WHEATLAND, Mo. — Terry Phillips isn’t giving up on repeating his Lucas Oil MLRA championship, but knows there’s work to do and not a lot of time to get it done.
Only five MLRA events remain, including one special to the veteran Springfield driver. That’s Saturday night for the Larry Phillips Memorial Presented by G2 Gemini Apparel at Lucas Oil Speedway, which pays tribute to Terry Phillips’ legendary father.
The feature winner will earn $5,075 — the extra $75 significant as 75 was Larry Phillips’ iconic car number.
It’s also Terry Phillips’ number, of course.
“It means a lot to me,” Phillips said of his emotional tie to the race, in its second year at Lucas Oil Speedway after being at some other area ovals in the years since Larry Phillips’ passing in 2004. Larry Phillips won an unprecedented five NASCAR Weekly Racing Series National Championships.
Terry Phillips joked that it might not have been the smartest decision on his part to have the race at Lucas Oil Speedway, because his fortunes there the last few years haven’t been up to his high standards. But he said his father would have approved of the sparkling facility.
“It’s a hell of a facility and good people running it,” Phillips said. “I want this race to be as top-notch as we can get it because it means a lot to me. He (Larry Phillips) would have like it there. It’s kind of like pavement, so he’d have liked it for sure.”
“Wheatland has been humbling for me, for whatever reason.”
But he vows to take a fresh attitude into this weekend’s visit. He has some momentum after winning the last MLRA races, on back-to-back nights three weeks ago at Junction Motor Speedway in Nebraska.
“It’s just about getting the little things right and hitting the right set-up,” Phillips added of the key to finding victory lane.
Phillips enters this weekend, which begins with Friday’s $3,000-to-win MLRA Clyde Ellis Memorial at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., 92 points behind Billings’ Jesse Stovall.
“You just do what you can do,” Phillips said of his title chances. “He’s got a big lead and he hasn’t had any bad luck. So if he has some bad luck and I don’t, we might get back in the hunt. But right now, he has such a big lead it’s going to be tough to catch him.”
CREDIT: Lucas Oil Speedway