Hendrix grabs Street Stocks feature, midseason crown; Bryant, Cornell, Hubert also win at Lucas Oil Speedway
WHEATLAND, Missouri – David Hendrix continued his dominating season in the Lucas Oil Speedway Big O Tires Street Stock division Saturday night, winning his fourth straight feature in the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series. Along with the feature victory, Hendrix also celebrated a midseason championship and took home a $500 bonus in addition to the $750 for winning the night’s headliner main event. Midseason champions in each division received $500 in bonus money courtesy of Victory Lane Magazine and Lucas Oil Speedway.
In a classic finish with a race for the win and a duel for third that decided the midseason championship, Andy Bryant won the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods feature with Taylor Moore taking the midseason title. Both made decisive, last-lap passes.
The Warsaw Auto Marine and RV Late Model division saw 17-year-old Kaeden Cornell pick up his first career Lucas Oil Speedway win, with Aaron Marrant’s ninth-place run good enough to nail down the midseason championship.
In the Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds, Evan Hubert captured the feature and Darron Fuqua clinched the midseason title as a total of 83 cars in the fourth divisions checked into the pits in a program presented by the Bolivar Herald-Free Press.
Hendrix again outran his cousin, Brian Schutt, as the top two Street Stock drivers all season distanced themselves from the rest of the field. Schutt won the season opener back in mid-April and Hendrix, of Waynesville, has won every feature since.
“He definitely made me work for it,” Hendrix said of Schutt. “It’s been an awesome year and I couldn’t do it without everybody who helps us, especially Jay Prevete who owns the car.”
Hendrix said he was concerned as he entered lapped traffic late in the race and his water temperature rose to 240 degrees. Meanwhile, Schutt was closing in.
“I got to watching my gauge instead of hitting my marks,” Hendrix said. “I thought, ‘I better get my elbows out and start driving this thing.’”
Ted Welschmeyer finished third with Dewayne Applegate fourth.
Late drama in B-Mods: Andy Bryant and Taylor Moore both used last-lap magic to earn trips to victory lane to celebrate in the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod feature. Bryant earned the feature victory with a pass of Kris Jackson and Moore’s pass gave him third place over JC Morton, just enough to give him the points edge.
Jackson led the first 19 laps until Bryant, the 2017 track champion, found a way past him for his second straight feature win.
“I didn’t think the top on three and four would work, but it did and we came home with the W,” Bryant said. “Coming to the white, I knew I could get him (in turn two) but I didn’t know if it would stick in three and four, but I had to try it.”
Meanwhile, Moore had to overcome hard-charging 2016 track champ JC Morton – who began the night one point behind Moore in the points race. As Moore started up front, Morton worked his way from a 17th starting position into fifth when the race’s first caution bunched the field on lap 11, putting Morton one position behind Moore in the running order.
Two laps after the restart, Morton slipped past Moore and into third as Jackson and Bryant continued to run 1-2. But another caution, with three laps to go, set it up for a final shootout for those top four and what amounted to two separate match races.
And what a finish it was. Bryant and Moore both used the high groove to make decisive, last-lap moves as Bryant went past Jackson in turn two and Moore went around Morton coming out of turn four to send both to victory lane to celebrate. He finished five points ahead of Morton to earn the bonus check.
“It was nice starting up front. We’re usually about mid-pack,” said Moore, who recorded his fourth top-five finish in five starts. “Man, it’s awesome. We’ve been plugging along and getting top-fives. That makes it nice.”
Cornell earns first: Kaeden Cornell of Willard, in his first full season in the Late Model division after moving up from B-Mods, took the lead on lap two and never relinquished it en route to the feature win.
“This season has not gone as planned, at all. To be honest, it’s been an awful season with bad luck stuff. But I guess I’ll take this,” Cornell said. “First of all, I have to thank God. I’m the most-blessed kid on the planet. And happy Father’s Day to my dad (Aaron) and to (car owner) Rick Hoover.”
Cornell started third in the feature and overtook Josh Poe for the lead on lap two. He dominated, but had to make clean restarts after four cautions after he went in front.
Defending track champ Johnny Fennewald was second, about eight car lengths behind Cornell, with Aaron Poe finishing third and Josh Poe in fourth.
Marrant said his banner season sputtered a bit on Saturday, after winning his heat race. He speculated it was due to some carburetor problems.
“We’ve been having a pretty good year so far,” Marrant said. “We had some issues tonight and didn’t run very good. Hopefully we get that fixed and get back to doing what we’ve been doing.”
Hubert leads all the way: Evan Hubert prevailed in a race-long duel with Jon Sheets to captured the Pitts Homes USRA Modified feature win. Hubert led all 20 laps, but it was a battle with Sheets and then others over the final four laps.
“That was awesome. The track was good, too,” Hubert said. “Everybody was moving around back there it looked like. We’ve got things figured out for the most part.”
While the run was solid, it was not without a hectic afternoon.
“Today was a heck of a day,” Hubert said. “We had to change a motor about 2 o’clock.”
A lap 16 caution, when fourth-running Lance Town spun in turn four, gave Sheets and third-place Mike Striegel a final chance to overtake the leader. But Hubert was up to the challenge, hanging on for his second feature win of the season.
Darron Fuqua was a solid third place and that was good enough to give the four-time feature winner the midseason points title. Striegel finished fourth and four-time defending track champ Jeff Cutshaw wound up fifth.
Fuqua, of Mayetta, Kansas, completed a solid first two months with his sixth top-five finish in eight starts.
“There’s a whole bunch of people that help out. I couldn’t do it without their help,” Fuqua said.