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August 20, 2020

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Middaugh looks for positive finish to Weekly Series season

Ryan Middaugh is third in Pitts Homes USRA Modified points entering Saturday's Rempfer Memorial Season Championship program at Lucas Oil Speedway. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)

WHEATLAND, MO. (August 20, 2020) - On paper, Ryan Middaugh’s season looks pretty decent. The 28-year-old racer from Fulton is third in Pitts Homes USRA Modified points entering Saturday’s Rempfer Memorial Season Championship at Lucas Oil Speedway.

But ask Middaugh how it’s actually played out - on the dirt rather than on paper - and he’s less than enthusiastic.

“Not good,” is Middaugh’s self-evaluation of his season. “It’s been up and down. I had higher expectations. I’ve won a race every year since winning my first one, in 2010. We’ve yet to win a race (this season) and it’s been kind of demoralizing.”

The upside?

“We have been really been consistent. Finished top-10 every night, so that’s good,” he said. “To only be four points out of 2nd in the points, I can’t complain. As bad a year as it’s been, we’re still right there and in contention every night.”

Middaugh, whose consistent season includes three third-place feature finishes, gets one more shot at victory lane on Saturday night. He enters action 83 points behind points leader Robbie Reed, but only four in back of second-place Chase Domer.

Champions in each of the four Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series classes will be crowned at the program Presented by Bill Roberts Chevrolet-Buick and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital-Springfield. It’s also Public Safety Appreciation Night as all Police, Fire and Rescue personnel are admitted free to the Speedway with ID.

Hot laps at the dirt track start at 6:30 with racing at 7:05. For what could be an epic Saturday of racing, those purchasing Saturday tickets to the off road event or three-day off road passes will be admitted free to the dirt track action.

Middaugh, who started racing B-Mods 12 years ago at his hometown Callaway Speedway, said the new GRT chassis he debuted earlier this season simply hasn’t cooperated. Early season cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help him work out the bugs.

“We had planned to go to Humboldt for Battle of Bullring and King of America and kick off our season at Lucas. The whole Covid deal kind of shot all that,” Middaugh said. “Our first full night was opening night at Lucas and we were struggling.

“We stepped back and decided to just run pretty much at Lucas this season until we got to where we can get to other places and contend. The competition is good enough at Lucas that once we get good enough to contend there we can go about anywhere and win.”

Middaugh calls his race team one that makes the most of what it has. His dad, Brian, has always been alongside since the two built their first B-Mod to run at Callaway.

“My dad told me once we won in that car, we would upgrade to a newer one,” Middaugh said. “Callaway Speedway was about five minutes from our house and we ran 10-15 nights a year there. In 2010, we ventured out a little bit over to Lake Ozark Speedway and won a race.

“The next year, dad built me a new chassis and we won like 25 B-Mod races with it.”

After what he called a “killer season” in 2015 with nine wins in about 15 races, they advanced to an A-Mod the following year “and it’s been a lot of fun ever since.”

Middaugh was 2017 Lake Ozark Speedway track champion and also the USRA Modified Central Region champ that year, while finishing third in USRA Modified national points. He called it a career year.

“We were shooting for similar results this year, breaking out a new car, but it just hasn’t come to fruition yet,” he said.

Middaugh, a University of Central Missouri graduate who works as a mechanical designer doing 3D designs for a Fulton company, gives his dad most of the credit for making his racing dreams possible.

“He’s worked two jobs for the last 30 years so we can have a little extra money to go race,” Middaugh said. “I definitely wouldn’t be able to race without him.

“On weekends, I have my wife (Haylee) with me plus a couple of buddies, Blake Davidson and Josh Newman, who come and help. They’ve been along almost every night with me helping at the track.”

The team is hopeful of finishing things off in good fashion this Saturday.

“Robbie’s got the championship sealed up and deservedly so,” Middaugh said. “He’s been the class of the field all year. Congrats to him. Me and Chase have been pretty equal all year. I feel lucky to go into the last night with a shot at being able to come home second. My plan is to race as hard as we can and clean as we can and try to win the race.”

Saturday's program is named to honor Harold "Rowdy" Rempfer and his wife, Julia, who were killed in an automobile accident two years ago. Rowdy was the mayor of Wheatland and he and Julia both worked at Lucas Oil Speedway.

