The O'Reilly MLRA had one of their shortest trips down I-70 to the new Valley Speedway in Grain Valley Missouri. Owner operator Mark Evinger and his staff have built a new clay oval. Brand new aluminum grandstands, portable toilets that were new...
The O'Reilly MLRA had one of their shortest trips down I-70 to the new Valley Speedway in Grain Valley Missouri. Owner operator Mark Evinger and his staff have built a new clay oval. Brand new aluminum grandstands, portable toilets that were new and clean (at the start of the race) and a smattering of mobile concession stands what more could a race fan ask for?
Mark Evinger and his E & E Excavating Construction Company have fought spring rains and floods working to build this diamond in the rough track. Railroad tracks follow the back of the Grandstands but do not hamper the comings and goings of the Racers or Fans. The pit area was cleared of all the tall timber and leveled for the racecar haulers with enough room to maneuver for pull in parking with room for growth. Evinger's on their way to fine tuning the new facility. "We have some up and coming hurdles with the City
but we do believe that we can get both the noise and the time down to 3 hours of racing, tonight the MLRA Cars are quieter than those that we normally run so we will most likely have to go to mufflers next season. As for the shows we know we have to tighten them up as the fans are not wanting to come and stay for a marathon" Evinger stated.
The Kansas City weather has just not cooperated this season
this week alone the lows were in the 50's and the highs were
in the 70's so they have had to run the track dry from it's heavy start.
Who's Mark Evinger? Is he just another race track owner? Not hardly, he's a fan of the sport, and he's racer as well. "We've raced on and off for several years, but business always came first." In fact Mark's 20 year old Son Owen runs the #18 Limited Latemodel and with its' steel wheels, steel heads and dry sump motor was helping to iron in the track and ran a few laps of practice with the MLRA tonight. "We told our Limited Class they could run with MLRA and looks like we have about 3 or 4 cars here" stated Evinger.
One of those Limited Lates was the 22C of Kevin Coye the reining Central Missouri State Champion at Warrensburg, Missouri. He drew the front row of the first heat along side another new comer to the MLRA #7J Jake Morris. At the drop of the Green flag it was Coyne, Morris and David Barker
to cross the line on the first lap, David Barker was in the lead with Morris in second followed by Coyne Rusty Dukes and Iowa's Gary Webb. Randy Reynolds Charlie Benedict and Al Purkey all trailed. Just before the half-way mark of the twelve lap heat, Barker had pulled a good lead on Rusty Dukes and Gary Webb. Purkey had moved into fourth. Coming out of turn two the action got heated with a bump and run between Dukes and Webb allowing Purkey to get around Webb. Something mechanical happened as Webb and the 55 of Randy Reynolds got together next causing a yellow. Webb went to the pits Reynolds to the end of the line. At the finish it was Barker, Purkey, Dukes Reynolds, Coyne, Morris and Benedict.
Every association has a driver that just needs to find his place and gain that confidence with his equipment and ability. Perhaps the MLRA Racer that has shined the most
in gaining experience with laps has got to be St. Joe's Dale Eaton. In this reporter eye Eaton has been good but it's been long in coming 0x2022 tonight he was big time great! Starting on the front row with Randy McGraw another local Missouri Racer who doesn't get to travel that much due to work sat side by side for the first twelve corners. As Eaton
pulled ahead on the heavy track Scott Drake another who fancies himself as a heavy track driver got around McGraw. At the half way point Drake was looking and made
his presents known. Eaton did a super job of holding him off as they came out of turn two which would continue to be the hot action turn, Drake took a look, and Eaton eased the throttle to take his first MLRA Heat win. McGraw followed by Aaron Seabaugh, Larry Clawson Chad Clark Herb Nagy and Kevin Kaiser brought the field to the Checkered flag.
Former MLRA Champion Terry Phillips lined up on the front row for the third heat with Kerry Schulz alongside. Second row was David Turner making his return after last weeks crash that took the life of his 25th Anniversary Rocket! Turner escaped the fire and destruction of the car at McCool Nebraska and rolled out a three year old car that had been set up for his Son Aaron to try his hand at Late Model Racing. "Aaron has a lot of things on his plate right now" stated Turner. As many remember Tuner raced at Dodge City and drove back to Creighton Missouri for Aaron's wedding to Savannah in June. Turner picked up the story with "the car had been sitting in the garage so (Scott) Bailey picked it up on Monday and began a months worth of work in 4 days to get it ready for tonight" Turner concluded.
