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Lucas Oil Speedway Champions Spotlight: Wells combines competitive fire and fun for Late Model crown


Lucas Oil Speedway

Lucas Oil Speedway Champions Spotlight: Wells combines competitive fire and fun for Late Model crown

WHEATLAND, MO. (Dec. 12, 2023) - Throughout his three-decade career of driving dirt Late Models, Justin Wells would be hard-pressed to find a season in which he had more fun than 2023.

Wells blitzed the competition en route to his first Lucas Oil Speedway track championship by winning 11 Hermitage Lumber Late Model features in 17 attempts. The 46-year-old from Aurora said it was about the right balance between competitive fire and having fun.

“I want to be serious about what we’re doing and be competitive,” Wells said. “That was probably the key to our whole year, we had fun.”

The Ozarks Area Racers Foundation Hall of Famer has raced at the high level of regional touring series over the years. He’s also the answer to one of great trivia questions in Lucas Oil Speedway history, winning the first Late Model race - an MLRA Series event - when the speedway re-opened in 2006.

Wells and his racing partner Kenny Patterson originally had planned to hit the MLRA circuit heavy in 2023 while mixing in some Big Adventure Weekly Racing Series events in Wheatland.

“We geared up pretty hard last winter,” Wells said. “We started working about this time last year and we were gonna race anything within about three hours of the house and no be committed to anything. Any way, we started out the year and everything kept raining out and races kept getting canceled.”

Meanwhile, Wells said a motor deal fell through and he faced a lengthy time to freshen his lone available open Late Model engine.

“When we got to April and May, we didn’t have a super motor because ours was lapped out,” he said, noting that after picking up some early weekly wins that the team decided to keep on pulling to Lucas Oil Speedway.

“We were having so much fun. That’s the key part of it,” Wells said.

It also didn’t hurt that added sponsor money was paying the feature winner $1,000 a week, plus some extra heat-race cash.

The No. 96 car, a 2006 TNT chassis, kept humming along all season. The 17-year-old car now has 105 feature wins and Wells plans to bring it back in 2024.

“The guys at TNT said they could build me a new one,” Wells said. “I told them, ‘why do I need a new one when this one’s still going good?’

“Right now, we’re hammer down, preparing both cars (for next season). We’re gonna do the same motto which is work hard and get the best results. Where we land, we don’t know.”

But the appeal of pulling an hour and a half to Wheatland is strong.

“We leave usually about 3:30 or so and get up there at 5,” Wells said. “We can race and usually can be sitting back at Whataburger in Republic by 10:30 or 11 and home at midnight. That makes so much difference for all of us.

“Those guys at Lucas Oil, the guy that does the track, Richard Turner does a great job. Everybody there are such good people,” Wells said. “We just enjoyed it. I’ve got to thank Kenny Patterson and his wife Pauline, along with Doug Hess, Brigitta Vance and my family.”

Team sponsors include Animal Race Bodies, Bill Vance Marine, Bud's Tire & Wheel, Bumper to Bumper, Doty Trash, Henry's Towing, Horton Supply, Jason's Stump Grinding, Muilenburg Excavation, Midwest Sheet Metal, Pettyjohn Plastering, ProGuide Batteries, Scott Bailey Race Engines, Synergy Suspension Technologies, Super Seal and TNT Race Cars.

Season pass renewals, gift cards available: Lucas Oil Speedway recently unveiled its tentative 2024 schedule with Open Test & Tune set to kick things off on March 30. The speedway has gift cards available for purchase as a Christmas-gift option and also has season pass renewals for the 2024 season available at a discount through the end of the year.

Season passes for the 2024 season are available now at a $50 discount for renewals from 2023. Contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at for more information.

Season Pass Renewals before Dec. 29th, 2023:

Adults (Age 16-61) $700 (dirt-track only)

Seniors (Age 62 and up) $600 (dirt-track only)

Season Passes beginning Jan. 15th, 2024:

Adults (Age 16-61) $750 (dirt-track only)

Senior (Age 62 and up) $650 (dirt track only)

Each season pass holder is entitled to one reserved stadium-style seat, complete with high backs and armrests located in the top six rows of the main grandstand of the dirt track.

Meanwhile, Lucas Oil Speedway gift cards are available in any dollar amount. Gift cards can be used in all departments including in the ticket office, pit office, camp shack, concessions, gift shop, suites and the Diamond Bar.

Lorton added that the gift shop is remaining open year-round, during week-day business hours, for those interested in stopping by the track and shopping for items.

For ticket information about any future event at Lucas Oil Speedway contact admissions director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at for more information.


