Martin eager to defend Clyde Ellis Memorial title

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July 23, 2018

As the Lucas Oil MLRA season continues to edge closer to the finish line, Friday nights annual clash at Lakeside Speedway becomes a critical step towards the championship crown.

Located just outside of Kansas City, Kan., the long-time staple on the MLRA tour will play host to the annual Clyde Ellis Memorial with a $3,000 payday on the line.
Only six races remain on the schedule which finds the Brinkman Motorsports entry of Chad Simpson continuing to hold down the top spot over Tony Jackson Jr. and Will Vaught.

Simpson's lead of 62 and 76 points, respectively, was greatly reduced at the Lake Ozark Speedway where he was plagued with bad luck while Vaught pulled off two wins to close the gap.
For West Plains, Mo.'s Logan Martin, the return to Lakeside could not come at a better time.

Martin enters Friday's event riding a wave of momentum following an impressive eighth-place run at the Diamond Nationals.

In five MLRA starts this season, he only has one result outside of the top 9, led by a second-place run at the Salina Highbanks Speedway.
Martin picked up his first ever Lucas Oil MLRA win one year ago at Lakeside and is excited to return and tackle the challenges the track presents.

"I'm a big fan of that place, you can get right up against the wall or sometimes you get right down against the tires," Martin said. "It's a really racy track. You move across it a lot throughout the night, so you have to stay on top of it as far as set up, and driver wise you have got to be aware of how the lines are changing. You can go from running the tires down on the bottom, and in 4-5 laps the line has moved and suddenly you're up against the wall. That's a really cool aspect of it for me."
At only 22 years old, Martin has already had more success at Lakeside than many drivers ever will.

In 2015 he captured the Out-Pace USRA B-Mod title during the USRA Nationals, leading up to his Lucas Oil MLRA triumph one year ago on the 4/10-mile speedway during the Clyde Ellis Memorial.
"It meant a lot, just because it was really our first win against some really stout competition," Martin added. "We had ran some MARS features and won some MARS features before, but that one in MLRA everybody was there. You had Junghans, Simpson, Stovall—they were all there. An MLRA win in general is pretty big anymore just because it's our major regional touring series."
Last year's win has resulted in a different outlook on racing for Martin, partially due to a boost in confidence.

"Last year I felt like whenever we rolled in if we ran 5th it was a good night. And 5th is still a good night for us now. But going into the race my expectation was a top 5, and now whenever we roll in the expectation is to win. I feel like our team is in a lot better position in general from experience and I'm more confident in my driving and in the car than what I was a year ago. Now whenever we roll in I feel like we are a threat to win and our team just has good overall confidence."
When not racing he is kept busy with the family's growing business, Mr. Dent Collision Repair. That successful venture often limits his racing and currently keeps him from being a "points" racer, but he is quick to point out the advantages of such a situation.
"You can definitely go for it (win) if you're not points racing. If you're in third you can go for the win and you're not going to lose a whole bunch, your not chancing much. Whereas if your points racing sometimes you get to second or third and instead of challenging for the win you go ahead and settle for 2nd. Overall, it's nice to be able to roll in and the only goal is to run good and win, it's not trying to accrue a bunch of points or anything for the championship. It's the sole goal to try and pick up the trophy."
Helping Martin maintain his XR-1 Rocket Chassis powered by a Cornett Engine are his parents Brent and Kim Martin, Duane Campbell and girlfriend Larissa Atnip. Providing additional support are Steed Bros. Trucking, Adams Construction, Reliable Chevrolet, Bill Frye Racing and Integra Racing Shocks.

Lucas Oil MLRA points leader Chad Simpson (25) will try to regain the momentum seized recently by Will Vaught (1V).

In the rear view:  It's no secret that Vaught has been hot as of late, recording a pair of wins to go along with his fourth-place run at the Diamond Nationals.

With only six events to go, watch for a continued sense of urgency from Vaught who is now firmly back in the championship discussion—and the only driver in the top 3 with a Lucas Oil MLRA win at Lakeside.

Simpson is still clearly in the driver's seat for the title, but as Jackson, Jr. and Vaught showed at Lake Ozark, consistency can and will keep you in the hunt.

The look ahead: The last two Lucas Oil MLRA shows held at Lakeside have produced a pair of first-time series winners in Martin and J.C. Wyman.

There is a good chance this weekend we see the streak continue.

Payton Looney and Mitch McGrath continue to impress and a win for either would go a long way in determining the Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle.

On the flip side, Cole Wells and Austin Siebert have also shown promise this season and are not chasing points, which leaves only one thing to do: win.

Due to the summer heat Lakeside Speedway will continue with the 30-minute later start times through Sept. 7. This Friday, the pit gate opens at 5 p.m., spectator gates open at 5:30, the drivers meeting starts at 7:15, hot laps begin at 7:30 and racing gets underway at 8.

General admission is $20, seniors (65+) and military are $16, kids (7-12) are $10 and children under 6 are free. Air-conditioned suites tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for kids (2-10). Pit passes for adults are $35, kids (6 and under) are $10. A family pass is available this weekend for $50 which includes admission for two adults, two kids and a coupon for two hot dogs and two drink jammers. Driver points sheet winners will have a chance to play for prizes during the intermission break.

Find the track online at www.lakesidespeedway.net for schedule info, car rules, regulations, and news. Contact the track at (913) 299-9206. Physical location is 5615 Wolcott Dr., Kansas City, Kansas 66109, one mile west of I-435 (exit 18) on SR 5 (northwest of Kansas City. Like and follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lakesidespeedway.kansascity. You may also email the track at lakesidespeedwaykc@gmail.com.