Darren Phillips
Darren Phillips

Darren Phillips
Wheatland, MO

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Darren Phillips having fun, success in USRA Stock Car division


Lucas Oil Speedway

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Darren Phillips having fun, success in USRA Stock Car division

WHEATLAND, MO. (June 10, 2021) - When it all comes down to it, racing is supposed to be about having fun and Darren Phillips said he’s back to having a bunch of it this season at Lucas Oil Speedway.

“I was done racing last year, until I got this car,” Phillips said of the USRA Stock Car has acquired in a trade for his USRA Modified. “Now, I’ve fallen in love with racing again.”

The 43-year-old from Wheatland stands a solid second in the O’Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Car division heading into Saturday night’s Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series Midseason Championship, Presented by the Bolivar Herald-Free Press and KTTS.

The USRA Stock Cars will run a 25-lap, $750-to-win feature to headline the action. Any driver doubling up with USRA Stock Car feature wins Friday at Dallas County Speedway and Saturday at Lucas Oil Speedway will earn a $250 bonus.

For Phillips, who’s driven just about every style of dirt-track car since starting in four-cylinders as a 19-year-old at Nevada Speedway, the USRA Stock Car division has been exactly what he was looking for.

“I’m really enjoying this class,” said Phillips, who has posted back-to-back second-place finishes. He trails points leader David Hendrix of Waynesville by 74 points and ranks seventh in the USRA Stock Car national standings.

“Getting out of the Modified and having a chance to get this car, it was probably the best decision I made in my racing career, period,” Phillips said. “This class brings it back to the old days of racing. I’m having a lot of fun. There was good racing back when the old Street Stocks were affordable to race.”

Phillips said the affordability of the USRA Stock Cars is appealing to someone on a budget.

“It’s a good class for a cheap man and a poor man to race again,” he said. “That’s what I like about it. I don’t have to go spend thousands of dollar on a motor to go run with high-dollar cars and I don’t have to go buy a high-dollar car to go race. That’s what this class is good for. You don’t have to go spend a lot of money to race in this class.”

Phillips had a rough start to his season at Lucas Oil Speedway, losing a motor on opening night. He’s bounced back nicely with the replacement engine and has decided to make a run at USRA national points with an eye toward October’s USRA Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway.

A higher car count at his hometown track would enhance the points for all who compete there. Phillips is hopeful that more drivers will enter as more of them are able to finish their cars. He’s heard many are waiting for parts that have been hard to come by, like many products in the supply chain these days.

“We may be a little rough this year, but there are a lot of new cars still being built,” Phillips said. “I would say by next year, plus by the Fall Nationals, you’re going to see a lot of cars down here. At the (USRA) Nationals, you’ll see cars from all over.

“This is my first big chance to run for national points. I first started looking at it early in the season and was way down the list. I told some guys there was no way I could afford to travel and run with these guys for points. Well, a few weeks later, a buddy sent me a message that said, ‘You ought to be proud of yourself. You’re sitting third in national points.’ I was shocked.

“Since then I’ve been trying my best to stay up there. Like everybody tells me, I need to stop worrying about it. It’s going to change. I’ve just got to lay back and just race.”

While Phillips does most of the work on his car, his son Dalton helps when he’s not out-of-state working, and daughter Kylee has been a big help as well. Dalton Phillips hopes to have his own USRA Stock Car ready to race in a few weeks.

Team sponsors include Schuetz Construction, Snap-On Tools, Griff’s Flooring, TNT Quick Stop and Endrizzi Diesel.”

Phillips said his goals the remainder of the season are simple - just keep plugging away and see what happens.

“That’s about all you can do. Got out and have fun,” Phillips said.

Getting a feature win, against the likes of a former track champion like Hendrix, also would be quite the accomplishment if he could pull it off.

“The last couple of weeks racing with him, it’s been fun,” he said. “I didn’t honestly think I could ever run with him, but I’ve been right there with him.”

Midseason champions will be crowned in the Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modified, Missouri Metal Buildings ULMA Late Model, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod and O’Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Car divisions on Saturday night.

Fans can take in nearly all the racing action possible on Saturday as Day One of the Kentucky Drag Boat Association Summer Thunder on Lake Lucas will be going on from 9 a.m. until approximately 4:30 p.m. Those purchasing tickets to the drag-boat event will be admitted free to the dirt track races.

