Diamond Dozen: 12 memorable moments from Lucas Oil Speedway's 2018 season
WHEATLAND, Missouri (October 24, 2018) - Lucas Oil Speedway has wrapped up another season with many outstanding events in various styles of cars on the dirt track, the rugged trucks at the off road course and for the speedy boats at "Lake Lucas." What were some of the events that fans will re-live during the offseason?
Here are 12 Memorable Moments at Lucas Oil Speedway for 2018, counting down in reverse order.
12 - Youngsters rule at Open Wheel Showdown. Young guns stole the show at May's 7th annual Impact Signs Awnings and Wraps Open Wheel Showdown. Tanner Carrick, a 16-year-old from Lincoln, California, started outside of row one and led all but one of 30 laps for the POWRi National Midget League victory. Logan Seavey (ASCS Warrior Region/Red River Region Winged Sprints winner) nearly pulled off a double, finishing second to Carrick. Showing that Lucas Oil Speedway often plays host to up-and-coming stars, the 21-year-old Seavey went on a couple of months later to lead 54 laps in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in a truck owner by Kyle Busch at Eldora.
11 - Upset Sunday and record speed on the water. Shelby Ebert repeated her Pro Mod championship at the 8th annual Diamond Drag Boat Nationals on Lake Lucas - and her dad, Todd Ebert, won the Quick Eliminator final a few minutes prior. So when Shelby followed up, it became an absolute day to remember for Team Ebert. Meanwhile, in a record-breaking Top Fuel Hydro final, Mike Robbins in "Nitro Nuts" went an 875-foot record 243.9502 miles per hour in 3.23 seconds. He beat season points leader and No. 1 qualifier Tyler Speer who recorded a 232.077 speed at 3.26 seconds in "Shockwave." In other pro division finals, upsets abounded with Andy Reynolds in "Running with Scissors" (Top Alcohol Hydro), Bill Diez in "War Party" (Top Alcohol Flat) and Theresa Ward in "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" (Pro Outlaw) prevailing.
10 - Kid Cornell gets his first Late Model win. Seventeen-year-old Kaeden Cornell of Willard, in his first full season in the Late Model division after moving up from B-Mods, took the lead on lap two and never relinquished it en route to his first feature win at Lucas Oil Speedway. In victory lane, Cornell thanked his sponsors and car owner, Rick Hoover, and wished a happy Father's Day to his dad and crew chief, Aaron Cornell. Cornell started third in the feature and overtook Josh Poe for the lead on lap two. He dominated, but had to make clean restarts after four cautions after he went in front. Defending track champ Johnny Fennewald was second, about eight car lengths behind Cornell.
9 - A six pack of wins for Hendrix, Fuqua. Two of the most-dominating performances in memory for the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series saw David Hendrix and Darron Fuqua made it six wins on the season at the "Thursday Night Thunder" program on July 5. Hendrix's win in the Big O Tires Street Stocks was actually his sixth in a row. "I'm just thankful. My car owner Jay (Prevete) is here tonight and he's let me drive it this year," Hendrix said. "We've been working our butts off on it and couldn't do it without him. I don't know. It's been a good year. That's six in a row and I don't know what to say, really." For Fuqua, it was his hardest-earned yet as the Kansas driver passed Jon Sheets on the final turn of the final lap to win Pitts Homes USRA Modified honors. "I'm just thrilled and tickled to death," Fuqua said after the thrilling finish, in which he actually made the last-lap pass twice. The first was wiped out by a caution flag.
8 - Red-hot Vaught takes LP Memorial. Will Vaught remained on an absolute roll, pulling away from Chad Simpson over the final 10 laps to capture the Lucas Oil MLRA Larry Phillips Memorial Presented by Rugged Radios over Labor Day weekend. Vaught, of Crane, Missouri, backed up his MLRA victory on Friday night at Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa and made it four feature triumphs in the five series events. He pocketed $5,075 in a race paying tribute the late Larry Phillips, the iconic Missouri short-track champion who died in 2004. MLRA points leader Simpson finished second and Jesse Stovall rallied from deep in the field to finish third.
7 - Hafertepe repeats at Hockett/McMillin Memorial. Always an autumn highlight - especially for open-wheel fans - the 8th annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial did not disappoint. Sam Hafertepe led all 30 laps to earn the $30,000 victory and pad his Lucas Oil ASCS Winged Sprint championship lead, winning by a comfortable margin over runner-up Scott Bogucki and third-place Seth Bergman in front of a big crowd. It was a repeat win in the crown-jewel event for Hafertepe, of Sunnyvalle, Texas, and his sixth win on the ASCS Tour in 2018. The co-headliner also saw a wire-to-wire winner as Kyle Cummings captured the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint win, leading all 30 laps to earn $3,077. Wyatt Burks finished second with Colton Cottle third.
6 - Off Road returns with a bang and some mud. A rain-soaked Lucas Oil Speedway road course made for a slippery, contact-filled final day in the premier divisions of the 2nd annual GEICO Off Road Challenge Presented by General Tire. Rob MacCachren finished off a weekend sweep by winning the Pro 2 feature. MacCachren led throughout, holding off teammate R.J. Anderson for much of the event. The weekend sweep vaulted him past Anderson and into the season points lead. Veteran Scott Douglas of El Cajon, California grabbed the lead with two laps remaining, when leader Kyle LeDuc saw his truck succumb to mechanical issues, to grab the Pro 4 win. Despite the rain, a big crowd stuck it out. "With all the weather today, I want to thank all the fans for sticking it out," MacCachren said. "I'm glad we put on a good show and I want to thank Lucas Oil for getting this track to come around.
