Davenport, Iowa (May 4, 2018) - Mount Vernon, Iowa's Chad Simpson came into Friday night's battle at the ¼ mile davenport speedway winless, but sporting the bright neon Midwest Sheet Metal spoiler as the series points leader. Up until tonight he had been solid with consistency, but on this night Simpson would finally find his way to victory lane.
For the fourth time in this young season, Chad Simpson would roll from the DirtonDirt.com Pole, but early on it looked like it might not be his night yet again. On the initial start it was third starting J.C. Wyman, driving the Jack McKee Racing entry, stealing the lead with a great move to the bottom of turn one. Wyman would cross the line with the lead just as the races first caution waved for a four car incident in turn four.
On the restart Wyman would go door to door with Simpson for the lead and again be at the point as yet another caution waved following lap two. On the ensuing lap three restart, Simpson took his Liebe Trucking # 25 to the top side of turn one and two and used every bit of the high side cushion to pull ahead of Wyman for the race lead.
The events final yellow flag would come out with 27 laps remaining, but it was all Simpson from there as he would methodically work his way through lap traffic and come home with a sizable victory over second running Wyman. Sunoco Rookie candidate Mitch McGrath, also picked up his best career finish with the Lucas Oil MLRA coming home in third, ahead of former Davenport winner Chris Simpson and Payton Looney.
Following the race Simpson commented in Andy's Frozen Custard Victory Lane, "I knew I was going to be in trouble right away, we put new tires on for the start of the race and I knew they wouldn't fire right away, so I was a bit nervous. Then as good as J.C. was on the start I was really nervous."
"Once I finally got the top rolling in one and two everything felt really good and I just had to get to the bottom of three and four where the traction was."
Extensive rain over the past couple of days dealt a difficult hand to the track prep crew who worked tirelessly on Friday to get the track into racing condition. Still the added moisture made for a challenging surface for the drivers on this Friday night. "There was a big hole in one and two, I went down there when we first went green just to see what it felt like, and man I thought I was going to roll the car over, so I knew I wouldn't be able to run the bottom there," said Simpson.
For runner-up Wyman, a second place finish was much needed after a slow start to his season. The Griswold, IA racer came into the night with just one top ten on the season, but if Friday night's performance was any indication of things to come, it may be a solid 2nd half for Wyman.
Following the main event Wyman said, "The start was real good, I think a lot of the problem from lap one until the end was me. I kept fighting the lines and trying to hunt, and I'm just not really confident in the new car yet."
"It's been a long year, were only three weekends in but it feels more like we have been racing for two years," said Wyman of his rough start to the season. "This new car is pretty good, not as good as Chad's evidently, but we'll keep working on it and see what we can do tomorrow."
Completing Friday's podium was Mitch McGrath. The Wisconsin driver started in the 7th position but spent the majority of the event well inside the top five. McGrath, who actually missed qualifying for the first two MLRA races of the season, has quickly adjust and figured out his new XR1 Rocket with three consecutive top ten finishes and a top five position in the series standings.
McGrath commented, "The car worked good tonight, it was a little bit rough but we held on. We just kind of poked around on the bottom and tried to stay on the smoothest part of the race track, and we're just really happy with our run. We are getting used to this new car and looking forward to tomorrow."
Saturday night the MLRA will wrap up their ¼ mile weekend at the LaSalle Speedway. This will mark the series second visit to the high banked facility which saw opening season checkers going to Shannon Babb and Chris Simpson in the Thaw Brawl.
Davenport Speedway Contingencies 5/4/18
Andy's Frozen Custard Victory Lane - Chad Simpson
Casey's General Store's "Hard Charger of the Race" - Allen Murray
DirtonDirt.com "Pole Award" - Chad Simpson
Hooker Harness "11th Place Finisher" - Rob Toland
Malvern Bank "Most Laps Led" - Chad Simpson
Midwest Sheet Metal "Points Leader Spoiler Challenge" - Chad Simpson
Mittler Brothers Machine and Tool "Crew Chief of the Race" - Gus Farmer
Performance Bodies "Performer of the Race" - Chad Simpson
Sunoco "Rookie of the Race" - Mitch McGrath
Wehrs Machine - Dave Eckrich
RacingJunk.com "Hard Luck Award" - Jeremy Grady
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks Award - Mitch McGrath
MAV TV Motorsports Network A Feature (40 Laps): 1.Chad Simpson 2.J.C. Wyman 3.Mitch McGrath 4.Chris Simpson 5.Payton Looney 6.Tony Jackson, Jr. 7.Justin Kay 8.Jonathan Brauns 9.Tyler Bruening 10.Dave Eckrich 11.Rob Toland 12.Allen Murray 13.Jordan Yaggy 14.Joe Godsey 15.Rickey Frankel 16.Jay Johnson 17.Jeff Riddell 18.Spencer Diercks 19.Paul Parker 20.Will Vaught 21.Jeremy Grady 22.Billy Drake 23.Jeff Roth 24.Matt Ryan
Swift Springs Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1.Chad Simpson 2.Jonathan Brauns 3.Tyler Bruening 4.Chris Simpson 5.Rickey Frankel 6.Billy Drake 7.Paul Parker 8.Luke Goedert
Casey's General Stores Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1.Payton Looney 2.J.C. Wyman 3.Justin Kay 4.Joe Godsey 5.Dave Eckrich 6.Jordan Yaggy 7.Jeff Riddell 8.Jeremy Grady
Chix Gear Racewear Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1.Tony Jackson, Jr. 2.Will Vaught 3.Mitch McGrath 4.Rob Toland 5.Spencer Diercks 6.Jeff Roth 7.Matt Ryan 8.Allen Murray 9.Jay Johnson
For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.