Title chase? Opening weeks will chart Jason Russell's course in 2016 USRA Modified season
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January 26, 2016  |  by Lyndal Scranton

Jason Russell was runner-up to Cutshaw in the Lucas Oil Speedway Pitts Homes USRA Modified division in 2015.

WHEATLAND, Mo.—It was the kind of season most drivers would have celebrated. But for Jason Russell, his 2015 accomplishments hardly seemed worth raising an eyebrow.

Russell, a former Lucas Oil Speedway champion in two divisions, wound up second to Jeff Cutshaw in the Pitts Homes USRA Modified points chase. He won two races and was a contender more nights than not.

"It was Okay," Russell said, in reflecting upon the 2015 season. "It wasn't really a great year."

For Russell, a 17-year racing veteran from Eugene in South Central Missouri, the standard is set high. He won the 2012 Pitts Homes USRA Modified title at Lucas Oil Speedway and followed it up with a 2013 Alps Food Store ULMA Late Model crown.

He pulled double duty in both divisions those years. In 2012 Russell nearly claimed a double championship, finishing second in the Alps Food Store ULMA Late Model chase.

"He's always a good, strong competitor, always contending and up in the top five," said Eric Turner, another who's driven both Alps Food Store ULMA Late Models and Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds at Lucas Oil Speedway.

"There always are six to seven cars that are always capable of competing for a win and you never know who is going to hit on it and make it happen that night," Turner added. "Jason is always one of them."

Russell, 36, is open to getting into a Late Model again in 2016 if the right situation presents itself. That's a division in which his younger brother, Justin Russell, won the 2015 Lucas Oil Speedway championship.

"He's worked for it for a long time and that was nice to see for him," Jason Russell said.

Jason Russell's priority for this year seems to be the modified program, with sponsors Eldon Drive-In and Schaeffer Racing Oil, and crew members Brian Basham and Greg Thornsbury providing support.

"I really enjoy the competition," Russell said of the Pitts Homes USRA Modified division. "You won't find a more competitive class in this area."

So is breaking Cutshaw's two-year championship reign a goal for the upcoming season?

Russell said to stay tuned. Even he doesn't know what's ahead.

"We really don't have our plans set in stone yet," he said. "I'll race the A-Mod, for sure. I might get in a Late Model a few times. We'll see. I'm still working on that."

As for making a championship run, Russell said it'll depend how the early portion of the season goes.

"If it starts out good, we might go after the points," he said. "I don't want to get locked into anything yet."

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, MO. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With it's 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 www.LucasOilSpeedway.com for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984.

In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking "Like" at www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway.

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