Gates to the dirt track open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and opening ceremonies at 7. Look for discount ticket coupons in the Bolivar Herald-Free Press.

Dirt-track tickets:
(FREE to those purchasing Saturday or two-day drag boat tickets)
Adults (16 and over) - $12
Seniors (62 and over)/Military - $9
Youth (ages 6-15) - $5
Kids (5 and under) - FREE
Family pass (two adults and up to three youth 6-15) - $30
Pit pass - $30

Frogs Jr Fan Club Pit Tour: Young fans arriving early at the dirt track are invited to sign up for the Frogs Jr Fan Club Pit Tour. Kids ages 5-12 can sign up on the midway, behind the main grandstands, before 5 p.m. with eight names drawn for a special pit-area tour at 5:15 with flagman Mike Striegel.

They will get to meet some of the drivers, see the cars up close and attend the drivers' meeting prior to return to the midway. Each of the eight will receive a Frogs Jr Fan Club T-Shirt, checkered flag and a gift bag sponsored by RaceGear Unlimited to put items in they receive from the drivers.

Kids Bicycles sought: The annual Frog’s Signs Junior Fan Club “Kids’ Night Bicycle Giveaway” is part of Casey’s General Stores Thursday Night Thunder, on July 1. Drivers, sponsors and fans are being asked to donate bicycles for youngsters, ages 5-12, for the event.

Both girls’ and boys’ bicycles are being accepted at the speedway office during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, and on race nights. New bicycles will be accepted, or monetary donations can be dropped off or mailed to the speedway.

For questions or more details, contact Lisa Lorton at the Lucas Oil Speedway office (417) 282-5984 or via email at Lisa@lucasoilspeedway.com. The mailing address is Lucas Oil Speedway, 18842 Speedway Drive, 700 East Highway 54, Wheatland, MO 65779.

Suite seats available: Fans can beat the heat and take in Saturday night's dirt-track action from a VIP Suite on the third level overlooking the front straightaway, as a limited number of individual tickets are available priced at $24 apiece. All VIP Suite seats must be pre-paid and can be reserved by calling Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984.

The suite offers prime viewing from inside, where the temperature is climate-controlled, or an outside seating area. Food and drinks are not included in the ticket price, though a host/hostess will be available to take food and drink orders throughout the evening.

On the water: Drag boat action is scheduled in both Pro and Sportsman divisions starting at 9 a.m. Saturday as drivers compete for a guaranteed $30,000 purse during the Summer Thunder on Lake Lucas. Both days of the event will find television cameras rolling for later airing on both MAVTV Motorsports Network and CBS Sports.

For more information on the Kentucky Drag Boat Association, including registration details, visit KDBA.net.

Saturday’s tentative event schedule:
7 a.m. - Registration opens
8 a.m. - Spectator gates open
9 a.m. Round 1 qualifying Sportsman session
10:30 a.m. - Round 1 qualifying Pro session
12:30 p.m. - Round 2 qualifying Sportsman session
2 p.m. - Round 2 qualifying Pro session

Saturday Drag Boat tickets:
(*General Admission/Pit Pass combo, plus admission to Saturday-night dirt-track races)
Adults (16 and over) - $25
Seniors (62 and over)/Military - $22
Youth (ages 6-15) - $10
Kids (5 and under) - FREE
Family Pass (includes two adults and up to three kids 6-15) - $60
Adult 2-day Pass - $50
Seniors (62 and over)/Military 2-day Pass - $44
Youth (ages 6-15) 2-day pass - $20

Sunday tentative event schedule:
8 a.m. - Spectator gates open
9 a.m. - Eliminations begin

Sunday Drag Boat tickets:
(*General Admission/Pit Pass combo)
Adults (16 and over) - $25
Seniors (62 and over)/Military - $22
Youth (ages 6-15) - $10
Kids (5 and under) - FREE
Family Pass (includes two adults and up to three kids 6-15) - $60

For ticket information for any event during the 2021 Lucas Oil Speedway season, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at Nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com. Fans also can use the online ticketing system.

Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984

Article Credit: By Lyndal Scranton, Lucas Oil Speedway

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