Race Recap: Stuckey, Schrader, Rupp earn wins at Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (March 16, 2024) — Touring Late Model hot-shoe Clayton Stuckey, ageless oval veteran Ken Schrader and rising star Braxton Rupp all earned feature wins in their respective divisions, as officials hosted their annual March Madness program Saturday at Springfield Raceway. 

Stuckey powered his way up from 19th on the grid to claim the 40-lap A Main for Comp Cams Super Dirt Series (CCSDS) Late Models; Schrader dominated a talent-filled affair for B Mods; while Rupp prevailed in a hotly-contested tilt for the Midwest Modz B Class machines. 

Sundance Keepper (MW Modz A Class); Mark Simon (Pure Stocks); and Robert Tosh (Mini Stocks) were also feature winners on a beautiful night for racing in southwest Missouri. 

Stuckey, of Shreveport, Louisiana, started 19th on a 24-car grid, drove to the inside of Sawyer Crigler coming off Turn 2 to take command at lap 29 and pulled steadily away to earn top honors. Tony Jackson Jr. crossed the stripe in second, while Crigler filled out the podium. 

Kyle Beard (Trumann, AR) and Jace Parmley (Neosho, MO) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Stuckey took home a cool $5,000 for his efforts. 

“That was unbelievable,” a shocked Stuckey told series announcer Wesley Gwaltney in Victory Lane. “Honestly, I knew I was good, but I didn’t know I was anywhere near the front until that mid-race caution. At that point, I knew when I was running in fifth or sixth I actually had a shot at it.

“I couldn’t get up there and lead all those laps like Tristan (Chamberlain) did, but he wrecked it or spun and took himself out of contention. As for Crigler, I just tried not to show him I was there. Eventually when I did, I knew it was my only shot. With just 12 laps to go, I thought I might screw it up.” 

After his first career Comp Cams Super Dirt Series win, those feelings will disappear. 

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“I just started lifting out of the throttle more and more every straightaway; I guess it paid off. I put on soft tires because I was starting in the back. When I came out here, it was greasy. I felt like I had some traction, and thought it was going to be my time to make something happen. 

“Every time I was going into a corner, somebody in front of me would push up the track. It fell right into my hands. Words can’t explain it; you do all of this work, and it finally pays off. My Dad is always there, my Mom does everything I could ever ask, everybody that’s part of this is just amazing.”  

Jackson, of Lebanon, Missouri, was pleased with his finish and overall strong start to the 2024 season.

“These races are hard to win,” he said. “Jerry always has an awesome race track here. It’s fun to come here, and it’s close to home and I really enjoy it. I almost screwed myself; when they were spinning I almost killed the engine. We always want to win, but a pair of second-place runs is a good start.” 

Crigler, of Alton, Missouri, passed early leader Tristan Chamberlain on lap 28 and had a stellar night. 

“I was pretty excited there for a little bit after Tristan spun and I realized we had the lead,” he said. “I knew he was coming don on the bottom, I just couldn’t make my car turn down there. The only way I could exit off the bottom was if I turned in on the cushion, then diamond across the corner.

“It took too much time. I was really good; I don’t run with ya’ll often and was so excited to have you come here.”  

Finishing sixth through 10th in the ‘March Madness’ A Main for Comp Cams Super Dirt Series teams were Friday night winner and two-time series champion Logan Martin, Texas oval icon Morgan Bagley, Scott Crigler, series veteran BJ Robinson and Jon Kirby. 

Four cautions slowed the pace (laps 8, 26, 26, 27), all for minor incidents.  Stuckey’s margin of victory was a monstrous 3.382 seconds, as his Black Diamond chassis was hooked up and flying all race long. Other notable finishers on Saturday include Jon Mitchell (11th); and Shane Hebert (20th). 

Chamberlain was impressive during his time on the point, setting a blistering pace until he fell off the top of Turn 3 into the abyss while leading. Next up for CCSDS teams in a trip to the famed Poplar Bluff  Speedway on Friday, April 5, for another $5,000-to-win showdown in the Show-Me State. 

Schrader, the legendary NASCAR and dirt oval veteran from Dittmer, Missouri, started fourth in his B Mod feature (among 25 cars) after easily winning his qualifying Heat earlier in the program. He drove to the outside of Terry Schultz to take control at lap three and pulled away to earn top honors. 

Ryan Gillmore claimed the runner-up position, while Jon Sheets filled out the podium. Sturgis Streeter (Topeka, KS) and local favorite J.C. Morton (Springfield, MO) completed the top five. 

“I’m pretty damn excited about 2024,” Schrader said. “I’m always excited when I race at Springfield, but we’ve run 12 races so far this year, and this is our fourth win. My game plan tonight with all of those guys behind me was to just stay out of the way. I’ll thank my sponsors, and am very grateful.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the B Mod feature were Bobby Williams, Terry Schultz, Logan Smith, Rex Harris and Derek Watson. Two cautions slowed the pace (laps 6, 7), both for minor incidents. Schrader’s margin of victory over Gillmore was 3.159 seconds, proving he can still win at age 68. 

Rupp, of Rogersville, Missouri, started second on a 19-car field and led every lap in convincing fashion. Blake Ellis crossed the stripe in second, while Zach Brollier filled out the podium. Keith Nutter (Bolivar, MO) and Jordan Bryant (Greenfield, MO) rounded out the top five. 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the Midwest Modz B Class feature were Jake Carter, Sam Keller, Jordon Cater, Michael McCully and Cody Arnett. Rupp’s margin of victory over Ellis was a scant .290 of a second, the closest finish of the entire night. 

The March Madness special featuring the cars and stars of the Comp Cams Super Dirt Series drew an impressive 129 entries spread among six divisions, Led by the mighty CCSDS Super Lates with 35,  there was no shortage of talent in the pit area. Fans were treated to two and three-wide racing all night.

You can replay every lap of Saturday night’s March Madness event at Springfield Raceway with a subscription at Newly re-branded with a commitment to promote local racing, RaceON (formerly RaceON) has over 400 Live events on tap in 2024 from several states. 

When you sign up today, choose your favorite (or hometown) track and start enjoying great content while supporting your local track even when you can’t attend in person.  Click HERE to Replay Now!

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer. Photo by: Boyd