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Time To Shine--Stage Set For CMH Diamond Nationals

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Lucas Oil MLRA drivers are set to challenge the stars of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in this weekends two night "Diamond Nationals". Lloyd Collins--FastTrack Photos

Wheatland, Missouri (July 9, 2019) - While mother nature may have played havoc with this year's 27th Annual Show-Me 100 Presented by,it has left fans and drivers with a high stakes doubled up dose of Late Model action at this weekend's 13th Annual CMH Diamond Nationals, Presented by Super Clean.

Originally slated as a one-day $12k to win event on Saturday July 13th, the cancelation of the Show-Me has allowed track and series officials to add a full second day of action to this year's Diamond Nationals on Sunday July 14th. Both days will find the drivers of the Midwest Late Model Racing Association (MLRA) racing head to head with their national counterparts from the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS). Adding to the luster will be an increased purse paying out $15,000 to the winner each night.

One year ago, Scott Bloomquist made history by capturing his 600th career win in the 50 lap affair over rookie Mason Zeigler. While Bloomquist has been sidelined for the majority of the 2019 season he is expected to return this weekend in defense of his Diamond Nationals title. Defending LOLMDS National Champion Jonathan Davenport again looks to lead the series standings heading into the weekend over veteran Earl Pearson Jr. and rookie standout Tyler Erb.

With this year's MLRA Spring Nationals and Show-Me 100 both being canceled due to the unfavorable spring weather, this weekend's action will mark the first of three remaining stops this year for the Lucas Oil MLRA Series at the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks". In fact, five of the series remaining six races will take place in Wheatland, putting some added pressure on the MLRA's top drivers to find the handle on the 3/8-mile speedway.

Will Vaught recorded an impressive 4th place finish at last year's Diamond Nationals before returning just over a month later to capture the win in the Larry Phillips Memorial. The Crane, MO driver is still chasing his first MLRA series crown after a pair of runner-up finishes, and will lead the MLRA charge into this weekend's action. Vaught maintains a 71-point advantage over Mitch McGrath, while Sunoco Rookie of the year candidate Logan Martin holds down the third position, just 22 markers behind McGrath.

Logan Martin (#36) challenges current LOLMDS point leader Jonathan Davenport (#49) & Bobby Pierce (#32) at the 2018 Diamond Nationals. Lloyd Collins--FastTrack Photos

For the 23-year old Martin, who hails from West Plains, the return to Lucas Oil Speedway will be a welcomed sight. Martin proved very capable of running with the best-of-the-best at Lucas Oil Speedway in 2018 when he ran 8th last July in the Diamond Nationals, 5th at the Larry Phillips Memorial, and came within four laps of winning the MLRA Fall Nationals when a right front bead failure ended his night while out in front.

Through fourteen MLRA starts in 2019 Martin has recorded seven top 5's and eleven top 10's. With the series now heading home to what he considers his favorite track on the schedule, and one of the few MLRA venues that the rookie has recorded seat time prior to this season, Martin is poised to regain the Lucas Oil Speedway magic from a year-a-go. Commenting on his start to the season Martin said, "Every time we roll in the gate we have no notebook, now we are about to run into a stretch where I will be seeing a lot of the tracks for my second and third times which will be nice."

Still in search of his first late model win at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks, Martin attributes his past success at the Wheatland facility to his early days, logging numerous victories competing in the Modified and B-Modified divisions. "A lot of it is track conditions. I raced a modified there (Lucas Oil Speedway) a lot, so I have more laps around Lucas than any other track that we go to with MLRA," stated Martin. "I like the way it always seems to build a cushion around the top and become two grooved."

While the majority of the 2019 MLRA schedule has been contested via the passing points system, this weekend's action will find time trials setting the qualifying grid both nights. The opportunity to clock in could be a benefit and play into the experience of Martin around the 3/8-mile clay oval, where he notes, "Your car doesn't have to be as on point, you can make-up for it by driving hard."

Martin, who became engaged this past off-season to girlfriend Larissa Atnip, realizes that the weekends time-trial format at a track he knows well will come with added pressure on the driver, a pressure that he welcomes.

"You've got two laps to lay it down. I think it (time trials) brings out a clutch factor in drivers because you have two laps to lay down the fastest lap you can with no mistakes. Most of the time if you mess up on the first lap you are going to lose momentum and it's going to carry over into your second lap. You've really got to lay down two flawless laps each night to really get up to the top with them guys. It puts on more pressure, but I like it just because it puts more into the driver's hands. If you qualify bad there is nobody to blame but you."

Lucas Oil Speedway "Diamond Nationals Nite # 1" -$15k to WIN: 7/13

Gates: 4:00 PM
Racing: Hot Laps - 6:30 PM, Races - 7:05 pm
Admission: Adult(16+) $30, Senior(62+)/Military $27, Youth(6-15yrs) $10, Kids 5 & under FREE, Family Pass $70
Support Class: Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds ($2,000 to Win)

Lucas Oil Speedway "Diamond Nationals Nite # 2" -$15k to WIN: 7/14

Gates: 3:00 PM
Racing: Hot Laps - 5:30 PM, Races - 6:05 pm
Admission: Adult(16+) $30, Senior(62+)/Military $27, Youth(6-15yrs) $10, Kids 5 & under FREE, Family Pass $70
Support Class: O'Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks ($1,000 to Win)

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Ernie Leftwich
Lucas Oil MLRA Series Director
Mobile: (417) 309-3509