Farley, IA (July 4, 2020) - Just eight days removed from his first career Lucas Oil MLRA feature win, Payton Looney backed it up on Saturday night by winning the 1st Annual "Independence Day Shootout" at the 300 Raceway in Farley, Iowa. Looney topped the star studded field to snag the $5,000 win, and now moves to the top of the Midwest Sheet Metal Point Leader Spoiler Challenge for the first time this season.
Looney picked up his third Lucas Slick Mist fast time award of the year with a lap of 15.015 seconds followed by a heat race win that set him on the Dirtondirt.com pole position. The driver of the Atnip Enterprises # 15 jumped to the early race lead, but the event was quick to slow on lap two for debris on the front stretch that would bring Chris Simpson's night to an early ending.
Garrett Alberson would make contact with the turn one and two wall just five laps later ending his shot at a top five run. A pair of back-to-back cautions would wave on lap 18 changing the complexion of the 40 lapper and the MLRA championship chase. On the initial re-start, the field would bunch up exciting turn four as MLRA point leader Chad Simpson dropped a drive shaft down the front stretch while running inside the top five. The incident would also collect Tony Jackson, Jr along with a handful of other drivers.
As action resumed, Looney jumped back to the point with Brian Shirley and Bobby Pierce in pursuit of the race leader. With nine laps to go Pierce was able to clear Shirley and set his sights on the back bumper of Looney's Capital Chassis. Pierce got to within striking distance as the race went under five to go showing his nose at the entry of turn three. That look was as close as Pierce would get, as Looney went on for the win by a margin of .927 seconds.
Pierce collected the runner-up spot while Jeremiah Hurst collected his best career MLRA finish in third despite having a broken shock. Shirley came home in fourth while Davenport, Iowa's Spencer Diercks notch a strong finish in fifth.
Looney who rebounded from his worst finish of the year one-night prior at the 34 Raceway said, "I just had to figure out how to win these big races. The 40 lap, 50 lap type thing, I just had to learn myself how to win races. I knew we had the speed and the ability, and fortunately were able to show it now and its pretty awesome."
The late race challenge from Pierce for the win was all the motivation Looney needed in the closing laps to hang on for the win. "It was starting to clean up really good in one and two," stated Looney of the racing surface, which saw a near half inch of unexpected rainfall during the afternoon. "I was honestly kind of riding and when I caught that lap car and pushed really bad I just got into some dirty air. Lake (Mooneyham) was showing me that the lead was really cutting down and I saw him show a nose, and win it or wear it out I was going to put it into the fence if we didn't win it."
Pierce continued his strong weekend with the MLRA and noted, "The track kind of threw us for a loop. We didn't tighten up nearly as much as we should have, but I have got to give a big thanks to whoever decided to work the race track because it really needed it. They made it a really good race for everyone to watch and really passable compared to the heat races," stated Pierce.
"Congrats to Payton on the win, he was really fast all day today and even yesterday he just got caught up in the heat race deal. I would have liked to of started up front that way I wouldn't have abused my stuff to get to the front, because when I got to second I just didn't have anything left, "concluded Pierce.
UP NEXT: Sunday night action continues for the MLRA with the running of the first annual "Bullseye Bullring 40." The $5,000 to win event will be on the tight quarters of The Bullring at the Rock Island County Fairgrounds in East Moline, IL. This will mark the series first appearance at the Bullring, with drivers chasing another $5,000 top prize.
300 Raceway "Independence Day Shootout" Contingencies 7/4/20
Slick Mist "Fast Time Award" - Payton Looney (15.015 seconds)
DirtonDirt.com "Pole Award" - Payton Looney
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks Award - Bobby Pierce
Casey's General Store's "Hard Charger of the Race" - Jeremy Conaway
Dynamic Drivelines "Crew Chief of the Race" - Jeremy Atnip
Hooker Harness "11th Place Finisher" - Jeremy Conaway
Midwest Sheet Metal "Points Leader Spoiler Challenge" - Payton Looney
Performance Bodies "Performer of the Race" - Payton Looney
RacingJunk.com "Hard Luck Award" - Chad Simpson
Sunoco "Rookie of the Race" - Jeremiah Hurst
Lucas Oil Racing TV A Feature (40 Laps): 1.Payton Looney 2.Bobby Pierce 3.Jeremiah Hurst 4.Brian Shirley 5.Spencer Diercks 6.Dave Eckrich 7.Matt Furman 8.Tony Toste 9.Brennon Willard 10.Daniel Hilsabeck 11.Jeremy Conaway 12.Justin Duty 13.Chad Simpson 14.Tony Jackson Jr. 15.Jason Rauen 16.Justin Kay 17.Aaron Marrant 18.Mason Oberkramer 19.Garrett Alberson 20.Jason Papich 21.Skip Frey 22.Chris Simpson
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1.Payton Looney 2.Brian Shirley 3.Chad Simpson 4.Bobby Pierce 5.Brennon Willard 6.Jason Rauen 7.Justin Duty (DNS) 8.Jeremy Conaway (DNS)
Casey's General Stores Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1.Jeremiah Hurst 2.Chris Simpson 3.Tony Toste 4.Aaron Marrant 5.Matt Furman 6.Mason Oberkramer 7.Justin Kay
Performance Bodies Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1.Garrett Alberson 2.Daniel Hilsabeck 3.Dave Eckrich 4.Spencer Diercks 5.Tony Jackson Jr. 6.Jason Papich 7.Skip Frey