Eldon, Missouri – For the second consecutive night, Will Vaught proved to have the hot hand as he recorded back-to-back Lucas Oil MLRA Victories at the Lake Ozark Speedway. Saturday’s finale sent the winner home with a $5,000 payoff capping off a perfect weekend for the driver of the XR1 Rocket Chassis.
Vaught started the night off in dominating fashion taking the heat race win after starting in the firth spot on the grid. That victory placed him on the Dirtondirt.com pole for the 41 lap main event, in honor of the late Jason Johnson.
Sunoco Rookie candidate Mitch McGrath, started along-side Vaught on the front row as the duo race out front for the first eight circuits before the events first caution would wave. On the ensuing re-start, Friday night’s second place finisher Jesse Stovall would begin to battle with McGrath for the runner-up spot as Vaught again began to pull away.
The caution would again wave on lap 12 for a multiple car incident involving Reid Millard and Jeremy Grady. This time with Stovall in second he would elect the top side to attempt and use the cushion to overtake Vaught for the top spot. Vaught once again used his Scott Bailey horsepower to pull away for what would be the longest green flag run of the night.
As Vaught worked his way patiently through the lapped traffic, it allowed Stovall and series point leader Chad Simpson to close in. As the leaders approached the white flag, Simpson would make a move on Stovall at the bottom of turn three only to find himself going around and surrendering the 3rd spot. For the second night in a row, the Mount Vernon, IA driver would end a disappointing night sidelined as he was unable to return to the speedway for the final circuit.
This would set up a one lap dash for the cash as Vaught would lead Stovall back to the green. Vaught put together one final money lap as he crossed the line ahead of Stovall and a hard charging Terry Phillips in third. Mason Oberkramer would collect his best finish of the season in forth while Mitch McGrath picked up the Sunoco Rookie of the race with his fifth place run.
An excited Vaught said following the event, “We Were very fortunate to beat the kind of cars here. We caught onto something this weekend on this race car and tuned on it from last night, and it felt a lot better tonight.” The win did not come easy for Vaught but as he acknowledges, qualifying is very important within the MLRA series. “The cars are so equal anymore, it’s a big advantage to be able to start up front.”
Past Champs–2016 MLRA Champion Jesse Stovall (00) battles for a podium position with 2017 MLRA Champ Terry Phillips (75) Photo- Lloyd Collins FastTrack Photos
Stovall, who recorded his second consecutive runner-up finish commented, “All in all it’s not a bad weekend, we were just kind of one short both nights.” Stovall who had an opportunity on the final re-start to grab the win said, “You just throw something out there and see what you can do. You just kind of throw a hail mary at it and if they make a mistake that’s all you can hope for.”
For Phillips, Saturday would be his first MLRA podium finish of the year in just his second start. “I haven’t run the late model nearly all year and we tried something different than last night. We missed it a little bit, but we kind of snookered them on the final restart,” stated the defending series champion.
Next up for the MLRA is the prestigious Diamond Nationals next Saturday night July 14th, from the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO. This will be the second and final co-sanctioned event this season with the stars of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and both groups will bring some of the best fire power in the nation to do battle for the $12,000 pay day and coveted Diamond Nationals Ring. Additional details can be found by visiting lucasoilspeedway.com.
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