Wheatland, Missouri (April 23, 2019) - Fresh off of an exciting opening weekend, the Lucas Oil MLRA will look to keep things rolling this weekend with a pair of stops in Oklahoma and Kansas. Last weekend's season opening action at the Davenport Speedway and 34 Raceway in West Burlington, IA saw fields loaded with talent at 26 and 37 cars respectively, putting drivers up on the wheel and fans on their feet both nights.
In one of the more unique and challenging weekends of the season, drivers will be tested this weekend with a pair of total opposite venues. On Friday night April 26th, the MLRA will return for the second year in a row to Thunderbird Speedway in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Located on the grounds of the Muskogee Fairgrounds, drivers will be challenged by the "Historic ½ Mile" as they battle for the $3,000 pay day that awaits the winner.
Jesse Stovall has enjoyed much success at Thunderbird in recent years, and took home the hardware in 2018 after a lap ten pass of DirtonDirt.com pole sitter and eventual MLRA champion, Chad Simpson. The win for the driver of the Swafford's Service/Malvern Bank, Scott Bailey powered Black Diamond Chassis was a heart stopper, as contact between Stovall and lapped traffic with only a handful of laps nearly kept him from victory lane.
Leading up to Friday nights racing action Presented by Bravado Wireless, crews have been busy working the track and adding new clay to the already fast racing surface as part of a multi week improvement project. Drivers are expected to compete this weekend from as far away as Nebraska and Wisconsin, as the MLRA looks to see early on who will be a contenders for the season long points championship.
On Saturday night April 27th teams will switch gears as they head north, arriving at the Caney Valley Speedway in Caney, KS. Located just across the Oklahoma/Kansas border, this will mark the first trip for the MLRA to Caney since Rex McCroskey found victory lane way back in 1996.
The weekend finale will present drivers with the opposite end of the spectrum, as they move from one of the fastest and longest tracks of the season to one of the shortest that they will face on the 2019 MLRA schedule. The semi-banked ¼ mile clay oval Caney Valley Speedway will have the drivers honing their short track skills for the first time in 2019, as they once again battle for bragging rights and the events $3,000 top prize.
2018 MLRA Sunoco Rookie of the year winner Payton Looney is hoping to finally catch a break when the series returns to the ¼ mile on Saturday. Looney captured a non-sanctioned triumph worth $2,018 one year ago at the south central Kansas short track, and hopes to be able to apply his notes into his first career MLRA win come Saturday.
"For as small as it is, it races really well," commented Looney on the Caney Valley Speedway which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary season. "You can usually run the bottom and top on both corners. Lapped traffic usually hits about lap 5 to 10, so as long as you don't get a bunch of cautions it should be pretty entertaining to watch from a fans perspective," stated Looney.
The Republic, MO driver is coming off of a rough week, one in which his race shop was heavily damaged by a spring storm followed by engine issues which forced the driver of the Atnip Enterprises # 15 to start and park after one lap in last Saturdays Slocum 50. Following a strong qualifying lap and heat race finish, Looney had been scheduled to start the 50 lapper from the fifth position, only compounding the disappointment of what was shaping up to be a strong night for the team.
With engine issues hopefully in the rear view, Looney looks to rely on some veteran wisdom when the green drops on Saturday night. "My Grandpa always used to tell me that it's better to beat out sheet metal than to replace motors."
Thunderbird Speedway: Muskogee, OK Race Day Info-- Friday 4/26/19
Gates: 5:30 PM
Racing: Hot Laps - 7:00 PM, Races - 7:30PM
Admission: Adult $20, 10/Under FREE.
Support Classes: B-Modifieds, Factory Stocks
Caney Valley Speedway: Caney, KS Race Day Info-- Saturday 4/27/19
Gates: 4:30 PM
Racing: Races: 7 PM
Admission: Adults $20, Senior: $10, Kids 7-12: $5, Kids 6 & Under: FREE
Support Classes: Factory Stocks, USRA B Mods, & Stock Cars
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