Cresco, IA (June 20, 2019) - Defending series Champion Chad Simpson picked up his second consecutive victory on Thursday night as the Lucas Oil MLRA made their first ever visit to the Cresco Speedway. The 4/10-mile facility play out to some exciting racing under very fast track conditions, in front of a packed grandstand.
Race promotors and drivers opted to adjust Thursdays race format to run time trials which found Oxford, Iowa's Chris Simpson setting the overall fast time with a 16.177 second lap over the Capital Chassis of Tyler Bruening who clocked in at 16.212 seconds. Heat races were won by Will Vaught and Chad Simpson.
DirtOnDirt.com Pole sitter Will Vaught started on the front row alongside of Simpson, setting up a rematch of the 2018 series championship battle. Simpson took advantage of the outside momentum to seize the race lead of the exit of turn two on the races initial circuit and quickly jumped out to a sizeable lead.
The first of two cautions flew on lap 14 when Sunoco Rookie Candidate Joseph Gorby got loose in turn four and darted to the infield directly in front of Simpson and fellow leaders, Vaught, Bruening, and Chris Simpson.
Simpson again jumped out to a comfortable advantage on the restart, while Bruening took advantage of his outside line restarting position to overtake Vaught for the second position. Simpson was initially able to jump back out to a sizeable lead, but as the long green flag run continued Bruening was able to close the gap on the race leader to only a handful of car lengths.
Bruening, who was chasing Simpson for his first series win for the second consecutive series event, got a big break with just four laps remaining when the caution flew for a spin in turns one and two. However, it was the veteran Simpson leaving the field on the restart and cruising to his thirteenth career MLRA series win. Bruening claimed second, his best to date with the MLRA, while Vaught, Chris Simpson, and leading Sunoco Rookie driver Logan Martin completed the top five.
Following the event Chad Simpson commented on how critical it was to grab the race lead from Vaught. "It was a matter of winning that race into turn number one. I knew this place was so big and gets so fast, that the clean air would be so important. I knew I could use the whole race track when I was up there, and the more it cleaned up in the middle of the race track the better I was throughout the race."
Simpson remained confident on the final restart with his Black Diamond Chassis stating, "I knew they were going to have a hard time trying to get by-not because that the track wasn't really wide, but there was that black strip in there and as long as you kept it in that black strip and rolled up on the straight-a-ways you were fine. My guys were giving me signals again and they were telling me that I was good to go, just keep my line and keep doing what I was doing. I felt really really good down in and up off the corner and I knew as long as I held my line they were going to have to be really good to get by."
MLRA teams will now journey across northern Iowa to the Rapid Speedway for Friday's $3,000 showdown in Rock Rapids, IA. The 3/8-mile venue located on the grounds of the Lyon County Fairgrounds in extreme Northwest Iowa, will get underway with hot laps at 7:00 pm and racing action to follow.
Cresco Speedway Contingencies 6/20/19
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks Award - Tyler Bruening
Casey's General Store's "Hard Charger of the Race" - Jason Rauen
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky "Most Laps Led" - Chad Simpson
DirtonDirt.com "Pole Award" - Will Vaught
Hooker Harness "11th Place Finisher" - Jeremy Grady
Midwest Sheet Metal "Points Leader Spoiler Challenge" - Will Vaught
Mittler Brothers Machine and Tool "Crew Chief of the Race" - Gus Farmer
Performance Bodies "Performer of the Race" - Chad Simpson
RacingJunk.com "Hard Luck Award" - Jake Neal
Sunoco "Rookie of the Race" - Logan Martin
Lucas Oil Racing TV A Feature (40 Laps): 1.Chad Simpson 2.Tyler Bruening 3.Will Vaught 4.Chris Simpson 5.Logan Martin 6.Mitch McGrath 7.Spencer Diercks 8.Jason Rauen 9.Dave Eckrich 10.Joel Callahan 11.Jeremy Grady 12.J.C. Wyman 13.Ben Seemann 14.Joseph Gorby 15.Skip Frey 16. Jake Neal (DNS)
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1.Will Vaught 2.Chris Simpson 3.Jeremy Grady 4.Logan Martin 5.Dave Eckrich 6.J.C. Wyman 7.Jake Neal 8.Skip Frey
Casey's General Stores Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1.Chad Simpson 2.Tyler Bruening 3.Mitch McGrath 4.Spencer Diercks 5.Joel Callahan 6.Jason Rauen 7.Joseph Gorby 8.Ben Seemann
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