Will Vaught made the most of a late-race restart to grab a season-opening win Friday night as the 4th annual Lucas Oil MLRA Fall Nationals began at Lucas Oil Speedway.

Kenny Shaw
Kenny Shaw

"It's pretty sweet," Vaught said after getting past Tony Jackson Jr., with five laps remaining and going on to capture the $2,000 feature on night one of the doubleheader presented by RacingJunk.com.

Other feature winners on the opening night of the weekend doubleheader were Jon Sheets (Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds) and Burl Woods (Big O Tires Street Stocks).

Vaught, of Crane, took home the win with Springfield veteran Terry Phillips second and Lebanon's Jackson settling for third after being in control most of the way.

Jackson passed MLRA rookie Payton Looney, who started on the pole, for the lead on lap five. He maintained it until the race's lone caution waved, when Jackson teammate Raymond Merrill spun in turn four.

That set up a five-lap shootout to the finish with Jackson leading Vaught, Looney, Phillips and Rodney Sanders to the restart.

That was the opportunity Vaught needed. Jackson slipped high in turn two and Vaught slid underneath to take the lead with Phillips also going past and into second. That's the way it stayed until the finish with Vaught earning his second career win at Lucas Oil Speedway, following up a win in the Larry Phillips Memorial last September.

"He over drove the corner a little bit and we got by him," said Vaught, who was making his season debut. He's been overseeing his children's quarter-midget racing with daughter Mallory (5) and Maddox (7) winning on Lucas' "slick track" behind the main grandstand a week ago.

"Both of them won last week and we got the win tonight. It's pretty special," Vaught said. "We'll have to improve (Saturday night) because Tony probably had the best car. But he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and we compensated."

A dejected Jackson said he wasn't sure what happened on the re-start, though he suspected that a new right-rear tire rule played a factor and he didn't have enough heat in the rubber when the race returned to green.

"That's a part of it," Jackson said of the untimely caution.

Phillips was more upbeat, driving from a 12th starting position to the runner-up spot.

"The way the night started, it wasn't looking too sporty," Phillips said. "To be able to drive up through there with all these good cars, we'll take it."

Sanders finished fourth and reigning MLRA Series champion Jesse Stovall was fifth.

Sheets holds off Schrader: Jon Sheets of Nevada took the lead midway through the 20-lap feature and held off former NASCAR standout Ken Schrader for the Pitts Homes USRA Modified victory.

Jeff Cutshaw, the three-time reigning track champion who won last week's weekly opener, was third and Mark Dotson wound up fourth.

Woods uses late pass to prevail: Burl Woods of Republic passed Warrensburg's Marc Carter for the lead on lap 17 and pulled away over the final three laps to prevail in the Street Stocks feature, earning the $400 first prize.

Woods moved from his outside third-row starting position to second place and, after a restart following a lap 14 caution, was able to move past Carter on the bottom side down the backstretch. Carter held on to the runner-up position ahead of Brian Schutt with Kenny Carroll fourth.

"I'm usually not that good on the bottom," Woods said, noting that Carter always is strong on the bottom side at Lucas. "We went low and (Carter) slipped up there at the end and we got him."

Finale Saturday night: The doubleheader weekend concludes Saturday night with the Late Models running for a $3,000 first prize in the feature, plus an added $500 in memory of Ron Jenkins, the builder of the original Wheatland Raceway.

The Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds will compete for a special $750 to win feature on Saturday while the Big O Tires Street Stock second-night feature will pay $500 courtesy of Elite Auto Repair in Warrensburg.

Gates open at 5 p.m. with hot laps at 7 and racing at 7:35.

Tickets on Saturday:
Adults (16 and up) $20
Seniors (62 and up)/Military $17
Youth (6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $40
Pit Pass $40

Reserved with Electric and Water- $35/Night (limited availability)
Reserved Dry Spots- $20/Night (limited availability)
Dry Camping- $10/Night

