Wheatland, Missouri (June 8, 2020) - After a nine-week delay to the start of the 2020 racing season, the Lucas Oil MLRA will finally see its first taste of on-track action with a trifecta of events this weekend. The season opener is set for the recently reopened Randolph County Raceway(RCR) in Moberly, Missouri on Friday, June 12th, followed by a pair of events in Iowa on Saturday and Sunday at the Maquoketa Speedway and West Liberty Raceway respectively. Friday nights MLRA event was originally slated for the Quincy Raceway in Quincy, IL before COVID-19 restrictions in the state of Illinois forced owner/promoter Jason Goble to seek out other options for the start of the 2020 race season. Goble reached an agreement in recent weeks to move his operations and upcoming events to the RCR and has been busy preparing the track and facility for its return to racing. The MLRA's last visit to the super-fast 3/8-mile high banked clay oval was in 2017, with Terry Phillips taking the win. Presented by Quincy Auto Parts, Friday's main event will offer up a $3,000 to win top prize, as drivers begin down the championship trail. Saturday night June 13th, teams will head north to the Maquoketa Speedway located on the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Maquoketa, IA. Under the direction of DRT TRAK RACING, INC. this $5,000 to win and $500 to start event will mark the MLRA's first visit to the 3/8-mile facility since 2014, in which Travis Dickes scored his first and only series win. The opening weekend swing concludes on Sunday, June 14th, with yet another $5,000 to win finale at the West Liberty Raceway. Fans can expect this half mile facility to produce plenty of high speed action when the MLRA rolls into town. Bobby Pierce snagged with win one year ago against a strong field of competitors. All three events will follow the MLRA's new Time Trial Qualifying format, in addition to the series' revised tire rules for 2020, which allow drivers addition tire compound options. VAUGHT SET TO DEFEND MLRA CHAMPIONSHIP While the recent COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a lot of uncertainty and change heading into this weekend's opener, one thing for sure is that the 2020 title chase will have a host of drivers set to chase the series title--a title run that will have to go through defending Champion, Will Vaught. Vaught has become well versed in recent years, juggling a successful race team while maintaining a strong family balance. With three active children that keep him and his wife on the go, and a successful business operation, the 16 time MLRA race winner still finds the time to mix in his passion for racing. "The MLRA fits our schedule with the kids, so we're pretty gung ho about hitting it hard again this year," stated Vaught. Coming off his first career MLRA title, Vaught and team had spent the off season preparing their title defense and felt more confident about their position than in years past, until the season was derailed in early April. "We we're more prepared than we ever have been with both of the race cars ready to go and parts in the trailer," commented Vaught. "Last year at this time we had half the equipment that we have now and we were able to win the title." Credit--Fast Track Photos Keeping a family balance this off season has been somewhat easier for the Crane, MO driver, as the family temporarily resides under the same roof as his Clements powered Rocket XR-1 Late Models. "I'm living in my race shop right now, literally," joked Vaught. "We sold our home and fortunately have living quarters in the back side of our race shop, so I'm actually living in our race shop right now until we get our new house done." The only thing that has slowed the defending champion in recent weeks was a serious injury to his pinkey finger, a result of a bicycle accident. "It was kind of our PE class with the kids, so we would go for a ride in the evenings after work. I'll tell you one thing, I wouldn't have been riding a bicycle if it wasn't for COVID," Vaught joked of the mishap and injury. Hand injury aside, Vaught is anxious to get back to four wheels this weekend. Just over two weeks removed from a lengthy hand surgery he appears on the road to recovery, but will be racing this weekend with stitches and pins still in place. "It's probably affected my working more that it will my racing," he noted. The first series title did not come easy for Vaught, having to wait until the season finale at the Lucas Oil Speedway to finally clinch. "It was awesome," he commented on winning the championship. "That was our goal when we set out at the start of the year, the last two years actually. It means a lot to be able to put that check on the wall and talk about it for a bit, but as soon as we got home from the last race we started tearing down and rebuilding, looking for the next one. We are all racers and at the same time we are all greedy-we want more of what we felt last year." The 33-year old is ready to attempt to become the first MLRA back-to-back champion since John Anderson last accomplished the feat in 2011-12. "We try a lot of things, and people probably don't realize that. I have a really good shock guy in Gary Winger that I have used for years and he helps us out and we bounce things off each other. This year we have a new package coming right out of the box and hopefully it will work out for us." Will Vaught (1V) in 2019 MLRA action. Photo--Lloyd Collins, Fast Track Photos Savoring the championship experience just as much as the driver one year ago was long time crew chief, Eric Barnes. The duo have formed a strong bond after first teaming up in 2012, resulting in a long list of hardware and accomplishments, including back-to-back Mitler Brothers Machine Crew Chief of the Year Awards for Barnes. "Eric does a lot for me and keeps our guns-a-blazing here at the race shop," commented Vaught. We treat it like a business, so he is here typically 8-10 hours a day sometimes later during race season. This is his living, and he takes great pride in what he does, and I am just fortunate to be able to pay him to do what he loves. He is really more like a brother, he's a really good friend and a big deal to our operation." With the pressures of capturing the elusive first title now gone, Vaught and the 1V team can concentrate on winning their way to their 2nd crown. "Everybody says that first Late Model win or that first whatever for anybody is the hardest to get and I'm hoping its's the same way with Championships. This year (2020) we have got more guys planning to race it (MLRA) and the more the merrier. We are here to beat everybody and that's what they are here for too. This year is going to be tough just like it was the last two years, so we will continue to dig at it and get good, and hopefully let them chase us all year." 1V Team Members: Crew Chief: Eric Barnes Pit Crew: Devin Shickel, Mike Lyon Will Vaught Motorsports Partners: GW Performance, Jason's Stump Grinding, Johnson's Service Station, Mad Mal Trucking, Clements Racing Engines, Rocket Chassis. Randolph County Raceway: Moberly, MO Race Day Info- Friday 5/12/20 Gates: 3:00 PM Racing: Hot Laps - 6:00 PM, Racing to follow Admission: Adult $25, Seniors $20, Students $15, Kids 10 & Under Free W/Paid Adult Support Classes: B-Modifieds, 4-Cylinders Website: www.Randolphcountyraceway.com Maquoketa Speedway: Maquoketa, IA Race Day Info- Saturday 5/13/20 Gates: 5:00 pm Racing: Hot Laps-6:30 PM Racing to follow Support Classes: Modifieds, Sport Mods, A.I.R.S. Website: www.Maquoketaspeedway.com West Liberty Raceway: West Liberty, IA Race Day Info- Sunday 5/14/20 Gates: 3:00 PM Racing: Hot Laps-4:30 PM, Racing to Follow Support Classes: Modifieds, Sport Mods, A.I.R.S. Website: www.drttrakracing.com For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com. Fans may also "like" the Lucas Oil MLRA Facebook page by clicking www.Facebook.com/lucasoilmlra or follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/MLRA.