Morton eager to chase Lucas Oil Speedway Out-Pace USRA B-Mod crown
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April 21, 2016  |  by Lyndal Scranton

WHEATLAND, Mo.—J.C. Morton had a great view of an exciting finish in last week's Out-Pace USRA B-Mod feature at Lucas Oil Speedway.

Unfortunately for Morton, he was a few feet behind winner Chad Clancy and runner-up Kris Jackson in the race of the night. Clancy passed Jackson coming out of the final turn and won by inches.

"It was a heck of a race," Morton said earlier this week. "I just wish we could have been in front."

Morton figures to have plenty of chances to do just that. One of the region's top Out-Pace USRA B-Mod drivers has decided to make Lucas Oil Speedway his Saturday-night home this season and chase a track championship.

Week One was a solid start for the 26-year-old from Springfield, who is this week's Tailgate Guys Radio Show Spotlight Driver of the Week for Lucas Oil Speedway.

After starting the evening riding around the speedway's go-kart track with his three-year-old daughter Zoey - "she loves racing," Morton said - he dueled with Jackson for the lead for much of the race, working the high side of the track.

Each time Morton seemed ready to make a pass, the caution flag flew.

"I wish we could have had a longer green-flag run," Morton said. "But that's part of it. Some nights you don't want a yellow and there are nights you want one and can't get it. It goes both ways."

Morton, track champion at Monett Speedway last season and runner-up in points at Springfield Raceway, said he's excited about bringing his program to Lucas Oil Speedway on a regular basis. Morton finished in the top 10 of the Out-Pace USRA B-Mod national points in 2015 and won a $7,500 special at Legit Speedway in West Plains last fall.

The plan for 2016 includes a floating schedule on Friday nights with Monett, Lakeside Speedway and Humboldt Speedway in the mix.

"We thought about it all winter," Morton said of racing at Lucas Oil Speedway. "They stepped up their pay and are one of the best-paying tracks around. The car count's always good, the competition's always good and the race track is always good.

"I think we're going to chase the points and try to win that (Lucas) track championship."

The first Out-Pace USRA B-Mod feature of the season found Clancy, Jackson and Morton finishing within a car length of one another. Morton said that's typical of the competition level in what's become the largest class around.

Morton noted that "it's pretty stout about anywhere you go. There are always at least seven to ten cars that could win."

Asked his goals beyond the Lucas track chase, Morton said he keeps things pretty simple.

"We don't really focus on the (USRA) national deal until it comes down to the last month and we'll see where we're sitting there," he said. "We go to the race track to win. You race a little different when you're points racing, but for the most part we're going there to win."

Morton said he's matured as a driver over the last couple of years. He said it helps at the start of a new work week if there's not a lot of repairs that need to be made to the race car for him and his father and crew chief, Gene Morton.

"That and replacing parts gets pricey," said Morton, who works full time at SRC Heavy Duty in Springfield.

Morton's sponsors include Taylor-Made Roofing, Tailpipers Automotive, S&S Recycling, Yeoman Race Engines, Hoffman Race Cars, R&R Graphics, Midwest Sheet Metal and RacinDirt.com.

While the Out-Pace USRA B-Mod class is a comfortable fit, Morton dreams of bigger opportunities down the road.

"I'm happy with the B-Mod deal, but I would love to get the opportunity to try an A-Mod or a Late Model someday," he said. "We'll just trying to keep popping off good finishes and hopefully someday, somebody might see us, pick us up and take us on a journey we haven't been on yet."

The Tailgate Guys Radio Show Spotlight Driver of the Week, featuring competitors at Lucas Oil Speedway, is a regular feature during the 2016 season.

The Tailgate Guys Radio Show airs on Saturdays from 11-noon on AM 1340 KICK in Springfield and can be heard online at 1340BigTalker.com. For more information on the show, check out its Facebook page at facebook.com/TailgateGuysRadio.

Racing resumes on Saturday at Lucas Oil Speedway with round two of the Budweiser Weekly Championship Series. Along with Out-Pace USRA B-Mods, the ALPS Food Stores ULMA Late Models, USRA Modifieds and Carson's Corner NAPA Street Stocks will be in action.

Gates open at 5 p.m. with hot laps at 7 and racing at 7:30.

Presented by KLOZ-Mix 92.7, it's the first Super Saver Special of the season with fans arriving before 6:30 p.m. receiving four admissions, four hot dogs and four 20-ounce Coca-Cola products for $30.

A limited number of VIP Suites are available for Saturday's event. Contact Anna Harnden at (417) 282-5984 or by email at anna@lucasoilspeedway.com.

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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