WHEATLAND, Missouri – Most successful race-car drivers always strive for more and Andy Bryant is no different. Bryant, the 18-year-old up-and-comer from Fort Scott, Kansas, is proud of a championship season in the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod division at Lucas Oil Speedway. Bryant won four times en route to his first track title at Lucas, where he finished 148 points in front of runner-up Kris Jackson.
But a couple of features that got away stick out in Bryant’s memory. He was leading in both when mechanical failures left him with DNFs – and damaging hits in the USRA B-Mod National Championship chase. The (track) championship was obviously good,” Bryant said. “But we were striving for a bit more. Those two wins at Lucas when we were leading probably cost us the (national) championship.”
Bryant wound up 29 points behind Ryan Gillmore in his bid for another national title to go with the one he captured in 2015. Still, Bryant wound up with an impressive 21 wins and 45 top-five finishes in 62 USRA starts in 2017. “Whenever you get 21 wins, it’s hard not to call it a successful year in the racing business,” Bryant said. “Most people call 10 wins a pretty successful year. So yeah, it was a good year for us.”
Winning the B-Mod title at Lucas Oil Speedway is no small feat. It’s the class with the largest average car count and some of the most-competitive racing, with the likes of Jackson, Shawn Strong, Mike Striegel and many others capable of winning. “When you’re racing with people like those guys … they race you clean but they race you hard,” Bryant said. “A week or two before the season championship Kris, Strong and myself were trading spots for the lead about every lap. I don’t think we got into each other very much, except for one incident and that was because we were three-wide.
“It’s incredibly fun to race like that. Last year whenever Kris and I would race, we would be on each other’s doors and we would always get out after the race and tell each other ‘good job’ and then do it again the next week. You can really push each other.” For Bryant, a senior at Fort Scott High School, it was a successful debut year in a new Moyer Victory Circle Modified. Crew members included Matt Bingham and Brandon Pitts.
Bryant said it was a season of maturity for him behind the wheel as he aimed for consistency. “I tried to be a smarter driver,” Bryant said. “Instead of going full-out blazing every lap like some people do, I worked on consistency. Maybe I wasn’t the quickest every lap, but being where I’m not making as many mistakes as before.”
Looking ahead to 2018, Bryant said there’s a possibility the team could upgrade engines and test the USRA Modified waters, but it’s more likely he will return for another year in the B-Mod. “Winter plans are to get all my school work lined up so I can start racing in March, and work on making the car a little better,” Bryant said.
Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket info and the tentative 2018 schedule can be found by visiting LucasOilSpeedway.com. 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
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.