February 10, 2021
Lucas Oil Speedway Preseason Spotlight: ULMA Late Model driver Sivils on the comeback trail
WHEATLAND, MO. (Feb. 10, 2021) - Jason Sivils’ 2020 racing season was over almost before it began when he took a brutal rollover on the front straightaway just as Lucas Oil Speedway’s opening-night feature went green.
The damage to Sivils’ destroyed race car last May was substantial. He walked away from the accident, but had concussion symptoms for a couple of weeks. Sivils made a few laps a few weeks later, in a backup car, before the engine expired.
The remainder of Sivils’ season was spent in a crew chief role for series title contender Johnny Fennewald, who won six features and just missed a fourth straight track championship.
Now after an offseason of painstakingly fixing the frame to his wrecked race car, the Bolivar racer is preparing to get back to regular racing when the 2021 season begins in less than two months.
“Chris Davis and Dwight Brown encouraged me to rebuild the old car,” Sivils said. “It’ll be ready for the start of the season.
“The joke at the shop is make it all the way to the backstretch and maybe by 2022, we can make it a full lap,” Sivils said, with a chuckle, about his goal for the upcoming Missouri Metal Building ULMA Late Models season.
Sivils, 36, has been racing on and off for 20 years after being introduced to the sport as a five-year-old in his native Marshall. His dad, Steve Sivils, and uncle, Noel Russell, drove in the Volkswagen Bug class at the time. Jason got his first race car as a 16-year-old.
“I had a pretty good farm job and saved up my money. My uncle helped me with a motor and we put together a Street Stock to race at Warrensburg,” he said.
Jason said he and his father still bond over racing as a father-son activity.
"As he gets older he still hangs out at the shop and helps when he has time. but that’s what got me started and we are very close due to racing," Jason said.
Upon graduation from Missouri S&T with an engineering degree, Sivils got his first Late Model and joked that those cars “are one of the most expensive race cars on Earth to own” but they remain his favorite to race.
“Some years I’ve had a full season of racing and some years I’ve only had the cash to do a few races,” he said.
Sivils said the engineering degree has led him to do a variety of professional projects, including heavy bridge construction, wastewater treatment plans, roads, sidewalks and trails.
“My technical title would be structural engineer, load-carrying capacity and transfer of loads,” he said. “It’s what a race car operates on as well.”
His technical expertise has made for a successful partnership with Chad Wehr of Wehr’s Machine and Racing Products. Fellow racers often ask for technical assistance and Sivils is always quick to offer help.
“I’ve met a lot of people through racing, through the consulting side, tuning on cars and people asking questions,” Sivils said. “In college, I worked a normal job, but made some extra money repairing race cars.”
While he was able to help Fennewald a year ago, he used that friendship and partnership to pick up some pointers from Fennewald, whom he called “a wheel man.”
“Lucas is by far the best facility we race at but the track surface itself … I’ve been able to set up cars that have won there, but I’ve never been able to get my hands around the driving side of it,” Sivils said. “It’s one of those tracks where you either get it or it’s a nightmare for whatever reason.
“Johnny is bluntly honest and pushes to win all the time. He’s a good person to judge yourself off of. He’s honest with feedback and a good friend to have.”
Sivils is eager to try and solve that part of the puzzle this season.
“I’ve helped cars that have won points titles,” he said. “I’ve never focused on points, I’ve focused on having fun. We’re gonna spend this year focused primarily on having fun, but we are going to run Lucas for points to see if we can finish in top 10.”
Sivils gets crew help from his wife, Christal, along with Jason Francka, Llew Rivers, Adrian Brantley, Dwight Brown and Trent Everhart. Team sponsors include Race To Save Youth Suicide Prevention, Great River Engineering, All About Paws, Dickson Racing Shocks, Wehrs Machine and Racing Products, Short Cuts LLC, Dynamic Watch Productions, Just Chillin and Grillin, Sosebee Motorsports, Ultra-Force Spring Machines and Tri Lakes RV.
The 2021 Lucas Oil Speedway season is set to begin March 27 with an Open Test & Tune. The Big Adventure Weekly Racing Series Spring Opener Presented by Benne Media is set for April 3 with the Missouri Metal Buildings ULMA Late Models in the spotlight with a $1,000-to-win main event sponsored by HICKAMO Country Store.
The Weekly Racing Series includes 14 events, from opening night through the Rempfer Memorial Season Championship on Aug. 28 crowns division champions. Competing classes include Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modifieds, Missouri Metal Buildings ULMA Late Models, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods and O'Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars.
