Wheatland, Missouri (August 27, 2019) - The Lucas Oil MLRA Late Model Series returns to action this upcoming Labor Day Weekend with a pair of high dollar & action packed events on the slate. Just four events remain on the 2019 schedule and points battles are still wide open, presenting fans with some exciting racing and drivers with some stressful moments as they edge closer to championship weekend.
Action will get under way on Saturday night August, 31st with the annual running of the Larry Phillips Memorial Presented by Rugged Radios, at the prized Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO. This will mark just the 3rd event of season for the MLRA at their home track, and first since last months Diamond Nationals. On Sunday night September, 1st teams will head eastward for the second time in 2019, returning to the Quincy Raceways in Quincy, IL where the winner will pocket a cool $5,000.
Championship point leader Will Vaught will lead the MLRA into this weekend's action, holding onto an 81-point advantage over fellow Rocket XR-1 Chassis driver Mitch McGrath. Both drivers are in pursuit of their first ever series title. Leading Sunoco Rookie of the year candidate Logan Martin sits third, just 12-points behind McGrath, while Oklahoma's Joseph Gorby and defending series champion Chad Simpson round out the top five.
Saturdays annual tribute to the great Larry Phillips will pay out a top prize of $5,075 as a tribute to Phillips' famed car # 75, along with $500 to start the main event. One of the most accomplished short track racers of all time, the Springfield, MO native recorded a record five NASCAR Weekly Series titles in his career and continues to be an annual nominee for the coveted NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Action at the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks" has been kind to the current series leader Vaught in recent years, where he has recorded three MLRA wins, including last years' 50 lap Larry Phillips Memorial over Chad Simpson and Jesse Stovall.
ON THE GAS---Joseph Gorby #9 in early season MLRA action. Lloyd Collins--FastTrack Photos
Joseph Gorby who is in his first full season with the MLRA is looking forward to returning to action this weekend. "I've never gotten to run for points like this before," stated the driver from Bartlesville, OK. "We have met a lot of people and raced at a lot of new tracks and had a lot of fun although we have not performed like we wanted to. We have had our share of bad luck due to a lot of little things, but we still managed to have fun and are ready to finish out the year."
Gorby enters the weekend 2nd in Sunoco Rookie points with six top ten finishes already on the season. Finishing a respectable 14th in the 2018 Phillips Memorial, Gorby knows the Lucas Oil Speedway will present a challenge to drivers this Saturday. "Guessing what the track is going to do is one of the hardest things with Wheatland. It can either stay fast all night long or slick off at any time," noted Gorby.
Sunday night will cap off the Labor day swing when the series returns to the Quincy Raceways. Back on May, 5th Bobby Pierce took the checkered flag and it's $3,000 pay day over Brian Shirley and Dennis Erb, Jr in the series inaugural event at the legendary speedway. This time around the stakes will be even higher, as Quincy Tractor Presents the "Scottie 45", and a $5,000 to win & $500 to start "A" Main.
Quincy Raceways has long been a staple on the Illinois dirt track scene for over 40 years and has seen its share of big time late model events. Best known as the "Broadway Bullring", Sunday nights showdown will mark the final ¼-mile short track event of the year for the stars of the MLRA, and one that could be pivotal in deciding the series title. Series point leader Will Vaught, who suffered a rare engine failure back in May and was unable to start the A-Main, will be looking to turn his first competitive laps of the season in Quincy on Sunday night in the midst of the title chase.
Series officials have also announced that the Quincy show will feature Time Trial qualifying as opposed to the regular passing points format that has been used at most MLRA events in 2019. In addition, the event at Quincy will allow the use of WRS D55 or LM 20's on the front with rear tire requirements to be the WRS D55 or LM40.