Consistency drives Morton to Lucas Oil Speedway 2018 Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod title
WHEATLAND, Missouri (November 15, 2018) - After spending much of 2017 driving for an out-of-state racing operation that didn't work out so well, JC Morton wanted to return to his "home" track at Lucas Oil Speedway and re-establish his family owned team.
"We had the mentality at the beginning of the year to come back and set the tone, kind of like we did in 2016," Morton said. "We wanted to come back and let everybody know that we were still there."
It was mission accomplished for the 28-year-old from Springfield, Mo. Morton won only two feature races, but wore out the competition with his consistency to reclaim Lucas Oil Speedway's Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod championship.
The hard-fought points battle saw Morton finish 14 points ahead of Taylor Moore and 73 clear of Kris Jackson. Along with his two wins, Morton had four second-place feature finishes and was in the top four in 10 of the 12 Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series events.
"We only had two wins, so I wouldn't call it a great season, but it wasn't a horrible one, either," Morton said. "Consistency is always a key in racing for points. You need to be in the top three most every night. We only had one DNF.
Morton estimated that it was about his 15th track championship in a dozen years of racing. This one might have been one of the hardest-earned with the competition level tougher than it's ever been in the B-Mod division with the likes of Moore and six-time feature winner and USRA B-Mod National Champion Jackson, among others.
"It seems like every year we gain a few more A-Mod guys who can't afford the expense in A-Mods and they drop down to B-Mods," Morton said. "Then you have younger guys moving up through the ranks. It gets harder and harder.
"I'd say four or five years ago, there were five or six cars capable of winning," Morton added. "Now, you can go to pretty much any track and you have seven, eight, 10 cars that are capable and that you have to deal with."
While the wins were few, Morton came up clutch on the final night of the regular season. He entered the action just five points ahead of up-and-comer Moore and, after a so-so heat race, started eighth in the feature.
But he worked his way through the field and passed Tyler Brown with three laps remaining to earn the win. The one-car celebration on the front stretch, for winning both the feature and the championship, was reminiscent of 2016 when he did the same thing on the final night of the regular season.
"We had every scenario in our head planned out of what we had to do to finish ahead of Taylor in the points," Morton said of his race-night strategy. "Sitting on the hill (before the races) during the autograph session, I don't remember who it was but they asked me, 'Are we going to have a repeat of 2016 where you're on the front stretch by yourself again?' I chuckled and said, 'That's a good plan.' It worked out."
Morton was driving a Phoenix Race Car for the first time in 2018 and is planning to sell it and build a new one in the offseason. His dad, Gene Morton, again was JC's right-hand man in the race shop and in the pits just like he's been since the team began in Street Stocks.
"He's retired now and gets to spend as much time on the car as he wants," Morton said of his dad. "He'd race five days a week if he could."
Meanwhile, another constant around the team is soon-to-be six-year-old Zoey, daughter of JC and Destiny Morton. When Morton wins, it's a family celebration in victory lane.
"She loves to go racing," JC Morton said of his daughter. "She loves it just as much as I do."
Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods Top 10 - 1, JC Morton. 2, Taylor Moore. 3, Kris Jackson. 4, Robert Heydenreich. 5, Mitchell Franklin. 6, Mike Striegel. 7, Ricky Watkins. 8, Austin Joplin. 9, Robbe Ewing. 10, Quentin Taylor.
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984