WHEATLAND, Mo. – Kris Jackson remained hot as the Ozarks’ summer sun Saturday night, as the Lebanon driver made it six wins in a row at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Jackson led all the way to capture the 25-lap Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod feature, the headliner on a Veterans and Military Appreciation Night edition of the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series program Presented by KOLR/KRBK.
Also picking up feature wins were Kaeden Cornell (Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models), Toby Ott (O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks) and Ryan Middaugh (Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds).
Winning is becoming old hat for Jackson, who is enjoying the roll he’s been on with feature wins at Lucas Oil Speedway stretching back to May. This one, however, was even a bit sweeter.
“This one’s for Jim Ruble,” Jackson said of the legendary Ozarks engine builder, who returned to the speedway after a recent stroke. Ruble and wife Sally joined the celebration in victory lane.
“We freshened up the top end of this motor together at my shop this week. I’m really thankful for what Jim and (wife) Sally do for me,” Jackson said. “He builds an unbelievable motor and tonight proved it.”
Jackson and J.C. Morton – both former USRA Modified National champions – started on the front row. Morton used the high side and Jackson the low groove and they dueled closely in the first five laps, with Jackson narrowly holding the lead.
“I was doing my best to give him a lane,” Jackson said of Morton. “That’s the type of lane that he would want and I’m kind of a bottom-feeder these days. I wanted to make sure that he had a lane. A few times, it pushed up on me but I still feel like I tried to give him a lane.”
Jackson began to gradually pull away, opening a three-second margin by lap 10. By then, Ryan Gillmore moved around Morton and into second.
Jackson, as he has for the last two months, continued to dominate from there. He had a 5.1-second cushion over the field when the race’s lone caution waved just as Jackson was about to take the white flag.
That gave Gillmore and Morton one more chance as the race restarted for a two-lap, single-file shootout.
It was no problem for Jackson. He finished about six car lengths in front of Gillmore with Morton third and Andy Bryant fourth.
“A night like tonight if what we’ve been waiting on. All the fast cars were in the front,” Jackson said. “The front three rows is as good as they come.”
Starting on the front row, Cornell set a blistering pace from the start and led all 20 laps in a caution-free Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA feature.
The 18-year-old finished 4.15 seconds ahead of runner-up Larry Ferris with Aaron Marrant finishing third and Johnny Fennewald fourth. Cornell cut into the points lead of Fennewald, who began the night 15 points in front.
“That race track was always perfect. It had some slick, it had some rough and it had some grip to it,” Cornell said. “That’s what it’s all about right there.”
Cornell won for the third time this season at Lucas Oil Speedway. He said stepping up into the Lucas Oil Late Model Series last weekend, and making the show at Sunday’s CMH Diamond Nationals, was a confidence boost. Cornell finished 15th in that event, against some of the top Late Model dirt talent in the land.
“Running with those big guys last week, that was a huge help. Those guys, they teach you a lot,” Cornell said.
Season points leader Ott picked up his fourth feature win in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks division, moving from a fourth-starting position and into the lead early.
In a race plagued by a rash of early cautions, Ott slipped past Frazon for the lead on lap four. The Wheatland resident was able to hold on the rest of the way, finishing 1.8 seconds ahead of Frazon.
“I was really fortunate to get up there like I did,” Ott said. “I really thought I had my work cut way out for me tonight. Most of those guys up in front of me, they’re already feature winners this year.
“They had been going good and everybody has been working hard on their stuff. Everybody is making me push just a little bit just a little bit further to get back up here. It was a great run and it was a good win.”
James Flood advanced from fifth to finish third with Marc Carter in fourth.
Middaugh took command on lap five and went on to earn the Pitts Homes USRA Modified feature win. It was his first triumph of the season at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Middaugh finished 1.14 seconds clear of runner-up Kyle Thompson. Chase Domer was third and Chase Jones finished fourth.
“We’ve been coming here for a couple of years now,” Middaugh said. “We’ve been getting better and better – getting the car better and getting me better as a driver. Driving this track is different than anything else we run at.
“It’s unbelievable to win at this place. The competition that’s here, it doesn’t get much better than this. Thanks to all the fans that stuck out the heat. It was pretty brutal.”
Middaugh started fourth and dueled with front-row starters Thompson and Jones early before taking the lead for good with a pass of Jones to complete lap five.
Domer was the race’s biggest mover, advancing from 12th to third by the finish.