DAVENPORT, Iowa — Chad Simpson picked up his 17th career Lucas Oil MLRA late model triumph Thursday night at Davenport Speedway.
The win didn’t come easy for the Longhorn Chassis driver who was coming off a runner-up finish in the finale of the MLRA Spring Nationals just two weeks ago at the Lucas Oil Speedway.
Simpson led the field to the green from the pole for the 40 lapper alongside nine-time MLRA winner Ryan Gustin. Simpson charged to the lead at the start, but it would only last for a pair of laps as Chad Holladay took advantage of a Simpson slip to lead laps three and four.
In a race that saw seven lead changes, it was a battle from start to finish, with five drivers sharing time in the top spot. Simpson regained the top spot on lap five, leading until lap 23, when Brandon Sheppard shot to the front, quickly distancing himself from the field. However, Sheppard suffered a flat right-rear tire on lap 29.
Fast-qualifier Shannon Babb inherited the lead, but cold only hold on for one lap, giving way to Chad Simpson for the third time on the night. Gustin, who started second, dropped to as low as eighth in the running order on lap 16, but found the high side to his liking and slowly charged back toward the front.
With just five to go he found the power exiting turn four to snag his first lead of the night.
With just two laps to go Gustin suffered a flat right-rear of his own, leaving him shooting off the edge in turn two, again putting Simpson back at the point.
With just two laps to go, Chad Simpson raced to his second MLRA win at the Davenport Speedway, making it a Simpson 1-2 finish with brother Chris coming home in the runner-up spot. Babb rounded out the podium in third while Jake Timm and Chad Holladay completed the top five.
“I was just too tight really all night long, and we freed it up a little bit for the feature which was something I probably should have never did,” said the $5,000 winner. “It just kind of laid on the right rear a little bit too much, but I can’t thank Eric and Brandon with Wells Motorsports enough for helping me on this car. Bill with Pro Power was here tonight and the motor ran great, and just everybody that helps on this thing. Everybody does an outstanding job helping out with this deal and they are the ones that allow me to stand up here.”
Brother Chris Simpson joined the winner on the podium.
“We were good, I just couldn’t figure out this thing,” said Chris Simpson. “Ricky (Kay) had this thing a little tricky tonight, I’ve never seen it like that. Usually there is a moisture ring right around the bottom you can ride around but it had a little shined up spot around the middle of three and four you just kind of had to swing out and catch the moisture off. Congrats to Chad, he has had some tough luck here, so it was good to see him win.”
Feature (40 laps): 1. 25-Chad Simpson; 2. 32S-Chris Simpson; 3. 18-Shannon Babb; 4. 49T-Jake Timm; 5. 32C-Chad Holladay; 6. 4G-Bob Gardner; 7. 11H-Jeff Herzog; 8. 25F-Jason Feger; 9. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck; 10. (DNF) 19R-Ryan Gustin; 11. (DNF) 2-Tyler Stevens; 12. (DNF) 8-Dillon McCowan; 13. (DNF) 21B-Rich Bell; 14. (DNF) B5-Brandon Sheppard; 15. (DNF) 56JR-Tony Jackson Jr; 16. (DNF) 29D-Spencer Diercks; 17. (DNF) 58-Garrett Alberson; 18. (DNF) 93-Mason Oberkramer; 19. (DNF) 21M-Billy Moyer Sr; 20. (DNF) 78S-Steve Stultz; 21. (DNF) 07-Matt Ryan; 22. (DNF) 15K-Justin Kay; 23. (DNF) 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh; 24. (DNF) 14G-Trevor Gundaker; 25. (DNF) 16T-Tyler Bruening; 26. (DNF) 28-Dustin Sorensen