Eldon, Missouri – Friday night’s Lucas Oil MLRA action at the Lake Ozark Speedway can be summed up by one simple word -”Amazing.” At the end of one of the best MLRA races in recent history, it was Will “The Thrill” Vaught taking home the checkers in an event that saw four lead changes during the 30 lapper.
Logan Martin would fire from the DirtonDirt.com Pole, but it was outside front row starter Vaught using the top side to take the early lead. Vaught’s first attempt at the lead was short lived as MLRA point leader Chad Simpson found his way to the front on lap five. Vaught took advantage of the runner-up spot to search the 1/3-mile track for the quickest way around and by lap ten was able to use the high side momentum off of turn four to go back to the top position.
A pair of mid-race cautions would slow action on laps 14 and 17 setting up an epic final ten laps. On the re-start, Vaught would lead Simpson with Martin firmly in third. With only ten laps to go Simpson found his groove and regained the lead, all the while Martin began to turn some of the fastest laps of the night around the top side cushion.
With eight laps to go, thirteenth starting Jesse Stovall had cracked the top three with a slide job on Vaught in turns one and two. That same lap, Martin dove to the bottom of turn three and attempted a slide job on the leader Simpson, only to come across the nose of the leader sending both drivers around in front of the field. Vaught was able to squeeze by with only minimal damage, but both Martin and Simpson would exit the speedway. Since the lap was not completed prior to the yellow, it put Vaught back in front of Stovall for the restart.
The 1/3 mile Lake Ozark Speedway provided a tight battle between podium finishers Will Vaught (1v), Jesse Stovall (00), and Tony Jackson, Jr. (56). Photo- Lloyd Collins FastTrack Photos
Multiple cautions would again plague the final circuits of the event, but Vaught was able to seize the opportunity to roll to his 2nd MLRA win of 2018. Stovall finished 2nd and collected the Casey’s General Stores Hard Charger award with his advancement of 11 positions, while Jackson rounded out the podium in third. Jeremy Grady recorded his best run of the season in fourth followed by defending series champ Terry Phillips in fifth. Phillips had to rally after a lap two caution sent him pit side with a flat tire.
Vaught said of the back and forth battle with Simpson, “Leading the race it was hard to tell where the line was. My car was changing, the track was changing, and those guys were getting the top going. He (Simpson) had a little more straight-a-way traction than me. We’ll work on this thing tomorrow and get a little better, but through the center of the corner and upon entry we were real good.”
Vaught who came into the weekend third in points, avoided disaster by inches as he had to navigate between the spinning leaders exiting turn four. “We still got damage from that incident but, at the end of the race I just got elbows up, and pulled it off. Chad’s been awesome this year and we had a heck of a race, I wish it would of ended that way with a good race,” said Vaught.
For the second weekend in a row, Stovall gave the fans a show after starting deep in the field. “It’s a lot easier to start in the front and bide your time. You got to go pretty hard and use your stuff up and it’s tough to make anything happen once you get there at the end,” commented the 2016 series champ. “The track was really aggressive to race on and it raced a hell of a lot better than I thought it was going to from where the heat races were.”
Saturday night will bring more great action to the Lake Ozark Speedway with another complete $5,000 to win & $500 to start MLRA event getting underway at 7:05 pm. The weekend finale will go 41 laps in honor of the late Jason Johnson, who’s Rocky Mount, MO home is just minutes from the speedway. Joining the MLRA in support action will be the street stocks, before concluding the night with a patriotic fireworks display.
For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.
Fans may also “like” the Lucas Oil MLRA Facebook page by clicking www.Facebook.com/lucasoilmlra or follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/MLRA.