Wheatland, MO (October 9, 2020) - For the second consecutive year, Ryan Gustin proved to be the class of the field, scoring the opening night win in the 7th Annual MLRA Fall Nationals at the Lucas Oil Speedway. The win is also the third all time Fall Nationals win for the driver of the Tri-Star Engines and Transmissions # 19R.
The victory was anything but easy for Gustin who rolled from the outside of row two for the 40 lap main event following his heat race victory. Garrett Alberson and Billy Moyer Sr. led the field to the green, with Moyer taking full advantage of the outside line to grab the early lead. A pair of cautions slowed the pace during the first half of the race with the first coming on lap four followed by a second caution on lap ten, involving third and fourth running Jason Papich and Chad Simpson. Simpson would continue on, but Papich would exit to the hot pit before returning at the tail of the field.
Again under green, Moyer set the pace along the top side of the 3/8-mile oval, while Gustin patiently worked the bottom side of turn three and four in an attempt to overhaul the veteran Moyer. Gustin would take the lead on lap 20, but it was short lived, as Moyer surged back to the front on the next lap.
The events final yellow waved with just 15 laps to go when MLRA point leader Payton Looney slowed at the entrance to turn three and came to a stop on the front stretch ending his night. Looney's streak of bad luck all but wipes out his point lead over Simpson which now stands at just 17 points, while Jeremiah Hurst closes the gap to only 42 points with four events remaining.
With the final fifteen laps running caution free, the long run began to play into the hands of Gustin who started reeling in Moyer for the top spot. With Moyer taking away Gustin's line on the bottom of three and four, Gustin made an all-out move going into turn one to slide in front of Moyer for the top spot with just six laps remaining. Once in front, Gustin cruised to his second consecutive MLRA win by 2.002 seconds over Moyer. Mason Okerkramer continued his strong streak coming home in third followed by Kyle Beard and Tony Jackson Jr.
The win for the Marshalltown, IA native was didn't come easy as he eluded to in Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Victory Lane. "Any time you can chase that 21 car around you know you're doing something right that's for sure, to pass him to get a win is pretty cool. I think he was on a little bit softer tire than we were, so I knew the longer the greens were the better we were going to get, but a veteran like that he can do it with a softer tire, no doubt."
Friday night marked the first race behind the wheel of this particular XR-1 Rocket Chassis for Gustin, since the car was damaged in a horrific garage fire in late June which temporarily sidelined his program. "This is the one (XR-1 Rocket) that actually caught on fire and it hasn't been raced until now and it's as good as it was new," concluded Gustin.
The runner-up Moyer commented, "The harder tires came in there and we had one of them tires on and I changed my mind right at the last second. I don't know if it would have done any better or not. Some of the other guys with harder tires went backwards but him, so his car was probably just that good," he said of Gustin.
Oberkramer who grabbed his first MLRA win at Lucas Oil Speedway last month stayed hot finishing in third and was again all smiles. "I'll stand behind these two guys every night of the week (Gustin & Moyer). Everybody wants to win but when you get beat by these two guys, they have won a lot of features, so we're just proud to be here.
Lucas Oil MLRA action continues on Saturday at the Lucas Oil Speedway with night #2 of the Lucas Oil Fall Nationals. Drivers will battle 50 laps for a $5,000 top prize, with one driver coming a step closer to the elusive MLRA series Championship next weekend.
Lucas Oil Speedway Contingencies 10/9/20
Slick Mist "Fast Time Award" - Garrett Alberson 14.568 sec.
DirtonDirt.com "Pole Award" - Garrett Alberson
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks Award - Billy Moyer Sr.
Casey's General Store's "Hard Charger of the Race" - Dalton Imhoff
Dynamic Drivelines "Crew Chief of the Race" - Brett Ladehoff
Hooker Harness "11th Place Finisher" - Justin Duty
Midwest Sheet Metal "Points Leader Spoiler Challenge" - Payton Looney
Performance Bodies "Performer of the Race" - Ryan Gustin
RacingJunk.com "Hard Luck Award" - Payton Looney
Sunoco "Rookie of the Race" - Jeremiah Hurst
A Features Lucas Oil Products 1. 19-Ryan Gustin; 2. 21-Billy Moyer Sr; 3. 93-Mason Oberkramer; 4. 86B-Kyle Beard; 5. 56JR-Tony Jackson Jr; 6. 91P-Jason Papich; 7. 25-Chad Simpson; 8. 58-Jeremiah Hurst; 9. 62Z-Justin Zeitner; 10. 59-Garrett Alberson; 11. 15- Justin Duty; 12. 91T-Tony Toste; 13. 69-Dalton Imhoff; 14. F15-Jeremy Conaway; 15. (DNF) 15L-Payton Looney; 16. (DNF) 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr; 17. (DNF) 1X-Aaron Marrant; 18. (DNF) 6W-NIck Whitehead; 19. (DNF) 49T-Jake Timm; 20. (DNF) 43G-Jeremy Grady; 21. (DNF) 88L-Larry Clawson; 22. (DNF) 12C-Scott Crigler; 23. (DNF) 14JJake Neal; 24. (DNF) 3W-Brennon Willard
B Feature Sunoco Race Fuels 1. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr; 2. 91T-Tony Toste; 3. F15-Jeremy Conaway; 4. 88L-Larry Clawson; 5. 43G-Jeremy Grady; 6. 49T-Jake Timm; 7. 69-Dalton Imhoff; 8. 13-Joey Smith; 9. 99J-Chase Jones; 10. 5-Austin Vincent; 11. (DNF) 29BBlonde Bomber Mitchell; 12. (DNF) 3X-Skip Frey; 13. (DNS) 65-Jon Binning; 14. (DNS) 36M-Logan Martin; 15. (DNS) 14MReid Millard; 16. (DNS) 99M-Cliff Morrow; 17. (DNS) 3W-Brennon Willard
Heat 1 Dynamic Drivelines 1. 59-Garrett Alberson; 2. 25-Chad Simpson; 3. 86B-Kyle Beard; 4. 56JR-Tony Jackson Jr; 5. 91T-Tony Toste; 6. F15- Jeremy Conaway; 7. 43G-Jeremy Grady; 8. (DNF) 49T-Jake Timm; 9. (DNS) 3W-Brennon Willard
Heat 2 Midwest Sheet Metal 1. 93-Mason Oberkramer; 2. 58-Jeremiah Hurst; 3. 15-Justin Duty; 4. 12C-Scott Crigler; 5. 88L-Larry Clawson; 6. 5- Austin Vincent; 7. (DNF) 29B-Blonde Bomber Mitchell; 8. (DNS) 99M-Cliff Morrow
Heat 3 Casey's 1. 21-Billy Moyer Sr; 2. 91P-Jason Papich; 3. 1X-Aaron Marrant; 4. 14J-Jake Neal; 5. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr; 6. 69-Dalton Imhoff; 7. 3X-Skip Frey; 8. 99J-Chase Jones
Heat 4 My Race Pass 1. 19-Ryan Gustin; 2. 62Z-Justin Zeitner; 3. 15L-Payton Looney; 4. (DNF) 36M-Logan Martin; 5. (DNF) 6W-NIck Whitehead; 6. (DNF) 13-Joey Smith; 7. (DNF) 14M-Reid Millard; 8. (DNS) 65-Jon Binning