Ott optimisitcToby Ott (27) led for 22 of 25 laps before settling for a runner-up finish to James Flood in last Saturday's Big O Tires Street Stocks feature. (Kenny Shaw photo)

Wheatland, Missouri (April 20, 2017) - Toby Ott was so close to winning his first feature at Lucas Oil Speedway that the hometown driver could almost taste it.

Instead, the immediate bite was somewhat bitter when Ott surrendered the lead to James Flood with three laps remaining in Saturday's Big O Tires Street Stocks main event. But after a few days to reflect upon his near-miss, Ott was upbeat and reflective.

"I would surely think we're going to," Ott said of attaining the long-coveted feature win - if his early strength is any indication of what lies ahead. "Hopefully this year will be a turning point and we'll make it all happen."

Ott, of Wheatland, is the Tailgate Guys Radio Show Spotlight Driver of the Week at Lucas Oil Speedway. He's off to a stout start with finishes of fifth and sixth to go along with the strong second. He will pursue a win again this Saturday as the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series resumes.

"I had a really good run going until I made just a little driving oops," Ott said of Saturday's feature, in which he led the first 22 laps. "We had a really good car. One of my sponsors, Chris Davis, got me hooked up with another driver who gave me really good insight. We maybe found out that missing piece on setups."

The proper setup always is key, especially when running a GM crate motor in a division in which most field open-power engines. But count Ott as a believer in the crate and not just for the affordability factor.

Ott said Burl Woods ran a crate two weeks ago and Donnie Miller had one in his Street Stock last weekend.

"I spoke to both of them and they have the same opinion that I have," Ott said. "Is it the most horsepower out there? No. But it's one of the raciest motors I've ever had. It brings you the power when you need it.

"Of course, the motor itself is more affordable. If you have motor troubles, you're not out six weeks waiting for an engine builder to get you a new one. You can go get one in a week. That means a lot to people who are points racing.

"The only negatives to the crate are the accessories it takes to get everything out of the crate you have to have. There's a lot of bolt-on stuff. It's a lighter motor and a lighter front end. That's what we're fighting this year, a different weight ratio in the car. But I think we're getting there."

Ott, 43, has been racing dirt cars since 2002. He was runner-up in Limited Late Models the first season of Lucas Oil Speedway in 2006 and he can't count how many times he's been a feature-race runner-up in a Late Model or Street Stock over the years. He's won features at other venues.

This year, he's optimistic of not only visiting victory lane just a few miles from his  house, but of contending for a track championship. Not a bad outlook for a guy who normally is a one-man operation on race nights, unless his dad, Bob Ott, comes along to help.

Ott's sponsors include Jeff Freeman and Hobbytime Motorsports, where Ott is a service manager. He also gets support from Davis' Midwest Sheet Metal, TNT Quick Shop, Mike Striegel's Outlaw Race Bodies, Buck's Service Center and Loehr Auto Sales.

Ott pointed out that Davis is an ally to many, with both financial and emotional support.

"Chris Davis probably does more for local racers than anybody out there," Ott said. "Everybody knows he supports some of the Lucas Oil Late Model guys, but he does so much for the local racers around here that people don't always know about. He's a guy that ought to be in the (Ozarks) Racers Hall of Fame, I'd say."

This Saturday, the Springfield News-Leader Media Group presents the first $uper $aver $pecial Night of 2017 with four admissions, four hots dogs and four 20-ounce Coca-Cola products offered to fans arriving before 6:30 p.m.

Gates open at 5 p.m. with hot laps at 7 and racing at 7:35 with all four weekly classes - the Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models, the Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds, the Big O Tires Street Stocks and the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods - back in action. The Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods will be the featured class of the evening running a special 25-lap, $500 to win main event.

In additional to the $uper $aver $pecial and regular admission prices, a select number of suites are available. Contact admissions director Nichole McMillan (417) 282-5984 or by email nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com for information.

The Tailgate Guys Guys Radio Spotlight Driver of the Week is a regular feature in 2017. For more information on the Tailgate Guys Radio Show, which airs 11:05 a.m.-noon each Saturday on KICK 92.3 FM in Springfield with co-hosts Lyndal Scranton and Steve Koehler, visit Facebook.com/TailgateGuysRadio.

SATURDAY ADMISSION PRICES
$uper $aver $pecial: 4 admissions, 4 hot dogs and 4 Coca-Cola products for $30 for fans arriving prior to 6:30 p.m.

Regular admission:
Adults (16 and up) $12
Seniors (62 and up)/Military $9
Youth (6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $25
Pit Pass $30

Camping
Reserved with Electric and Water- $35/Night (limited availability)
Reserved Dry Spots- $20/Night (limited availability)
Dry Camping- $10/night

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