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Daily Dirt 02/27/2020 20:23:14

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September 1
Lucas Oil Speedway,
Wheatland, MO
Sanction: Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Racing Association (Larry Phillips Memorial) - $5,075
Information provided by: Series reports (last updated September 2, 12:27 pm)
Vaught turns back Simpson in Phillips Memorial
Larry Phillips Memorial
  1. Will Vaught
  2. Chad Simpson
  3. Jesse Stovall
  4. Payton Looney
  5. Logan Martin
  6. Mason Oberkramer
  7. Johnny Fennewald
  8. J.C. Wyman
  9. Scott Crigler
  10. Tony Jackson Jr.
  11. Jeremy Grady
  12. Jake Neal
  13. Austin Siebert
  14. Joe Gorby
  15. Chris Spieker
  16. Dave Eckrich
  17. Brad Looney
  18. Jon Driskill
  19. Mark Burgtorf
  20. Mitch McGrath
  21. Cade Dillard
  22. Jake Davis
  23. Jeff Roth
presented by
Lloyd Collins/fasttrackphotos.net
Chad Simpson (25) and Payton Looney (15) pressure Will Vaught (1v).
What won the race: Will Vaught of Crane, Mo., took the lead from fellow front-row starter Dave Eckrich on the 10th lap and outdueled Chad Simpson with 10 laps remaining to capture Saturday's 50-lap Larry Phillips Memorial on the Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Racing Association. Vaught, who regained the lead after Simpson went ahead on laps 38-39 following a restart, earned $5,075 for his fourth MLRA victory of the season and second of the weekend.
Key notes: Vaught, who won by 1.971 seconds, has 12 career MLRA victories. ... Early leader Dave Eckrich retired on lap 44. ... Cade Dillard, Jeff Roth and Jake Davis failed to complete a lap. ... The event honored the late Larry Phillips, a former MLRA champion and five-time NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national champion. ... The eighth annual Diamond Drag Boat Nationals were held in conjunction with the event. ... MLRA wraps up its season at Wheatland on Oct. 12-13.
On the move: Jesse Stovall of Galena, Mo., started 17th and finished third; Johnny Fennewald of Appleton City, Mo., started 21st and finished seventh.
Winner's sponsors: Vaught's Rocket Chassis is sponsored by Johnson's Service Station, Wright Asphalt Products, Keyser Manufacturing, Integra Racing Shocks and GW Performance.
Points chase: Entering the weekend, Chad Simpson (1,297) of Mount Vernon, Iowa, led Will Vaught (1,259), Tony Jackson Jr. (1,239), Payton Looney (1,130) and Mitch McGrath (1,117).
Car count: 29
Polesitter: Will Vaught
Heat race winners: Will Vaught, Chad Simpson, Jake Neal, Joe Gorby
Consolation race winners: Jesse Stovall
Next series race: September 2, Monett Motor Speedway (Monett, MO) $3,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
By Lyndal Scranton
Lucas Oil Speedway

WHEATLAND, Mo. — Will Vaught remained on an absolute roll Saturday, pulling away from Chad Simpson over the final 10 laps to capture the Larry Phillips Memorial in Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Racing Association action at Lucas Oil Speedway.

The Crane, Mo., driver backed up his MLRA victory on Friday night at Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa, and made it four feature triumphs in the last five series events. He pocketed $5,075 in a race paying tribute the late Larry Phillips, the iconic Missouri short-track champion who died in 2004.

"The good Lord was watching after us tonight," said Vaught, who also won the Phillips Memorial in 2016. "We're all here and had a good show. I love Wheatland, Mo.”

Simpson, the series points leader from Mount Vernon, Iowa, and 17th-starting Jesse Stovall of Galena, Mo., nabbed the other podium spots. Payton Looney of Republic, Mo., ran as high as second before finishing fourth while Logan Martin of West Plains, Mo., rounded out the top five.

Vaught began the weekend just 38 points behind Simpson, the season-long championship leader. He kept the pressure on, continuing a surge that includes a second-place to go with the four wins over the last five MLRA races.

Vaught started on the pole and led the opening lap before outside front-row starter Dave Eckrich wrestled away the lead the next time around. They ran 1-2 until Vaught went back in front with an outside pass coming out of turn four to complete lap 10.

Vaught opened up a half-straightaway-margin lead over the next 10 laps. By then Simpson moved into second and Payton Looney advanced into third and Stovall, who started 17th, raced into fourth.

A caution on lap 35 set up a three-way battle for the lead after the race resumed. Vaught, Simpson and Looney were three wide on the backstretch when another caution flew, on lap 37, as Tony Jackson Jr. slowed and went to the pits.

Simpson took advantage and slid past Vaught for the lead on the restart with Stovall moving into third. But Vaught used a slider in turn four to regain the lead two laps later with the big crowd on its feet.

"Leading this race, it's the hardest place to be on the racetrack," Vaught said. "I knew my stuff was too tight to be on the bottom and Chad got by me there. I was like, 'I have to make something work here,' so we got the top working again.”

Vaught gradually pulled away from there and won by 1.97 seconds over Simpson with Stovall third, Looney fourth and Logan Martin fifth. It was Vaught's series-best fifth MLRA feature win of the season.

"Chad is a heck of a racer. We race each other hard and clean. It was fun," Vaught said. "We're battling for this points lead. With him running second, I'm never gonna gain on him. But we're here to win races and we have three more to go."

Simpson said finishing second was little consolation.

"I felt like we had a better race car, but we ended up second," Simpson said. "The top was decent, but it's such a long way around the top. Hats off to all these fans who came out here and all my sponsors and car owners for letting us come do this.

"We just have to keep going to the racetrack and try to win races. That's all we can do."

Stovall briefly made a bid for the lead on the lap-38 restart, nearly pulling off a remarkable 17th-to-first run. But the 2016 MLRA champion was philosophical about his night.

"It wasn't too bad," Stovall said. "We buried ourselves so deep there that we had to run a B (feature) and just did what we could do."

Feature lineup

Row 1: Vaught, D. Eckrich
Row 2: Neal, Simpson
Row 3: Gorby, P. Looney
Row 4: Martin, Dillard
Row 5: Grady, Davis
Row 6: Roth, Wyman
Row 7: Oberkramer, Burgtorf
Row 8: Siebert, Driskill
Row 9: Stovall, Crigler
Row 10: Jackson, B. Looney
Row 11: Fennewald, Spieker

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