2024 Lucas Oil MLRA Late Models at Lucas Oil Speedway

MLRA Late Model Season Begins With Spring Nationals At Lucas Oil Speedway

MLRA Late Model Season Begins With Spring Nationals At Lucas Oil Speedway

The 2024 MLRA Late Model season begins with the Spring Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway on April 12-13.

Apr 10, 2024 by Brandon Paul

The Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Racing Association (MLRA) will kick off their 2024 season in record breaking fashion this weekend, when the series invades the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri for the 11th Annual MLRA “Spring Nationals” Presented by Arizona Sport Shirts.

Two complete nights of racing action awaits what is expected to be a star-studded field of racers, all competing for their share of the record purse which will exceed $90,000 in total for the two-day event. Drivers will have an opportunity to get dialed in on Thursday night, April 11 with an open practice session at the “Diamond of Dirt Tracks” from 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM.

The first official green flag of the season will drop on Friday night April 12th with racers battling for a $7,000 top prize and the upper hand in being the first to secure the Midwest Sheet Metal Point Leader Spoiler for the season. Saturday night will feature the biggest pay out in MLRA Spring Nationals history, with the winner driving away with $20,000. All drivers making the weekend finale on Saturday will earn a minimum of $1,000.

Prior to the start of Saturday nights “A” Main, race teams and officials will take part in a special on track ceremony honoring the life and contributions of long time MLRA series photographer and official Lloyd Collins, who recently passed following a brief battle with cancer. Collins was greatly respected and well known all around the pits from the racers and teams to his fellow photographers.

One driver who is looking to get off to a quick start this weekend is the MLRA’s defending Sunoco Race Fuels “Rookie of the Year” winner Dillon McCowan of Urbana, MO. The now 20-year-old jumped onto the late model scene one year ago after a successful run in the USRA Modified ranks, where he snagged a pair of track championships at the Lucas Oil Speedway.

The driver of the Scott Bailey powered Longhorn has already competed just shy of twenty nights in 2024 following the early season “Speedweeks” tour and feels it has prepared him and made him better for the MLRA season ahead. “Starting the season off down in Florida I think helped us a lot, it kinda kick started our year. Hopefully we can take what we have learned from the races we ran already this year and carry that off into the MLRA season.”

“We are going to try and chase after the championship again this year and run the full season with the MLRA. Coming off last year we had a really great season. It could have went a little bit better, but we had a couple of really strong finishes and we were blessed with how good we did last year, so hopefully we can transition that off into this year.”

In 2023 McCowan parked his Sonic # 8 on the MLRA podium with third place finishes in two of the last three series events. More impressive for the rookie was his ability to contend with the best in the business in almost every event at the Lucas Oil Speedway, as he logged 5 top ten finishes in 7 starts, which included a 6th place finish in the Show-Me 100.

For the upcoming season, McCowan has also brought on board a new crew chief in Tony Rogers. “He said he was ready to get back into the late model business, so we are excited to have him with us. We have been around each other for a long time, you know the whole team has, and we thought it would be a really good fit to have him on board,” noted McCowan. Rogers spent numerous years turning wrenches for 2016 MLRA champion Jesse Stovall, and most recently worked in the modified ranks for Terry Phillips Racing.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series regulars Ricky Thornton Jr. and Jonathan Davenport both made stops in MLRA victory lane one season ago during the Spring Nationals weekend. Now with a handful of nights of getting to race door to door with drivers of that caliber, McCowan is confident that added experience will begin to pay dividends for his team.

“It’s crazy to get to go out there and run sometimes in the front with the best in the business, and the idols I’ve looked up to and wanted to race with for a long time. Getting out there and being with them and learning from them, you know just trying to pick up on the little things that they do that will get me going faster every time I’m out there.”

With this weekend being just the beginning of a long 25 race MLRA schedule for McCowan and his MLRA counterparts, it will be key for everyone to get off to a good start at a track that hosts ten points events in determining the season champion. “The last thing we want is to leave the home track having to play catch-up,” he noted.

“Hopefully we can run upfront and carry that speed off into this year, and I think if we can have a good finish, we all will be really happy with that for sure. If you can have a good run and get out front it can really help to set up the whole season.”

Lucas Oil Speedway: Wheatland, MO (Practice Nite)--Thursday 4/11/24

Hot Lap/Practice - 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Pit Passes: $30, Grandstand: FREE

Website: www.LucasOilSpeedway.com

Lucas Oil Speedway: Wheatland, MO (Race Day Info)--Friday 4/12/24

Pit Gates: 4:00 PM, Grandstands 5:00 PM

Racing: Hot Laps - 6:30 PM, Racing - 7:05 PM

Admission: Adults (13+) $25, Seniors (62+)/Military $22, Youth (6-12) $10, Kids (5 & Under) FREE, Family Pass $60, Pit Pass $40

Support Classes: POWRi Super Stocks, Legends, SMVR Show-Me Vintage Racers

Lucas Oil Speedway: Wheatland, MO (Race Day Info)--Saturday 4/13/24

Pit Gates: 4:00 PM, Grandstands 5:00 PM

Racing: Hot Laps - 6:30 PM, Racing - 7:05 PM

Admission: Adults (13+) $30, Seniors (62+)/Military $27, Youth (6-12) $10, Kids (5 & Under) FREE, Family Pass $70, Pit Pass $40

Support Classes: POWRi Super Stocks, & SMVR Show-Me Vintage Racers