Lucas Oil Speedway honors season champs at banquet with Merritt named first ‘Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award’ winner
WHEATLAND, Missouri – A banner racing season at Lucas Oil Speedway was celebrated Saturday night with the Postseason Championship Banquet at The Lodge at Old Kinderhook in Camdenton.
Top 10 in points and the champions in each of the four Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series divisions – Jeff Cutshaw (Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds), Andy Bryant (Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods), Toby Ott (Big O Tires Street Stocks) and Johnny Fennewald (Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models) – were recognized during the annual banquet.
In a special presentation, veteran Ozarks-area racer Rex Merritt of Billings was named winner of the first Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the sport on and off the race track.
“It was a complete surprise to me,” said Merritt, who’s raced stock cars for four decades and won at least 35 track championships. He’s also been a mentor to many drivers over the years.
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the first Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award,” Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager Dan Robinson said. “Rex has done so much for the sport of dirt-track racing, not only in the southwest Missouri area, but throughout the country.”
Another highlight of the evening saw Jon Binning of Warrensburg win a new Harley-Davidson Roadster, courtesy of Lawless Harley-Davidson of Scott City, Missouri. The top 10 drivers in each division were eligible for the raffle with Binning the winner.
“I can’t believe I won this because I never win drawings,” said Binning, who was eighth this season in ULMA Late Model points. “It’s awesome and thanks to Lawless Harley-Davidson.”
Other special, first-time postseason awards went to Kaeden Cornell of Willard, Missouri who was named “Most Popular Driver” for 2017 in online fan voting and to Ashlee Lancaster of Sturgeon, Missouri, who won “Best Appearing Race Car” as determined by speedway staff.
Robinson began the evening by thanking the drivers, crew members and fans for another record-breaking season, in which 113,000 fans came through the gates to eclipse the total attendance mark of 107,000 set in 2016.
Weekly Racing Series events averaged just under 2,400 fans with an average car count of 105.
“We like to set the bar high. While this was a great season, we’ve already turned our attention to making 2018 even better,” Robinson said.
Cutshaw has turned the speedway banquet into a championship tradition. The Bolivar, Missouri, driver picked up his fourth straight championship after another banner season in which he won three features and nine other top-five finishes.
“I’d like to thank Billy Mitchell who takes care of the car all week long and makes it easy without me having to do a whole lot on it, along with Michael Mitchell and Andrew Miller,” Cutshaw said. “Those guys take care of the thing. And I’d just like to thank all the Lucas Oil people who give us a great place to race.”
Bryant, of Fort Scott, Kansas, captured the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod crown with a banner season. He won four features, was second three times and added a third-place in 11 main events in 2017.
“I’d like to think we have some of the best, competitive racing of any of the classes,” Bryant said of the B-Mods. “I’d like to thank all my marketing partners and I look forward to next year. Hopefully, we’ll have another good season.”
In the Street Stock division, Ott had never won a feature on his hometown track prior to this season but broke through in a big way after celebrating in victory lane for the first time on May 13. Ott went on to win four more times and had six other top-five finishes.
“I had more people step us this year to give me to the next level,” Ott said. “Not so much financially, just the support they gave me. That was the key to my success more than anything else.”
Fennewald nailed down the ULMA Late Model championship on the final night of the regular season with a second-place finish. The Appleton City, Missouri, driver won three features in 2017 and had six other top-five finishes in 11 starts.
“I’d like to thank all the people that we raced against,” Fennewald said. “There was good racing this year. We had a lot of good help from a lot of good friends.”
Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket info and schedules can be found by visiting LucasOilSpeedway.com.
