Perfect night for Looney at Motor Mile

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Score it a perfect ten.

Photo by Chad Fletcher
Career year continues for Mike Looney with the sweep of ETHOS Technologies TWIN 50s

Mike Looney authored a peerless performance in Motor Mile Speedway’s Late Model division Saturday night, overcoming a pair of 10th-place starting positions to sweep the ETHOS Technologies TWIN 50s.

“I’ve never swept a Late Model twin before; this is just unbelievable,” Looney exclaimed. “Good Lord, what a night.”

Looney captured the Price’s Body Shop Pole Award in Late Model qualifications but was relegated to tenth place on the 16-car starting grid for the 50-lap opener following the post-qualifying redraw. Looney rocketed through the field in the opening circuits, maneuvering into fifth prior to the event’s first caution flag of the night on lap 7.

Newcomer Max McLaughlin eclipsed Kyle Dudley for the point on the restart, and subsequently led a race-high 21 laps in his first-career Motor Mile Speedway start. McLaughlin’s exceptional debut was throttled by the ascendency of Looney, who was aided by the second and final caution of the first contest on lap 30. Looney’s no. 87 restarted to McLaughlin’s outside, and following a brief tussle for the top spot, McLaughlin’s no. 6 succumbed to Looney’s superior machine. McLaughlin faded to fourth in the closing circuits, with Kres Van Dyke trailing Looney by .537 seconds at the checkers. Dudley placed third, and Nik Williams rounded out the top five.

The nightcap mirrored the first feature, with Looney handicapped to tenth on the grid per Motor Mile Speedway’s Consecutive Wins policy. Derrick Lancaster started the race from the outside of the front row and seized the lead from pole-sitter Kyle Barnes on lap one.

A late entry, Lancaster had forgone Friday testing and missed both practice and qualifying. Despite the lack of track time, Lancaster commanded the feature for 23 circuits before surrendering first to a hard-charging Looney, who had once again knifed his way through the top 10. Looney led the remainder of the caution-free race; Lancaster posted a sixth-place result.

Gage Painter finished second in just his third-career Late Model start at Motor Mile Speedway. McLaughlin completed the podium. Van Dyke and Dudley finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Looney’s lead advantage in Motor Mile Speedway’s Late Model track standings has swelled to 110 points over Kyle Dudley by virtue of his latest triumphs. Looney’s six-win season at MMS has vaulted the no. 87 team to fourth place in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings; Looney entered Saturday night’s event 92 points behind frontrunner Peyton Sellers. Looney’s national ranking will be bolstered by the points accrued for his two victories Saturday night; national points are awarded based on car counts, with NASCAR awarding maximum points for fields of 16 cars.

“There’s a lot on the line in each one of these races, and I’m really blessed to be able to park it [in victory lane] again tonight,” said Looney, adding that the team is approaching the remainder of the season one race at a time. “I’m glad I don’t have Facebook. They tell me they’re talking, but we’re in the shop working. That’s where I belong.”

IN OTHER DIVISIONS:

Karl Budzevski captured his third win of the season in the Collision Plus Limited Sportsman division Saturday night, besting points leader Cory Dunn and Charles Smith in a contest that featured three different race leaders. Through five races, Dunn maintains a 25-point lead over Budzevski in the track standings.

Scott Foley celebrated his first-career victory in the first Carpet Factory Outlet MOD-4 division feature, with Taylor Asberry and Doodle Lang rounding out the podium. The 25-lap finale was won by Dennis Holdren, who was competing in five races across three divisions Saturday night. Kevin Canter placed second, and Kirby Gobble scored third.

Kyle Barnes led every circuit en route to his first-career Super Street triumph, forestalling a relentless assault from Holdren in the closing circuits. Holdren’s second place finish severed a streak of three consecutive division victories. Wayne Corprew placed third.

–J.W. Martin, Motor Mile Speedway