At the drop of the Green Phillips took his GRT to the front but coming out of two Turner had passed Schulz and on the top in four he got by Phillips. Chad Lyle was right behind and watching the line that Turner had established as he went with him around Schulz by the fourth lap Lyle was around Phillips and sitting in the rocking chair behind Turner. By the end of the fifth lap, Phillips had slowed and pulled to the pits. Perhaps something had broken. Turner continued his line with Lyle, edge up closer and making his move on lap 9 coming out of 3. At the checkered flag it was
Lyle, Turner, Jason Bodenhamer in third Schulz, followed by Shane Essary, Brett LaFollette and the 4J of Virgil Jeffery.
The fourth and final heat saw Missouri veteran short track racer Bob Fennewald and Gary Billings line up on the front row. 2003 O'Reilly MLRA Champion Alan Vaughn and Bryon Allison shared the second row. The 77w Dean Wray and Joe Walkenhorst shared the third while Rookie contender T.J. Kuykendall sat alone in the fourth as they readied for the go.
This would prove to be a great race as both Bob Fennewald and Alan Vaughn have raced together all-over the Missouri Short Tracks and knew what to be expected of both. Fennewald was not going to lay down to Vaughn who is currently in the number one position in O'Reilly MLRA Points and looking for his fourth Championship title. The pair ran side by side for twenty six corners swapping high and low. As they came down for the tenth lap Fennwald was still in the lead but Vaughn was working him and finally got by after they took the white flag. Vaughn hung on for the Checkered with Fennewald, and Wray. Allison finished fourth followed by Walkenhorst, Kuykendall and Billings.
After a lengthy intermission on the track for E & E Excavating to come out and do some rolling on the track to smooth some of the rough-spots it was time for the Consolation events.
Bryon Allison who's 13 year old daughter Brittany sang the National Anthem and may have just been what he needed for luck as he lead wire to wire to take the win. Gary Webb the Master of the Dirt started the B from the fourth row, next to Terry Phillips with both drivers having mechanical woes in their heat races. Racing would sure to be hard fast and furious at the end of this Semi for the transfer spots.
As the cars shook-out from the wild finish it was Webb taking second, Kuykendall third, Phillips Wray and Clark
followed by Walkenhorst and Nagy who went out on the 7th lap.
North Kansas City body-man Larry Clawson took the win after leading all twelve laps in the second semi and Brett LaFollette moved up from fourth to finish 2nd with Kevin Coyne holding his own in the Limited Latemodel for third. Gary Billings, and Jake Morris were on the lead lap finishing fourth and fifth. Kevin Kaiser and Charlie Benedict down a lap finishing six and seventh.
The O'Reilly MLRA prides it self on the diversity of both the competitors and the venues at which they race. "This week's show continues to display our drivers diversity in adapting to new tracks, different weather conditions and new surroundings, not to mention the six or seven new drivers that are here tonight to compete with our regular drivers" stated Harriett Chancellor Race Director for the O'Reilly's MLRA.
Using the MLRA Passing Point system to line the drivers up for the Main event had Chad Lyle on the front row with former Champion Al Purkey. Second row starter David Barker lined up with fellow friend and Racer Alan Vaughn these two have enjoyed racing together for years. Third row brought the St. Joe stand-out Dale Eaton as he advanced to the feature on his own merits forgoing a Provisional starting spot that MLRA Racers can use when they have either mechanical or racing difficulties during a given night. Along side Dale was the "heavy specialist" Scott Drake one of those you certainly do not count out until the Checkered flag has flown. David Turner and long time fellow Missouri driver Bob Fennewald made up the fifth row. Dean Wray and Randy McGraw were next followed by Aaron Seabaugh and Shane Essary. The eight row saw Randy Reynolds line up with #1$ Kerry Schulz following them would be another #1 Bryon Allison as he shared the row with Larry Clawson. Gary Webb and Bret LaFollette made up the tenth row and T.J. Kuykendall and Herb Nagy the eleventh and the final row going to Kevin Coyne and Virgil Jeffery for a twenty-four car field going for 40 laps.