4th annual MLRA Spring Nationals
ProtectTheHarvest.com A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Will Vaught 2. Terry Phillips 3. Tony Jackson Jr. 4. Rodney Sanders 5. Jesse Stovall 6. Scott Crigler 7. Corey Zeitner 8. Payton Looney 9. Randy Timms 10. Chase Junghans 11. Billy Moyer 12. JC Wyman 13. Brantlee Gotschall 14. Justin Asplin 15. Cole Wells 16. Raymond Merrill 17. Joey Moriarty 18. Matt Buller 19. Scott Lewis 20. Andrew Kosiski 21. Shane Essary 22. Ricky Thornton Jr. 23. Jacob Magee 24. Reid Millard
Hoosier Racing Tires B Feature #1 (12 Laps): 1. Chase Junghans 2. JC Wyman 3. Matt Buller 4. Logan Martin 5. Joe Godsey 6. Josh Hughes 7. Al Humphrey 8. Joseph Gorby 9. Reid Millard 10. Gary Gorby 11. Brad Looney 12. Josh Poe 13. Mike Stadel
Sunoco Race Fuels B Feature #2 (12 Laps): 1. Randy Timms 2. Jacob Magee 3. Shane Essary 4. Jeremy Grady 5. Justin Reed 6. Eric Turner 7. Evan Hubert 8. Dylan Hoover 9. Jeff Roth 10. Blonde Bomber Mitchell 11. Cliff Morrow 12. Scott Lewis
HotRodProcessing.com Heat #1 (10 Laps): 1. Will Vaught 2. Tony Jackson Jr. 3. Ricky Thornton Jr. 4. Billy Moyer 5. JC Wyman 6. Logan Martin 7. Joe Godsey 8. Josh Hughes 9. Joseph Gorby 10. Brad Looney 11. Mike Stadel
Casey's General Stores Heat #2 (10 Laps): 1. Rodney Sanders 2. Andrew Kosiski 3. Terry Phillips 4. Joey Moriarity 5. Chase Junghans 6. Matt Buller 7. Al Humphrey 8. Gary Gorby 9. Reid Millard 10. Josh Poe
Chix Gear Heat #3 (10 Laps): 1. Cole Wells 2. Scott Crigler 3. Raymond Merrill 4. Justin Asplin 5. Shane Essary 6. Evan Hubert 7. Justin Reed 8. Dylan Hoover 9. Blonde Bomber Mitchell 10. Cliff Morrow
Malvern Bank Heat #4 (10 Laps): 1. Payotn Looney 2. Jesse Stovall 3. Brantlee Gotschall 4. Corey Zeitner 5. Jacob Magee 6. Randy Timms 7. Jeremy Grady 8. Scott Lewis 9. Eric Turner 10. Jeff Roth

Feature: 1. Burl Woods 135 2. Marc Carter 21 3. Brian Schutt 51 4. Kenny Carroll 94 5. Toby Ott 27OTT 6. Johnny Coats 35C 7. Clayton Campbell 30C 8. Bobby Barnett 27 9. Donnie Miller 26M 10. Zach Zeugin 35Z 11. Chad Coleman 22C 12. Darrin Crisler 9 13. Josh Halbrook 3 14. Kenny Carter 111 15. Nicholas Gibson G1 16. Ted Welschmeyer 21W 17. Shawn Hendren 64M 18. Chris Kircher 28K 19. Jay Prevete 25XXX DNS James Flood 54
Heat 1: 1. Marc Carter 21 2. Jay Prevete 25XXX 3. Toby Ott 27OTT 4. Darrin Crisler 9 5. Zach Zeugin 35Z 6. Kenny Carroll 94 7. Chris Kircher 28K
Heat 2: 1. Brian Schutt 51 2. Donnie Miller 26M 3. Bobby Barnett 27 4. Clayton Campbell 30C 5. Chad Coleman 22C 6. Shawn Hendren 64M 7. Ted Welschmeyer 21W
Heat 3: 1. James Flood 54 2. Johnny Coats 35C 3. Burl Woods 135 4. Josh Halbrook 3 5. Kenny Carter 111 DNF. Nicholas Gibson G1.

Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds
Feature: 1. Jon Sheets 8S 2. Kenny Schrader 9 3. Jeff Cutshaw 98 4. Matt Dotson 88D 5. Terry Schultz 90 6. Joe Duvall 91D 7. Darron Fuqua 87F 8. Lance Town 21T 9. Chase Junghans 18 10. Eric Turner 99T 11. Jason Pursley 38C 12. Steve Muilenburg 33 13. Dean Wille 68 14. Shawn Strong 14X 15. Lucas Gibbs G51 16. Daniel Wosoba 89 17. James Thompson 11T 18. Gene Nicholas 11N 19. James Nicholas Jr.
Heat 1: 1. Kenny Schrader 9 2. Jon Sheets 8S 3. Steve Muilenburg 33 4. Joe Duvall 91D 5. Eric Turner 99T 6. Daniel Wosoba 89 7. Chase Junghans 18 8. Lucas Gibbs G51 9. Dean Wille 68 DQ Gene Nicholas 11N
Heat 2: 1. Jeff Cutshaw 98 2. Lance Town 21T 3. Terry Schultz 90 4. Matt Dotson 88D 5. Jason Pursley 38C 6. Darron Fuqua 87F 7. Shawn Strong 14X 8. James Nicholas Jr 5 9. James Thompson.

For complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket info and the 2017 racing schedule, visit LucasOilSpeedway.com. Three-day passes for the 25th annual Show-Me 100 Presented by ProtecttheHarvest.com are now on sale. Only about 500 of the three-day passes remain. Call admission director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email Nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com for more information.

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With it's entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.

Click www.LucasOilSpeedway.com for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984.

In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking "Like" at www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway.

In the top photo: Will Vaught in his Rocket chassis en route to victory on Friday night in the MLRA Spring Nationals opener at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Kenny Shaw photo)


Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby

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