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June 26, 2019

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: From behind the desk to behind the wheel, Paden Phillips enjoys Modified success

Paden Phillips of Chanute, Kansas used consistency to earn the Pitts Homes USRA Modified Midseason Championship at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Kenny Shaw photo)
WHEATLAND, Missouri (June 26, 2019) - Whether it's crawling under his race car on weeknights or climbing behind the wheel on weekends, Paden Phillips couldn't imagine any better therapy from his working-for-a-living routine.

Phillips, this week's Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight Driver, spends his weekdays grinding away behind a desk as director of materials for Neosho Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in Chanute, Kansas.

"I'm in charge of any material, any product that a nurse or doctor would use in the hospital," Phillips said. "I'm in charge of ordering it, stocking it, keeping the rooms full. It's one of those behind-the-scenes roles in the hospital."

It's a job that involves a certain amount of stress. That makes getting his hands dirty on the race car downright enjoyable. Just about every night, from 6:30-9 p.m., he's working on his Modified and tinkering with ideas of how to get it a little bit better for the upcoming weekend.

"That's really an outlet," he said. "Being able to come over to the shop and just think about the race car and not about work."

Making Phillips' hobby all the more enjoyable is the success he's having. The 27-year-old from Chanute is the Midseason Champion at Lucas Oil Speedway in the Pitts Homes USRA Modified division. When the second half of the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series season begins on Saturday, Phillips will start with a 13-point lead over Robbie Reed.

The Modifieds will be the featured class on Saturday, running a 25-lap, $1,000-to-win feature. The winner also will qualify for the Summit Shootout, part of the 6th annual Summit USRA Nationals at Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City, Iowa on Sept. 25-28.

Phillips said earning midseason honors meant a lot to his family oriented race team, especially because it was earned through consistency. After finishing 11th in the opening-night feature, Phillips has four top-five finishes including a third on June 15 as he jumped over Jon Sheets in the points chase.

"Our goal coming into the year was to get back to victory lane at Lucas Oil Speedway," Phillips said. "Some of the best Modified drivers around run at Lucas. I won there one time, back in the 2012, in the A Mod. It's been a long drought and that was really the main goal this year, to get back to victory lane.

"Yeah, we've been consistent, but I think if we're going to pull this out we're going to have to break into the win column. Hopefully, that will happen this weekend. If not, it would be nice at the Diamond Nationals (July 13) with a big pay day."

Phillips is a first-generation race-car driver, though his dad Neil was a fan of the sport and Paden grew up attending races around the southeast Kansas area. He started racing go-kart at the age of 7 and moved into B-Mods at 17.

"We won a ton of races and the points championship at Humboldt Speedway," Phillips said. "After that, we jumped up to A Mods. It was kind of a rude awakening of how tough it is, racing with these guys. We struggled a little bit.

"I think we've won 9 or 10 features over the last nine years and have two wins this year, at I-35 Speedway in Winston. So far, so good this year. We're just trying to maintain consistency. That's been a big focus."

The 2015 Pittsburg State University graduate with dual majors in marketing and management, got a rare opportunity to boost his racing career in 2010 when he was one of seven people from 987 applicants selected for the NASCAR driver development program. He spent time in California over the next three years learning various aspects of the sport.

"They had training classes in how to do an interview, how to collect marketing money, tips on how to drive and so forth. We have a bunch of guest speakers. I really learned a lot and it was  a very cool experience.

"I ran three races in an asphalt Modified. I didn't really have the results that I needed in the races but one of the highlights was qualifying second for my first race, out of 35 Modifieds."

Eventually, Phillips ran out of necessary funds to complete the program. He returned home, went to college and focused on dirt-track racing. These days, it's a family team with crew help from Neil Phillips, mom Heather, grandfather Sam and his brother Luke Phillips, who races a B-Mod. Paden and wife Kristi have been married for seven years with a 3-year-old daughter, Graycelin.

"It really is a family deal," Phillips said of the race team.

Team sponsors include BSB Manufacturing, BillsBuilt Racecars, B2 Race Components, Jarred Gilmore & Phillips PA, Danny Crane Race Engines, Oakwood Coins and Phil's Coins.


This Saturday's program is presented by the National Wild Turkey Federation and OnMedia/DISH/DirecTV presents the program. Action also is scheduled for the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods, Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models and O'Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks.

Fans also can enjoy the Lake Ozark Corvette Car Club, which will have their cars displayed on the midway.

Gates will open at 4 p.m. Saturday with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05.

Ticket prices:
Adults (16 and over) $12
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $9
Youth (ages 6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family pass $30
Pit pass $30


For questions about tickets or camping for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at


Kids' bicycle donations sought: With the annual Kids' Night Bicycle Giveaway coming up on Thursday, July 4, drivers who want to donate bicycles can do so at the pit office when they check in on Saturday. 

The Frog's Signs Junior Fan Club giveaway is set for the July 4 Casey's General Store "Thursday Night Thunder" edition of the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series. Bicycles are being collected for youngsters, ages 5-12, who can sign up to win a bike that evening.


Fans also can drop off bikes on Saturday or at the speedway office during weekday business hours. They also can make cash donations toward purchase of the bicycles. For questions or more details, contact Lisa Lorton at the Lucas Oil Speedway office (417) 282-5984 or via email at


Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984