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October 2, 2019

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Traveling man Kyle Slader eager to make Big Buck 50 run

Oklahoma driver Kyle Slader will be one of the drivers to keep an eye on at this weekend's Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt. Action begins Thursday night at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Kenny Shaw photo)
WHEATLAND, Missouri (October 2, 2019) - Kyle Slader piles up thousands of highway miles a year, sometimes bypassing tracks closer to his Oklahoma home, to pursue his racing endeavors.

"I like to go out and see a lot of different race tracks," Slader said. "That makes it a lot more fun. If you get tied down to one race track, I think that kind of burns you out. You aren't gonna get faster racing at one track every week, so I like to venture out, learn some stuff and try to get faster to help our program."

For example, four times this year the 24-year-old Slader made the four-hour haul from Muskogee, Oklahoma to Lucas Oil Speedway in south-central Missouri. Each trip had a purpose.

"We were trying things for this weekend," Slader said of the 6th annual Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt, one of the nation's elite races for Street Stocks.  

The three-night event - which includes full Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model programs Friday and Saturday - opens Thursday with practice for both divisions and time trials for the Street Stocks. Qualifying heat races are set for Friday along with dashes for the top two finishers in each heat, before the alphabet mains and 50-lap main event on Saturday.

Slader's four test sessions, during Lucas Oil Speedway's Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series season, produced two wins, one second-place finish and one DNF.

"Each time, I went with a different set-up on the car," Slader said. "I was lucky enough to win two of them. The one that I ran second, the car was out of balance and way too tight. But the reason for the different setups when I was there, in different track conditions, was to see what the car was going to need.

"We were trying stuff and I know what worked and what didn't work. We won't have to second-guess anything for a $10,000 race."

Slader, who also races a B-Mod about once a month, said he's spent the last several days going over every nut and bolt on his car.

"We have a pretty good weekly program, but for this race a lot goes into it," Slader said. "We disassemble the car and go over every detail just to make sure there's nothing we need to replace.

"I mean, between this and Batesville, it's the biggest races of the year for Street Stocks. You have to make sure that you have your stuff right."

Ninety-six Street Stocks entered the Big Buck 50 two years ago, when it was a $5,000-to-win race. Last year's event was rained out and Slader said the anticipation - plus the bigger prize money - has everyone amped.

He expects at least 100 cars with quality to match quantity.

"You have a lot of really fast, good drivers in the Street Stock class," Slader said. "It's really competitive and you have to stay on your game and do your homework to be able to run up front with those guys."

Driving a Tony Jackson Jr.-built car owned by Shannon Scott of Muskogee's Henryetta Ford, Slader said it's been a solid season.

A third-generation racer, Slader said a key will be securing a good starting position for Saturday's 50-lap finale with a good performance in qualifying.

"You really want to qualify for the front row of your heat so you don't have to do so much hard work driving through the field in the heat races," he said. "You want to get locked into the show if you can.

"Two years ago, the first time they ran the alphabet mains (on Saturday) I broke in the heat race. I can't remember if I was in the C or the D, but I came through all of them and got into the A Main, where I broke. So if you qualify good, it starts your weekend out right. If you don't qualify good, you're behind the 8-ball."

No matter where he might start in the feature, Slader said his strategy will be the same. While some talk about extra patient being required for a longer-than-normal feature, Slader said he will be in full-go-mode from the start.

"Lucas is not hard on tires," he said. "As long as you have a good set of tires, you can get away with driving hard all 50 laps without hurting the tires."

There's both prestige and big money on the line. Saturday night's Big Buck 50 feature winner will earn $10,000, plus a free entry (valued at $3,000) into this fall's Whitetail Trophy Hunt in mid-Missouri. Visit for more info on the hunt, which has given away more than $4 million in cash and prizes over the last 30 years.

Other special sponsorships have been added for the race. They include:

TJR Fast Time Bonus: Tony Jackson and Tony Jackson Racing again will provide $500 for the Fast Time Bonus to the driver quickest in time trials on Thursday. Jackson, a veteran Late Model standout, has become a leading builder of Street Stocks through Tony Jackson Racing.  

Ray's Lake Service Hard Charger: James Ray, owner of Ray's Lake Service in Lake Ozark, will award $500 as the Hard Charger Sponsor for the driver who advances the most positions in the Main Event 50 Lap Feature.

Alamo Arms Non-Qualifier Bonus: Alamo Arms again will award $500 to the first non-qualifier to the race. Alamo Arms, in Montreal, Missouri, is a go-to place for firearms, ammo and reloading supplies. It's located at the junction of Highways 7 and E. For more information, call (573) 346-9944. This October marks the seventh anniversary of Alamo Arms, which is owned by Tom and Becky Carroll.


The ULMA Late Models have plenty on the line as well both Friday and Saturday, with full programs including qualifying heat races, B mains and features paying $1,000 and $2,000.


Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt
Weekend Event Schedule
Thursday, October 3
4 p.m. - Gates open
6-9 p.m. - Open practice for Street Stocks and ULMA Late Models
9 p.m. - Street Stocks qualifying time trials
10 p.m.-1 a.m. - "Party in the Pits" in the tech building. The Detour Dance Band will play.


Thursday Admission
Grandstands - FREE
Pit Pass - $25
Friday, October 4
4 p.m. - Gates open
6:30 p.m. - Hot laps
7:05 p.m. - Racing begins. 10-lap heat races for Street Stocks, plus a full program for Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models.


Friday admission
Adults (16 and over) $15
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $12
Youth (6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Pit Pass $35
Saturday, October 5
4 p.m. - Gates open
6:30 - Hot laps
7:05 - Racing begins. Last-chance races for Street Stocks before the 50-Lap, $10,000 to win main event. Warsaw Auto, Marine & RV ULMA Late Models with a full show with $2,000 going to the feature winner.
Saturday admission
Adults (16 and over) $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $17
Youth (6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Pit Pass $40
For questions about tickets or camping for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at


Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984