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November 3, 2018

Long-time engine builder Ruble receives Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award at speedway banquet

Lucas Oil Speedway postseason awards banquet
Lucas Oil Speedway wrapped up the 2018 season with its annual postseason awards banquet on Saturday night at The Lodge at Old Kinderhook. (Kenny Shaw photo)

WHEATLAND, Missouri (November 3, 2018) - Lucas Oil Speedway held its annual postseason awards banquet Saturday night at The Lodge at Old Kinderhook, with the four Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series champions headlining the honorees.

Johnny Fennewald (Warsaw Auto Marine & RV Late Models), Darron Fuqua (Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds), David Hendrix (Big O Tires Street Stocks) and JC Morton (Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods) took home the championship trophies. Meanwhile, the entire top 10 in each division received points money and trophies.

Three special awards also were announced, including veteran engine builder Jim Ruble as recipient of the 2nd annual Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the sport on and off the track.

Ruble, of Springfield, Missouri, has been building racing engines for a half century and among his clients this season was Kris Jackson, third in USRA B-Mod points at Lucas Oil Speedway and the USRA B-Mod National Champion.

"I've been building motors since I was 13 years old," Ruble said after receiving a loud ovation at the banquet. "I plan on doing it until I can't any more."

ULMA Late Model driver Kaeden Cornell was named Most Popular Driver for the second straight year, earning four times as many votes (158-39) as any other driver in fan online balloting. Austin Joplin, also from Willard, was second with 39 votes. He competes in the B-Mod class.

"It's an honor to receive this award," Cornell said. The 17-year-old Willard High School senior was a close third in Late Model points behind Fennewald and Aaron Marrant.

"I don't really now why you all like me. I'm just a goofball," Cornell said, with a laugh. "But thanks to you guys for supporting me. I love you guys to death."

Joplin's Johnny Coats for Best Appearing Race Car, as selected by track photographer Kenny Shaw and the speedway staff. 

A final prize, that actually was determined on the final night of the Weekly Racing Series, went to Fennewald for a crew member's season pit pass for 2019. Fennewald and Cornell tied for having the most tickets turned back in on championship night and the winner was determined in a draw out of a hat.

That was symbolic of the closeness of the battle this season for the Late Model title, which came down to the final night. Fennewald won the feature and took home the season title, with Marrant and Cornell both seven points behind.

The USRA B-Mod chase was nearly as tight as Morton of Springfield wound up 14 points in front of Taylor Moore. 

Things were a bit more comfortable for the other track champions. Fuqua, of Mayetta, Kansas, dethroned four-time reigning USRA Modified champ Jeff Cutshaw by a 110-point margin. Meanwhile, Waynesville's Hendrix wound up 15 points clear of Lebanon's Brian Schutt in the Street Stocks.

Schutt, Hendrix's cousin, announced during the banquet that he was stepping away from racing to spend more time with his family.

Here are the top 10 drivers in each division honored at the banquet:

Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models - 1, Johnny Fennewald. 2, Aaron Marrant. 3, Kaeden Cornell. 4, Daniel Jessen. 5, Aaron Poe. 6, Josh Poe. 7, Tommy Cordray. 8, Ashlee Lancaster. 9, Lane Ehlert. 10, Larry Jones.

Big O Tires Street Stocks - 1, David Hendrix. 2, Brian Schutt. 3, Bobby Barnett. 4, Toby Ott. 5, Tim Petty. 6, Johnny Coats. 7, Francisco Escamilla. 8, James Flood. 9, Bradley Gideon. 10, Ted Welschmeyer.

Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds - 1, Darron Fuqua. 2, Jeff Cutshaw. 3, Lance Town. 4, Jason Pursley. 5, Jon Sheets. 6, Evan Hubert. 7, Mike Striegel. 8, Tracy Wolf. 9, Ronnie Woods. 10, Chase Domer.

Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods - 1, JC Morton. 2, Taylor Moore. 3, Kris Jackson. 4, Robert Heydenreich. 5, Mitchell Franklin. 6, Mike Striegel. 7, Ricky Watkins. 8, Austin Joplin. 9, Robbe Ewing. 10, Quentin Taylor.

Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984