WHEATLAND, Missouri (August 18, 2019) – Jason Pursley has long been one of the most-consistent drivers at Lucas Oil Speedway. Finally, Pursley was able to celebrate a long-sought trip to victory lane.
Pursley expertly handled numerous restarts Saturday night, including a two-lap sprint at the finish, to earn his first Pitts Homes USRA Modified feature victory in several seasons. He earned $1,000 for the triumph.
“It’s been a long time. I don’t know how many years since I won, but a long time,” Pursley said in victory lane after outlasting the competition on a marathon night of action in the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series.
A whopping total of 154 cars in five divisions checked into the pits on Fan Appreciation Night Presented by the Ozarks CW/Ozarks Sports Zone. There also were 20 Show-Me Vintage Racing Club cars on hand and they put on a 10-lap exhibition race won by Damon Clevenger.
Also earning feature wins were Todd Shute (Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models), Aaron Poe (O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks), Eric Turner (Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods) and James Redus (special guest class Street Stocks).
Pursley officially started inside of row two, but was elevated to the front when pole-starting Colson Kirk spun out after the race went green and the caution came out. The “Racing Principal” took advantage by jumping to the lead when the race restarted.
He opened up a three-second lead when the race’s fourth caution came out on lap seven. Brian Green moved into second on the restart with Jon Sheets working his way from 10th to third and Chase Domer fourth.
Following the sixth caution, on lap 18, officials made the call to shorten the event by five laps due to time of the event. That meant a two-lap shootout with Pursley leading Green and Domer.
Pursley, as he did throughout, was flawless on the restart. The Skyline-Urbana R-1 Elementary School Principal finished about five car lengths in front of Green with Domer in third and Shawn Whitman fourth.
The veteran driver from nearby Hermitage was greeted by cheers as he emerged from his car and then a hug from car owner Tom Campbell.
“First I have to thank Tom Campbell. He owns everything,” Pursley said. “Without him, I couldn’t do it. I have to thank all my sponsors and my son, Dayton Pursley. He works on it all the time. And I thank my family, especially my Mom who is my biggest supporter.
“A shout-out to the track guys. They had a heck of a time today. They worked all day and now they have to work all week to put it back. Hats off to those guys.”
Shute captures Late Model feature: Todd Shute of Norwalk, Iowa started on the pole and ran away to a dominating, flag-to-flag Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model feature victory.
After the race’s lone caution, on lap two, Shute drove away to a 9.98-second victory. Aaron Marrant finished second, more than half a lap behind the winner. Larry Ferris was third, Kaeden Cornell fourth and points leader Johnny Fennewald fifth.
“I have to thank (engine builder) Scott Bailey for helping us out tonight with this car,” Shute said, noting motor problems a night earlier at another track. “Last time we were here, we didn’t fare so well so this was a little bit of redemption tonight.”
Shute got the jump on Marrant as the green flag dropped and rolled to his second win of the season at Lucas Oil Speedway. It was a solid night for Marrant, who began the night nine points behind Fennewald and four in back of Cornell in the tight points battle.
Poe earns Street Stocks win: Aaron Poe made the decisive pass just past the halfway point and held off Nathan Vaughn over the final laps to capture the O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks feature.
Cody Frazon and Poe started up front and it was Frazon who set the pace as Poe and Nathan Vaughn traded second place over the first half of the 20-lap race. Those two were right on Frazon’s bumper when a caution flew on lap eight.
Three laps later, following the race’s fourth caution, Poe took over the lead. Vaughn, of Sedalia, slipped past Frazon soon after and held off Frazon for the runner-up position.
“It’s great running with friends. We had three ‘Shark’ cars up front and it’s good to have those represented,” said Poe, who finished 1.4 seconds ahead of Vaughn. “It’s great to be back in the winner’s circle.”
Points leader Toby Ott was not in his regular car. He started 18th in the feature and wound up 20th. Ott entered the evening 118 points ahead of Coats.
Turner grabs B-Mod win: Eric Turner of Hermitage prevailed in the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod main event. He finished 1.269 seconds in front of Taylor Moore for his first win in the class this season.
Jerry Morgan finished third with points leader Kris Jackson and JC Morton rallying – after tangling on the first lap and having to restart in the back – to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.
“I want to dedicate this to my wife (Cherie) who I lost last year. It was actually a year ago today,” Turner said. “This one’s for her.”
Turner took the lead for good on lap 12 after Andy Bryant’s car lost power. Turner and Byrant traded the lead six times over nine laps.
“I enjoy racing with Andy,” Turner said. “I hated that Kris (Jackson) got crashed out there at the beginning. This type of track, it’s give it all you can get. That’s racing. It’s good for the fans.”
Jackson and Morton, who have dominated the division this season, started on the front row and they tangled just after the race went green while sliding through turn one. Jackson limped his car to the pits to change tires while Morton also had to pull into the pits to change a flat.
That put both of them at the rear of the field for the restart. Jackson started the night 47 points ahead of Morton.
Bryant went to the lead on lap 11 and appeared to be opening up a bit of a gap when his car suddenly lost power entering turn four. That put Turner back on top, followed by Moore, Jerry Morgan and Jackson with eight to go.
Turner was up to the challenge from there with Moore unable to get to his bumper.
Redus wins first Pure Stock feature: In the first Pure Stock event at the speedway, James Redus of Springfield came away the winner. Turner crossed the finish line in first, but his car was disqualified in post-race technical inspection.
Turner started up front and set the pace through six laps. Just as 15-year-old J.T. Carroll was about to pass the veteran on lap seven, a caution flag came out to protect Turner’s lead.
Carroll fell out of contention two laps later when his car lost power coming out of turn four, battling with Redus for second place.
Turner and Redus broke away from the field after the restart, with Turner nearly two seconds in front of Redus who in turn was fourth seconds clear of third-place Robert High. Those margins were erased when a caution with five laps remaining bunched the field, but Turner and Redus ran 1-2 the rest of the way.
In the official finishing order, Randy High of Ash Grove came from 12th to take second with Justin Roberts of Buffalo winding up third and Kyle Rowland of Olathe, Kansas in fourth.
The Pure Stocks are set to return Aug. 31 as part of the MLRA Larry Phillips Memorial program.