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July 6, 2017

In the Spotlight: Unique car and all, Tonoli having fun in Lucas Oil Speedway Street Stock division

Chris Tonoli
Chris Tonoli finished fourth in his station wagon body style in last week's Big O Tires Street Stocks feature at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Kenny Shaw photo)

Wheatland, Missouri (July 6, 2017) - The Big O Tires Street Stock division is a favorite among fans at Lucas Oil Speedway because the cars look like actual stock cars of years past. Popular 1980s body styles such as the Chevrolet Monte Carlo or Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme are common.

Then there is Chris Tonoli's black and green No. 71, which stands out from the crowd. You might call it the Flying Station Wagon.

"It is different. I just wanted a car that didn't look like anyone else's," Tonoli said.

Tonoli, this week's Tailgate Guys Radio Spotlight Driver of the Week for Lucas Oil Speedway, is coming off a season-best fourth-place finish in the ultra-competitive division last week. He doesn't race for points, taking a race-for-fun approach to his career behind the wheel.

The California native, who moved to Missouri about 12 years ago and made Hermitage his home, has driven both Modifieds and Street Stocks. He's back in action on Saturday night at a Veterans and Military Appreciation Night edition of the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series Presented by the Springfield News-Leader Media Group.

"I'm a pretty low-budget guy money-wise and try to do everything on the car myself and try to beat the guys that have the high-dollar cars," Tonoli said. "I'm just having fun. I don't try to worry about points."

Another reason Tonoli doesn't worry about points is his job. Locally he works for the Lucas Cattle Company in Hickory County, but he often takes off for a week at a time and travels to the upcoming Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series venue to help prepare the track.

That travel will be considerably shorter in two weeks, when the Inaugural GEICO Off Road Shootout Presented by General Tire comes to the new Lucas Oil Speedway Off Road track.

"I'd love to drive one of those," Tonoli said with a laugh, of an Off Road truck. "It should be a really good show and I hope the local fans will come out for it."

The opportunity to work for Gary Hubert, who oversaw the transformation of the old Wheatland Raceway into what's become a showcase full motorsports complex, is what persuaded Tonoli to make the move from California to Missouri a dozen years ago.

Tonoli had been racing car for about 10 years by then, starting in Enduros and 4-cylinder cars before moving into Modifieds.

"I knew of Gary Hubert when I was in California," Tonoli said. "I had a county job at the time, an equipment operator at a landfill for about 18 years. It was just time for a change and I came out here.

"At that time, I don't know how many tracks we had, but probably eight or nine with a few hours of one another. I was in racing heaven. Since then, a lot of tracks have closed."

Tonoli said he does most all of his own maintenance on the race car with Lucas Cattle Company, Bike Worx of Urbana and his own Metal Creations Fabrications listed as a sponsors. He has fun with his own side business "just building unique little things and so forth."

"I've taken a distributor off a car and made a lamp out of it," he said. "I've made an entertainment center out of square tubing and steel. Just some weird, off-the-ball stuff out of automotive parts and metal."

While others will chase track championships the rest of the season, Tonoli's goals are more simple in his station wagon race car.

"Just try to do the best I can with what I've got and still have fun," he said.

The Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models, Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds and the Big O Tires Street Stocks will join the featured Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods in action on Saturday. Gates open at 5 p.m. with hot laps at 7 and racing at 7:35.

Admission prices:
Adults (16 and up) $12
Seniors (62 and up) $9
Youth (ages 6-15) $5
All Veterans and Active Military FREE with ID
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $25
Pit Pass $30

This weekend also includes the Inaugural Red White Blue & Que professional barbecue competition at the speedway. Beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday on the midway, race fans can sample barbecue for $5 (pulled pork) and $1 (per rib bone) with proceeds going to Korean War Veterans and, and online resource for veterans and their families. Go to for more info.

The Tailgate Guys Radio Show, with co-hosts Lyndal Scranton and Steve Koehler airs each Saturday on KICK 92.3 FM, 1340 AM or streaming at

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With its entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.

 For ticket information on all all events at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact admission director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or by email at

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With its entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.

In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking "Like" at and on

About Lucas Oil Speedway

Lucas Oil Speedway is considered by fans, drivers and industry insiders to be one of the top five race tracks in the nation. Located in Wheatland, Missouri, approximately an hour from Springfield, Missouri, and just a quick hour and a half from the Kansas City metro area, dubbed the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks," Lucas Oil Speedway certainly lives up to the title.

