Pryor Creek, OK (June 29, 2019) - Jesse Stovall rose to the challenge, fighting off Terry Phillips in the closing laps of Saturdays 6th Annual Freedom Classic at the Salina Highbanks, to capture his first Lucas Oil MLRA win of the season. The win for Stovall marks his 4th all-time in the annual event, at a track that he has dominated in recent years.
Mitch McGrath captured the DirtonDirt.com Pole position, rolling off alongside of Timothy Culp. With Stovall and Phillips making up row two it quickly became a four car dash to turn number one on the opening circuit. McGrath would slip high and allow Culp to jump to the early lead over Stovall, but the first caution would quickly fly just one lap in for a two car incident involving Kyle Beard and Charlie Cole.
McGrath would roar back into the second spot one lap later ahead of Stovall, before the caution would yet again wave over the main event. Back under green, Stovall returned the favor and quickly moved past McGrath and by lap four found himself taking the lead away from Culp. Stovall began to stretch out his race lead until lap 14 when McGrath slowed on the speedway, resulting in yet another caution and putting Culp and Phillips on the back deck lid off the Black Diamond Chassis of Stovall.
Just past the halfway point the final caution appeared for a slowing Jason Papich, setting up a 19 lap dash to the finish that would prove well worth the price of admission. With Stovall cautiously working his way through lapped traffic, it had allowed Phillips to wipe out a 1.5 second lead and close in on the bumper of Stovall.
Phillips sensed an opportunity to grab his 117th career MLRA series win, and with just seven laps to go Phillips slid the bottom of turns three and four and went to the point, momentarily grabbing the lead from Stovall and bringing the crowd to their feet. With Stovall caught by surprise both drivers quickly returned to the throttle making contact with one another sending Phillips up along the turn four wall. Both veteran drivers continued full throttle down the front stretch with Stovall still showing the way at the line.
Stovall would continue on under green to grab the $5,000 feature win while Phillips and Timothy Culp would finish in second and third to round out the podium. Logan Martin came home in fourth capturing the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award, with defending series champion Chad Simpson completing the top five.
After climbing from his Swafford Service # 00 Stovall commented, "This place is something else, it was there tonight, it was on the gas and around that cushion. I was trying to save my tires and I think they were starting to give up, and I let Terry get back there to me and I didn't even know it. I seen him at the very last minute there when he slid across. He is a dear friend of mine and I think a hell of a lot of him. I wouldn't want to do that to any racer and that was not intentional, I was just concentrating on not running over the cushion more than I was what was below me."
Jesse Stovall # 00--Lloyd Collins--FastTrack Photos
"I tried to slow my pace down as much as I could to save tires and I was basically running about half throttle down the straight-a-ways. And you just never know what's going to happen. I was just trying to manage, and it sucks. I can't change it now, he is a good friend and I'm sorry that it happened, but we all race hard and this is sometimes what takes place," concluded Stovall.
Phillips who nursed his beaten Don Babb Motorsports # 75 home one spot shy of another Salina win noted of the contact between Stovall and himself, "Well I had him cleared, he just didn't think so. I was trying to get close enough where I could roll the middle and I was gauging off of other cars and then they would get me coming off. I just thought if I could get by them in the middle and kind of get out in front--I had such a run on him, I don't know if he went in there(turn three) and stopped, or if he just wussied out there going in, so I had me a big ole run and I had to go for it."
Culp avoided the drama and brought his Bennings Heating & Air sponsored machine home in the final podium position. Making his first MLRA start of the season in the event co-sanctioned with the Comp Cams Super Dirt Series, Presented by Lucas Oil, Culp said, "I don't run these hard tires a whole lot so I really wasn't sure how hard to go with these things. I think I just conserved a little too much and let TP get by me on the restart. Overall I am happy with it and will go home, work on our stuff and get ready for the next one."
Action for the Lucas Oil MLRA will take a break during the upcoming 4th of July weekend, allowing teams to prepare for the prestigious Diamond Nationals on July 13th & 14th at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO. Co-sanctioned with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS), the 13th Annual Diamond Nationals has been modified this year into a two-day spectacle paying $15,000 to win both nights. The second day of this annual event was added to help fill the void created by the cancellation of this springs 27th annual Show-Me 100 that was lost due to significant storms leading up to the scheduled event.
Salina Highbanks Speedway Contingencies 6/29/19
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks Award - Terry Phillips
Casey's General Store's "Hard Charger of the Race" -Morgan Bagley
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky "Most Laps Led" -Jesse Stovall
DirtonDirt.com "Pole Award" - Mitch McGrath
Hooker Harness "11th Place Finisher" - Will Vaught
Midwest Sheet Metal "Points Leader Spoiler Challenge" -Will Vaught
Mittler Brothers Machine and Tool "Crew Chief of the Race" - Tony Rogers
Performance Bodies "Performer of the Race" - Jesse Stovall
RacingJunk.com "Hard Luck Award" - Mitch McGrath
Sunoco "Rookie of the Race" - Logan Martin
Lucas Oil Racing TV A Feature (40 Laps): 1.Jesse Stovall 2.Terry Phillips 3.Timothy Culp 4.Logan Martin 5.Chad Simpson 6.Payton Looney 7.Tony Jackson Jr. 8.BJ Robinson 9.Brian Rickman 10.Morgan Bagley 11.Will Vaught 12.Hunter Rasdon 13.Gavin Landers 14.Raymond Merrill 15.Joseph Gorby 16.David Payne 17.Jon Mitchell 18.Jason Papich 19.Charlie Cole 20.Mitch McGrath 21.Kyle Beard 22.Chad Mallett (DNS)
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks B Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1.Jason Papich 2.Hunter Rasdon 3.Morgan Bagley 4.Joseph Gorby 5.Gavin Landers 6.David Payne 7.Hayden Ross 8.Richard Shepler III 9.Chad Mallett 10.Jake Davis 11.Scott Crigler 12.Patrick Daniels
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1.Mitch McGrath 2.Terry Phillips 3.Tony Jackson Jr. 4.Brian Rickman 5.Jon Mitchell 6.Jason Papich 7.Gavin Landers 8.Joseph Gorby 9.David Payne
Casey's General Stores Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1.Timothy Culp 2.Payton Looney 3.Logan Martin 4.Raymond Merrill 5.Charlie Cole 6.Jake Davis 7.Hayden Ross 8.Richard Shepler III 9.Scott Crigler
Sunoco Race Fuels Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1.Jesse Stovall 2.Chad Simpson 3.Will Vaught 4.BJ Robinson 5.Kyle Beard 6.Hunter Rasdon 7.Morgan Bagley 8.Chad Mallett
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