Fuqua Wins USRA Modified at Lucas Oil Speedway

by Lyndal Scranton

For Darron Fuqua, it felt like old times Saturday night as he returned to Lucas Oil Speedway victory lane.

Fuqua, of Mayetta, Kansas, passed R.C. Whitwell with two laps remaining to earn the Pitts Homes USRA Modified feature win, headlining the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series program.

Other winners on Fan Appreciation Night Presented by KY3 Digital/O-Zone included Toby Ott (O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks), Johnny Fennewald (Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models) and JC Morton (Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods). The Show-Me Vintage Racing Club ran as a guest class and Jeremy Turner earned the victory.

Fuqua, who’s raced a varied schedule in 2020, picked up his sixth overall win of the year but first in two attempts at Lucas Oil Speedway. He won eight times at the speedway in a memorable 2018 season, earning both track and USRA Modified National Championships.

“It took me a while to remember how to get around here,” Fuqua said in victory lane, collecting a trophy and $1,000. “It was working me to death in there. The track had a lot of character, but it made it a lot of fun for racing.”

Fuqua worked his way toward the front from an eighth starting position. But early on, it was shaping up as a duel between Whitwell and season points leader Robbie Reed.

By lap six, Reed and Whitwell had distanced themselves from the field by four seconds. Fourth-starting Whitwell sailed past Reed coming off turn four on lap nine to grab the lead – but things were soon to quickly change.

A caution the next time around brought the rest of the field back to the top pair with Fuqua lurking in third.

Things got wild two laps after the restart. Chase Jones rolled his car in a four-car incident on the front stretch, bringing out the red flag on lap 11. Mickey Burrell, Kirby Robe and Curt Drake also were involved and their cars had to be towed away – but each driver walked away safely.

Just before that, Reed’s car lost power just as Fuqua passed him for second.

After action resumed, Whitwell had built a 1.7-second lead over Fuqua when a lap-22 caution wiped out that margin and set the stage for an exciting finish.

Fuqua had a spectacular restart, using the momentum to slingshot past Whitwell in turn two. He led from there and finished just under one second in front of Whitwell, with Ryan Middaugh third, Kyle Thompson fourth and Chase Domer going from 20th to finish fifth.

“If I didn’t get tight getting in there, I could get in the corner good. I tried the bottom where (Whitwell) was going a couple of times, but went across the race track with a shove,” Fuqua said. “I learned after about two mistakes to quit doing that and just go around him and take his line down here, if I could.”

Fuqua hopes to use the event as a springboard for the USMTS Show-Me Shootout Presented by Foley Equipment next Saturday night.

“I want to thank all the fans for coming out and rooting us on tonight,” Fuqua said.

Ott earns Street Stocks triumph: After several near-misses, Wheatland’s Toby Ott picked up his first O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks feature victory of the season, beating runner-up Kenny Carroll by 1.58 seconds.

Ott started alongside Carroll on row two and made an inside pass of James Flood on lap five to take over the lead. He never gave it up from there, though he said he battled faulty brakes after a lap-seven caution.

“I pretty much had to pump the brake pedal the entire race,” Ott said. “I was thinking to myself, ‘this ain’t good, I’m leading the race and I’m gonna have to pull off.’ But they kept coming back every time I’d pump ’em.”

Ott, the track champion in 2019 when he won five times, found victory lane after one runner-up finish, one third place and three fourth-place runs this season. He  debuted a new car about a month ago and said it’s taken a bit of time to dial it in.

“We’ve really been working with it and I feel like we’ve come a long way in the last two weeks,” Ott said.

Clayton Campbell made a big run, starting 17th and driving to third. Johnny Coats was fourth and Flood finished fifth.

It was a rare tough night for points leader Derek Brown, who finished eighth. Brown had five wins and four seconds in his previous nine features this season.

Fennewald takes a ULMA thriller: Three-time defending Lucas Oil Speedway track champion Johnny Fennewald of Appleton City made a last-lap pass of Cole Henson to grab a back-and-forth Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model feature win.

Fennewald and Henson exchanged the lead seven times over the final 10 laps – including on each of the final four laps. Fennewald made the last pass hold, going around Henson on the outside coming off turn two.

At the end, Fennewald wound up about four car lengths in front of Henson, the current points leader.

“We’ve been off about the last five weeks. We’ve been horrible,” Fennewald said. “We’ve struggled with some shock and spring issues and the driveshaft. We had the fire (in week one). I don’t think we’re gonna win the points this year, but we’re gonna win the rest of the races.”

