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Daily Dirt 02/24/2021 14:57:25

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October 13
Lucas Oil Speedway,
Wheatland, MO
Sanction: Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Racing Association (Fall Nationals) - $3,000
Information provided by: Series and track reports (last updated October 14, 9:42 am)
Jackson rolls to $3,000 Fall Nationals victory
Fall Nationals
  1. Tony Jackson Jr.
  2. Payton Looney
  3. Will Vaught
  4. Ryan Gustin
  5. Timothy Culp
  6. Chad Simpson
  7. Mason Oberkramer
  8. Raymond Merrill
  9. Mitch McGrath
  10. Logan Martin
  11. Brent Larson
  12. B.J. Robinson
  13. Brian Rickman
  14. Jason Papich
  15. Hunter Rasdon
  16. Morgan Bagley
  17. Tyler Bruening
  18. Colton Horner
  19. Joe Gorby
  20. Terry Phillips
  21. Jake Timm
  22. Steve Drake
  23. Reid Millard
  24. Jeremy Grady
presented by
Lloyd Collins/fasttrackphotos.net
Tony Jackson Jr. speeds to a $3,000 Lucas Oil Speedway victory.
What won the race: Polesitter Tony Jackson Jr. of Lebanon, Mo., led all 40 laps Sunday at Lucas Oil Speedway for a $3,000 victory in the sixth annual MLRA Fall Nationals finale. Jackson finished 4.303 seconds ahead of Payton Looney in the Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Racing Association and Comp Cams Super Dirt Series event.
Key notes: Jackson notched his seventh career MLRA victory and 10th career Comp Cams victory. ... Runner-up Payton Looney regained second from Will Vaught with two laps remaining; Vaught, who started on the seventh row, held the spot on lap 47. ... A dozen drivers completed 40 laps. ... Jeremy Grady (12 laps) was the race's lone retiree. ... Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, won Saturday's $5,000-to-win opener; he finished fourth Sunday.
On the move: MLRA champ Will Vaught of Crane, Mo., started 13th and finished third; Timothy Culp of Prattsville, Ark., started 14th and finished fifth.
Winner's sponsors: Jackson's Barry Wright Race Car is sponsored by Willard Quarries, Hassett Truck Body Repair, Carget Motors, Merrill Self Storage, Merrill Bonding, Champion Oil, Wick’s Truck Trailers, Levi Storage, Becky Burk Realtor and Burger Fusion.
Points chase: Will Vaught unofficially wrapped up his first MLRA; Timothy Culp (3,494 points entering the weekend) and Tony Jackson Jr. (3,466) are in a tight battle for the Comp Cams crown.
Current weather: Clear, 54°F
Car count: 31
Polesitter: Tony Jackson Jr.
Heat race winners: Tony Jackson Jr., Raymond Merrill, Tyler Bruening, Ryan Gustin
Consolation race winners: Chad Simpson, Jake Timm
Provisional starters: Brian Rickman, Morgan Bagley, Jeremy Grady, Reid Millard
Editor's note: Corrects Culp’s starting position to 14th sted 15th.
By Lyndal Scranton
Lucas Oil Speedway

WHEATLAND, Mo. — Tony Jackson Jr. earned redemption and Will Vaught got a championship on Sunday as the sixth annual Lucas Oil MLRA Fall Nationals concluded at Lucas Oil Speedway.

Jackson, of Lebanon, Mo., bounced back from a poor first night of the doubleheader by leading all 40 laps to take the $3,000 winner's check, finishing 4.3 seconds in front of runner-up Payton Looney. Vaught, meanwhile, finished third and the Crane, Mo., drivers's 33rd birthday turned into a celebration of his first Lucas Oil MLRA championship.

Jackson spun on lap one of Saturday's $5,000 feature — won by Ryan Gustin — and wound up 18th. He made up for it by dominating the final race of the MLRA season and helping himself in the Comp Cams Super Dirt Series points, where he's battling Timothy Culp for the championship. Two events remain in that series in 2019.

"We've had a good car ever since we unloaded and we broke a shock on the first lap last night," Jackson said. "We just kind of had to stay out there for points, but (tonight) we had a really fast hot rod."

Jackson set sail at the start from his front-row starting position and opened up a two-second lead over Looney. That margin was wiped out by a lap-13 caution for a spinning Reid Millard after the top two had more than a three-second gap over third-place Merrill and fourth-place Gustin.

The trend that Jackson started continued after the restart. He pulled away as the race remained green over the final 27 laps, lapping more than half the field while maneuvering through slower traffic to finish about a straightaway in front of Looney.

"Sometimes that lapped traffic helps you and sometimes it hurts you," said Jackson, who also earned a $750 bonus in the memory of Ron Jenkins, builder of the original Wheatland Raceway. "They had a really good pace tonight, so I wasn't real anxious to get by them. It was a good."

Vaught, who clinched the MLRA championship with a fourth-place run on Saturday, wound up third after starting 13th. He said it was nice to drive without worrying about points.

"Last night we missed the setup. That and being conservative don't ever go together," Vaught said. "We got a decent finish last night and the car was a lot better tonight. We changed a lot of things on the car and work hard to get it a lot faster.

"We just needed a caution there at the end. We were about a half-second faster than everybody. That would have been a good victory, but that's part of racing. We didn't qualify well."

Vaught said the first MLRA title was extra sweet after finishing as runner-up twice previously, including last year. His three children joined him atop the car in postrace festivities.

"This championship is pretty awesome," Vaught said. "We've never been a points racer and these last couple of years it's kind of fit our schedule with our kids playing sports and racing themselves. (Crew chief) Eric (Barnes) has worked really hard at the shop and a lot of this is for him.

"Just to be able to do it with my family is the biggest, most important thing to me."

Looney also enjoyed a strong bounce-back one night after an early race multicar crash left him upside and with a 24th-place finish. The crew worked late into the wee hours repairing the car.

"It was a pretty late night, but we got it patched back up," Looney said. "Fortunately it wasn't tore up too bad. The race track was pretty good tonight. Hats off to them. It's tough on track guys when you start during the day. They did what they could with what they had. Kudos to them.

"It was a really fun race. I kind of pulled up beside (Jackson) for a little bit and thought maybe we'd be able to race a little bit, but I just didn't have anything for him. So congrats to him and a good run."

Gustin finished fourth and Culp was fifth with 2018 MLRA champ Chad Simpson in sixth. Logan Martin of West Plains finished 10th, but that was enough to earn him the Sunoco Race Fuels MLRA Rookie of the Year Award.

"We enjoyed it and I can't wait until next season," Martin said.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Jackson, Bruening
Row 2: Merrill, Gustin
Row 3: P. Looney, Larson
Row 4: Rasdon, Gorby
Row 5: Oberkramer, Martin
Row 6: Phillips, Papich
Row 7: Vaught, Culp
Row 8: Simpson, Timm
Row 9: Horner, Robinson
Row 10: Drake, McGrath
Row 11: B. Rickman, Bagley
Row 12: Grady, Millard

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