When weather predictions for opening night showed temperatures to be in the teens, officials at West Plains Motor Speedway opted to change the scheduled evening event into an afternoon race event.
That decision proved to be for the best, and over 100 anxious drivers and fans arrived in weather-appropriate clothing and were treated to an exciting afternoon of high-speed entertainment.
The afternoon kicked off with an impressive parade lap from Great Rivers Distributing's Budweiser vehicles, the event sponsor for the first appearance of the Show-Me Racin Series Super Late Models this season.
Twenty-five late models converged for the series' season opener.
Leslie Essary of Crain, Mo., ran an impressive heat race, but qualified to a fourth row outside start in the feature. From there he worked his way to the lead by mid-race and didn't look back.
Essary was followed across the finish by Roger Wilson of Aurora, Mo., Jimmy Greenway of Galena, Mo., Tyler Milner of Huntsville, Ark., Rick Lebow of Galena, Ken Essary of Cape Fair, Mo., Chad Pyle of Exeter, Mo., Kevin Henson of Marionville, Mo., and Scott Fry of Rocky Comfort, Mo.
Trent Cockrum of West Plains won the first IMCA Modified feature of the season.
Stan Ellison of West Plains scored another Super Stock feature win.
Rick Cooper of Thornfield, Mo., won the Hobby Stock feature followed by Shane Hitt of Birch Tree, Dexter Frost and Chuck Russell, both of West Plains, Bill Schoen of Brighton, Mo., Jeremy Tharp of Bald Knob, Tony Krusen of Thayer, Brock Frost of Birch Tree, Jessie Shearin of Blue Springs, Mo., Nicholas Black of Van Buren.
Andrew Harden of West Plains won the Cruiser feature, while Tyler Schoen of Brighton took second, followed by John Stiner and Clifford Collins, II, both of West Plains, Daniel Carter of Mountain Home, Benny Grogan, Rhonda Gunter, Clifford Collins and Mark Dioron, all of West Plains, with Sissy Ratliff Seaman of Imboden rounding out the top 10.
Austin White of Willow Springs won his first Youth Hobby Stock feature, followed by Ben Piper of West Plains and William Piper of Birch Tree.