WHEATLAND, Mo. – Mario Clouser led all 25 laps to capture the opener of the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint League portion of the Hockett-McMillin Memorial Thursday at Lucas Oil Speedway.
He picked up $1,500 and valuable points toward Saturday’s action.
“It’s great to start off the weekend with a win, for sure,” Clouser said. “Knowing you’re coming back for two more nights, we get to take everything we learned tonight and hopefully transfer it to the rest of the weekend.”
Clouser had a 2.6-second lead over Brian Beebe when a caution waved on lap 19. Fifth-place Justin Zimmerman spun on the backstretch, after contact with another car, to bring out the second caution of the event.
Until that point, Clouser had parlayed his front-row starting position into a dominating run as he led every lap. Beebe, meanwhile, had moved from 12th at the start and into the top three by lap six and he passed Joe B. Miller on lap 16 to take over the runner-up position.
On the restart, both Beebe and Miller tested Clouser making it three-wide briefly. But Clouser was able to hold onto the lead and pull away, winning by 2.5 seconds at the finish over Beebe, of Oak Grove, Missouri.
Chris Morgan finished third with Miller fourth and Wyatt Burks fifth. WAR points leader Riley Kreisel wound up ninth.
Clouser said navigating the slick track condition was key.
“It was clear it was going to be slick, from the start, so I knew I had to be patient,” Clouser said. “I kind of thought there might be something on the top there early, but I didn’t want to move up there and just give away the bottom.
“With the restart with five to go, it looked like it was starting to take rubber there in three and four, but again I didn’t want to give up a line that had been working. After a lap of those cars showing me their nose we were able to move down and kind of pull away a little bit.”
1. 6-Mario Clouser; 2. 37-Brian Beebe; 3. 24LRC-Chris Morgan; 4. 31-Joe B Miller; 5. 11W-Wyatt Burks; 6. 33M-Matt Westfall; 7. 16-Anthony Nicholson; 8. 32-Garrett Aitken; 9. 91-Riley Kreisel; 10. 311-Quinton Benson; 11. 24X-Casey Shuman; 12. 74-Xavier Doney; 13. 5D-Zach Daum; 14. 77K-Katlynn Leer; 15. 8D-Terry Babb; 16. 77M-RJ Johnson; 17. 24-Landon Simon; 18. 28-Kory Schudy; 19. 77-Jack Wagner; 20. 73-Samuel Wagner; 21. 20G-Noah Gass; 22. 89-Todd McVay; 23. (DQ) 9W-Justin Zimmerman