2018 LUCAS OIL SPEEDWAY TENTATIVE SCHEDULE
March 14 – Rich Nichols Memorial Media Luncheon
March 31 – Open Test & Tune
April 7 – Weekly Show No. 1 – Weekly Championship Series Spring Opener (ULMA LM, Mod, B-Mod, SS with $1,000 to win Late Models)
April 13-14 – 5th annual MLRA Spring Nationals Presented by RacingJunk.com
April 21 – Weekly Show No. 2 – $uper $aver $pecial Night (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mod with $750 to win B-Mod)
April 27-28 (Off Road track) – Level 5 Off Road UTV/Side by Side Racing
April 28 – Weekly Show No. 3 – $5 Dollar Admission Night (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mod with $750 to win Street Stocks)
May 5 – 7th annual Impact Signs, Awning & Wraps Open Wheel Showdown (ASCS Warrior/Red River Region Sprints, POWRi Midgets, WAR Sprints)
May 12 – Weekly Show No. 4 – NMI Night at the Races Presented by Wild Animal Safari, FREE admission to Moms courtesy of NMI/VMG Marketing (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mod with $1,000 to win Mods)
May 19 (Off Road) – Kansas City Off Road Racing Association Sportsman Off Road Racing
May 19 – Weekly Show No. 5 – Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Night at the Races (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mod with $1,000 to win Late Models)
May 24-26 – 26th annual Show-Me 100 Presented by ProtecttheHarvest.com (Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series/MLRA plus Modifieds)
June 2 – No racing unless otherwise scheduled
June 8-9 – 7th annual John Haas Memorial Drag Boat Classic (Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series)
June 9 – Weekly Show No. 6 (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mod with $750 to win B-Mod)
June 16 – Weekly Show No. 7 – Bolivar Herald-Free Press Mid-Season Championship (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mod with $750 to win Street Stocks)
June 22-24 (Off Road) – 2nd annual Off Road Shootout (Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series)
June 23 – Weekly Show No. 8 – National Wild Turkey Federation Race to Save the Hunt (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mod with $1,000 to win Modifieds)
June 29-30 (Off Road) – Lucas Oil Invitational Pro Bull Ride Presented by ProtecttheHarvest.com
June 30 – No racing unless otherwise scheduled
July 5 – Weekly Show No. 9 – Casey’s General Store Thursday Night Thunder, plus fireworks (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mod with $1,000 to win Late Models)
July 7 – No racing unless otherwise scheduled
July 14 – 12th annual CMH Diamond Nationals (Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series/MLRA plus Modifieds)
July 20-21 (Off Road) – Level 5 Off Road UTV/Side by Side Racing
July 21 – Weekly Show No. 10 – Veterans and Military Appreciation Night (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mods with $750 to win B-Mods)
July 28 (Off Road) – Kansas City Off Road Racing Association Sportsman Off Road Racing
July 28 – Weekly Show No. 11 – Ozarks Food Harvest Food Drive Night (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mods with $750 to win Street Stocks)
Aug. 4 – 9th annual USMTS Slick Mist Show-Me Shootout Presented by Foley Equipment)
Aug. 11 – No racing unless otherwise scheduled
Aug. 17-18 (Off Road) – Level 5 Off Road/Side by Side Racing
Aug. 18 – Weekly Show No. 12 – TA-Petro Fan Appreciation Night (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mods with $1,000 to win Modifieds)
Aug. 25 – Weekly Show No. 13 – Bill Roberts Chevrolet-Buick Season Championship Night (LM, Mod, SS, B-Mods with class champions crowned)
Aug. 31-Sept. 2 – 8th annual Diamond Drag Boat Nationals (Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series)
Sept. 1 – MLRA Larry Phillips Memorial (MLRA Late Models plus $750 to win B-Mods)
Sept. 8 – No racing unless otherwise scheduled
Sept. 14-15 – Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League
Sept. 20-22 – 8th annual ASCS Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial (ASCS Sprint Cars, WAR Sprints)
Sept. 29 – No racing unless otherwise scheduled
Oct. 4-6 – 5th annual Street Stocks Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt (Street Stocks, ULMA Late Models)
Oct. 12-13 – 5th annual Lucas Oil MLRA Fall Nationals (MLRA, TBD)
Oct. 20 – Monster Truck Nationals-Eve of Destruction
Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With its entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.
Click LucasOilSpeedway.com for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984.
In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking “Like” at www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway
Veteran racer Rex Merritt of Billings, Missouri, was named recipient of the first Lucas Oil Speedway “Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award” on Saturday at the track’s postseason awards banquet. (Kenny Shaw photo)
Jon Binning won the raffle for a Harley-Davidson Roadster, courtesy Lawless Harley-Davidson of Scott City, Missouri, at Saturday night’s Lucas Oil Speedway postseason awards banquet. (Kenny Shaw photo)
About Lucas Oil Speedway
Lucas Oil Speedway is considered by fans, drivers and industry insiders to be one of the top five race tracks in the nation. Located in Wheatland, Missouri, approximately an hour from Springfield, Missouri, and just a quick hour and a half from the Kansas City metro area, dubbed the “Diamond of Dirt Tracks,” Lucas Oil Speedway certainly lives up to the title.
Twenty-One VIP Luxury Suites, HD Jumbo-Tron Screen, Stadium Style Musco Sports Lighting, a Bose Sound System, Go-Kart Slick Track, The Diamond Bar, Track Treasures Gift Shop, the best track food in the country and paved pits are a few of the spectacular amenities setting the Diamond of Dirt apart. 2017 marked the 7th season for the Liquid Quarter Mile Drag Racing Lake, Lake Lucas. Two nationally televised Drag Boat Races featuring the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series were held in 2017. New for 2017 was all new purpose build Off Road Racing facility featuring the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series as well as a host of other regional events.
Lucas Oil Speedway hosts some of the largest and most popular events in the Midwest! National and regional touring series appear frequently for Special Events on the Diamond of Dirt Tracks. The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, POWRi Midget National Series, Lucas Oil Pro-Pulling League, United States Modified Touring Series, ASCS Sprint Cars and the Lucas Oil MLRA.
In addition to the incredible Special Events, the Lucas Oil Speedway Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series features the Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models, Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds, Big O Tires Street Stocks and the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods, racing weekly.