Pryor Creek, Oklahoma – For the second time in 2018 Jesse Stovall found himself in Andy’s Frozen Custard Victory Lane following Saturday nights Freedom Classic at the Salina Highbanks Speedway. The win was his 3rd all-time at the annual Independence event and sends him home with a $5,000 pay off.
A total of 30 cars were on hand for the Lucas MLRA event that was also co-sanctioned by the Comp Cams Super Dirt Series, Present by Lucas Oil. The nights DirtonDirt.com Pole winner Jason Hughes, would jump out to the early lead in the 40 lap A-main and set the pace for the first 19 laps. Going caution free in the early portions of the event the field would catch the tail of the pack and have to contend with a heavy bout of lapped traffic.
As the Hughes machine would begin to transition towards the tight side, it allowed the XR1 Rocket Chassis of Logan Martin to slip to the inside and grab the race lead just prior to half-way.
Martin’s lead however would be short lived as Stovall was able to use the lapped traffic to real in the leaders and take the top spot with 17 laps remaining. A trio of cautions would slow the race over the final 14 circuits and keep the leaders out in clean air to battle for the win. In the end, Stovall was able to pull away for the victory, his second of the season with the MLRA series. Martin held on for a season best 2nd place ahead of Hughes, Will Vaught, and Tony Jackson, Jr.
Stovall who started 4th showed patience early on and commented, “I knew there would be a caution or two, hopefully. But if not, you’re going to catch the tail of the field and you’re going to start working the cars and doing some different stuff. It all played out, you couldn’t have asked it to have been any better.”
With a great history at the Highbanks he finished by saying, “I love this place, it’s probably one of my favorite race tracks. I’ve run good here in the past, this place is just phenomenal.”
Runner-up Martin, was able to improve on his 5th place run from Friday night falling just shy of his second career MLRA win. “That was a heartbreak. I got the lead there after Jason got up out of the rubber, and after I got the lead I just told myself that I wasn’t moving no matter how slow those lapped cars got,” said Martin.
“Hats off to Jesse Stovall, I just got plain outdrove. It was mine to lose and I lost it, but we’ll take it in stride and will rebound and move onto next weekend at Lake Ozark Speedway,” commented Martin.
Jason Hughes (# 4) battles for the lead with Logan Martin (#36). Martin would go on to finish 2nd with Hughes in the 3rd position. Photo- Lloyd Collins FastTrack Photos
Jason Hughes capped off a solid weekend driving for Shannon Scott. The 3rd place finisher said, “The car was real tight when we took off and I knew it was going to get tighter, so I was just trying to ride around and enjoy the lead because I knew it wasn’t going to last forever. When it started taking rubber, I just couldn’t hold it down, so I was just happy to get back up there and run third.”
“It’s been a fun weekend with really good equipment, and it was the most fun I have had in a while in a race car,” stated Hughes following the event.
The Lucas Oil MLRA will be back in action next weekend (July 6th-7th) as they head to Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, MO for the first time since 2007. The event will consist of two complete shows, with Friday night paying $3,000 to win and Saturday’s finale offering up a $5,000 pay day to the winner.
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