Taking the lead as they crossed the starting line for the first lap was Al Purkey with Chad Lyle right behind him. Barker and Vaughn, Eaton and Drake were right behind real close for that first lap. Coming out of 2 Purkey continued to lead Lyle however when they crossed the line after the second lap it was all Lyle needed to see where he could run and passed Purkey for the lead on the third lap. Lyle held the line Purkey following and watching to the point where you had to wonder if it was on purpose? Meanwhile Vaughn had gotten past Barker and was gaining on the pack by lap six. David Turner popped a tire and that brought out the yellow on lap 7 at the restart once more Lyle lead Purkey and Vaughn. Drake had discarded Barker for fourth. Jason Bodenhamer had been busy as he got by Dale Eaton then Barker, falling in behind Drake on lap 8. They continued to stay pat as Fennewald and McGraw had pulled in earlier. As they began to get into lapped traffic by lap 11 Lyle and Purkey were using it to their advantage to separate Vaughn with the 22 of Coyne. On lap 12 Shane Essary headed to the pits after a good showing with a broken birdcage. Reynolds became the next lapped car to keep Lyle from Purkey's sights as the yellow came out for Essary. The restart on 13 and the pack was good and tight going into one. At the other end of the train the yellow was waving for Larry Clawson. Once more at the green it was Lyle Purkey and Drake with Vaughn sitting in the cat-bird seat. Aaron Seabaugh was doing some passing as he began his charge from 9th on lap 13 to his sixth place spot by lap 17. At the half-way mark it was still Lyle, Purkey and Drake followed by Vaughn, Bodenhamer and Seabaugh. With the yellow coming out for Herb Nagy in the 28, then it was Barker, Wray, LaFollette, Webb, Eaton and Clawson. After the restart the field was bunched up and Vaughn chose his timing just right to get by Drake for third on lap 22. Just as Lyle was coming out of 2 Purkey got around him "Lyle was really running good in 3 & 4 and I was working real good in 1 & 2" Purkey stated after the race. As they came down for the 23 lap it was Purkey, Lyle, Vaughn and Drake with Seabaugh getting around Bodenhamer and Barker going with him. Jason looked to be having a tire issue. Purkey would hold the lead until Vaughn passed him on lap 26. Lyle
was right behind in third watching for a break. On Lap 29 they started back through lapped traffic this time Randy Reynolds was between Purkey and Lyle with Drake looking to make a move. Bodenhammer got around Barker for sixth.
Vaughn caught the lap car of Coyne leaving Purkey to deal with him and once more the leaders shuffled the lap cars through the pack. Fast racing action but it would be Green all the way. Scott Drake saw his chance to use the lap cars and did so on the 34th lap to get by Lyle but once more he had two in front of him before he could get to Purkey. On lap 37 Purkey knew he had to make it happen he went to the outside and got a run as they crossed the starting line for the 38 circuit he got ahead of Vaughn and used the lap car of Virgil Jeffery as a shield between he and Vaughn 0x2022 Vaughn wasn't having any of this and got by him for a clear shot on lap 39 but again Purkey held his line and as they crossed the line for the white flag it was Purkey ahead of Vaughn. At the Checkered flag it was Al Purkey for the win, followed by Alan Vaughn, Scott Drake and Chad Lyle. Jason Bodenhamer, Gary Webb, Aaron Seabaugh, David Barker and Dale Eaton rounding out the top ten positions.
After the race Mark Evinger made the remark that the O'Reilly MLRA had put on a good show for his 4,000 plus fans and he was sure they'd be back.
O'Reilly MLRA Latemodels
Heat 1: 1. David Barker, Kingsville, Mo.; 2. Al Purkey, Coffeyville, KS.; 3. Rusty Dukes, Fair Grove, Mo.; 4. Randy Reynolds, Drexel, Mo.; 5. Kevin Coyne, Blue Springs MO.
Heat 2: 1. Dale Eaton, St. Joseph, Mo.; 2. Scott Drake, Webb City, MO. 3. Randy McGraw, Marshall, Mo.; 4. Aaron Seabaugh, Freeman, Mo.; 5. Larry Clawson, North Kansas City, Mo.
Heat 3: 1. Clint Lyle, Shawnee, Kan.; 2. David Turner, Adrian, Mo.; 3. Jason Bodenhamer, Centerview, Mo.; 4. Kerry Schulz, Moundsville, Mo.; 5. Shane Essary, Aurora, Mo.
Heat 4: 1. Alan Vaughn, Belton, Mo.; 2. Bob Fennewald, Butler, Mo.; 3. Dean Wray, Jamesport, Mo.; 4. Bryon Allison, Marshall, Mo.; 5. Joe Walkenhorst, Grain Valley.
1st B Feature: 1. Allison; 2. Gary Webb, Blue Grass, Iowa; 3. T.J. Kuykendall, Warsaw, Mo.; 4. Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.; 5. Virgil Jeffery, Ashland, Mo.
2nd B Feature: 1. Clawson; 2. Brett LaFollette, Kansas City, Kan.; 3. Coyne; 4. Garry Billings, Kansas City, Kan.; 5. Jake Morris, Marshall, Mo.
Feature: 1. Purkey; 2. Vaughn; 3. Drake; 4. Lyle; 5. Bodenhamer; 6. Webb; 7. Seabaugh; 8. LaFollette; 9. Barker; 10. Eaton; 11. Jeffery; 12. Kuykendall; 13. Allison; 14. Coyne; 15. Reynolds; 16. Dukes; 17. Morris; 18. Herb Nagy, Harrisonville, Mo.; 19. Clawson; 20. Schulze; 21. Essary; 22. McGraw; 23. Turner; 24. Fennewald.
The next MLRA Race will be held on Saturday night Aug 21 at Wheatland Raceway in Wheatland MO