“Racing Principal” Pursley looks for first Lucas Oil Speedway track title
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March 3, 2016  |  by Lyndal Scranton

Jason Pursley, after several runner-up finishes and a fourth last season, has a goal to win his first Lucas Oil Speedway track championship in 2016. (Chris Bork Photo)

WHEATLAND, Mo.—Jason Pursley is the principal who drives fast. It's all good. Students and parents cheer him on.

"I trade in my suit and tie for a helmet and a fire suit," said Pursley, the Hickory County R-1 Skyline-Urbana elementary-school boss man. He's been racing USRA Modifieds around Ozark-area dirt tracks for about 15 years.

Pursley, from Hermitage, is eager to make a run at his first Lucas Oil Speedway Pitts Homes USRA Modified track championship in 2016 after finishing fourth in points a year ago.

His cheering section is more unique than most. It's not uncommon for kids from Skyline-Urbana, where Pursley has been elementary principal for 12 years, to attend races and visit him afterward in the pits.

"I take my car to school every few years and usually work with Dan (Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager Dan Robinson) on a teacher night and a lot of teachers come over to the speedway," Pursley said. "Last year. I gave some rides in the two-seater. The kids love it."

It's not a novelty act. Pursley is a serious—and talented—race car driver.

"He and I started racing about the same time, over at Urbana," fellow Modified competitor Eric Turner said. "Jason's always been a good driver and very clean."

Pursley said the mix of school administrator and race-car driver isn't too difficult to manage. By the time the racing season is cranking up, the school year is winding down.

"Once basketball season is over, my nights free up a bunch as far as doing supervision," he said. "It works out pretty good. I get a lot of work done on the weekends not the race car."

Racing is a family tradition. Pursley joked that he's "been going to the races since before I was born" at tracks in Humansville and Nevada.

"I had two grandpas who raced, my dad (Larry Foltz) raced and I have two uncles (John Fellers and Donnie Fellers) that still race," Pursley said. "I got into racing because it's a family affair."

Pursley always has driven a Modified, with his first race car costing $1,500. He marveled at how the division has evolved, in cost and technology.

He pointed to the $100,000-to-win Modified race at the Batesville Speedway in Locust Grove, Ark., that was held about 10 years ago as changing the division forever.

"Late Model guys found out they could make some money in the Modified division," Pursley said. "A lot of them got themselves a Modified and brought the technology with them."

This season, Pursley is driving a new GRT owned by Tom Campbell of Warsaw. Purely said winning a Lucas Oil Speedway championship is his goal after a "just average" 2015 season, which did not include a victory.

"I've got second in points at Lucas probably five or six times," Pursley said. "I would like to be the bride and not the bridesmaid, for once."

Pursley's sponsors include Fugate Motors, Midwest Low-E Insulation, NAPA Auto Parts, Christian Home Care, Fellers Masonry, Mach One Machine and Vinyl Works.

Lucas Oil Speedway's season fires up April 8-9 with the Lucas Oil MLRA Spring Nationals with the first Budweiser Weekly Championship Series race set for April 16.

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. 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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