For ticket information for any event during the 2021 Lucas Oil Speedway season, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at Nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com. Fans also can use the online ticketing system.
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984
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Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived race recaps, previews and driver features, along with ticket information and schedules can be found by visiting LucasOilSpeedway.com.
Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With its 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 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
About Lucas Oil Speedway
Lucas Oil Speedway is considered by fans, drivers and industry insiders to be one of the top five racing facilities in the nation. Located in Wheatland, Missouri, approximately an hour from Springfield, Missouri, and just an hour and a half from the Kansas City metro area, the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks" lives up to its title.
Twenty-One VIP Luxury Suites, HD Jumbo-Tron Screen, Stadium Style Musco Sports Lighting, a Bose Sound System, Go-Kart Slick Track, The Diamond Bar, Track Treasures Gift Shop, the best track food in the country and paved pits are a few of the spectacular amenities setting the Diamond of Dirt apart. This year marks the ninth season for the Liquid Quarter Mile Drag Racing Lake, "Lake Lucas." New for 2017 was all-purpose built Off Road facility featuring the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series as well as a host of other regional events.
Lucas Oil Speedway's dirt oval track plays host to some of the largest and most-popular events in the Midwest with national and regional touring series appearing frequently including: The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, POWRi Midget National Series, Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, United States Modified Touring Series, ASCS Sprint Cars and the Lucas Oil MLRA.
In addition to the special events, the Lucas Oil Speedway Weekly Racing Series features the ULMA Late Models, USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods.
2021 Official Lucas Oil Speedway Marketing Partners
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2021 Lucas Oil Speedway Supporters Include:
Advanced Automotive Repair, AM Pyrotechnics, Angler's Resort, Arizona Sport Shirts, Ash Grove Aggregates, Ball Tree Service, Benton County Tire, Berry Tractor and Equipment Co., Big Adventure RV, Big O Tires, Bill Roberts Chevrolet-Buick, Bolivar Auto Sales & Detailing, Bolivar Farmers Exchange-MFA, Boone's BBQ Barn, Boubin Tire/American Racer, Branstetter & Lightfoot LLC, Bridal Cave, BWI Sanitation, Camden on the Lake Resort, Candlelight Creations-Dick's Wild Root Horseradish, Casey's General Stores, Cedar Creek Beef Jerky, Central Life Sciences, Citizens Memorial Healthcare, City Magnet, Clearlight Inn, Comfort Inn-Bolivar,DirtonDirt.com, Dixie Chopper, Eibach Springs, Evans Pipe & Steel Co., Farmers Insurance Agent Kristy Reynolds, Farmer's State Bank, Fast Shafts by Axle Exchange, 54 Buildings and More, Foley Equipment-Cat Rental Store, Frog Signs, Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare, Hermitage Lumber, HICKAMO Country Store, Highway 54 RV Park, Hobbytime Motorsports, Hoosier Race Tires, Impact Racing, Inc.; Impact Signs Awnings Wraps, In the Garden of Eden, Kettle Treats, Keyser Manufacturing, Kluhsman Racing Components, Kona Ice, Lucas Cattle Company, McClaren, Merck Animal Health, Midwest Sheet Metal, Miller Welding, Missouri Metal Buildings, Missouri One Call System, Missouri Welding Institute (MWI), MyRacePass, Nemo Quarry, NMI/VMG Marketing Group, OakStar Bank, O'Bannon Bank, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Ozark Golf Cars, Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper, Ozarks Community Health Center, PFI Western Store, Pitts Homes, Pitts Realty, Pitts Cattle, ProThings Apparel, RACEceiver, Racinboys.com, RacinDirt.com, RacingJunk.com, Rains Ice Company, Real Racing Wheels, Rod End Supply, Ron Jenkins Accounting & Tax Service, Rugged Radios, Ryan E. Murphy Law Firm LLC, SBU Athletics, Safety Kleen, Schlesselman Fencing, Scott Furniture, Sidetrack RV Park, Southwest Electric Cooperative, Stillwater Resort, Stover Milling, Sunoco Race Fuels, Sunflower Resort, Superior Products, TA/PETRO, US Army Corps of Engineers-Pomme de Terre, Wheatland Motel, Wheeler Livestock Auction, White's Marine Center, Wild Animal Safari, Windsor Livestock Auction, Woods Supermarkets, Wrisco Industries.