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April 3, 2021

Vaught captures Lucas Oil Speedway opening-night headliner; Newell, McCowan, Brown also grab feature wins

Will Vaught took home the feature win in the featured Missouri Metal Buildings ULMA Late Model division as the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series opened its season at Lucas Oil Speedway. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)
WHEATLAND, MO. (April 3, 2021) - Will Vaught grabbed the lead on lap 11 and continued on to capture the Missouri Metal Buildings ULMA Late Model feature victory Saturday night in the headliner of opening night at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Vaught earned $1,000 courtesy of HICKAMO Country Store in the main event of the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series Spring Opener Presented by Benne Media.
Also earning opening-night feature wins were JC Newell (Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods), Dillon McCowan (Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modifieds) and Derek Brown (O'Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars).
A total of 83 cars checked into the pits as the 2021 season got underway for the first of 14 Weekly Racing Series points programs.
Vaught, a former Lucas Oil MLRA champion, said it was a good tune up before returning in his open car next week for the Lucas Oil MLRA Spring Nationals.
"We kind of knocked some rust off tonight," said Vaught, who was driving a car owned by Larry Moon and family.
"Larry Moon and his brothers, they're great people," Vaught said. "They bought this car from me a couple of years ago. It's a pleasure to drive it. When I drove this car before, I won several races. It's an older car, but it's a dang good one."
Pole-starting Cole Henson and Vaught broke away from the field by three seconds by lap six with Henson holding a half-second lead over Vaught. Those two continued to duel before third-starting Vaught, using the inside line, made a pass for the lead out of turn four on lap 11.
Vaught built a 1.6-second lead over Henson when a lap-17 caution waved after Dustin Walker took a spin. That bunched the field and gave Henson - the 2020 track champion - and others a new chance with eight laps remaining.
Vaught was up to the challenge as the race went caution-free the rest of the way. he finished 2.99 seconds ahead of Henson with Dalton Imhoff third and Bobby Penney in fourth.
"It's good to see the crowd here tonight, the first night of the year. It's pretty cool," Vaught said. "Hopefully next weekend we can get a couple of them races, too."
Newell grabs B-Mod win: JC Newell inherited the lead when perennial championship contenders Kris Jackson and JC Morton tangled on lap 14 and went on to win the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod feature.
Newell, of Buffalo, led the final six laps and beat Cody Nivens by a car length. Nic Hanes was third and Terry Schultz fourth.
"What a way to kick off the season," Newell said. "We kind of got that one handed us to us tonight, but everyone got to see a really good show the first 14 or 15 laps and we were able to seal the deal."
Newell started fourth and was running third, behind Morton and Jackson when the race's complexion suddenly changed.
Jackson jumped to the lead from his outside front-row starting position to grab the early lead. The race ground to a halt on lap two, however, with a seven-car pileup in turn three that blocked the track and resulted in a red flag.
After the restart, Morton moved past Nivens and Newell and into second. Jackson led by about two car lengths when a lap-seven caution slowed the action.
Morton made the pass for the lead coming out of turn four to complete lap 14. But in turn one, Jackson got into Morton and sent the new leader skidding. Race officials penalized Jackson and sent him tailback on the restart.
Morton had to pit and returned, but also had to start at the rare just in front of Jackson.
Newell inherited the lead and he did not surrender it from there. Two-time track champion Morton wound up 14th and five-time champ Jackson 15th.
McCowan earns USRA Mod triumph: Young Dillon McCowan outdueled veteran Jason Pursley to capture the Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modified feature.
The 17-year-old McCowan, from Buffalo, led 17 of the 20 laps. But he had to recapture command after Pursley, using the inside line, passed him coming to the start-finish line to complete lap 15.
McCowan came right back to regain the top spot with an outside pass the next time around as the top two weaved through slower traffic, distancing themselves from the rest of the contenders.
McCowan, from Urbana, wound up 1.8 seconds in front of Pursley.
"It got close there for a little while, but I saw that lapped traffic coming and I figured I could get him pinched if he didn't get a slide job done on me," McCowan said. "This is one of our first nights in our A Mod and it's rolling pretty good."
McCowan won a couple of times at Lucas Oil Speedway in his USRA B-Mod last season, but this was his first win in the USRA Modified.
"It was super fun," McCowan said. "I love racing this A Mod. It's faster. More speed and more power."
Kevin Blackburn, who led the first two laps, finished third with Paden Phillips in fourth.
Brown takes USRA Stock Cars debut: It was a case of new class but same winner. Derek Brown of Stoutland, last year's Lucas Oil Speedway Street Stocks champion, captured the O'Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars debut.
Brown held off Rob White by a car length in a closely contested feature that saw Brown's familiar colors of white, red and yellow in victory lane.
"I'm really starting to like this car," Brown said. "This is my fourth race (in 2021) and second win. It's pretty salty."
