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Vaught wins Lucas Oil opening headliner

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Will Vaught, No. 72, rounds a corner during the opening night at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland.

Will Vaught grabbed the lead on lap 11 and continued on to capture the ULMA Late Model feature victory Saturday night, April 3, in the headliner of opening night at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland.

According to a Lucas Oil news release, Vaught earned $1,000 in the main event of the weekly racing series Spring Opener. 

A total of 83 cars checked into the pits as the 2021 season got underway for the first of 14 Weekly Racing Series points programs.

Vaught, a former Lucas Oil MLRA champion, said in the release it was a good tune up before returning in his open car next week for the Lucas Oil MLRA Spring Nationals.

"We kind of knocked some rust off tonight," Vaught said in the release. 

Vaught built a 1.6-second lead over breakaway companion Cole Henson when a lap-17 caution waved after Dustin Walker took a spin. 

That bunched the field and gave Henson — the 2020 track champion — and others a new chance with eight laps remaining.

The race went caution-free the rest of the way. He finished 2.99 seconds ahead of Henson with Dalton Imhoff third and Bobby Penney in fourth.

"It's good to see the crowd here tonight, the first night of the year,” he said in the release. “It's pretty cool. Hopefully next weekend we can get a couple of them races, too."

Newell grabs B-Mod win

JC Newell inherited the lead when perennial championship contenders Kris Jackson and JC Morton tangled on lap 14 and went on to win the USRA B-Mod feature.

Newell of Buffalo led the final six laps and beat Cody Nivens by a car length. 

"What a way to kick off the season," Newell said in the release. "We kind of got that one handed us to us tonight, but everyone got to see a really good show the first 14 or 15 laps and we were able to seal the deal."

McCowan earns USRA Mod triumph

Young Dillon McCowan outdueled veteran Jason Pursley to capture the Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modified feature.

The 17-year-old McCowan led 17 of the 20 laps. He had to recapture command after Pursley, using the inside line, passed him coming to the start-finish line to complete lap 15.

McCowan came right back to regain the top spot with an outside pass the next time around as the top two weaved through slower traffic, distancing themselves from the rest of the contenders.

"It was super fun," McCowan said in the release. "I love racing this A Mod. It's faster. More speed and more power."

Brown takes USRA Stock Cars debut

Derek Brown of Stoutland, last year's Lucas Oil Speedway Street Stocks champion, captured the USRA Stock Cars debut.

Brown held off Rob White by a car length in a closely contested feature that saw Brown's familiar colors of white, red and yellow in victory lane.

"I'm really starting to like this car," Brown said in the release. "This is my fourth race (in 2021) and second win. It's pretty salty."

Brown and David Hendrix, past track champions in the Street Stock division, both charged from the back half of the field and into contention by the midpoint of the feature — Hendrix 12th to second and Brown seventh to third — right behind Jaylen Wettengel.

Up next

The first special event of the season finds the Lucas Oil MLRA Late Models in the two-day, eighth annual MLRA Spring Nationals Friday and Saturday, April 9 and 10. The winner of the feature on Friday will earn $5,000 to win with $500 to start. The Saturday winner collects $10,000 with $600 to start. 

The USRA Modifieds and USRA Stock Cars also will be in action both nights.

Gates open at 4 p.m. both days with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05.

For ticket information, call 282-5984 or email nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com.

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