Wheatland, Missouri – As if a slim 24-point margin in the MLRA Championship battle wasn’t enough excitement, this year’s 5th Annual MLRA Fall Nationals looks to return more fire power to an already stellar event. The Lucas Oil MLRA Late Models will join forces with the COMP Cams Super Dirt Series(CCSDS), for a pair of co-sanctioned shows Oct. 12th & 13th at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO.
The upcoming double-header weekend will mark the third such co-sanctioned event on the season for the regional super late model touring series. Those prior events averaged 35 cars, highlighted by a strong 40 car field at the Legit Motor Speedway, something that series officials hope to duplicate or better next month.
The two-day spectacle on dirt, will serve as championship weekend for the MLRA as they look to close out the season with one of the tightest points battles in recent years. Chad Simpson, in his final ride with long time car owners Bud & Denise Brinkman, will look to clinch his second series title. Simpson heads into the weekend with a 24-point advantage over a surging Will Vaught, who is seeking his first series crown and 4th win in a row.
On the other side of the equation lies the CCSDS, Present by Lucas Oil. Through 25 events thus far, the series has seen a total of 15 different winners highlighted by a series leading five wins by current point leader Jack Sullivan. Sullivan picked up the win is the series opener at the Springfield Raceway in early March and has been on top of the standings ever since, now seeking his fourth consecutive CCSDS crown.
CCSDS Director Chris Ellis, is proud of the parity his Arkansas based series brings to the starting line. “It’s kind of been our formula over the years, we have been fortunate to have a variety of winners. It’s good to have a number of different winners because it gives encouragement to more drivers that they can win with the series,” said Ellis.
Due to scheduling conflicts in 2017 the CCSDS was not able to be a part of the Fall Nationals as in past years, which was something that both sides wanted to change. Ellis is excited to again give his drivers the opportunity to compete at LOS and commented, “Dan(Robinson) and Ernie(Leftwich) worked it out this year to move it to the second weekend in October so we could be a part of this event, and we really wanted to be a part of it again. Two years ago we had like 63 cars there for this event, with the World 100 being rescheduled we may not do that, but I definitely think it’s got a chance to be a really good weekend.”
Jack Sulllivan (#18) will lead the CCSDS contingent into the 5th annual Fall Nationals Oct. 12th-13th. The event will pair the MLRA’s best against the stars of the CCSDS. Photo–Lloyd Collins, FastTrackPhotos
Bossier City, Louisiana driver BJ Robinson comes into the event 2nd in CCSDS points, and is anxious to return to the “Diamond of Dirt Tracks” following an impressive run at the Show-Me 100. In just his 2nd appearance at the Show-Me, he was able to qualify into Saturday’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series main event via preliminary action. “Any time you can go race against the guys that race every weekend for a living and travel all over the country, and get locked in without using a provisional it helps a ton,” noted Robinson.
Robinson’s run at the Show-Me resulted in a solid lead lap finish of 16th against the nation’s best late model drivers. Possibly the biggest gain from the annual Memorial Day weekend event was the confidence it instilled into the entire team. “A run like that helps a ton, and gives you a boost of confidence that you can go out there and be competitive. All the stars might have to line up to be able to do it every weekend but it gives you confidence, the car owner, the team, and all the guys that help work on the car. It sure makes everyone feel like you’re moving in the right direction.”
The driver of the DP Motorsports Black Diamond Chassis, is in his second full season following the CCSDS. Robinson is also quick to note that getting a win with the CCSDS is not an easy task. Knowing that luck can go both ways in racing he joking noted, “I have run 2nd about 10-15 times, we have been leading some and always seemed to have flats or broke.” A flat forced him to give up the lead in the 2018 series opener, but the team stayed strong, which finally paid off with his first ever CCSDS win a few weeks later at Magnolia Speedway.
Grabbing his 2nd series win of the year during the Fall Nationals will not be easy, but it’s a challenge he is excited for. Ready for the increased completion that awaits, Robinson said, “Anytime you put two series together of the nature of MLRA/CCSDS in general you will have five to seven, maybe ten guys in each series that can win. So when you roll into the race track and all of a sudden there are 20 guys that legitimately have a shot to win, that’s pretty tough.”
Both the MLRA and CCSDS have been well respected series in their respective regions for many years, and as additional series with differing rules have popped up over time it leads these two super late model powers together for a big weekend. Ellis noted, “In our region of the country where super late model racings is, there are so many other options, with different shock and motor packages. Bringing us together to have the depth and quality of depth makes this show really attractive for the fans.”
Both nights will feature complete Late Model shows. Fridays 40 lapper will pay $3,000 to the winner, while Saturday will offer a 50 lap “A” Main with $5,000 on the line. Saturday night’s winner will also earn a special $500 bonus in memory of Ron Jenkins, the original builder of Wheatland Raceway, making it a $5,500 to win finale.
In addition to the Late Model showdown, fans will witness the Inaugural B-Mod Clash of Champions. Drivers will compete in a double heat qualifying format Friday night, setting the stage for Saturday nights $3,000 to win finale.
For additional details on the upcoming Fall Nationals fans are encouraged to visit www.lucasoilspeedway.com for event and camping info.
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