Junghans Dominates Lucas Oil MLRA Opener at Davenport

The Lucas Oil MLRA season kicked off on Friday night at the super-fast ½ mile Davenport Speedway and for Chase Junghans it was a near perfect night. Junghans kept his Shop Quick Convenience Stores sponsored Rocket XR1 Chassis out in front all night sweeping both his heat and the $5,000 to win feature, along with the DirtOnDirt.com Pole Award.

A total of 24 cars took the green in the 30 lap feature event and Junghans quickly jump to the lead over fellow front row starter Will Vaught. With Junghans in control and stretching out the advantage every lap, the battle behind him stayed hot with the likes of Jorday Yaggy, Bobby Pierce, and Hudson O’Neal battling for positions 2-4.

As the race neared the mid-point Junghans found himself locked into a tussle with heavy lapped traffic, yet the Manhattan, KS driver was able to maintain a comfortable advantage leading up to the cross flags. As the leaders approached lap 15, Pierce would momentarily take the runner-up spot away from Yaggy entering turn three, only to see Yaggy storm back by the “Smooth Operator” as they exited turn four.

With 15 laps remaining the races only caution would fly for Jeremy Grady who lost a left front wheel, resulting in heavy contact with the turn three wall and an early end to his night. As the field prepared to go back under the green it quickly became evident that Pierce was in trouble. He quickly dove to the inside of the front stretch to avoid the field as the green waved, and would be forced pitside with a flat right rear tire. Pierce would restart in 21st and rally to a 7th place finish.

On the ensuing restart, once again it was all Junghans who regained control of the field. The final five laps found the leaders again mixing it up with lapped traffic, this time with O’Neal making up ground on the race leader. O’neal who started forth in his Longhorn/Clements powered entry would come within four car lengths at the end, but Jungans was not to be denied, picking up his first ever Lucas Oil MLRA win. Yaggy would come home third while Chad and Chris Simpson rounded out the top five respectively.

Following the main event Junghans commented, “We have been working hard on it. We got our butts kicked a couple weeks ago at Farmer City, so my guys have been working really hard at the shop, I just can’t thank them guys enough.” Looking forward to tomorrow’s weekend finale he concluded, “It definitely feels good to get the first win of the year, hopefully we can start ticking them off. Hopefully we do it again tomorrow!”

With his runner-up finish O’Neal will look to build on the momentum gained at Davenport on Friday night. “We have been struggling so much this feels almost as good as a win. I felt we were a little better than him 3 to 4 laps into a run and then he would drive back away from me.” O’Neal finished by saying, “I felt like we had something for him, we just didn’t quite get to him to give him a shot, but it was definitely fun to be running up front again after we have been struggling this last month-it’s definitely relieving.”

Yaggy returned to the MLRA podium for the first time since 2016 and was enthusiastic about his third place run. “This is our first night out of this year. This thing handles a little different than the Peterbilt I have been driving the past six months. To get out of here with a top three finish with these guys is a heck of a night for us,” stated the Rochester, MN driver.

“The track was a lot of fun tonight, the car was probably a little better than the driver,” joked Yaggy. “I’m pretty sure this thing was good enough to win here tonight, hopefully the driver can do his homework and get caught up to it and have a good season.”

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