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November 13, 2018

Lucas Oil Speedway USRA Modified champ Fuqua ponders Late Model ride after dream 2018 season

Darron Fuqua
Darron Fuqua won seven times at Lucas Oil Speedway en route to the Pitts Homes USRA Modified track championship. (Kenny Shaw photo)

WHEATLAND, Missouri (November 13, 2018) - Darron Fuqua made a lot of new fans in 2018 at Lucas Oil Speedway as the Kansan enjoyed a season for the ages. After racing there only a handful of times before, Fuqua won eight times while earning the Pitts Homes USRA Modified championship.

Look for Fuqua back at the speedway next year - but possibly in a different car and with new challenges.

"Lance (Town) is gonna take a year off to concentrate on business," Fuqua said of his racing teammate. "I've been contacted about a Late Model ride, which is what I would really like to do. We'll see if it materializes.

"I can't say anything for sure yet, but I'm hoping that I'll be racing at Lucas with some bigger tires and more horsepower. We'll see."

No matter what the future brings, the 2018 season will be one that Fuqua, a 33-year-old from  Mayetta, Kansas, always will cherish. Not only did he win the Lucas Oil Speedway title, he won 24 times overall at several regional dirt tracks while capturing the USRA Modified National Championship.

Darron Fuqua

It was fitting on season-championship night that Darron Fuqua celebrated his championship with another feature win. (Kenny Shaw photo)

"Now that it's all said and done and has kind of soaked in, it was a lot of fun," Fuqua said. "It definitely was the season of a lifetime. It would be hard to top. Everywhere we went, we were the car to beat. I don't know. It was just pretty amazing."

Asked if he knew how good it was while it was unfolding, Fuqua said he knew things were going good but he was too focused to really soak it in.

"You know you're running good and everything, but you feel like the next week it's going to go the other way and then you run good again," Fuqua said. "I waited all year for it to go bad. Now the year is over and it never did."

At Lucas Oil Speedway, Fuqua finished 16th on opening night. After that he was all but unstoppable with eight wins, two runner-ups, two third-place finishes and a fourth. 

One of his third-place runs was perhaps as impressive as any win. That came in the Aug. 4 USMTS Show-Me Shootout, a race that Fuqua led for 34 of the 40 laps and, after battling four-wide for the lead in the late going, finished just behind Stormy Scott and Johnny Scott.

Memorial Day Weekend also was impressive. Fuqua won two of three Modified features during the Show-Me 100 plus a follow-up main event at Central Missouri Speedway good for nearly $4,000.

"It was kind of like the perfect storm," Fuqua said of the season, which was his first in an MB Customs car. "I have good sponsors, starting with Big Time Bail Bonds, then Lance Town wanted to team up and that helped."

The two shared knowledge and a crew chief in Thomas McCoy whom Fuqua described as "really smart on the car set-up and with his mechanical background. Tommy eats, sleeps and breaths racing. He loves it."

The 4 1/2-hour drive to south-central Missouri each week was worth it as Fuqua kept winning and Town wound up third in the points. For Fuqua, it was his sixth track championship in nine years of racing.

Most gratifying, his grandfather Carl Murphy got to see it unfold before he passed away just a few weeks ago. It Murphy wasn't at the race track, he watched on Facebook video. Fuqua gave him a special shout-out at the Lucas Oil Speedway postseason banquet earlier this month.

"He's been a big part of my life," Fuqua said. "He and my grandma raised me pretty much until I was in second or third grade. He taught me a lot. He always set the bar to be what a man is. He was the first one to work and the last one to leave and he never complained."

Fuqua said Murphy was a former racer who drove drag cars, Street Stocks and Grand Nationals.

"He could build anything on a race car," Fuqua said. "Transmission, motors, whatever. He did it all."

As Fuqua savors the spoils of 2018, there is one fun event remaining. After being a spectator the last two years, he's scheduled to compete at the Gateway Dirt Nationals, Nov. 29-Dec. 1, at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis.

The unique indoor event is invitation-only for the Modified drivers and Fuqua is eager to see how he does.

"It's gonna be interesting," he said. "The tires are new to me, as I've never ran on those type of Hoosiers. I talked to Joe Campbell, Ken Schrader's crew chief. He's a good friend and we used to build Venom-chassis cars together. He told me kind of how to prepare them. We'll see how it goes."

Pitts Homes USRA Modified 2018 Top 10 - 1, Darron Fuqua. 2, Jeff Cutshaw. 3, Lance Town. 4, Jason Pursley. 5, Jon Sheets. 6, Evan Hubert. 7, Mike Striegel. 8, Tracy Wolf. 9, Ronnie Woods. 10, Chase Domer.

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