May 20, 2021
Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Late-starting Ellis makes strides in tough USRA B-Mod division
WHEATLAND, MO. (May 20, 2021) - Finishing sixth in his Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod Feature last Saturday at Lucas Oil Speedway perhaps wasn’t a cause for a celebration, but for Richland’s Jerry Ellis it certainly was something to smile about.
Ellis got a later start to his racing career than most, raising a family that included three boys while also running his own commercial and residential painting business. It wasn’t until he was 36, sitting in the tier parking area and watching the 4-cylinder class race at Lebanon I-44 Speedway, that Ellis had a crazy thought.
“I thought, ‘You know, the kids are pretty well raised, I’m gonna buy one of those (4-cylinder) cars and go race.’ Now, here we are.”
After a couple of years racing on the pavement, Ellis moved to the B-Mod division on dirt. This year, he’s running at Lucas Oil Speedway on a weekly basis for the first time and ranks a respectable seventh in the points after five events.
“We wanted to run at Lucas to see where we stacked up,” Ellis said. “After Saturday, I think I’m kind of spoiled and now I want to be in the top-10 every time I go.”
Ellis on the Ozark Golf Cars B-Mods are back in action on Saturday night as the Titans B-Mod Series, which is sanctioning 10 events in Missouri and Kansas this season, makes it first appearance at Lucas Oil Speedway for a 25-lap feature paying $1,000-to-win and $100-to-start.
Ellis is hopeful his distinctive, rainbow-colored No. 24 - which is a tribute to his favorite NASCAR driver back in the day - will have another strong run.
“When I was younger, we used to watch Thursday Night Thunder on ESPN and Jeff Gordon was running Sprints at the time,” Ellis said. “Then when he started running NASCAR, everybody hated him because he won all the time.
“Most everybody was more of a Dale Earnhardt fan and I was more the Gordon guy myself. I don’t know why, it just stuck.”
Ellis, who also has a pair of top-five finishes this season at Lebanon Midway Speedway, is driving a new-to-him 2014 GRT that he purchased over the winter from David Hendrix. Brian Schutt, who like Hendrix is another racer from the Waynesville/Lebanon area, built the motor for the car.
“Those guys convinced me to get into this side of it,” Ellis said. “I think this is my fourth year on dirt and sixth year total in racing. I’m constantly working on it, all the time. That’s what it takes.
“David didn’t race that car but for just a few races,” Ellis said. “It’s an older car, but a good car. All the bolt-ons are brand new. It’s just a better car than what we had and I’m getting a little better feel for it and what the car needs and the changes to make. Just seat time and experience and continuing to work on it are paying off.
“Brian Schutt helps me a lot. We talk a lot and without him, we wouldn’t be close as far as the set-up goes. I have to give a lot of credit to him.”
Ellis said it’s a tall task to run near the front in a powerhouse class with the likes of former USRA B-Mod National Champions like Kris Jackson, JC Morton and Andy Bryant. He jokingly uses a NASCAR reference of a couple of powerhouse owners and teams to put it in perspective.
“Just to compete with Hendrick and Gibbs, which are the TJR and Allen cars … if you can run in the top-10 at Lucas you can run in the top-10 anywhere,” Ellis said. “Hopefully we can get us a top-five, or even a win. But if we can consistently run in the top-five or top-10, we’re doing something.”
Ellis gets race-night help in the pits from his brother James Ellis and dad Paul Ellis. Sponsors include Ellis Coatings, Meeks, Crawford’s Heating & Cooling, Schutt Performance and Amsoil.
Amplified Digital Presents Round 6 of the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series, with Missouri Metal Buildings ULMA Late Models, Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modifieds and the O’Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars also in action.
Frogs Jr Fan Club Pit Tour: Young fans arriving early are invited to sign up for the Frogs Jr Fan Club Pit Tour. Kids ages 5-12 can sign up on the midway, behind the main grandstands, before 5 p.m. with eight names drawn for a special pit-area tour at 5:15 with flagman Mike Striegel.
They will get to meet some of the drivers, see the cars up close and attend the drivers' meeting prior to return to the midway. Each of the eight will receive a Frogs Jr Fan Club T-Shirt, checkered flag and a gift bag sponsored by RaceGear Unlimited to put items in they receive from the drivers.
Suite seats available: Fans can take in Saturday's action from a VIP Suite on the third level overlooking the front straightaway, as a limited number of individual tickets are available priced at $24 apiece. All VIP Suite seats must be pre-paid and can be reserved by calling Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984.
The suite offers prime viewing from inside, where the temperature is climate-controlled, or an outside seating area. Food and drinks are not included in the ticket price, though a host/hostess will be available to take food and drink orders throughout the evening.
Gates open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05.
Adults (16 and over) - $12
Seniors (62 and over)/Military - $9
Youth (ages 6-15) - $5
Kids (5 & under) - FREE
Family Pass - $30
Pit Pass - $30
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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"The Official Television Network" of Lucas Oil Speedway
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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, 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, CED Electric, 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, Fast Shafts by Axle Exchange, Foley Equipment-Cat Rental Store, Frog Signs, Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare, Heritage Tractor Inc., Hermitage Lumber, HICKAMO Country Store, Highway 54 RV Park, Hobbytime Motorsports, Hoosier Race Tires, Impact Signs Awnings Wraps, In the Garden of Eden, Kettle Treats, Keyser Manufacturing, Kluhsman Racing Components, Kona Ice, LimeBank, Lucas Cattle Company, McCoy Logging LLC, Merck Animal Health, Midwest Sheet Metal, Miller Welding, Missouri Land Co. LLC, Missouri Metal Buildings, Missouri Welding Institute (MWI), MyRacePass, Nemo Quarry, NMI/VMG Marketing Group, Nutrien Ag Solutions, 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, Square B Ranch, Stillwater Resort, Stover Milling, Sunoco Race Fuels, Sunflower Resort, Superior Products, TA/PETRO, Transportation Distribution Co. (TDC), US Army Corps of Engineers-Pomme de Terre, Wheatland Motel, White's Marine Center, Wild Animal Safari, Windsor Livestock Auction, Woods Supermarkets, Wrisco Industries, ZINPRO Performance Minerals.