WHEATLAND, Missouri – The term “teamwork” sometimes gets tossed around like a cliche when race drivers review championship seasons. But when Jeff Cutshaw talks about team, it’s legit.
Cutshaw won as unprecedented fourth straight Pitts Homes USRA Modified track championship at Lucas Oil Speedway in 2017. When he says he couldn’t have done it without the help of crew members Billy Mitchell, Andrew Miller and Michael Mitchell, he absolutely means it.
“They mean everything to my operation,” said Cutshaw, who works 13-14 hour days during the week as service manager of a Chrysler dealership in Kansas City. He returns to his Bolivar home on weekends and his team always has the car ready to roll for race nights.
“They take care of it, wash it, get it ready,” Cutshaw said. “If anything is broke, they fix it. Billy keeps it at his house, including the truck and trailer. He takes care of the car like it’s his own.
“Those guys pick up the slack, for sure. I don’t hardly even see the car until Saturday afternoons and they have it ready to go.”
Team Cutshaw clearly is doing something right, displaying consistency week after week and year after year. Mechanical failures or DNFs have been few and far between, which is key when racing for championships.
He had three wins and two second-place finishes in 2017 with seven other top-fives.
“The big thing with any championship is you have to stay consistent,” Cutshaw said. “You don’t have to win a bunch of races, but you have to be consistent. I’ve always said that I would like to win more races, but the championship is important as well.”
Cutshaw said each championship has had a different feel to it, with the most-recent one perhaps the most-challenging of the four. That’s because he had to come from behind in the final couple of weeks to finish just 21 points clear of runner-up Jason Pursley.
It took a feature win on Aug. 19 and a second-place run on championship night a week later to nail it down. It was in contrast to 2016, when he had the points championship all but wrapped up with more than a month remaining.
Cutshaw said it was fun to rally with strong finish to win this one in a GRT by Phillips by purchased four years ago.
“I bought that car new from Terry Phillips four years ago and have four championships, so I have to give a lot of credit to Terry Phillips,” Cutshaw said. “I can call and visit with him any time and throw stuff at him and he can tell me if I’m crazy or not.
“We’re always trying little things. Even though the car is pretty good, we’re always trying new things to make it better and faster.”
Sponsors include SCP Race Engines and Electric Beach Tanning Salon. Those two, along with his key crew members, will be back next year as Cutshaw shoots to make it five championships in a row.
“I might bounce around a little bit, but I’m not gonna race too far from home because with work, I just don’t have the hours to travel,” Cutshaw said. “We’re probably gonna stay at Lucas and try to win another one.”
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.
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Jeff Cutshaw won three features in 2017, en route to his fourth straight Lucas Oil Speedway Pitts Homes USRA Modified championship. (Kenny Shaw photo)
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Lucas Oil MLRA Series Director
Office: (417) 282-5984
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.