5 - Emotional Chad Simpson doubles up. Chad Simpson wrote a storybook finish for his 15-year run with car owners Bud and Denise Brinkman, outlasting the competition and a challenging surface to capture the 5th annual MLRA Fall Nationals and clinch the MLRA season championship for the second time. "I'm a little choked up right now. It didn't hit me until after we took that checkered flag," an emotional Simpson said in victory lane after earning $5,500 in a hard-fought, 40-lap race of attrition. He and the Brinkmans also teamed to win an MLRA championship in 2014. Simpson inherited the lead with four laps remaining when Logan Martin - who rallied from the back after being involved in a lap-four caution - hit the wall in turn three in a race in which only eight of the 24 starters made it to the finish. Jack Sullivan finished second with Raymond Merrill third.
4 - Championship-night thrillers. In two of the closest Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series championship battles in track history, Johnny Fennewald and JC Morton earned feature wins and narrow track championships on the final night of the regular season. In a snappy, caution-free feature Fennewald led all the way with the other two contenders in a chase separated by only four points at the start of the night - Kaeden Cornell and Aaron Marrant - finishing second and third. Meanwhile, Morton passed Tyler Brown with three laps remaining to earn the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod feature win. He needed every position he could get as he began the night just five points ahead of Taylor Moore, who finished third. The two battled side by side at times during the race as Morton advanced from a ninth-starting position to earn his second win of the season. Other champions crowned were David Hendrix (Big O Tires Street Stocks) and Darron Fuqua (Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds) who dethroned four-time reigning champ Jeff Cutshaw.
3 - Bloomquist wins No. 600 at Diamond Nationals. Scott Bloomquist overtook Jimmy Owens to complete lap 32 and went on to capture the 50-lap Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series CMH Diamond Nationals for career victory No. 600. "We earned that one. It feels really good," the 54-year-old from Mooresburg, Tennessee, said after emerging from his car to a cascade of cheers and boos from the big crowd. "You go though ups and downs and a lot of things through a full career. You learn from a lot of things. We're surely closer to our winter years in life than our spring." The native of Fort Dodge, Iowa, took home $12,000 and a diamond ring for the latest triumph in a career spanning nearing four decades. Rookie Mason Zeigler finished second with Earl Pearson Jr. third and Will Vaught fourth. Owens, after leading the first 31 laps, faded to fifth.
2 - Bloomquist solves Wheatland's Show-Me puzzle. At last, dirt-track racing legend Scott Bloomquist found his way to Show-Me 100 victory lane in south-central Missouri. Bloomquist took the lead on lap 69 when race leader Jimmy Owens spun and went on to win the 26th annual Show-Me 100 Presented by ProtecttheHarvest.com in front of a capacity crowd of 8,000 fans. It was Bloomquist's record sixth Show-Me 100 victory - but first since the race moved to Lucas Oil Speedway in 2010. Brian Shirley finished second with Mike Marlar third and defending Show-Me 100 champion Bobby Pierce in fourth.
"We've never won the Show-Me at this race track. We kind of had a seal on it over at West Plains for a while there," said Bloomquist said, who last won the Show-Me 100 in 2008 - the final of five times to win the race at West Plains Motor Speedway. The dirt-racing Hall of Famer from said it was "absolutely" special to shed the so-called Wheatland jinx. A night earlier, Bloomquist won a B-Main on three functioning wheels, coming from tailback after suffering early race damage. That got him into the back portion of the Don and Billie Gibson tribute feature where he finished third, earning valuable points toward the Show-Me 100 lineup.
1 - USMTS Show-Me Shootout an Instant Classic. The 9th annual USMTS Slick Mist Show-Me Shootout Presented by Foley Equipment saw four-wide racing for the lead in an absolute thriller before Stormy Scott emerged the winner of the 40-lap feature. Scott's twin brother Johnny Scott was second and Lucas Oil Speedway Pitts Homes USRA Modified 2018 track points leader Darron Fuqua settled for third after leading the first 34 laps and dueling three and four-wide as the fans stood and cheered. Stormy Scott, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, passed Fuqua coming to the flag stand to complete 35 after Fuqua had held on by literally inches the four previous laps. Rodney Sanders, who had been a part of that epic battle, wound up fourth.
"I knew if I could get by 20 (Sanders) and try to get a little bit of clean air, that I could get by (Fuqua)," Scott said. "I got by him and I look over and seen Johnny. I basically knew the line I was running, he was down a lot lower than me and I just couldn't go that good down there. "I had to basically hit my line perfect every lap and keep it straight as smooth as I could and luckily held him off. Right as I went across the checkered flag, the right rear tire blew out."
Banquet coming up: Fans are invited to help celebrate the 2018 season at Lucas Oil Speedway's annual postseason awards banquet, set for Nov. 3 at The Lodge at Old Kinderhook in Camdenton. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by contacting Lucas Oil Speedway Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or by email at nichole@LucasOilSpeedway.com.
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984