Brown and David Hendrix, past track champions in the Street Stock division, both charged from the back half of the field and into contention by the midpoint of the feature - Hendrix 12th to second and Brown seventh to third - right behind Jaylen Wettengel.
Brown, who won six times en route to the Street Stocks track title in 2020, passed Wettengel down the backstretch on lap 15 to take a lead he would not relinquish. Brown prevailed by .387 of a second over White Jr., of Lebanon, with Hendrix third and Wettengel fourth.
"It felt like we had a heck of a race there," Brown said. "We were definitely all in a hornet's nest there for a little bit."
Gary Donaldson was running second behind Wettengel when he spun on lap three, bringing out the caution. Donaldson won one of the two events in 2020 in which the USRA Stock Cars appeared at Lucas Oil Speedway as a guest class.
Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series Spring Opener
Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods
A Feature - 83-JC Newell[4]; 2. 60-Cody Nivens[1]; 3. 9H-Nic Hanes[6]; 4. 90-Terry Schultz[8]; 5. 2X-Brian Bolin[16]; 6. 10P-Dayton Pursley[17]; 7. 42-Jerry Morgan[10]; 8. 42J-Donnie Jackson[5]; 9. 54-Jett Sorensen[12]; 10. 22C-Cole Campbell[19]; 11. 28A-Andy Bryant[15]; 12. 14T-Quentin Taylor[14]; 13. 54W-Shawn Whitman[13]; 14. 18-JC Morton[3]; 15. 65-Kris Jackson[2]; 16. 4B-Brayton Skaggs[9]; 17. 414-Ryan Thomas[7]; 18. 24-Jerry Ellis[18]; 19. 28-Wesley Briggs[23]; 20. 96-Cody Brill[22]; 21. (DNF) 99T-Eric Turner[11]; 22. (DNF) 34-Donnie Aust[20]; 23. (DNF) 11W-Waylon Dimmitt[24]; 24. (DNF) 11S-Scotty Bough[21]
B Feature - 1. 10P-Dayton Pursley[7]; 2. 24-Jerry Ellis[1]; 3. 25-Kenny McDonald Jr[2]; 4. 22C-Cole Campbell[5]; 5. 34-Donnie Aust[8]; 6. 11S-Scotty Bough[13]; 7. 96-Cody Brill[15]; 8. 28-Wesley Briggs[11]; 9. 11W-Waylon Dimmitt[21]; 10. 10T-Samuel McDaniel[17]; 11. 12G-Austin Greer[20]; 12. 6-Jay Flinn[9]; 13. 4-Andrew Sheetz[10]; 14. 55-Jimmy Borgmann[3]; 15. 98-James Gates[18]; 16. 14-Aaron Johns[6]; 17. 19R-Cole Stillwell[12]; 18. 25G-James Gish[19]; 19. 08-Chad Neill[14]; 20. (DNF) 99H-Kameron Hanes[4]; 21. (DNS) 21F-Hannah Frazee
Heat 1 - 1. 60-Cody Nivens[6]; 2. 414-Ryan Thomas[4]; 3. 42J-Donnie Jackson[8]; 4. 54W-Shawn Whitman[7]; 5. 55-Jimmy Borgmann[2]; 6. 25-Kenny McDonald Jr[9]; 7. 4-Andrew Sheetz[3]; 8. 96-Cody Brill[5]; 9. 10T-Samuel McDaniel[1]; 10. 12G-Austin Greer[10]
Heat 2 - 1. 18-JC Morton[2]; 2. 90-Terry Schultz[4]; 3. 4B-Brayton Skaggs[7]; 4. 14T-Quentin Taylor[3]; 5. 99H-Kameron Hanes[5]; 6. 14-Aaron Johns[6]; 7. 19R-Cole Stillwell[9]; 8. 11S-Scotty Bough[1]; 9. (DNF) 11W-Waylon Dimmitt[8]
Heat 3 - . 65-Kris Jackson[5]; 2. 54-Jett Sorensen[1]; 3. 99T-Eric Turner[6]; 4. 28A-Andy Bryant[4]; 5. 24-Jerry Ellis[7]; 6. 34-Donnie Aust[9]; 7. 6-Jay Flinn[8]; 8. 08-Chad Neill[3]; 9. 25G-James Gish[2]
Heat 4 - 1. 83-JC Newell[2]; 2. 42-Jerry Morgan[3]; 3. 9H-Nic Hanes[8]; 4. 2X-Brian Bolin[9]; 5. 22C-Cole Campbell[5]; 6. 10P-Dayton Pursley[6]; 7. 28-Wesley Briggs[4]; 8. 21F-Hannah Frazee[7]; 9. 98-James Gates[1]
Missouri Metal Buildings ULMA Late Models
A Feature - 1. 72-Will Vaught[3]; 2. 31-Cole Henson[1]; 3. 96-Dalton Imhoff[4]; 4. 16-Bobby Penney[2]; 5. 42H-Chad Richwine[5]; 6. 99-Larry Jones[8]; 7. 14W-Dustin Walker[6]; 8. (DNF) 1T-Tucker Cox[7]; 9. (DNF) 10-John Willard[9]
Heat 1 - 1. 31-Cole Henson[5]; 2. 72-Will Vaught[4]; 3. 14W-Dustin Walker[3]; 4. 1T-Tucker Cox[2]; 5. (DNF) 10-John Willard[1]; 6. (DNF) 21-Johnny Fennewald[6]
