(Special to Trenton Berry)
It has been a little bit of a different offseason for Grandview, Missouri’s Austin Siebert compared to previous years. During the final night of the 2016 Lucas Oil MLRA season at Lucas Oil Speedway, Siebert knocked front wheels with another competitor and it jerked the steering wheel out of his hands. He didn’t think much about it at the time and the contact didn’t even cause a yellow.
He had pain in his right wrist the following days, which would not subside. He visited the doctor and it was determined he would need surgery to repair his injured wrist. Austin underwent an operation last week, and is now on the mend.
When reached by phone to talk about the upcoming season, spirits were high, and he was at work, anticipating the upcoming season. Siebert hopes to be ready to race when the season starts but realistically, thinks it will be closer to May before he jumps back behind the wheel. His particular surgery typically comes with a three month recovery period.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been hurt racing,” said Siebert. “The Late Model steering is so fast and the tires are so big, it doesn’t take much contact and wheel just jerks out of your hand. It’s not uncommon for it to spin two full times over before you really even have time to react.”
Once he returns to the pilot’s seat, he plans to pick up the remainder of the Lucas Oil MLRA tour and build on a good foundation established last season. The Kenny’s Tile operation will feature the same Capital Race Car to begin the season as was campaigned last year.
“It took me awhile to get comfortable in it,” said Siebert. “Their recommended things to try just really don’t fit with the hard tires we race on. I kind of went on my own with shocks, late in the year, and really had a better feel for the car. I plan to start out a little more on my own deal and hope to learn some more.”
Siebert plans a new car sometime around mid season, but doesn’t have any particular brand he is leaning towards right now. He will also run a Modified quite bit. The team has a pair of MB Customs in the stable as well as a GRT.
This coming season marks his third in Late Models. A pavement crossover, Siebert got his start in Super Trucks at I-70 Speedway. The Odessa, Missouri track’s decline ran nearly parallel to the transformation of Wheatland Raceway into Lucas Oil Speedway and they opted to give dirt racing a shot.
“I’m so glad it worked out like it did,” Austin further elaborated. “I love dirt racing. You show up at five or so and run the race, and if you are close to home you can be home by midnight a lot of times. It seems like when we pavement raced, we tested and practiced all the time, actual racing was such a small part of it.”
The first weekend of racing for the Lucas Oil MLRA is just under two months away. It will again originate from the Kosiski family’s I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Nebraska, March 31, and April 1. The Spring Meltdown will pay $2,000 and $3,000 to win respectively.
For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.