By MIKE MALLETT
Every now and then you’ve got to try the Hail Mary. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but you have to try.
That was the case for Franklin, Pa., pilot Matt Lux on Saturday night at the Lernerville Speedway in the Super Late Model 25-lap main-event as part of the Steel City Stampede. Lux had to try the Hail Mary. He got a great jump on a lap 21 restart which he used to wrestle the lead from Michael Norris with a quick slide up in front of him in turns one and two. Lux got the lead then kept the top spot for the final five laps for the $3,000 win.
“He was by far the better car,” stated Lux of Norris. “When he was out by himself no one was going to catch him. The one restart we had where I started on the inside I lost three positions. I knew that wasn’t the good line right away. The only shot I had was to catch the good dirt off the bottom and just try to slide up in front of him. I knew that the car got good grip off the bottom so I just took my chance. I knew he was going to try and cross under me. It was only shot I had. I can’t catch him by myself. He was by far the dominant car.”
Lux had only one other shot at Norris throughout the entire race and that was within the first 10 laps. Norris quickly caught the backend of the field due his torrid pace. He was trying to navigate his way through patiently which allowed Lux to pull to his outside. Before a move could be made the yellow came out to return Norris’ advantage.
“I just got to the outside of him there then the caution came out,” said Lux. “I thought I had a good run on him there then the caution came out. That was only shot I had at him. He was just so good up there.”
The team made very few changes from their Friday night setup that allowed them to win the heat race. He was confident the car would be good on Saturday and it was as he captured his third Steel City Stampede win.
“We had a good car so we didn’t tweak too much from last night,” commented Lux after his third Steel City Stampede win. “We were a couple tenths off from other guys in first heat. It’s easy to out adjust yourself on this deal. You think it’s so slick I better tighten it up, but we left it alone and it all worked out for us.”
It was an important win for Lux who admitted it’s been a struggle this year. He’s had more downs then ups, but winning at the Steel City Stampede is a huge boost for him and the entire team.
“It means a lot because I’ve had a terrible year,” mentioned Lux. “My owner, Jim Detman, has done anything I’ve asked him. He’s bought whatever we needed to buy to stay competitive. I just couldn’t produce. I just thought it was all bad luck, but I’m thinking maybe it’s me sometimes. So to get him the win, that’s just awesome. That was an exciting race for me to be a part of. It was just a miracle restart and that’s all it took.”
He hopes this win helps to encourage the team to hit the road more in 2018 as they look to improve their overall program. In Lux’s opinion, the more you travel the better you can get your car dialed in.
“It’s a great way to end it with the Late Model,” he said. “It gives you a good start for next year, keeps the owner happy and makes him want to do a little bit more. Ultimately we want to get back out and do a little traveling. It’s the only way you can get this stuff tuned. All-and-all it is a great weekend for us.”
Besides his win in the Late Model division, Lux competed with the UMP Modifieds as well. Mechanical issues sidelined him on Friday night as he was leading his heat race which forced him to drop out. As a result he started 26th in the 20-lap feature. He ended up making up to third at the checkered flag.