Darron Fuqua celebrates his first Lucas Oil Speedway feature win, after a last-turn pass gave him the Pitts Homes USRA Modified feature Saturday night. (Kenny Shaw photo)
WHEATLAND, Missouri – On a Saturday night of memorable finishes in the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series, Darron Fuqua earned a thriller in the main event at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Fuqua passed Chase Domer in the final turn of the final lap of the Pitts Homes USRA Modified feature, earning $1,000 in the night’s 25-lap headliner.
Meanwhile, Aaron Marrant made some last-lap magic of his own with a last-lap pass to capture the Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model feature. David Hendrix (Big O Tires Street Stocks) and Kris Jackson (Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods) also visited victory lane in a program presented by NMI/VMG Marketing and Wild Animal Safari. Fuqua, of Mayetta, Kan., weaved through lapped traffic and made a daring pass of Domer in the final 75 yards. It was Fuqua’s first win at Lucas Oil Speedway and the 99th of the veteran driver’s career. Surely few were more exciting or satisfying than this one.
“I felt like I had a good car, but he was so good on the top,” Fuqua said of Domer. “I was good on the bottom. It was basically follow him until he left me just a little bit around the top and that was the only thing I had. “I just put it in there as hard as I could and I had enough momentum to get around him.” Fuqua worked his way from the ninth starting position and into contention as Domer and fellow front-row starter Ronnie Woods traded the lead five times over the first 15 laps.
In a race with only one caution, Domer caught lapped traffic with five laps to go and Fuqua continued his steady gain, setting up the thrilling finish. “I was hoping to have a lane down low, but there was a lapped car there,” Fuqua said. “I just did the one thing I had, 110 percent.”
Mark Dotson came home third with Lance Town coming all the way from 17th to fourth and Woods finishing fifth. Marrant in a Late Model thriller: Aaron Marrant threw a winning slide job on Shane Essary going into turn three on the final lap to capture the Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model feature.
Essary led all the way – until Marrant, from Richmond, Missouri – drove deep into the third turn in a last-ditch move to steal the win on the final circuit. It was Marrant’s second feature win of the young season at Lucas Oil Speedway. “We were about the same speed,” Marrant said of he and Essary. “I knew it was gonna be a Hail Mary. I wanted to wait until the last lap because I didn’t want to lose position and lose myself an opportunity in that last corner.”
Essary started on the pole and Marrant on the outside of turn two. They broke away from the field to turn it into a two-car race when a lap-14 caution, after Gregg Truelove spun in turn four, bunched the field. Just one lap later, Larry Ferris’ strong run ended when he found the wall in turn four to bring out caution number six. Ferris was running fifth at the time.
Essary again had to weather a restart and he did so, until the very end. “I knew I was close enough that I could probably do it,” Marrant said. “It started to get a little slicker going into three. I just knew I couldn’t mess up in one and two. I had to stay on his back bumper to get it done. Coming off two, I was right there with him. I’m just glad that everything worked out.”
Josh Poe came home third with Daniel Jessen fourth and Tom Cordray fifth. Hendrix makes it two straight: David Hendrix continued his strong start to the 2018 Big O Tires Street Stocks season, making a winning pass with five laps remaining to earn his second straight feature win.
Hendrix, of Waynesville, passed Brian Schutt coming to the start-finish line to complete lap 15 and held on from there. James Flood finished second with Schutt third and Derek Brown finishing fourth after starting 13th. “I was getting some pretty hot pressure from Flood and Brown and I was like man, I’ve got to find something different, to go,” Hendrix said. “I think Brian’s car was getting tight. Mine was pretty tight. The track’s a lot different than it was last week.”
Hendrix spun in his heat race, but rallied to finish third to earn a third-row starting spot in the feature. “We were terrible in the heat race. I ran out of patience and out of talent and spun out on my own,” he said. “This definitely helps make up for it a little.”
Jackson rolls to B-Mod win: Kris Jackson of Lebanon led all 20 laps, but had to withstand a couple of late restarts that wiped out sizeable leads for the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod feature victory. “It’s just glad to be back in victory lane,” Jackson said following his first Lucas Oil Speedway feature win of 2018. “This is a horsepower track tonight and I think I have the best of that. I have to chalk this one up to (engine builder Jim) Ruble. He won us this race.”
JC Morton, who started 12th, worked his way to second with six laps to go but was still about eight car lengths behind Jackson. A lap-16 caution wiped that cushion away, however, and set the stage for a four-lap shootout. Jackson re-established a comfortable lead and took the white flag well ahead of Morton. But David Harris spun into the front-stretch wall to bring out the caution and force Jackson to earn the win via a green-white restart.
Tyler Brown finished in third with Shawn Strong fourth and Taylor Moore fifth.
Up next: Racing resumes next Saturday night as Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper Bottling Company along with OnMedia/DISH/DirecTV team up to present the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series. The Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models will be running a special 25-lap $1,000 to win main event as the featured class of the evening.
Gates on Saturday will open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and opening ceremonies at 7. Meanwhile, earlier that day on the Off Road track, the Kansas City Off Road Racing Association with practice starting at 10 a.m., opening ceremonies at noon and features at about 3 p.m. For ticket information for any event in 2018 at Lucas Oil Speedway – including the 26th annual Show-Me 100 Presented by Protecttheharvest.com May 24-26, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at Nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com. Tickets also can be purchased online for any event during the 2018 season.
Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket information and 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
The 26th annual Show-Me 100 comes to Lucas Oil Speedway, May 24-26.
About Lucas Oil Speedway
Lucas Oil Speedway is considered by fans, drivers and industry insiders to be one of the top five racing facilities in the nation. Located in Wheatland, Missouri, approximately an hour from Springfield, Missouri, and just an hour and a half from the Kansas City metro area, the “Diamond of Dirt Tracks” lives up to its 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. This year marks the 8th 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 are held annually. New for 2017 was all-purpose built Off Road facility featuring the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series as well as a host of other regional events.
Lucas Oil Speedway’s dirt oval track plays host to some of the largest and most-popular events in the Midwest with national and regional touring series appearing frequently including: 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 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.