Kids club pit tour: The Frogs Signs Junior Fan Club Kids Pit Tour also continues as eight lucky kids will get to tour the pits before the races with flagman Mike Striegel to get an up-close look at the cars and drivers. The tour will be from 5:15-6 p.m. and then the kids will get to attend the drivers' meeting before going back to the grandstands.

Youngsters ages 5-12 can sign up from 4-5 p.m. on the midway, next to the gift shop trailer on the south end of the midway. Parents will have to sign a waiver form allowing the kids to go into the pits for the tour.

"Beat the Heat, Sit in a Suite" again: The "Beat the Heat" special will continue at the dirt track with individual suite tickets available at $24 apiece. Spectators can sit in air-conditioned comfort or view the action from seats outside, overlooking the front stretch. Contact admissions director Nichole McMillan (417) 282-5984 for more info.

Dirt track ticket prices:
(Free admission with Saturday Off Road ticket or 3-day pass)
Adults (16 and over) $12
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $9
Youth (ages 6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family pass $30
Pit pass $30
Individual suite tickets $24

Off Road action begins Friday: The 3rd annual Lucas Oil Off Road Shootout Presented by General Tire begins on Friday with gates opening at 10:30 a.m. with racing at noon. The schedule is the same Saturday and Sunday.

Fans also can save on grandstand tickets by purchasing them in advance online, with single-day and three-day ticket options available. All tickets include access to the pit area, where fans can see the racing vehicles up close.

There's also a Family Pass that consists of general admission seating for two adults and up to three kids (ages 6-15) for $70 per day. Those must be purchased at the gate the day of the event.

For information about the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series please visit LucasOilOffRoad.com.

Lucas Oil Off Road Shootout Presented by General Tire
Tentative schedule (each day)
9 a.m. - Qualifying
10:30 a.m. - Gates open
Noon - Racing begins
2 p.m. - Opening ceremonies

Grandstand admission prices
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, AUGUST 21-22
(Advance online tickets)
Adults GA/Pit Pass Combo (16+)* $25
Adult Weekend (3-Day) GA/Pit Pass Combo* $80
Senior (62+)/Military Military GA/Pit Pass Combo* $22
Senior (62+)/Military Weekend (3-Day) GA/Pit Pass Combo* $74
Youth (6-15) GA/Pit Pass Combo* $10
Youth (6-15) Weekend (3-Day) GA/Pit Pass Combo* $30
Kids (5 & under) GA/Pit Pass Combo* FREE

(Day of event tickets)
Adults GA/Pit Pass Combo (16+)* $30
Adult Weekend (3-Day) GA/Pit Pass Combo* $90
Senior (62+)/Military Military GA/Pit Pass Combo* $27
Senior (62+)/Military Weekend (3-Day) GA/Pit Pass Combo* $84
Youth (6-15) GA/Pit Pass Combo* $10
Youth (6-15) Weekend (3-Day) GA/Pit Pass Combo* $30
Kids (5 & under) GA/Pit Pass Combo* FREE
Family GA/Pit Pass Combo** $70

*All tickets include access to the Off Road pit area.
(All Saturday and 3-Day tickets include entry to the Dirt Track event on Saturday night)
**Family GA/Pit Pass Combo $70 Includes Admission for 2 Adults and Up to 3 Kids Ages (6-15) Can only be purchased day of event at the gate

SUNDAY, AUG. 23
(Advance online tickets)
Adults GA/Pit Pass Combo (16+)* $25
Senior (62+)/Military Military GA/Pit Pass Combo* $22
Youth (6-15) GA/Pit Pass Combo* $10
Kids (5 & under) GA/Pit Pass Combo* FREE

(Day of the Event tickets)
Adults GA/Pit Pass Combo (16+)* $30
Senior (62+)/Military Military GA/Pit Pass Combo* $27
Youth (6-15) GA/Pit Pass Combo* $10
Kids (5 & under) GA/Pit Pass Combo* FREE
Family GA/Pit Pass Combo** $70

*All tickets include access to the Off Road pit area.
**Family GA/Pit Pass Combo $70 Includes Admission for 2 Adults and Up to 3 Kids Ages (6-15) Can only be purchased day of event at the gate.

For ticket questions or information for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com for more information.

CONTACT:
Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984
DLorton@lucasoilspeedway.com