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June 23, 2020

Payton Looney eager for Lucas Oil Speedway MLRA return at Wednesday's Mid-Week Mayhem

Payton Looney looks for a Lucas Oil MLRA victory when the series returns to Lucas Oil Speedway for Mid-Week Mayhem on Wednesday. (Mike Ruefer photo)
WHEATLAND, Mo. (June 23, 2020) - The last time Payton Looney came to Lucas Oil Speedway, it was a weekend of extremes that you might say he "flipped" from one end of the spectrum to the other.

At last October's Lucas Oil MLRA Fall Nationals, Looney found himself and his nearly new Capital Race Car upside down after an accident not of his own making. Less than 24 hours later, after a late night of repairs, Looney bounced back with a strong second-place finish.

Those two nights sort of exemplified the Republic driver's 2019 season, one that was plagued by so much early misfortune that he shut it down for six of eight MLRA events to regroup before returning to finish it out in positive fashion.

Looney, 25, is back at Lucas Oil Speedway for the special MLRA Mid-Week Mayhem on Wednesday, the opener of a four-race series swing. Midwest Mods join the Wednesday program in their first-ever appearance at the speedway. The MLRA Late Models will run for $3,000 to win the feature while the Midwest Mods will go after a $300-to-win top prize.

 

Following the Wednesday event at Lucas Oil Speedway, the MLRA will compete Thursday at Outlaw Motor Speedway in Oktaha, Oklahoma, before the two-night Freedom Classic on June 26-27 at Salina Highbanks Speedway in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma.

"I can't wait," Looney said of getting back to Wheatland, where he was a track champion in his formative years driving a ULMA Late Model. "That track is a little bit different from most places we go. I think (experience racing there weekly) does play in my favor a little bit."

The 2018 MLRA Rookie of the Year has one top-10 in three MLRA events this season. He picked up a victory on June 6 at the COMP Cams Super Dirt Series Rockabilly 45 at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Arkansas, along with second and third-place CCSDS finishes Memorial Day weekend at Legit Speedway.

"It's going pretty good," Looney said of the 2020 season. "We got that big win in Little Rock. Hopefully we can continue to carry that (momentum) on and hopefully we get that big MLRA win this weekend. We have four chances to do it. Hopefully that momentum will build and leads to success.

"I don't think I've ever done four races in four nights. I guess we'll find out how it goes. It's two of my favorite places though. I love Salina (Highbanks) and Wheatland. We'll give it a go."

The delayed start to the season due to the COVID-19 virus worked out well for Looney. Not only did Looney, car owner Jeremy Atnip and crew chief Lake Mooneyham use it for extra preparation on the car, he was able to spend extra time with new daughter Elliott (almost five months old) and 2 1/2-year-old son Baylor.

"We definitely tried to use it as a positive to get the car up to speed," Looney said of the break from racing. "I think it translated to some instant success once we got going."

Looney said it would be sweet to take a trip to victory lane at Lucas Oil Speedway, where he won often in the ULMA division. With a goal of competing for the MLRA championship this season, his main focus is on race-by-race success.

"You'd like to say being the points champion is a goal, but honestly I just try to go out every race and try to win," Looney said. "I feel like if you're doing that every race, the points will take care of itself."

 

Shannon Babb, Chris Simpson and Billy Moyer picked up feature wins last weekend as the MLRA Series opened its season. Simpson leads the early points by 10 over Moyer with 2018 MLRA champion Chad Simpson in third, 35 behind. Tony Jackson Jr. of Lebanon is next, 40 behind the leader, and reigning MLRA champion Will Vaught of Crane is fifth 85 points in back of Babb.

 

Gates open at 4 p.m. Wednesday with hot laps at 7 and racing at 7:35.

 

Midwest Mods drivers are reminded they must preregister on MyRacePass as no entries will be taken at the track the day of the event. A total of 65 had entered, as of Tuesday morning.

Check out MLRAracing.com for more information on the Lucas Oil MLRA Series.

 

Tickets:
Adults (16 and over) $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $17
Youth (ages 6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family pass $50
Pit pass $35

 

For ticket questions or information for next weekend or any event this season, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com for more information.

 

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