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September 2, 2020

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Iowan Hurst continues first MLRA tour with eye on top rookie prize

Jeremiah Hurst of Dubuque, Iowa, leads the Lucas Oil MLRA Rookie of the Year standings entering Saturday's Ron Jenkins Memorial Presented by Rugged Radios. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)
WHEATLAND, MO. (Sept. 2, 2020) - The Lucas Oil MLRA Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year leader is far from a racing newcomer.
 
Jeremiah Hurst, a 44-year-old from Dubuque, Iowa, has been an accomplished racer for years. Included on his resume is the 2018 IMCA Late Model National Championship and a runner-up in 2019.
 
But this season has been an entirely new challenge for Hurst - and a pretty successful one.
 
Hurst continues his pursuit of MLRA top rookie honors, along with the series’ overall championship, at Saturday night’s MLRA Ron Jenkins Memorial Presented by Rugged Radios at Lucas Oil Speedway. Winner of the 40-lap feature will earn $5,000, plus an additional $1,000 courtesy of Mary Jenkins, widow of Ron Jenkins who built the original Wheatland Raceway.
 
In his fourth season driving for Roberts Motorsports - but first in open Late Models - Hurst has four top-five finishes and eight top-10s in 12 MLRA events. He’s third overall in series points, 145 behind leader Payton Looney of Republic, Missouri, with seven races remaining. Two-time MLRA champion and fellow Iowan Chad Simpson is 25 points in front of Hurst.
 
“It’s been good … a little bit up and down,” Hurst said of his season. “But lately we’ve been having good runs. That’s all I can ask for. As long as we’re getting better, that’s good.
 
“It’s pretty eye-opening,” he added of stepping up to the open Late Model ranks. “I knew it would be different, but I didn’t think it would be that different. And it is quite different. Your car has to be pretty much spot-on to be up front.”
 
Hurst mentioned maintaining momentum in the more-powerful motors and figuring out the right combinations of tires and shock packages as keys. Having Garrett Alberson as a teammate has been helpful in making the transition.
 
“He’s already been around it and that’s been helpful for us,” Hurst said. “I think otherwise we probably would not have had as good a year as we have going. We eventually would have got it, but it helped our program get better right away.
 
“He’s really kind of a quiet and (thoughtful) guy,” Hurst said of Alberson. “When he gets out of the car he’s already thinking of ways to get his car better and my car better. I definitely like that part of it.”
 
Hurst has used a seven-week break between MLRA races as a chance to race tracks he’s familiar with in the eastern Iowa and western Illinois region and has picked up a couple of wins. He hopes to continue those good vibes this weekend, at Wheatland and then on Sunday for the 2nd annual Scottie 46 at Randolph County Raceway in Moberly.
 
Overtaking Looney might be a longshot, but Hurst figures it’s already been a solid season in his No. 58 Black Diamond that can become even better with a strong finish.
 
“I wanted to win that Lucas (MLRA) rookie deal, not tear up a bunch of equipment and be competitive,” Hurst said of his preseason goals. “I wanted to gain some respect and not be seen as a dirty driver … just try to get better in all aspects of the game.
 
“I’ve points raced my entire life. I’m used to it and if things come down to a couple of points here or there, I think I can handle the pressure. We’ll see, I guess.”
 
Gates to the dirt track will open at 4 p.m. Saturday with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05.
 
For more news on the MLRA, including point standings, schedules and archived news visit MLRAracing.com.
 
Big weekend includes drag boats: The Diamond Drag Boat Nationals are set for Saturday and Sunday on Lake Lucas, as the Kentucky Drag Boat Association and Southern Drag Boat Association co-sanction the two-day program. It’s the third and final appearance of the drag boats this season in Wheatland.
 
Fans wishing to make it a full day on Saturday can use their drag-boat admission ticket for free entry to the dirt track that night. Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods and O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks each will race for $750-to-win 25-lap features as they join the Lucas Oil MLRA.
 
Friday fundraiser dinner, plus a band: Activity will begin on Friday after the drag boat teams check in with a benefit fundraiser BBQ dinner from 6:30-8 p.m. with proceeds split between Racers Emergency Support Program and Racers for Christ. The event is open to the public with donations accepted.
 
Also on Friday night, the band “Gotcha Covered” will play under the bar tent on the drag boat midway from 8 p.m.-midnight on Friday. Admission is free and the public is invited.
 
Spectator gates open at 8 a.m. both days of the Diamond Drag Boat Nationals with qualifying tentatively set for 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Saturday; eliminations tentatively are set to begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
 
For more information on the Southern Drag Boat Association visit SDBAracing.com and the Kentucky Drag Boat Association go to KDBA.net.
 
Saturday Diamond Drag Boat Nationals admission:
Adults GA/Pit Pass Combo (16 and up) $25
Seniors(62 and up)/Military GA/Pit Pass Combo (62 and up) $22
Youth GA/Pit Pass Combo (age 6 to 15) $10
Kids GA/Pit Pass Combo (age 5 and under) FREE
Family Pass GA/Pit Pass Comb - Includes Admission for 2 Adults and Up to 3 Kids Ages (6-15) $60
Adult 2-Day GA/Pit Pass Combo $50
Seniors (62 and up)/Military 3-Day GA/Pit Pass Combo $44
Youth Ages (6-15) 3-Day GA/Pit Pass Combo $20
*All tickets include access to Drag Boat pit area.
**All Saturday and 2-Day tickets include entry to the Dirt Track Event on Saturday night, Sept. 5
 
Sunday Diamond Drag Boat Nationals admission:
Adults GA/Pit Pass Combo (16 and up) $25
Seniors(62 and up)/Military GA/Pit Pass Combo (62 and up) $22
Youth GA/Pit Pass Combo (age 6 to 15) $10
Kids GA/Pit Pass Combo (age 5 and under)   FREE
Family Pass GA/Pit Pass Comb - Includes Admission for 2 Adults and Up to 3 Kids Ages (6-15) $60
Adult 2-Day GA/Pit Pass Combo $50
Seniors (62 and up)/Military 3-Day GA/Pit Pass Combo $44
Youth Ages (6-15) 3-Day GA/Pit Pass Combo $20
*All tickets include access to Drag Boat pit area.
 
Saturday MLRA Ron Jenkins Memorial admission:
(Free admission with Saturday or two-day drag boat ticket)
Adult (16+) $20
Senior (62+)/Military $17
Youth (6-15) $10
Kids (5 & under) FREE
Pit Pass $40
 
Advance tickets for any remaining event this season can only be purchased online. Otherwise, tickets will be available 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