Twenty-One VIP Luxury Suites, HD Jumbo-Tron Screen, Stadium Style Musco Sports Lighting, a Bose Sound System, Go-Kart Slick Track, The Diamond Bar, Track Treasures Gift Shop, the best track food in the country and paved pits are a few of the spectacular amenities setting the Diamond of Dirt apart. 2017 marks the 7th season for the Liquid Quarter Mile Drag Racing Lake, Lake Lucas. Two nationally televised Drag Boat Races featuring the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series will be held in 2017. New for 2017 will be an all new purpose build Off Road Racing facility featuring the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series as well as a host of other regional events.

Lucas Oil Speedway hosts some of the largest and most popular events in the Midwest! National and regional touring series appear frequently for Special Events on the Diamond of Dirt Tracks. The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, POWRi Midget National Series, Lucas Oil Pro-Pulling League, United States Modified Touring Series, ASCS Sprint Cars and the Lucas Oil MLRA.   

In addition to the incredible Special Events, the Lucas Oil Speedway Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series features the Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models, Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds, Big O Tires Street Stocks and the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods, racing weekly.


2017 Official Lucas Oil Speedway Marketing Partners

Bill Roberts Chevrolet-Buick
"The Official Truck" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper
"The Official Soft Drink" of Lucas Oil Speedway

E3 Spark Plugs
"The Official Spark Plug" of Lucas Oil Speedway

"The Official Insurance" of Lucas Oil Speedway

General Tire
"The Official Tire" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Lucas Oil Products
"The Official Oil" of Lucas Oil Speedway

"The Official Television Network" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Optima Batteries
"The Official Battery" of Lucas Oil Speedway
"The Official Classifieds" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Spartan Mowers
"The Official Mower of Lucas Oil Speedway"

Sunoco Race Fuels
"The Official Fuel" of Lucas Oil Speedway

2017 Lucas Oil Speedway Supporters Include:
Advanced Automotive Repair, ALPS Food Store, AM Pyrotechnics, American Broadband, American Racer Race Tires, Andy's Frozen Custard, AR Bodies, Ash Grove Aggregates, ASI Racewear, The BarnWood Inn, Benton County Tire, Berry Tractor and Equipment Co., Big Adventure RV, Big O Tires, Bill Roberts Chevrolet-Buick, Bolivar Farmers Exchange-MFA, Bridal Cave, BWI Sanitation, Candlelight Creations-Dick's Wild Root Horseradish, Carson's Corner Napa Auto Parts, Casey's General Stores, Chix Gear Racewear, Citizens Memorial Healthcare, Clearlight Inn, Comfort Inn-Bolivar, Crappie Hole Bar & Grill,, Dr. Petteway-D.D.S, Eibach Springs, Elite Auto Repair, Fast Shafts by Axle Exchange, Foley Equipment-Cat Rental Store, FORR-Local 27, Frogs Signs, Happy Trails RV Center, Harbor Campground & Marina, Hermitage Lumber, Hobbytime Motorsports, Hoosier Race Tires, Impact Signs Awnings Wraps,, In the Garden of Eden, Jake's Corner Cafe, JH Custom Wheel & Accessory, Kenny Carroll Excavating, Kettle Treats, Keyser Manufacturing, Kluhsman Racing Components, Kona Ice, Lawless Harley-Davidson, Lucas Cattle Company, Midwest Low-E Insulation, Midwest Sheet Metal, National Wild Turkey Federation, Nemo Marina, Nemo Quarry, NMI/VMG Marketing Group, OakStar Bank, O'Bannon Bank, Old Kinderhook Golf Resort, Oil & Octane Shop, Out-Pace Racing Products, Ozark Golf Cars, Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper, Ozarks Insurance Agency, Petro Stopping Centers, Pitts Homes, Pitts Realty, Pitts Cattle, RACEceiver, PolyDock Products, QC Moto, RaceNote,,,, Rains Ice Company, Real Racing Wheels, Ron Jenkins Accounting & Tax Service, Route 66 Biker Gear, S & H Farm Supply, SBU Athletics, Scott Furniture, Shadow Lake Golf Course, Sidetrack RV Park, Sleep Inn-Camdenton, Southwest Electric Cooperative, Spartan Mowers, Stillwater Resort, Sunoco Race Fuels, Sunflower Resort, Tom & Jenn's Discount Cigarettes & Liquor, Travel Centers of America, Triangle Quick Shop, US Army Corps of Engineers-Pomme de Terre, Warsaw Auto Marine & RV, Wheatland Motel, Wheeler & Sons Livestock Auction, White's Marine Center, Whitetail Trophy Hunt, Wild Animal Safari.