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LUCAS OIL MLRA HITS THE TRACK FOR 18TH ANNUAL "DIAMOND NATIONALS"
351
7/9/2024

7/9/2024

Lucas Oil MLRA


LUCAS OIL MLRA HITS THE TRACK FOR 18TH ANNUAL "DIAMOND NATIONALS"

Wheatland, Missouri (July 9, 2024) – For the first time in over a month, the Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Racing Association (MLRA) will roar back to life this weekend with another Crown Jewel opportunity as teams converge upon the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO.

The 18th Annual CMH “Diamond Nationals” will take center stage, pairing the best of the MLRA with their counterparts from the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) in this annual co-sanctioned classic. This year’s Diamond Nationals will also see an increase from the previous $15,000 top prize, as the winner will now take home $20,000 for their efforts.

Jonathan Davenport not only enters the weekend as the defending winner after topping a 40-car field in 2023, but the Blairsville, GA driver is also a 4-time winner of the coveted Diamond Ring which goes to the winner. Other recent winners of note include Johnny Scott in 2022, Chris Ferguson in 2020, and Jimmy Owens in 2019.

A total of 13 nights remain on the 2024 Lucas Oil MLRA schedule, and with five of those nights taking place at the Lucas Oil Speedway, the Diamond of Dirt Tracks is likely to play a major role in determining the series championship. Here is the Midseason breakdown of the series top ten drivers heading into this weekend’s action.

BREAKDOWN: MLRA MID-SEASON TOP 10

1.) CHAD SIMPSON (Point Leader) — The four-time series Champ continues to stand on top of the Midwest Sheet Metal Point Leader Challenge Standings, as he tries to track down a third consecutive crown. Engine troubles plagued Simpson in his last MLRA outing at the Callaway Raceway, but the Mt. Vernon, Iowa driver still managed to nurse his ride home to a valuable 8th place finish, something that could loom large come October. And the fact he has more MLRA wins to date (4) at Lucas Oil Speedway than any other active driver int the top ten, could spell trouble for those trying to take the crown away from the defending champ.

2.) GORDY GUNDAKER (-10 points) — In his first full season with the MLRA, Gundaker has positioned himself well into the Championship Conversation. Despite an 18th place run in the season opener, the former WoO regular has rebounded with a podium run at the Adams County Speedway(IL) followed by another top five at the Callaway Raceway. The big boost for the St. Charles, MO driver came in the Show-Me 100 as he topped the MLRA regulars and wrestled his Longhorn Chassis to a strong 8th place finish.

3.) CHRIS SIMPSON (-15 points) — Yes, this makes three drivers separated by just 15 points. The defending MLRA runner-up continues to hang around stalking the top spot by virtue of his 4 top ten finishes, including a podium at Callaway Raceway. A 16-time career MLRA winner, Simpson is yet to find his way to victory lane at Wheatland, but he was the highest finishing MLRA regular during both qualifying nights for this year’s Show-Me 100, proving that he has the speed should he decide to go after what would be his first series championship since winning the 2016 Corn Belt Clash title.

4.) TREVOR GUNDAKER (-90 points) — The runner-up in last season’s SUNOCO Rookie of the Year Battle, Gundaker has already doubled up on his top ten finishes from all of last year with the MLRA. The former MLRA winner also had an impressive 11th place finish in the Show-Me 100 that helped him stay well within striking distance of the lead trio of drivers. Adding in another 3 top tens finishes in recent weeks following the Summer Nationals Tour and the 21 year old will be one to keep an eye on down the stretch as the MLRA heads to his home track Tri-City Speedway for the finale.

5.) DILLON MCCOWAN (-90 points) — After a rocky start to his MLRA season, the defending Sunoco Rookie of the Year has bounced back as of late, collecting his first career MLRA win at the Callaway Raceway to firmly put him back into the Championship discussion. With 5 races remaining in his playground of the Lucas Oil Speedway, and the fact he quite possibly has more seat time thus far in 2024 than any other MLRA driver, don’t take your eyes off this 20-year-old. After finishing no better than 15th in his first 3 MLRA starts of the season, if this team can continue their current string of strong runs it could make for a storybook ending to his sophomore campaign.

6.) TONY JACKSON JR. (-125 points) — The two-time Lucas Oil MLRA Champion started the season with the Championship point lead following a strong 5th place run in the season opener in April. Since then, he has a trio of finishes that come just outside the top ten. After a mid-season break in 2022, the Lebanon, MO driver returned to the track winning 4 of the next 6 MLRA races in his transition to Capital Chassis. As Jackson and company continue to search for more speed, it would not be a surprise to see him once again go on a late summer rampage and close the gap as he looks for MLRA title # 3.

7.) EARL PEARSON JR. (-140 points) — "Hurricane Warning" After failing to make the starting field in the season opener, Pearson looked more like a strong “Category 5” in recent weeks, recording runner-up finishes in the last two regular MLRA events to close in on championship leaders. The 4-time LOLMDS Champion has 4 MLRA wins to his credit, with three of those coming at the Lucas Oil Speedway.

8.) JEFF HERZOG (-215 points) — After recording a trio of top 10’s in his first full season a year ago, Herzog is still on the hunt for his first top ten of 2024. Two of those top tens came at tracks the MLRA will visit in the second half of the season in the Davenport Speedway(7th) and Moberly Motorsports Park(6th). Typically one of MLRA’s top qualifiers, and a former quick timer at the Lucas Oil Speedway, Herzog looks to be a strong “second half team” that has high potential for making some noise down the stretch.

9.) CLAYTON STUCKEY (-270 points) — The Shreveport, LA driver has been a pleasant addition to the MLRA in 2024. A 12th place run at the Adams County Speedway in May, followed by an MLRA career best 7th place run at the Callaway Raceway has help to vault the Black Diamond race team inside the top ten, and well into contention for a share of the MLRA’s $60,000 season ending point fund.

10.) AARON MARRANT (-290 points) — The MLRA’s leader in the Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year category checks in at the # 10 spot. A large portion of the remaining MLRA schedule sets up nicely for the Richmond, MO driver will stop’s close to home at Lakeside Speedway and Moberly Motorsports Park. In his last MLRA stop at Lakeside in 2022, Marrant recorded his best MLRA finish to date with a 3rd place run. Add in a win last Saturday at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 and the confidence should be on the rise for the 1x team.

Lucas Oil Speedway: Wheatland, MO “Diamond Nationals" -- Saturday 7/13/24
Pits Open: 4:00 PM, Gates Open: 5:00 PM
Racing: Hot Laps - 6:30 PM, Racing - 7:05 PM
Admission: Adults (13+) $30, Seniors (62+)/Military $27, Youth (6-12) $10, Kids (5 & Under) FREE, Family Pass $70, Pit Pass $45
Support Classes: USRA Modifieds/$1,000 Win & USRA Stock Cars/$750 Win
Website: www.LucasOilSpeedway.com


Article Credit: Billy Rock

Submitted By: Billy Rock

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Points

Lucas Oil MLRAas of 6/7/2024
  • 1.Chad Simpson 955pts
  • 2.Gordy Gundaker 945pts
  • 3.Chris Simpson 940pts
  • 4.Trevor Gundaker 865pts
  • 5.Dillon McCowan 860pts
  • 6.Tony Jackson Jr830pts
  • 7.Earl Pearson Jr815pts
  • 8.Jeff Herzog 740pts
  • 9.Clayton Stuckey 685pts
  • 10.Aaron Marrant 665pts
Full Points