Lucas Oil Speedway

The 12th Annual CMH Diamond Nationals takes center stage this Saturday at the Lucas Oil Speedway featuring the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series & MLRA Late Models. Photo--Lloyd Collins, FastTrackPhotos

Wheatland, Missouri (July 10, 2018) - For the second time in 2018, MLRA drivers and crews are busy preparing to take to the national stage this Saturday night at the Lucas Oil Speedway. In a clash of regional vs. national, they will go toe-to-toe with the nation's elite late model drivers from the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series(LOLMDS) in the 12th Annual running of the, "CMH Diamond Nationals".

This one-day event paying $12,000 to the victor and a coveted diamond ring, will be the second trip to the Diamond of Dirt Tracks this season for the late model stars. The Show-Me 100 provided plenty of action and storylines, with Scott Bloomquist and Jimmy Owens taking preliminary wins, before Bloomquist claimed the $30k weekend finale.

Jonathan Davenport will roll into the weekend atop the LOLMDS standings, looking to repeat his win from 2015. Josh Richards who is the defending winner of the Diamond, trails Davenport by just 120 points and holds a slim 15-point advantage over Bloomquist in third.

The Lucas Oil MLRA will also send in a host of drivers who are all capable of making a statement and pulling off the upset this weekend. Chad Simpson, has been sitting on top of the Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge standings now for 11 consecutive weeks and appears poised for his second series title. Simpson came ever so close during preliminary action at the Show-Me 100 when he followed Bloomquist across the line during the Cowboy Classic, before finishing the weekend with a solid 12th place run.

2013 MLRA champ Tony Jackson Jr., enters the weekend 62 markers behind Simpson in second and is a past MLRA winner at LOS. Will Vaught will bring his GW Performance backed entry into the weekend coming off of his first ever MLRA weekend sweep, in what was a near perfect weekend at the Lake Ozark Speedway.

Rounding out the top five continues to be Payton Looney and Mitch McGrath. Looney who has found success on the national stage in past years at LOS, now finds himself locked up with McGrath and holding onto a slim 11-point lead for the 4th position.

Saturday night's big show could also serve as a valuable testing session for the MLRA drivers as they head towards the stretch run. After Saturday night the series will only have six events remaining, three of which will take place at the 3/8 mile Lucas Oil Speedway.

Chad Simpson

MLRA point leader Chad Simpson (25), leads the pack during early season action at the Show-Me 100. Photo- Lloyd Collins, FastTrackPhotos

In The Rear View: Lake Ozark Speedway proved to be the tail of two stories for some of the series top drivers. Simpson entered the weekend with what appeared to be a comfortable 98-point advantage over Jackson, Jr. but a pair of DNF's cut that to only 62. Simpson appeared poised for his 3rd MLRA win of the year until contact with Logan Martin took the leader out of Friday's feature with just 13 laps remaining. Saturday didn't end much different as another podium finish for the "Deuce Nickel" came to an abrupt end approaching the white flag, as Simpson would go around in turn three while battling for runner-up honors with Jesse Stovall.

On the opposite side of the of the spectrum, Vaught may have seized some valuable momentum with his $8,000 Lake Ozark Speedway sweep. The Crane, MO driver did not record a top five finish until the 5th race of the season, but managed to drop his deficit to Simpson from 134 to just 76 points in a single weekend behind the wheel.

The Look Ahead: A handful of MLRA contingency award battles are also heating up as the series rolls into the Diamond Nationals. The Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year standings are now deadlocked between Looney and McGrath, after McGrath grabbed both awards this past weekend. JC Wyman will bring his Ford powered Black Diamond chassis into the stretch run on top of the Casey's General Stores Hard Charger leader board. Wyman holds a slim 3 position lead over Jackson, Jr. with Stovall only 6 back in third.

Vaught leads a tight race for the Performance Bodies Performer of the Race Award with his 3 wins, just one ahead of both Simpson and Stovall. Vaught was also able to jump to the top of the board for the Malvern Bank, "Most Laps Lead" category with his weekend domination, while Simpson remains firmly in control of the Dirtondirt.com Pole Award standings with four.

Joining the late models on the Saturday night card will be the Pitt's Homes USRA Modifieds who will be racing for a $1,000 top prize of their own. Fans planning to attend this weekend's Diamond Nationals are encouraged to visit lucasoilspeedway.com for additional details, including camping info.

"Diamond Nationals" -$12,000 to WIN: Race Day Info-- 7/14

Gates: 4:00 PM
Racing: Hot Laps - 6:30 PM, Races - 7:05 PM
Admission: Adults $30, Seniors (62+) & Military $27, Youth (6-15) $10, Kids (5 and Under) FREE, Family Pass $60
Support Action: Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds-$1,000 to WIN
Website: lucasoilspeedway.com

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