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September 1, 2018

Red-hot Vaught pulls away late to capture MLRA Larry Phillips Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway

Will Vaught
Will Vaught and family celebrate his Lucas Oil MLRA Larry Phillips Memorial win Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Kenny Shaw photo)

Wheatland, Missouri (September 1, 2018) - Will Vaught remained on an absolute roll Saturday night, pulling away from Chad Simpson over the final 10 laps to capture the Lucas Oil MLRA Larry Phillips Memorial Presented by Rugged Radios at Lucas Oil Speedway.

Vaught, of Crane, Missouri, backed up his MLRA victory on Friday night at Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa and made it four feature triumphs in the last five series events. He pocketed $5,075 in a race paying tribute the late Larry Phillips, the iconic Missouri short-track champion who died in 2004. 

Will Vaught

Will Vaught's victory in Saturday night's Larry Phillips Memorial was his fifth Lucas Oil MLRA Series win of the season. (Kenny Shaw photo)

"The good Lord was watching after us tonight," said Vaught, who also won the Phillips Memorial in 2016. "We're all here and had a good show. I love Wheatland, Missouri."

MLRA points leader Simpson finished second and Jesse Stovall drove from deep in the field to finish third.

Vaught began the weekend just 38 points behind Simpson, the season-long championship leader. He kept the pressure on, continuing a surge that includes a second-place to go with the four wins over the last five MLRA races.

Vaught started on the pole and led the opening lap before outside front-row starter Dave Eckrich wrestled away the lead the next time around. They ran 1-2 until Vaught went back in front with an outside pass coming out of turn four to complete lap 10.

Vaught opened up a half-straightaway-margin lead over the next 10 laps. By then Simpson moved into second and Payton Looney advanced into third and Stovall, who started 17th, raced into fourth.

A caution on lap 35 set up a three-way battle for the lead after the race resumed. Vaught, Simpson and Looney were three wide on the backstretch when another caution flew, on lap 37, as Tony Jackson Jr. slowed and went to the pits.

Simpson took advantage and slid past Vaught for the lead on the restart with Stovall moving into third. But Vaught used a slider in turn four to regain the lead two laps later with the big crowd on its feet.

"Leading this race, it's the hardest place to be on the race track," Vaught said. "I knew my stuff was too tight to be on the bottom and Chad got by me there. I was like, 'I have to make something work here,' so we got the top working again."

Vaught gradually pulled away from there and won by 1.97 seconds over Simpson with Stovall third, Looney fourth and Logan Martin fifth. It was Vaught's series-best fifth MLRA feature win of the season.

"Chad is a heck of a racer. We race each other hard and clean. It was fun," Vaught said. "We're battling for this points lead. With him running second, I'm never gonna gain on him. But we're here to win races and we have three more to go."

Simpson said finishing second was little consolation.

"I felt like we had a better race car, but we ended up second," Simpson said. "The top was decent, but it's such a long way around the top. Hats off to all these fans who came out here and all my sponsors and car owners for letting us come do this.

"We just have to keep going to the race track and try to win races. That's all we can do."

Stovall briefly made a big for the lead on the lap-38 restart, nearly pulling off a remarkable 17th-to-first run. But the 2016 MLRA champion was philosophical about his night.

"It wasn't too bad," Stovall said. "We buried ourselves so deep there that we had to run a B (feature) and just did what we could do."

Bryant wires USRA B-Mod field: Andy Bryant started from the pole and led all 30 laps in a dominant performance in a caution-free Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod feature.

It was the third feature win of the season at Lucas Oil Speedway for Bryant, who finished 4.4 seconds in front of runner-up Kris Jackson who drove from 17th to second. Regular-season track champion JC Morton was third and Taylor Moore finished fourth.

"I kind of saw that JC got slowed up in traffic and I was able to cruise a little bit," Bryant said. "I have to thank everybody on this car. They all do a lot for me."

Bryant, of Fort Scott, Kansas, is third nationally in USRA points. He's won 12 USRA main events in 2018.

As Bryant set sail to the lead, Morton and Moore battled for second most of the way. Meanwhile, USRA B-Mod national points leader Jackson weaved his way toward the front after having to earn his way into the main event through a B Feature.

Lucas Oil Speedway results (September 1, 2018)
Lucas Oil MLRA Larry Phillips Memorial

 A Feature - 1, Will Vaught. 2, Chad Simpson. 3, Jesse Stovall. 4, Payton Looney. 5, Logan Martin. 6, Mason Oberkrammer. 7, Johnny Fennewald. 8, J.C. Wyman. 9, Scott Crigler. 10, Tony Jackson Jr. 11, Jeremy Grady. 12, Jake Neal. 13, Austin Siebert. 14, Joe Gorby. 15, Chris Spieker. 16, Dave Eckrich. 17, Brad Looney. 18, Joe Driskell. 19, Mark Burgtorf. 20, Mitch McGrath. 21, Cade Dillard. 22, Jake Davis. 23, Jeff Roth. 
 B Feature - 1, Jesse Stovall. 2, Scott Crigler. 3, Brad Looney. 4, Tony Jackson jr. 5, Johnny Fennewald. 6, Chris Spieker. 7, Skip Frey. 8, Larry Jones. 9, Justin Zeitner. 10, Reid Millard.
 First heat - 1, Will Vaught. 2, Cade Dillard. 3, Mitch McGrath. 4, Jake Davis. 5, John Driskell. 6, Reid Millard. 7, Justin Zeitner. 8, Joe Godsey.
 Second heat - 1, Chad Simpson. 2, Payton Looney. 3, Logan Martin. 4, Mark Burgtorf. 5, Jesse Stovall. 6, Larry Jones. 7, Skip Frey.
 Third heat - 1, Jake Neal. 2, Jeremy Grady. 3, Jeff Roth. 4, Mason Oberkrammer. 5, Scott Crigler. 6, Johnny Fennewald. DQ Tony Jackson Jr.
 Fourth heat - 1, Joseph Gorby. 2, Dave Eckrich. 3, JC Wyman. 4, Austin Siebert. 5, Brad Looney. 6, Chris Spieker. 7, Curt Acker.

Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods
 A-Feature - 1. Andy Bryant Fort Scott, Ks. 2. Kris Jackson Lebanon, Mo. 3. JC Morton Springfield, Mo. 4. Taylor Moore Bois D Arc, Mo. 5. Mitchell Franklin Camdenton, Mo. 6. Steve Muilenburg Sparta, Mo. 7. Greg Woodcock Neosho, Mo. 8. Curt Drake Moran, Ks. 9. Donald Jackson Lebanon, Mo. 10. Michael Cawney Willow Springs, Mo. 11. Justin Comer Joplin, Mo. 12. Robert Heydenreich Bolivar, Mo. 13. Rex Harris Macks Creek, Mo. 14. Carl Conley Porter, Mo. 15. John Fellers Flemington, Mo. 16. Casey Lindell Porter, Mo. 17. Michael Bowers Rogersville, Mo. 18. Matt Walton Inola, Ok. 19. Eddie Schwope, Jr. St Joseph, Mo. 20. Dillon McCowan Urbana, Mo. 21. Robbe Ewing Stockton, Mo. 22. Quentin Taylor Wheatland, Mo. 23. Andy Chrisenberry Chilhowee, Mo. DNF. Brian Bolin Fort Scott, Ky. 
 B-Feature - 1. Matt Walton Inola, Ok. 2. Rex Harris Macks Creek, Mo. 3. Eddie Schwope, Jr. St Joseph, Mo. 4. Quentin Taylor Wheatland, Mo. 5. Shawn Duncan Lockwood, Mo. 6. Brian Myers Lebanon, Mo. 7. Sammy Schuler Kansas City, Ks. 8. Ricky Watkins Brookline, Mo. 9. Rich Reynolds Ash Grove, Mo. 10. Greg Scheffler Pittsburg, Mo. 11. Scott Walton Inola, Ok. 12. Bill Schaar St. Robert, Mo. 13. Brantlee Gotschall Nevada, Mo. 
 Heat 1 - 1. Andy Bryant Fort Scott, Ks. 2. Mitchell Franklin Camdenton, Mo. 3. Michael Bowers Rogersville, Mo. 4. Steve Muilenburg Sparta, Mo. 5. Robbe Ewing Stockton, Mo. 6. Ferris Collier Kimberling City, Mo. 7. Brian Myers Lebanon, Mo. 8. Ricky Watkins Brookline, Mo. 9. Jason Sivils Bolivar, Mo. 10. Bill Schaar St. Robert, Mo. 11. Kris Jackson Lebanon, Mo. 
 Heat 2 - 1. Michael Cawney Willow Springs, Mo. 2. Carl Conley Porter, Mo. 3. Curt Drake Moran, Ks. 4. Taylor Moore Bois D Arc, Mo. 5. Brian Bolin Fort Scott, Ky. 6. Michael Foster Billings, Mo. 7. Eddie Schwope, Jr. St Joseph, Mo. 8. Scott Walton Inola, Ok. 9. Rich Reynolds Ash Grove, Mo. 10. Sammy Schuler Kansas City, Ks. 11. Bradley McKinnon Rolla, Mo. 
 Heat 3 - 1. J C Morton Springfield, Mo. 2. Donald Jackson Lebanon, Mo. 3. Robert Heydenreich Bolivar, Mo. 4. Andy Chrisenberry Chilhowee, Mo. 5. Rex Harris Macks Creek, Mo. 6. Shawn Duncan Lockwood, Mo. 7. Dillon McCowan Urbana, Mo. 8. Jim Cihy Warsaw, Mo. 9. Greg Scheffler Pittsburg, Mo. 10. David Harris Chilhowee, Mo. 11. Brantlee Gotschall Nevada, Mo. 
 Heat 4 - 1. Justin Comer Joplin, Mo. 2. Greg Woodcock Neosho, Mo. 3. Casey Lindell Porter, Mo. 4. John Fellers Flemington, Mo. 5. Matt Walton Inola, Ok. 6. Quentin Taylor Wheatland, Mo. 7. Justin Pike El Dorado Springs, Mo. 8. Gary Williams Imperial, Mo. 9. Hannah Frazee Cleveland, Mo. 10. Dalton Keith Versailles, Mo.

Diamond Drag Boat Nationals conclude Sunday: The Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series 8th annual Diamond Drag Boat Nationals conclude on Sunday on Lake Lucas with gates opening at 8 a.m. and eliminations starting at 9 a.m.

 8 a.m. - Spectator gates open
9 a.m. - Eliminations

***All times are tentative and subject to change without notice. 

Admission prices
Ticket prices (All tickets include access to Drag Boat pit area): 
Adults (16 and over) $25
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $22
Youth (ages 6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE

Next at dirt track: Next up at the dirt track is the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling Nationals, Sept. 14-15. After that, it's the 8th annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial, Sept. 20-22.

For ticket information on all events at Lucas Oil Speedway in 2018, contact Admission Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or by email at Fans also can go online to purchase tickets for any event on the 2018 schedule.

Dan Robinson
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984