The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series staged its most lucrative event so far in 2020 on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway. At the end of the night home state driver Payton Looney was crowned as the champion of the Show-me 100. The Missouri native took home $20,000 for his efforts at the Wheatland, MO track in a race shown live by Lucas Oil Racing TV.
Payton Looney was quickest in Group A qualifying with a lap of 15.537 seconds around the 3/8 mile clay oval beating out Tyler Erb, Jesse Stovall, Kyle Strickler and Jason Papich.
Chad Simpson topped the charts in Group B time-trials with a lap of 15.629 over Shanon Buckingham, Billy Moyer Sr., Kolby Vandenbergh, and Ricky Thornton Jr.
Payton Looney led the pack to the checkered flag in the first heat of the night ahead of Chris Ferguson, Jesse Stovall and Johnny Scott while Kyle Strickler took the win in the second preliminary by outrunning Tyler Erb, Jimmy Owens and Tanner English.
Ricky Thornton Jr. was the winner of the third heat race by topping Chad Simpson, Shane Clanton and Tim McCreadie just before Shanon Buckingham grabbed the win in the fourth and final heat ahead of Terry Phillips, Kolby Vandenbergh and Rick Eckert.
Billy Moyer Jr. and Josh Richards won the two B-main races used to set the remainder of the field for the main event.
At the start of the 100-lap feature it was Looney taking the lead with Thornton, Strickler, Buckingham and Ferguson trailing. Buckingham went on the move early as he wrested third away from Strickler on lap 3 and then second from Thornton one lap later.
Buckingham then surged into the lead of the race on lap when he went around Looney. By lap 12 the leaders found themselves in traffic as Buckingham put a number of the sport’s big stars down a lap even before the quarter-mark of the feature.
Looney began to close back in on Buckingham in traffic and would eventually regain the lead on lap 22. While further back, Ferguson and Stovall fought over the fifth position.
Following a lap 30 restart necessitated by a flat tire on Tyler Bruening’s car, Looney slipped away from the pack as Strickler, Ferguson, Stovall and Owens ran in tight formation while battling for positions 5-8.
By the race’s halfway mark the pace had settled as drivers logged laps in one of the few 100-lap features held in this coronavirus-plagued season. Looney built up a lead of more than a straightaway while working through traffic.
As the laps wound down, Strickler began to move forward. On lap 81 he took the runner-up spot away from Buckingham and set off in pursuit of Looney while employing a high line around the track.
Eventually, however, Strickler’s run stalled and Looney was able to beat everyone to the checkered flag for the biggest win of his career.
Feature Finish: 1. Payton Looney, 2. Kyle Strickler, 3. Shanon Buckingham, 4. Chris Ferguson, 5. Ricky Thornton Jr., 6. Rick Eckert, 7. Jimmy Owens, 8. Tyler Erb, 9. Tanner English, 10. Chad Simpson, 11. Earl Pearson Jr., 12. Jonathan Davenport, 13. Shane Clanton, 14. Josh Richards, 15. Kyle Bronson, 16. Johnny Scott, 17. Billy Moyer Jr., 18. Jeremiah Hurst, 19. Tim McCreadie, 20. Tyler Bruening, 21. Terry Phillips, 22. Jesse Stovall, 23. Devin Moran, 24. Will Vaught, 25. Billy Moyer, 26. Tony Jackson Jr., 27. Kolby Vandenbergh, 28. Stormy Scott