Heat 2 - 1. 16-Bobby Penney[4]; 2. 96-Dalton Imhoff[3]; 3. 42H-Chad Richwine[1]; 4. (DNF) 99-Larry Jones[2]; 5. (DNS) 0X-Jason Sivils
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modifieds
A Feature - 1. 8-Dillon McCowan[1]; 2. 38C-Jason Pursley[5]; 3. 16S-Kevin Blackburn[2]; 4. 9D8-Paden Phillips[9]; 5. 5-Robert Reed[8]; 6. 227-Chase Domer[18]; 7. 98-Robert Heydenreich[15]; 8. 3B-Nic Bidinger[3]; 9. 21-Ryan Middaugh[13]; 10. 92-Tyler Grooms[17]; 11. 89-Tyler Hibner[11]; 12. 9-Evan Hubert[10]; 13. 7-Daniel Franklin[14]; 14. 88-Jimmy Dowell[19]; 15. 24D-Donnie Fellers[7]; 16. 23-Lucas Dobbs[16]; 17. (DNF) 292-Kyle Thompson[12]; 18. (DNF) 21TW-Tracy Wolf[4]; 19. (DNF) 11C-Andy Chrisenberry[20]; 20. (DNF) 155-Terry Kirk[6]; 21. (DNS) 03-Chase Jones
Heat 1 - 1. 8-Dillon McCowan[6]; 2. 38C-Jason Pursley[1]; 3. 24D-Donnie Fellers[2]; 4. 5-Robert Reed[4]; 5. 9-Evan Hubert[5]; 6. 89-Tyler Hibner[7]; 7. 292-Kyle Thompson[10]; 8. 23-Lucas Dobbs[8]; 9. 227-Chase Domer[9]; 10. (DNF) 11C-Andy Chrisenberry[3]; 11. (DNS) 03-Chase Jones
Heat 2 - 1. 3B-Nic Bidinger[2]; 2. 16S-Kevin Blackburn[6]; 3. 155-Terry Kirk[1]; 4. 21TW-Tracy Wolf[9]; 5. 9D8-Paden Phillips[3]; 6. 21-Ryan Middaugh[4]; 7. 7-Daniel Franklin[8]; 8. 98-Robert Heydenreich[5]; 9. 92-Tyler Grooms[10]; 10. 88-Jimmy Dowell[7]
O'Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars
A Feature - 1. 11-Derek Brown[7]; 2. 541-Rob White Jr[1]; 3. 54-David Hendrix[12]; 4. 91J-Jaylen Wettengel[2]; 5. 33T-Tommy Ground[10]; 6. 28D-Gary Donaldson[6]; 7. 7-Doug Keller[4]; 8. 31-Ed Griggs[3]; 9. 12-Christopher Sawyer[8]; 10. 2A-Ace O'Neill[9]; 11. 23-Scott Simmons[11]; 12. (DNF) 73-Jeremy Pitts[13]; 13. (DNF) 21P-Darren Phillips[5]; 14. (DNS) 24W-Craig Wright
Heat 1 - 1. 541-Rob White Jr[5]; 2. 91J-Jaylen Wettengel[7]; 3. 21P-Darren Phillips[4]; 4. 12-Christopher Sawyer[2]; 5. 2A-Ace O'Neill[6]; 6. 23-Scott Simmons[1]; 7. (DNF) 24W-Craig Wright[3]
Heat 2 - 1. 31-Ed Griggs[1]; 2. 7-Doug Keller[2]; 3. 28D-Gary Donaldson[3]; 4. 11-Derek Brown[6]; 5. 33T-Tommy Ground[4]; 6. 54-David Hendrix[5]; 7. 73-Jeremy Pitts[7]
MLRA Spring Nationals next: The first special event of the season finds the Lucas Oil MLRA Late Models in the two-day, 8th annual MLRA Spring Nationals Presented by next Friday and Saturday. Winner of the MLRA feature on Friday will earn $5,000 to win with $500 to start and the Saturday winner collects $10,000 with $600 to start. Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modifieds and O'Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars also will be in action both nights.
Gates open at 4 p.m. both days with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05.
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 Fans also can use the online ticketing system.
Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984 
Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived race recaps, previews and driver features, along with ticket information and schedules can be found by visiting
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 for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984.
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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.
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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,, Dixie Chopper, Eibach Springs, Evans Pipe & Steel Co., Farmers Insurance Agent Kristy Reynolds, 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, LimeBank, 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,,,, 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.