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October 9, 2019

Eye on the Prize: Vaught looks to balance aggressive nature with protecting points lead at MLRA Fall Nationals

Will Vaught looks to nail down his first Lucas Oil MLRA championship at this weekend's MLRA Fall Nationals, at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Kenny Shaw photo)
WHEATLAND, Missouri (October 9, 2019) - One year later, Will Vaught finds himself in the opposite position entering the final weekend of the Lucas Oil MLRA championship chase. Instead of chasing, he is the one being chased and that's a good feeling.

"I'd a lot rather be in the situation we're in this year, rather than last year when we were the underdog," Vaught said in looking ahead to the 6th annual MLRA Fall Nationals, this Saturday and Sunday at Lucas Oil Speedway. Action has been pushed back by a day due to rain and cold weather expected to enter the area by late week.


The COMP Cams Super Dirt Series Presented by Lucas Oil will combine with the MLRA for a 50-lap, $5,000-to-win feature on Saturday and a 40-lapper for $3,000 to win on Sunday. The B-Mod Clash of Champions II will co-headline the doubleheader. The Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods will have two sets of heat races on Saturday to help set the lineup for Sunday's $3,000-to-win feature.

Vaught, of Crane, can almost taste his first MLRA championship. He enters the action 88 points in front of Mitch McGrath and 99 clear of Logan Martin. One year ago, Vaught was riding a three-race winning streak into the Fall Nationals, but was still digging out of an early season points hole and trailed Chad Simpson by 24 points.

Simpson went on to win the weekend, taking the lone feature after night one was rained out.

"The weather didn't cooperate and our run didn't cooperate, either," Vaught said.

This time, Vaught has some cushion to work with where solid runs should clinch the championship. It's conceivable that he could clinch the title by the time the checkered flag flies on Saturday.


Vaught admits that it's difficult to dial anything back as winning always is the primary goal. He has three MLRA feature wins in 2019 and was second to Jesse Stovall in the last event, the Larry Phillips Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway over Labor Day Weekend.

"We approach every race the same," Vaught said. "We go there to win. I catch myself sometimes trying to finish, before winning, and I don't really like racing that way. But we do have a pretty good lead. We still need to win races, though."

Vaught said winning his first MLRA championship "would mean a lot."

"I've never been that guy who really followed a series like we have the last couple of years," he added. "I've never won a series championship. It would be a good accomplishment and something to put on the resume to say we did it."

Showing how seriously he's taking this weekend, Vaught said he wanted to race a few times since the Larry Phillips Memorial, but decided to keep his car in the shop instead and go through it with the proverbial "fine-tooth comb."

"We're going into this weekend fresh and really looking forward to getting back on the track," he said. "We're excited to get back to Wheatland. We've been pretty successful there in recent years."

The battle for second in points is razor close with McGrath and Martin separated by just 10 points. Martin has clinched the Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year with a 255-point lead over Joseph Gorby.

The COMP Cams Series finds a tight championship battle brewing. Timothy Culp of Prattsville, Arkansas leads Tony Jackson of Lebanon by 28 points. Unlike the MLRA, the Comp Cams Series does not conclude this weekend, with two November events remaining.

Lucas Oil Speedway's biggest race for Ozark Golf Cars will pay $400 to start the 24-car main event on Sunday. A total of 71 B-Mods entered the inaugural edition of the Clash of Champions a year ago. Unfortunately, the feature was cancelled due to rain and payouts were paid on qualifying order with Andy Bryant taking first-place money and Kris Jackson second.

USRA B-mod and IMCA Northern Sport Mod rules apply. The entry form can be found on the Lucas Oil Speedway website with the field capped at 100 entries. The B-Mod feature payout: 1st) $3,000, 2nd) $1,500, 3rd) $1,000, 4th) $950, 5th) $900, 6th) $850, 7th) $750, 8th) $700, 9th) $650, 10th) $600, 11th) $575, 12th) $550, 13th) $525, 14th) $500, 15th) $475, 16th) $450, 17th) $425, 18th-24th) $400, (Non-Transfers) $100.

Saturday's schedule
1 p.m. - Pit and spectator gates open
2:45 p.m. - Driver draw closes
3 p.m. - Drivers' meeting
3:30 p.m. - Hot laps
4 p.m. - Opening ceremonies
4:05 p.m. - Racing starts
Saturday order of racing
Hot laps (MLRA/Comp Cams Late Models, B-Mods)
Late Model time trials
Heat race order: B-Mods Round 1 (laps based on car count); Late Models (10 laps)
Intermission (15-20 minutes)
Late Model B-Mains (12-15 laps)
B-Mod Round 2 Heat Races (laps based on car count)
Late Model A Main (50 laps, $5,000 to win)

Saturday admission:
Adults (16 and over) $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $17
Youth (ages 6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $50
Pit Pass $40

Sunday's schedule
1 p.m. - Pit and spectator gates open
2:45 p.m. - Driver draw closes
3 p.m. - Drivers' meeting
3:30 p.m. - Hot laps
4 p.m. - Opening ceremonies
4:05 p.m. - Racing starts
Sunday's order of racing
Hot laps (B-Mods E, D, C, B mains)
Late Model hot laps
B-Mod E feature (laps based on car count)
Late Model heat races (top 16 in passing points advance to A-Main)
B-Mod D Feature (laps based on car count)
B-Mod hot laps for A-Main qualifiers
B-Mod C Feature (laps based on car count)
Late Model B Mains (12-15 laps)
B-Mod B Feature (laps based on car count)
Intermission (15-20 minutes)
Late Model A-Main (40 laps, $3,000 to win)
B-Mod A-Main (40 laps, $3,000 to win)

Sunday admission:
Adults (16 and over) $15
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $12
Youth (ages 6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $35
Pit Pass $35
The Lucas Oil Speedway campground will be open for the weekend, starting at 9 a.m. Friday. For questions about tickets or camping for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at


Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984