Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Arkansas' Latham finds winning combination in Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds
Wheatland, Missouri (May 9, 2018) - Prior to this season, Trevor Latham had entered only a handful of races at Lucas Oil Speedway and had little success when he did.
"That place is a lot different than most that we run," the Rogers, Arkansas driver said, noting the composition of the dirt and banking of the 3/8-mile oval track.
So it's little wonder Latham had marginal expectations when he returned for the first two weekends of action in the Pitts Homes USRA Modified division.
But on the three-hour drive to the speedway, Latham said he "had some ideas pop into my head. We threw a couple of things at the car. It just seemed to work. It's kind of amazing."
Following a second-place finish in a makeup feature on April 28 from the previous week's rainout, Latham captured his first Lucas Oil Speedway feature win later in the program. That puts Latham, the Tailgate Guys Radio Show Spotlight Driver of the Week, atop the early points standings just ahead of four-time defending track champion Jeff Cutshaw.
How long he will stay there is uncertain. As the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series was off last weekend, Latham traveled to Tri-State Speedway for a United States Modified Touring Series event. He was running in the top 10 on what he described as a rough track when he got into the wall, damaged his car and had to pull off.
Latham said earlier this week that if he's able to repair the damage in time, he could return to Lucas Oil Speedway this Saturday to see if his new-found success can continue.
"It's really good competition there," said Latham, who finished fifth in USRA National points in 2017 while earning the USRA Mid-American Region championship. "You have (Jeff) Cutshaw who is really consistent and good. Also guys like Ryan Middaugh who shows up and he's always tough, along with guys like Jason Pursley and Lucas Gibbs.
"More than half the field is good, and you're usually racing a full field. Both nights we've been there, they had more than 30 cars. You don't always get that everywhere else. Even if there are a few slower guys, when there are that many makes it difficult in heats races."
Latham, 28, has been racing since 2009 with a four-year break mixed in to earn an engineering degree from the University of Arkansas. He works at Pratt & Whitney in Springdale, Arkansas, which does a lot of repair on airplane jet engines.
For the last couple of years, Latham has driven a Hughes Chassis after striking up a friendship with veteran Oklahoma racer and car-builder Jason Hughes. He plans to join Hughes at some USMTS national programs later this spring and summer and for that reason, it's doubtful that Latham will make a full-time run at dethroning four-time Lucas Oil Speedway USRA Modified champion Cutshaw.
But he is eager to get back as often as he can.
"Especially now, that we maybe have something figured out, I want to get back up there," Latham said. "It's a fantastic facility."
Cody Howerton, who just turned 21, serves as his crew chief and Latham said Howerton has been a key to his success.
"He works hard and does whatever I ask," Latham said. "I just buy his pit pass - and at first I didn't even buy his pit pass. He's invaluable. I wish I could give him more than I do. Running one of these weekly yourself, without any big sponsors, finances are tough. It's invaluable to have somebody like that who sacrifices for you."
Sponsors on Latham's No. 27 car include TL Wood Products, Shamrock Bolt & Screw, Hughes Racing Chassis, Joey Talarksi and Carolyn Hooper-American Sharpening, Henryetta Ford, Oelke Construction, Bryke Racing, BCS Motorsports and Wholesale Laminiates and Cabinet Components.
This Saturday, the Pitts Homes USRA Modified division will be featured, running a special 25-lap, $1,000-to-win main event. The Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models, Big O Tires Street Stocks and the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods also will be in action.
It's a Mother's Day Weekend tribute program as NMI/VMG Marketing Group and Wild Animal Safari team up to present the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series. All Mothers will be admitted FREE, courtesy of NMI/VMG Marketing Group.
Gates on Saturday will open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and opening ceremonies at 7.
(All Mothers are FREE)
Adults (16 and over) $12
Seniors (62 and over/Military) $9
Youth (ages 6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family pass $25
Pit pass $30
For ticket information for any event in 2018 at Lucas Oil Speedway - including the 26th annual Show-Me 100 Presented by ProtecttheHarvest.com, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at Nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com. Tickets also can be purchased online for any event during the 2018 season.
The Tailgate Guys Radio Show airs each Saturday from 11:05 a.m.-noon on KICK 92.3 FM, 1340 AM and 923kick.com. Co-hosts Lyndal Scranton and Steve Koehler talk barbecue and sports with a segment dedicated to racing action at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket information and 2018 schedule can be found by visiting LucasOilSpeedway.com. Fans also can purchase general admission tickets for any 2018 event on the web.
Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With its entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.
Click LucasOilSpeedway.com for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984.