|MEDIA CONTACT: Lyndal Scranton (Lscranton755@gmail.com)|
Robert Heydenreich salutes the fans after his Pitts Homes USRA Modified feature win last Saturday night. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)
|Robert Heydenreich came flying out of the final corner to nip Robbie Reed in last week’s Pitts homes USRA Modified feature at Lucas Oil Speedway. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)|
WHEATLAND, Mo. (June 18, 2020) – As Robert Heydenreich emerged from his car, a large Lucas Oil Speedway crowd roared its approval. This just moments after Heydenreich made a daring pass for one of the most-dramatic feature wins in memory, in last Saturday’s Pitts Homes USRA Modified main event.
Heydenreich pumped his fists, grinned from ear to ear, waved to the fans and soaked up the moment.
Two years ago, Heydenreich won his only other feature at the speedway while competing in the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods. But he didn’t get to properly celebrate.
“Rain was coming and I was sent directly to the tech barn,” he said. “We didn’t get to go to the front straightaway and have a victory lane celebration. So yeah, this one, getting to celebrate in front of the fans, was pretty cool.”
Heydenreich made up three car lengths from the middle of turn four to the finish line, using the highest groove possible to pass reigning track champion Robbie Reed. The 24-year-old from Bolivar, who says he was representing “all the low-budget teams,” has been a fan favorite since breaking onto the scene three years ago in the B-Mod and being tagged with the nickname “Hollywood” after rolling his car and emerging, to cameras, with a smile.
“I don’t know if I’m a fan favorite,” Heydenreich said after the loud cheers. “We had a heck of a boat-race crowd. I don’t think those guys see that kind of stuff very often and for them to see that kind of photo finish right there … with the lead Robbie had on me the last lap … for that kind of finish, it’s exciting for the fans. I remember being a fan and to see a finish like that, it’ll get you wound up.”
Heydenreich made the switch to the USRA Modified about midway through last season, after a hard crash heavily damaged his B-Mod. A sponsor (Dwight Brown from Tri-Lakes RV and Parish Tire and Alignment) helped him acquire the used 2015 GRT by Phillips – ironically from Reed, the man he passed for the win last week.
“You would think he’d be kind of upset, but he was almost as thrilled as I was,” Heydenreich said of Reed. “I got out of the car in the tech barn and he was grinning ear to ear and congratulated me. It’s nice to race with a guy like that. He’s an awesome guy.”
Retired, multiple-time track champion Jeff Cutshaw helped Heydenreich get started in the car last season in the motor department. Jason Sivils, another fellow Bolivar resident and racer, provides help in set-up and was in victory lane last Saturday. Dad Robert Heydenreich is always alongside to help, in the shop or in promoting his son on social media.
“It’s a combined effort of a lot of people,” the driver said. “It takes every piece to make the whole puzzle and I can’t do it without everyone’s support.
“We were starting to hang our heads low there for a little bit,” he added, noting a tough first four weeks of the 2020 season. “It was starting to take a toll on the bank account. But with the good sponsors I have behind me, they encouraged me and lifted my head up and made us look at the better side of things. That’s the kind of people you need to surround yourself with.
“Now we’re just trying to keep the momentum. The car’s where it needs to be. The driver just needs to do his part.”
The team’s sponsors include Tri-Lakes RV, Parrish Tire and Alignment, The Big Slice, Lucas Oil, Cullum & Brown, Custom Land Works, SCP Race Engines, Cutshaw Farms, Wehr’s Machine & Racing Products, Dickson Racing Shocks, Ultra Force Spring Machine, Boone’s BBQ Barn, Midwest Sheet Metal, Bud’s Tire & Wheel and Signsnow Branson.
Heydenreich is tied for third in points, 82 behind Reed. He admitted that finishing in the top five would be a nice accomplishment in his first full season in the division.
“We would be incredibly thrilled by a top-five finish in points,” he said. “We try not to look at points too much. In the past we’ve stressed ourselves out over points, so we don’t look at that any more. We focus on the race ahead of us and doing the best we can.”
Heydenreich goes for two in a row on Saturday night as the Bolivar Herald-Free Press along with KTTS Presents the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series Mid-Season Championships.
Points leaders in each of the four classes will be recognized, along with the feature winners, after each feature race. The USRA Modifieds will chase a $1,000-to-win prize in a 25-lap feature while the Ozark Golf Cars B-Mods, O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks, Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models and Pure Stocks – a special guest class this week – have 20-lap features.
Kids Club Pit Tour begins: This week marks the first Frogs Jr Fan Club Kids Pit Tour. Eight lucky kids will get to tour the pits with flagman Mike Striegel to get an up-close look at the cars and drivers. The first of what will be weekly tours will be from 5:15-6 p.m. and then the kids will get to attend the drivers’ meeting before going back to the grandstands.
Youngsters ages 5-12 can sign up for the pit tour from 4-5 p.m. next to the gift shop trailer on the south end of the midway. Parents will have to sign a waiver form allowing the kids to go into the pits for the tour.
Gates open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05.
Adults (16 and over): $12
Seniors (62 and over)/Military: $9
Youth (ages 6-15): $5
Kids (5 and under): FREE
Family Pass: $30
Pit Pass: $30
For ticket questions or information for next weekend or any event this season, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Lucas Oil Speedway General ManagerOffice: (417) 282-5984 DLorton@lucasoilspeedway.com