Chris Davis named Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award winner at Lucas Oil Speedway Banquet
WHEATLAND, Mo. — Lucas Oil Speedway paid tribute to the stars of its 2023 Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series season and honored one of the biggest contributors to dirt-track racing on Friday night at the annual Lucas Oil Speedway Championship Banquet.
Chris Davis, the owner/operator of Midwest Sheet Metal located in Springfield, who has been a friend of the sport from the local, grassroots level to the national scene with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, received the Forrest Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions on and off the track.
Announcement of the award came at the conclusion of the banquet, which was held at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds Center Hall in Springfield. The award is always a highlight of the banquet and this was no exception as Davis was stunned when he was announced as the award winner.
"We're pleased to recognize Chris Davis as the seventh recipient of the Forrest Lucas Award for all Chris has done for the sport," Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager Danny Lorton said. "He's a great friend of motorsports for all he has done, whether it's for the local racer who does it as a hobby or the best of the best on the highest level of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series."
Davis has been around racing most of his life as his father, Bill, sponsored several drivers with his Trux Trailers business. Chris' long-time friend Scott Bass began racing in 1988 and Chris soon followed, started his racing career in on the dirt and pavement in a Street Stock running at Bolivar, Lebanon and Monett. He won races on both surfaces, in the same car.
In 1990 Chris built a Late Model and competed on the asphalt at Bolivar Speedway USA and Lebanon I-44 Speedway. In the early 1990s, Chris met future wife Jan and they were married in 1994 and purchased Midwest Sheet Metal from Jan's father, Dave. Devoting himself to the business and raising a family, Chris retired from driving a race car in 1995.
But his connection to the sport was far from over. He began building custom race-car parts for local racers. During a trip to the Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Chris met racer Jimmy Owens that started a long-time friendship with the driver who would go on to become one of the top names in Late Model racing.
That friendship led to Chris meeting the top drivers on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, where he's known as a friend to all on the circuit.
Chris and Jan Davis also have sponsored the Midwest Sheet Metal Challenge since 2013. The event is one of the most-exciting of Show-Me 100 weekend in giving drivers a last shot at qualifying for the Show-Me 100 main event while also providing some cash for the non-qualifiers.
"I'm rarely a loss for words," Davis said. "This is huge. This is Forrest Lucas and he's a good friend of mine and, gosh, I don't know. This means so much. There are so many people I forgot to thank when I was up there (on stage). The Lucas family, everyone at the speedway and so many others.
"Behind every person who is a success is a hidden hero and mine is my wife, Jan," Davis added. "I love her to death."
Davis said he takes pride in helping out racers, no matter what class they compete in.
"The Street Stock guys, the Hobby Stock Guys, Go-Kart guys ... they're all customers and friends," Davis said. "If one says, 'hey, I can't get this car to turn' then I will usually try to help them get the car to turn. My wife says I'm a natural at getting things to work and people appreciate that, or at least some do. The ones that do appreciate it, you've made a friend for life."
Meanwhile, Weekly Racing Series track champions Justin Wells (Hermitage Lumber Late Model), Ryan Middaugh (Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Modifieds), Bobby Williams (Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods) and Mason Beck (O'Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars) received their awards.
The Most Popular Driver Award for track regular competitors, determined through online fan voting, went to Mitchell Franklin from the USRA B-Mod division. Franklin, from Camdenton, drives the F1 car and picked up his first Lucas Oil Speedway feature win during the 2023 season to earn one of the biggest ovations of the season.
Track photographers Greg and Stacy Stanek of GS Stanek Racing Photography expanded the Best Appearing Race Car Award to one winner in each division. Those winners were Tucker Cox (Hermitage Lumber Late Models), Greg Scheffler (Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Modifieds), JC Newell (Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods) and Waylon Dimmitt (O'Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars).
"Congratulations to all our award winners after another great season and we look forward to seeing everyone again in 2024," Lorton said.
Lucas Oil Speedway recently unveiled its tentative 2024 schedule with Open Test & Tune set to kick things off on March 30. The speedway has gift cards available for purchase as a Christmas-gift option and also has season pass renewals for the 2024 season available at a discount through the end of the year.
Season passes for the 2024 season are available now at a $50 discount for renewals from 2023. Contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Season Pass Renewals before Dec. 29th, 2023:
Adults (Age 16-61) $700 (dirt-track only)
Seniors (Age 62 and up) $600 (dirt-track only)
Season Passes beginning Jan. 15th, 2024:
Adults (Age 16-61) $750 (dirt-track only)
Senior (Age 62 and up) $650 (dirt track only)
Each season pass holder is entitled to one reserved stadium-style seat, complete with high backs and armrests located in the top six rows of the main grandstand of the dirt track.
Meanwhile, Lucas Oil Speedway gift cards are available in any dollar amount. Gift cards can be used in all departments including in the ticket office, pit office, camp shack, concessions, gift shop, suites and the Diamond Bar.
Lorton added that the gift shop is remaining open year-round, during week-day business hours, for those interested in stopping by the track and shopping for items.
For ticket information about any future event at Lucas Oil Speedway contact admissions director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at email@example.com for more information.