Danny Lorton

Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager

Office: (417) 282-5984

? Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived race recaps, previews and driver features, along with ticket information and schedules can be found by visiting

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With its entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.

Click for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984. The Lucas Oil Speedway EZ Texting number is (417) 804-4141.

In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking "Like" at and on

About Lucas Oil Speedway
Lucas Oil Speedway is considered by fans, drivers and industry insiders to be one of the top five racing facilities in the nation. Located in Wheatland, Missouri, approximately an hour from Springfield, Missouri, and just an hour and a half from the Kansas City metro area, the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks" lives up to its title.

Twenty-One VIP Luxury Suites, HD Jumbo-Tron Screen, Stadium Style Musco Sports Lighting, a Bose Sound System, Go-Kart Slick Track, The Diamond Bar, Track Treasures Gift Shop, the best track food in the country and paved pits are a few of the spectacular amenities setting the Diamond of Dirt apart. This year marks the 12th season for the Liquid Quarter Mile Drag Racing Lake, "Lake Lucas." New for 2017 was all-purpose built Off Road facility featuring a host of regional events.

Lucas Oil Speedway's dirt oval track plays host to some of the largest and most-popular events in the Midwest with national and regional touring series appearing frequently including: The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, POWRi Midget National Series, Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, United States Modified Touring Series, ASCS Sprint Cars and the Lucas Oil MLRA.

In addition to the special events, the Lucas Oil Speedway Weekly Racing Series features the Late Models, USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods.

2023 Official Lucas Oil Speedway Marketing Partners

Arizona Sport Shirts
"The Official Merchandise Provider" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Bill Roberts Chevrolet-Buick
"The Official Truck" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Dixie Chopper
"The Official Mowers of Lucas Oil Speedway"

General Tire
"The Official Tire" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Lucas Oil Products
"The Official Oil" of Lucas Oil Speedway

"The Official Television Network" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper
"The Official Soft Drink" of Lucas Oil Speedway
"The Official Classifieds" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Rugged Radios
"The Official 2-Way Communications Provider" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Summit Racing Equipment
"The Official Sponsor" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Sunoco Race Fuels
"The Official Fuel" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Super Clean
"The Official Sponsor" of Lucas Oil Speedway

2023 Lucas Oil Speedway Supporters Include:
AM Pyrotechnics, Alliance Sport Marketing, Arctic Food Equipment, Arizona Sport Shirts, Berry Tractor and Equipment Co., Big Adventure RV, Bill Roberts Chevrolet-Buick, Bolivar Auto Sales & Detailing, Bolivar Farmers Exchange-MFA, Boone's BBQ Barn, Boubin Tire/American Racer, Branstetter & Lightfoot LLC, Bridal Cave, BWI Sanitation, Camden on the Lake Resort, Candlelight Creations-Dick's Wild Root Horseradish, Casey's, Cedar Creek Beef Jerky, Citizens Memorial Healthcare, City Magnet, Clearlight Inn, Dirt Track Specialist, Dixie Chopper, Eagle Vision Paving LLC, Eibach Springs, Farmers Insurance Agent Kristy Reynolds, Fast Shafts by Axle Exchange, Foley Equipment-Cat Rental Store, Frog Signs, Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare, Hermitage Lumber, HICKAMO Country Store, Hobbytime Motorsports, Impact Signs Awnings Wraps, In the Garden of Eden, KC Bobcat, Kettle Treats, Keyser Manufacturing, Kluhsman Racing Components, Kona Ice, Lucas Cattle Company, MD3, Midwest Sheet Metal, Miller Welding, Missouri Division of Tourism, MyRacePass, Nutrien Ag Solutions, OakStar Bank, O'Bannon Bank, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Ozark Golf Cars, Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper, Ozarks Community Health Center, PEM, Pitts Homes, Pitts Realty, Pitts Cattle, Pomme de Terre Resort, ProThings Apparel, RACEceiver,,,, Rains Ice Company, Real Racing Wheels, Reed Environmental, River's End Motel & RV Park, Rod End Supply, Ron Jenkins Accounting & Tax Service, Rugged Radios, Ryan E. Murphy Law Firm LLC, SBU Athletics, Safety Kleen, Scott Furniture, Sidetrack RV Park, Simpson Racing Products, SMC, Southwest Electric Cooperative, State Tech, Stillwater Resort, Summit Racing Equipment, Sunoco Race Fuels, US Army Corps of Engineers-Pomme de Terre, Vietti Marketing Group, Wasoba Seed & Trucking, Wheatland Motel, White's Marine Center, Wieland, Wild Animal Safari, Woods Supermarkets.

Article Credit: By Lyndal Scranton, Lucas Oil Speedway

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