Lucas Oil Speedway honors season champs; Merritt named first Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award winner
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November 4, 2017  |  by Lyndal Scranton

Lucas Oil Speedway held its annual awards banquet Saturday at The Lodge at Old Kinderhook in Camdenton, Missouri.

A banner racing season at Lucas Oil Speedway was celebrated Saturday night with the awards banquet at The Lodge at Old Kinderhook in Camdenton.

Top 10 in points and the champions in the USRA Modifieds (Jeff Cutshaw) and Out-Pace USRA B-Mods (Andy Bryant) were recognized during the event.

In a special presentation, veteran Ozarks-area racer Rex Merritt of Billings was named winner of the first Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the sport on and off the race track.

"It was a complete surprise to me," said Merritt, who's raced stock cars for four decades and won at least 35 track championships. He's also been a mentor to many drivers over the years.

"I can't think of anyone more deserving of the first Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award," Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager Dan Robinson said. "Rex has done so much for the sport of dirt-track racing, not only in the southwest Missouri area, but throughout the country."

Veteran racer Rex Merritt of Billings, Missouri, was named recipient of the first Lucas Oil Speedway Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday at the track's post-season awards banquet.

Another highlight of the evening saw Jon Binning of Warrensburg win a new Harley-Davidson Roadster, courtesy of Lawless Harley-Davidson of Scott City, Missouri. The top 10 drivers in each division were eligible for the raffle.

Other special, first-time postseason awards went to Kaeden Cornell of Willard, Missouri, who was named Most Popular Driver for 2017 in online fan voting and to Ashlee Lancaster of Sturgeon, Missouri, who won Best Appearing Race Car as determined by Lucas Oil Speedway staff.

Robinson began the evening by thanking the drivers, crew members and fans for another record-breaking season, in which 113,000 fans came through the gates to eclipse the total attendance mark of 107,000 set in 2016.

Weekly Racing Series events averaged just under 2,400 fans with an average car count of 105.

"We like to set the bar high. While this was a great season, we've already turned our attention to making 2018 even better," Robinson said.

Cutshaw has turned the banquet into a championship tradition. The Bolivar, Missouri, driver picked up his fourth straight USRA Modified track championship after another banner season in which he won three features and nine other top-five finishes.

"I'd like to thank Billy Mitchell who takes care of the car all week long and makes it easy without me having to do a whole lot on it, along with Michael Mitchell and Andrew Miller," Cutshaw said. "Those guys take care of the thing. And I'd just like to thank all the Lucas Oil people who give us a great place to race."

Bryant, of Fort Scott, Kansas, captured the Out-Pace USRA B-Mod crown with a banner season. He won four features, was second three times and added a third-place in 11 main events in 2017.

"I'd like to think we have some of the best, competitive racing of any of the classes," Bryant said of the Out-Pace USRA B-Mods. "I'd like to thank all my marketing partners and I look forward to next year. Hopefully, we'll have another good season."

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Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With its 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.

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