by Lyndal Scranton, Lucas Oil Speedway
The first special event of the Lucas Oil Speedway season arrives Friday and Saturday with the 8th annual Lucas Oil MLRA Spring Nationals Presented by RacingJunk.com, with some of the nation’s top national-touring Late Model drivers expected to drop in to mix it up with the regional regulars.
Added money to the purse plus a weekend off for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series should mean a big field of entrants for the MLRA season opener. Four-time LOLMDS champion Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Florida, and series regular Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Arkansas, are among those listing the Spring Nationals on their schedules.
“Our first special of the year should be a good one and the weather forecast looks outstanding, which is even better,” Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager Danny Lorton said, noting that the MLRA Spring Nationals have not been contested since 2017. The event was rained out in 2018 and 2019 and COVID19 canceled it last year.
Joining Pearson, Moyer Jr. and other likely national-series entrants will be reigning MLRA champion Jeremiah Hurst of Dubuque, Iowa, and past MLRA champion Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa and Will Vaught of Crane, Missouri.
Lucas Oil MLRA Series Director Ernie Leftwich recently announced a significant purse increase for the Spring Nationals. The MLRA feature on Friday will pay $5,000 to win and $500 to start, with the April 10 winner earning $10,000 with $600 to start. The Spring Nationals winners’ shares originally were $3,000 and $5,000.
The qualifying format will be Group A and B time trials, both days.
The MLRA season schedule includes a slate of 27 events, in 12 venues across six Midwestern states. Drivers looking for additional details are encouraged to contact Leftwich at 417-309-3509 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday practice: A practice session for all classes participating that weekend is scheduled for Thursday from 6-9 p.m. Pit passes will be $25 and the grandstands free to the public. The Diamond Bar will be open and concessions available on the pit side.
USRA Modifieds, Stock Cars also in action: Joining the MLRA Late Models at both nights of the MLRA Spring Nationals will be two members of Lucas Oil Speedway’s Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series lineup: The Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modifieds (running for $750 to win on Friday and $1,000 on Saturday) and O’Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars (running for $500 to win on Friday and $750 on Saturday).
Pit and spectator gates will open at 4 p.m. both race days with hot laps at 6:30 p.m. and racing at 7:05.