Wheatland, Missouri (March 26, 2019) - Ask any Lucas Oil MLRA Series driver and they will tell you how important a good start can be for setting the tone on their entire season. For Story City, Iowa's Jeremy Grady he experienced what seemed to be the early season "black hole" in 2018, before turning the curve during the second half of the tour.
"Those first few races are so crucial, especially when guys are still trying to decide what direction they want to go for the season," stated Grady. "It can change everything for a guy if you don't get off to a good start and find yourself so far behind in the points. If you get off to a good start it seems you're going to every race that you can think of, even some that you weren't planning on."
Starting out among some perennial power teams at the Thawl Brawl, Grady found himself missing the starting field for the first three events of the 2018 season. However, thanks to a dedicated crew and lots of persistence Grady was back in form by mid-season, knocking down a great 4th place run at Lake Ozark Speedway that was followed closely by another pair of top ten's at Lakeside Speedway and Lee County Speedway. The season turn-around resulted in a 7th place finish in the final season standings.
Grady attributes a portion of the 2nd half turn around to a new Black Diamond Race Car by Stuckey. "The newer car fit me better as a driver and we finally figured out what our car was needing," stated Grady. Grady has only a limited number of starts in the new ride and will compete in 2019 with a pair of new Black Diamonds at his ready.
"I am really excited about going to Wheatland again just because of some of the things we learned there at the end of 2018. If we come out the first few weekends and feel like we are running as good as we were at the end of last year, which I don't see why we won't, then we would love to run the entire series again."
An unfortunate incident in the season finale at the Lucas Oil Speedway however forced Grady to miss the post season awards banquet, instead spending the weekend at the Stuckey headquarters in Shreveport, LA having the primary car repaired for the 2019 season. "I had gone from 19th to 6th and then we fell back a few spots on a re-start and on the next lap found ourselves in the wrong place and got wrecked." We had good runs at the end of the year, but so many times we ran into bad luck."
Confident about the upcoming race season he stated, "Everybody's goal is to win and I really feel like we can race with these guys a lot better than it has shown and I want us to turn that around and be competitive with these guys, top ten or whatever it may be every week. We have to limit the bad nights is what we have to do."
Looking at the 2019 slate which currently includes eight MLRA stops in Grady's home state of Iowa, one particular event he has his sights on is the first time visit to the ¼ mile Stuart International Speedway. "That race has the potential for close to 50 cars," noted Grady. "Late model guys love that track no matter what package they are running from IMCA Spec to MLRA. You don't need a big motor to get around a place like Stuart most nights--I think it will put on a hell of a race, it could be nose to tail the entire way around."
"With MLRA you never know what you're going to get as far a competition on a given night--a lack of competition is one thing that the MLRA doesn't have," noted Grady. "Just look at some of the schedules coming out for guys like Bobby Pierce or Chris Simpson. There are a lot of those types of guys that are going to run a lot of early races with the series, a lot of strong teams".
Grady will be ready to chase the checkers as the MLRA opens 2019 with the 6th annual Spring Nationals, Presented by RacingJunk.com on April 12th -13th at the Lucas Oil Speedway.
Chassis/Engine Specs: Black Diamond Chassis, powered by Clements Racing Engines
Grady Motorsports Marketing Partners: Neighbors Heating & Cooling, True Value, and DMM Electrical.
For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.
Lucas Oil MLRA Series Director
Mobile: (417) 309-3509