Fennewald said it was fun mixing it up with Henson on the tacky, sometimes-bumpy surface.

“Cole has become a really good driver, especially in this stuff,” Fennewald said. “It was fun racing against him. I got into the wall a couple of times. I wasn’t lifting. We haven’t done good in a while.”

Henson, who began the night 26 points in front of Larry Ferris, posted his eighth top-five finish.

Dalton Imhoff finished third with Ferris fourth and Larry Clawson in fifth.

Morton takes third USRA B-Mod win: JC Morton of Springfield led all 20 laps to take the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod feature win, beating runner-up Eric Turner by three car lengths. It was Morton’s third triumph of the Lucas Oil Speedway season.

It completed a long 24 hours for Morton. He and third-place finished Kris Jackson competed nearly 600 miles away on Friday night, at Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wisconsin.

“We left there last night about 12:30 and got to Springfield about 11 this morning,” Morton said. “We worked on the car because we tore it up and then came here. We’ve been on very little sleep.”

Morton used the high groove and set sail over fellow front-row starter Jackson to opened a 3.5-second lead by lap six when the race’s first caution waved.

Morton led from there as the race went caution-free. Turner got past Jackson on lap eight and he made a run at the winner when Morton got into lapped traffic with three laps to go.

“I got by (Jackson) and kind of cruised there for a little bit,” Morton said. “Then near the end I got into lapped traffic and slowed up. I saw Eric Turner’s nose down there and knew it was time to get back on the wheel and go.”

JC Newell came home in fourth and Mitchell Franklin finished fifth.

Show-Me Vintage: Jeremy Turner of St. Joseph made a last-lap pass and beat Damon Clevenger by .078 seconds  to capture the Show-Me Vintage Racing Club feature, a special guest class making its annual appearance.

Turner – driving a 1973 Chevelle that is a Cale Yarborough NASCAR replica car – took advantage of a caution with one lap remaining and made a pass of Clevenger going down the backstretch after the restart. He held on to win by half a car length.

“Thanks for having us out here. It’s a total honor to get to run at a track this size,” Turner said.

Clevenger rolled from a 12th starting position and into the top five in just three laps. The Parkville, Missouri, driver passed Turner for the lead on lap six and held on until a one-lap shootout resulted after a caution came out just as Clevenger was about to take the white flag.

“He is a shoe for sure and is always somebody who’s going to be up front,” Turner said of Clevenger. “I can’t believe I got around him, especially with this big, heavy car.”

Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series
Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds
  A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 87-Darron Fuqua[8]; 2. 96T-RC Whitwell[4]; 3. 21-Ryan Middaugh[11]; 4. 292-Kyle Thompson[10]; 5. 227-Chase Domer[20]; 6. 38C-Jason Pursley[3]; 7. 90-Terry Schultz[14]; 8. 3B-Nic Bidinger[19]; 9. 155-Terry Kirk[9]; 10. 9E-Evan Hubert[16]; 11. 88-Jimmy Dowell[21]; 12. 21W-Tracy Wolf[7]; 13. (DNF) 98D-Paden Phillips[13]; 14. (DNF) 134-Robert Heydenreich[5]; 15. (DNF) 14-Kameron Grindstaff[12]; 16. (DNF) 0-Brody Robe[6]; 17. (DNF) 5-Robbie Reed[1]; 18. (DNF) 73-Mickey Burrell[2]; 19. (DNF) 18-Curt Drake[15]; 20. (DNF) 1-Kirby Robe[24]; 21. (DNF) 03-Chase Jones[18]; 22. (DNF) 75-Gunner Martin[17]; 23. (DNF) 7-Daniel Franklin[22]; 24. (DNF) 18JR-Chase Sigg[23]
  B Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 75-Gunner Martin[4]; 2. 03-Chase Jones[3]; 3. 3B-Nic Bidinger[14]; 4. 227-Chase Domer[12]; 5. 88-Jimmy Dowell[2]; 6. 7-Daniel Franklin[6]; 7. 18JR-Chase Sigg[8]; 8. 1-Kirby Robe[1]; 9. 21R-Rusty Skaggs[7]; 10. 55-Colson Kirk[13]; 11. 23-Lucas Dobbs[11]; 12. 2+1/2-Khaled Graham[9]; 13. 20-Bob Kerbs[5]; 14. 75L-Lane Whitney[10]   Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 5-Robbie Reed[5]; 2. 87-Darron Fuqua[1]; 3. 134-Robert Heydenreich[6]; 4. 14-Kameron Grindstaff[2]; 5. 98D-Paden Phillips[7]; 6. 18-Curt Drake[9]; 7. 75-Gunner Martin[8]; 8. 7-Daniel Franklin[4]; 9. (DNF) 23-Lucas Dobbs[10]; 10. (DNF) 55-Colson Kirk[3]  Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 38C-Jason Pursley[2]; 2. 73-Mickey Burrell[7]; 3. 0-Brody Robe[6]; 4. 21W-Tracy Wolf[9]; 5. 9E-Evan Hubert[1]; 6. 1-Kirby Robe[3]; 7. 20-Bob Kerbs[4]; 8. (DNF) 75L-Lane Whitney[10]; 9. (DNF) 227-Chase Domer[8]; 10. (DNF) 3B-Nic Bidinger[5]  Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 96T-RC Whitwell[2]; 2. 155-Terry Kirk[1]; 3. 21-Ryan Middaugh[3]; 4. 292-Kyle Thompson[8]; 5. 90-Terry Schultz[7]; 6. 88-Jimmy Dowell[4]; 7. 03-Chase Jones[9]; 8. 21R-Rusty Skaggs[6]; 9. 18JR-Chase Sigg[5]; 10. 2+1/2-Khaled Graham[10]
O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks
  A Feature 1 (20 Laps): 1. 27OTT-Toby Ott[2]; 2. 94-Kenny Carroll[4]; 3. 30C-Clayton Campbell[17]; 4. 35-Johnny Coats[9]; 5. 42-James Flood[1]; 6. 69-Brian Brown[5]; 7. 27-Bob Barnett[3]; 8. 11-Derek Brown[6]; 9. 2-Colton Bourland[10]; 10. 7M-Scott Johnson[12]; 11. 22J-Joey Holdren II[16]; 12. 28-Andrew Roark[13]; 13. 3-Josh Halbrook[15]; 14. 7X-John Scott[8]; 15. 7B-Brandon Dunham[11]; 16. (DNF) 7K-Kyle Hamby[14]; 17. (DNF) 54B-Brandon Hays[18]; 18. (DNF) 94C-JT Carroll[7]   Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 94-Kenny Carroll[1]; 2. 69-Brian Brown[3]; 3. 94C-JT Carroll[2]; 4. 11-Derek Brown[9]; 5. 2-Colton Bourland[4]; 6. 7M-Scott Johnson[5]; 7. 7K-Kyle Hamby[6]; 8. 22J-Joey Holdren II[7]; 9. (DNF) 54B-Brandon Hays[8]  Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 42-James Flood[9]; 2. 27OTT-Toby Ott[7]; 3. 27-Bob Barnett[8]; 4. 7X-John Scott[1]; 5. 35-Johnny Coats[6]; 6. 7B-Brandon Dunham[4]; 7. 28-Andrew Roark[3]; 8. 3-Josh Halbrook[5]; 9. 30C-Clayton Campbell[2]
Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models
  A Feature (20 Laps): 1. 21-Johnny Fennewald[4]; 2. 31C-Cole Henson[6]; 3. 69-Dalton Imhoff[1]; 4. 51-Larry Ferris[5]; 5. 88L-Larry Clawson[7]; 6. 1T-Tucker Cox[9]; 7. 3-Jamie Carter[12]; 8. 99-Larry Jones[8]; 9. 42H-Chad Richwine[10]; 10. (DNF) 14W-Dustin Walker[2]; 11. (DNF) 16-Ashlee Lancaster[3]; 12. (DNF) 22-Tim Petty[11]   Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 14W-Dustin Walker[1]; 2. 16-Ashlee Lancaster[3]; 3. 51-Larry Ferris[5]; 4. 99-Larry Jones[4]; 5. 1T-Tucker Cox[6]; 6. 22-Tim Petty[2]  Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 69-Dalton Imhoff[2]; 2. 21-Johnny Fennewald[3]; 3. 31C-Cole Henson[4]; 4. 88L-Larry Clawson[5]; 5. 42H-Chad Richwine[1]; 6. (DNS) 3-Jamie Carter
Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods
  A Feature (20 Laps): 1. 18-JC Morton[2]; 2. 99T-Eric Turner[3]; 3. 65-Kris Jackson[1]; 4. 83-JC Newell[6]; 5. F1-Mitchell Franklin[9]; 6. 4B-Brayton Skaggs[5]; 7. 15S-Kody Bray[7]; 8. 48M-Rick Murcko[16]; 9. 10P-Dayton Pursley[8]; 10. 46-Brice Gotschall[10]; 11. 1BB-Nick Artherton[13]; 12. 929-Garrett Thompson[17]; 13. 58M-Jamie Mauk[14]; 14. 15R-Ryan Smith[19]; 15. 28B-Wesley Briggs[12]; 16. 21F-Hannah Frazee[20]; 17. 12JR-Olen Stephens[18]; 18. 68-Craig Mintz[23]; 19. (DNF) 14T-Quentin Taylor[11]; 20. (DNF) 25G-James Gish[22]; 21. (DNF) 14-Sebastian Wolfenbarger[21]; 22. (DNF) 8-James Gates[24]; 23. (DNF) 160-Michael Maggard[15]; 24. (DNS) 2-Hagen Stevenson; 25. (DQ) 98K-Kenton Allen[4]   Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 65-Kris Jackson[5]; 2. 99T-Eric Turner[7]; 3. 10P-Dayton Pursley[1]; 4. 46-Brice Gotschall[6]; 5. 14T-Quentin Taylor[8]; 6. 929-Garrett Thompson[3]; 7. 15R-Ryan Smith[2]; 8. 25G-James Gish[4]; 9. 8-James Gates[9]  Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 98K-Kenton Allen[1]; 2. 4B-Brayton Skaggs[4]; 3. 15S-Kody Bray[6]; 4. 160-Michael Maggard[3]; 5. 28B-Wesley Briggs[8]; 6. 48M-Rick Murcko[7]; 7. 21F-Hannah Frazee[5]; 8. (DNF) 2-Hagen Stevenson[2]  Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 18-JC Morton[5]; 2. 83-JC Newell[3]; 3. F1-Mitchell Franklin[1]; 4. 58M-Jamie Mauk[2]; 5. 1BB-Nick Artherton[8]; 6. 12JR-Olen Stephens[4]; 7. 14-Sebastian Wolfenbarger[6]; 8. 68-Craig Mintz[7]
Show-Me Vintage Racing Club
  A Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1. 11-Jeremy Turner[4]; 2. 6-Damon Clevenger[12]; 3. 88-Larry Waters[7]; 4. 51-Allen Guthrie[10]; 5. 10-Jimmy Smith[13]; 6. 7-Mickey Fleehart[11]; 7. 00-John Steenstry[3]; 8. 1A-Rodney Ashworth[9]; 9. 08-Dan Schmidt[8]; 10. 99-Jim Siewert[1]; 11. 45-Daniel Schmidt[6]; 12. 711-Brian Strong[15]; 13. 34-Elmer Gerloff[14]; 14. (DNF) 44-Bob Shryer[16]; 15. (DNF) 28Z-David Baldwin[2]; 16. (DNF) 31-Steve Rock[5]; 17. (DNS) 32-Ray Gerloff; 18. (DNS) 8-Rocky Rhodes   Heat 1 (6 Laps): 1. 88-Larry Waters[5]; 2. 8-Rocky Rhodes[4]; 3. 99-Jim Siewert[3]; 4. 28Z-David Baldwin[2]; 5. 00-John Steenstry[6]; 6. 34-Elmer Gerloff[9]; 7. 44-Bob Shryer[8]; 8. (DNF) 711-Brian Strong[1]; 9. (DNS) 32-Ray Gerloff  Heat 2 (6 Laps): 1. 6-Damon Clevenger[7]; 2. 11-Jeremy Turner[2]; 3. 7-Mickey Fleehart[5]; 4. 10-Jimmy Smith[9]; 5. 51-Allen Guthrie[8]; 6. 31-Steve Rock[1]; 7. 08-Dan Schmidt[3]; 8. 1A-Rodney Ashworth[6]; 9. 45-Daniel Schmidt[4]
Drag Boats continue Sunday:The Kentucky Drag Boat Association Show-Me Shootout Presented by Lucas Oil concludes Sunday on Lake Lucas with eliminations tentatively set to begin at 10 a.m. 

Drag Boat Ticket Prices: 
Adults GA/Pit Pass Combo (16 and up) $25
Seniors (62 and up)/Military GA/Pit Pass Combo (62 and up) $22
Youth GA/Pit Pass Combo (age 6 to 15) $10
Kids GA/Pit Pass Combo (age 5 and under)  FREE
Family Pass GA/Pit Pass Comb – Includes Admission for 2 Adults and Up to 3 Kids Ages (6-15) $60
(All tickets include access to Drag Boat pit area)
Next on the dirt: The 11th annual United States Modified Touring Series Slick Mist Show-Me Shootout Presented by Foley Equipment is set for next Saturday night. Also on the program will be the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods and the O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks. Gates open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05.

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