ago at the Lake Ozark Speedway in what was then a two-day event. Other MLRA winners from “The Lake” include the likes of Payton Looney, Jeff Taylor and 2019 MLRA Champion Will Vaught who has three Lake Ozark wins to his credit.

Chad Simpson will enter the weekend with the Midwest Sheet Metal spoiler affixed to his Longhorn Chassis, indicative of the series point leader. The four-time MLRA champion enters with a 25-point margin over Tony Jackson Jr. and Chris Simpson who are tied for second. Justin Duty will enter the weekend 70 points out of the top spot in fourth, while Gordy Gundaker completes the top five and is only 80 markers out of the championship lead.

HODGES EXCITED FOR HOMETRACK WEEKEND
In just his second year following the Lucas Oil MLRA, Dustin Hodges has shown great promise in competing with the series top tier drivers. This weekend the Centralia, Missouri driver finally gets to go racing at a pair of tracks he considers home tracks. After finishing 10th in the series overall standings in 2023 and 4th in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings, he knew he wanted to take another shot at following the MLRA in 2024.

“We are a hundred times from where we were when we started the season last year to where we’re at now. Ultimately that’s why I decided to go ahead and try to make another go of it this year, knowing we finally know what we’re into now,” explained Hodges. “I’m about as confident as it gets with the car, so yeah I think we’re in a lot better position than we were last year at this time.”

Hodges enters this weekend 9th in MLRA points, after the season opener at the Lucas Oil Speedway where he topped the 44-car field in capturing the MyRacePass "Overall Fast Time" on Saturday night and followed that up with his first ever MLRA heat race victory. Those small take-a-ways from the weekend have aided in building more confidence for his small race team.

“Our car has been good when there is grip. We haven’t lacked it going all the way back to the Show-Me last year and then the last MLRA race at Wheatland at the end of last year. We’ve definitely had the speed when there’s grip, and were slowly getting it there when the track slows down, it’s just unfortunately taking me longer knowing it’s me at the wrenches trying to decide what changes to make to find a happy balance in the car.”

The driver of the Foundation Recovery Systems # 22 will be in the minority on Friday night when the series rolls into Callaway Raceway, as one of the few MLRA drivers to have ever raced at the Mid-Missouri bullring track. Hodges has multiple track championships at the venue, ranging from his days in the ULMA Late Model Series where he is a multi-time series champion, to his 2022 triumph in the USRA Modifieds where he collected six wins enroute to the title.

“I’m excited to do this weekend, not only is it the closest which helps with the diesel bill a little bit, but also from a standpoint of me being confident in a track and knowing a track. I’ve got about a million laps around that place, I can probably run it in my sleep,” he commented of Callaway Raceway. “When the surface is right and that track is right, I’ve yet to be at another quarter mile track that you can run three wide safely like you can at that joint.”

Over the past couple of seasons of following the MLRA Hodges has experienced numerous nights of being the new kid on the block with learning new tracks, and this time he notes it’s nice to be heading to familiar territory. “For me I feel like it helps me out going to a familiar place, and with the tracks in general this weekend I feel like it levels the playing field a bit. When we go to places like Davenport you know the (Chad & Chris) Simpsons and some other guys really know that place like I know Callaway. So, for us going to a place like Callaway or Farmington, you know I just feel like it levels the playing field a bit and helps me in that sense.”

“I’ve always been a late model guy, so I enjoy just getting to fulfill this dream of doing this, and I’d like to keep doing it as long as financially it can happen. I think we’ve shown that we can definitely run with them, so as long as things will go our way and we can continue trying to find a little better balance when the track slows down, I think we can be there to play with them and contend,” concluded Hodges.

TWO TWO RACING MARKETING PARTNERS: Kimberling Enterprise, Foundation Recovery Systems, Just Jeff’s, Show Me Heating & Air, Danny Mings Drywall, Veterans United, Iron Gate Real Estate/Sandy Crane, Mid American Carpenters Union, Afco, Melloway Fast Wraps, Floodzone Motorworks, Liters VP, Abbot & Wimer Attorneys at Law Firm, & Fastlane Tire & Auto.

Team 22 Crew: John Doerr, Kyle Harrison, & Cale Turner

Callaway Raceway: Fulton, MO-- Friday 4/26/24
Pit Gates: 2:00 PM, Grandstands 5:00 PM
Hot Laps: - 7:00 PM Racing to Follow
Admission: Adults $25, Seniors/Military $23, Youth (6 to 12) $10
Pit Passes: $45
Support Classes: B-Mods, Midwest Mods, POWRi Super Stocks
Facebook: www.callaway-raceway.com

Lake Ozark Speedway: “Battle at the Beach”-- Saturday 4/27/24
Pit Gates: 1:00 PM, Grandstands 5:00 PM
Racing: Hot Laps - 6:30 PM, Racing to follow
Admission: Adults $30, Seniors/Military $28, Youth (6 to 12) $10
Pit Passes: $45
Support Classes: POWRi Midwest Mods, POWRi Super Stocks, POWRi B-Mods, & POWRi Hornets
Website: www.LakeOzarkSpeedway.net


Article Credit: Billy Rock

Submitted By: Billy Rock

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Points

Lucas Oil MLRAas of 5/5/2024
  • 1.Chad Simpson 605pts
  • 2.Chris Simpson 565pts
  • 3.Gordy Gundaker 540pts
  • 4.Tony Jackson Jr540pts
  • 5.Trevor Gundaker 490pts
  • 6.Justin Duty 475pts
  • 7.Dillon McCowan 460pts
  • 8.Jeff Herzog 455pts
  • 9.Earl Pearson Jr445pts
  • 10.Aaron Marrant 390pts
Full Points