In just a couple of weeks the engines will fire for the first time for many of the Midwest’s top Dirt Late Model drivers at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, NE for the running of the two day Spring Meltdown, April 5th and 6th. Many new faces and an exciting rookie crop are expected to join the tour and bring an exciting brand of racing to the 25th season of competition for the Lucas Oil MLRA. Also in the fold for the year is the reigning champion, John Anderson and Rookie of the Year, Mark Dotson.
Anderson returns with his tremendously successful Shop Quik operation, which was nothing short of dominant last year, with an average finish in the threes. His championship last year was his second in a row, and third overall. He now has the opportunity to go for three in a row, a feat accomplished once in Lucas Oil MLRA history. “Three in a row would be real special, especially heading into a new era with increased competition,” commented Anderson. “There will be such a small margin for error. One bad night will surely put your title hopes in a bind, and two bad nights means you’ve probably not got a shot at all. To run in the top three this season will be quite an accomplishment. There are so many well funded teams with good resources.”
Heading into his 7th year teamed with Greg and Pat Junghans, Anderson has accomplished a ton. His 29 wins place him 5th on the all-time charts, just two wins behind 4th place Bill Frye. He also joins Al Purkey and Alan Vaughn as the only drivers with a minimum of three titles. Anderson will have a new crew chief this season in nephew, Max Dale, who will be hitting the road for the first time. He has a pair of MasterSbilt Race Cars and plenty of Jay Dickens Engines to get the job done in 2013. “At this stage in my career, I focus more on winning races,” said Anderson. “However, I’ve always been of the opinion that if you’re fast enough to win, you should be in contention for championships.”
2012 was certainly a learning experience for Cameron, Missouri’s Mark Dotson. For years he was a standout modified driver, but last year he made his first venture into the Late Model world. Last spring’s first event at Springfield Raceway in Springfield, MO was the first time Dotson ever turned a lap in the division. He had his share of ups and downs, but was able to walk away with the Rookie of the Year title and a third place finish in points. “We didn’t have a clue this time last year,” commented Dotson in regards to the challenge of competing in with the Lucas Oil MLRA for the first time. “However, we were able to compete with everybody by the end of the year. We achieved all of the goals we set out for the team. We didn’t do anything stupid and now have much more of an idea of what to do.” By Dotson’s standards two to four wins this season would make him happy at the end of the year.
Dotson and Anderson paid a special thanks to Lucas Oil Products for investing further in the series. “I’m looking forward to some of the changes they’ll be implementing,” said Anderson. “I feel like we can compete with the national racers when they visit our tracks and that will gain us more exposure,” said Dotson, “When you run a traveling series, you have to take care of the drivers, and they’ve already shown they’re going to do that.”
The Lucas Oil MLRA (Midwest Latemodel Racing Association) sanctions regional Super Dirt Late Model touring series events in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Iowa.
For all the latest news and information on the Lucas Oil MLRA please visit us on the web at MLRARacing.com or by calling the series office at (417) 282 5984.
The Lucas Oil MLRA would like to thank their marketing partners; Lucas Oil Products, MAV TV, Protect the Harvest, Lucas Cattle Company, Hoosier Racing Tires, Geico, E3 Spark Plugs, CANIDAE, Optima Batteries, Speedco, Sunoco Race Fuels, Marriott Properties, Impact Signs, Awnings, and Wraps, Casey’s General Stores, JRi Shocks, Bodee’s Race Bodies, Afco Racing Products, Peterson Fluid Systems, KRC, Midwest Sheet Metal, Fast Track Photos, RacinDirt.com, BSB Manufacturing, Racing Optics, Eibach Springs, Bell Helmets, Outpace Racing Products, ATL Fuel Cells, Schoenfeld Headers, Weld Wheels, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, Powertrain Industries, Performance Bodies, Wilwood Engineering, Intercomp Scales, R2C Performance Products, Keizer Wheels.
by Trenton Berry