WHEATLAND, MO. (October 3, 2020) – Peyton Taylor came to Lucas Oil Speedway on a mission to repeat his Big Buck 50 championship.
Call it mission accomplished for the veteran racer from Batesville, Arkansas.
Taylor led all 50 laps Saturday night to capture the big prize at the 7th annual Street Stocks Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy.
Driving his final Street Stocks race, with plans to go Modified racing full time, Taylor for the second year in a row earned $10,000 and a free entry into this fall’s prestigious mid-Missouri Whitetail Trophy Hunt, valued at another $3,000.
TJ Herndon of Atwood, Tennessee finished a distant second, 5.3 seconds behind Taylor with David Hendrix coming home in third.
“There was a lot of attrition,” Taylor said. “We knew we were pretty good (Friday) in the dash. We fought some stuff. Everybody just worked hard. At the end of the day, I have to give all the glory to God. I was talking to him every caution. Without him, none of this is possible.
“I want to thank all the fans. We’ve had a good couple of years. It looks like we’re going to focus on the Modified stuff now. We’re beyond blessed. I’m really thankful for everything.”
Taylor did a reverse victory lap, in tribute to close friend Randy Sherril of Batesville who passed away recently of an apparent heart attack.
“A couple of weeks ago, I lost a really good friend and this one’s for him,” an emotional Taylor said in victory lane.
Taylor started on the pole and wasted little time flexing his muscle, opening a 1.7 second lead in front of Richie Tosh when a caution flew on lap eight for Dale Richardson’s spin in turn two. Hendrix, the 2019 Big Buck 50 runner-up, already had moved from 10th to fifth by that point.
Herndon took over second one lap after the restart and gave chase to Taylor. Those two separated from the pack by two seconds as the leaders caught and began to navigate through lapped traffic.
“I thought we had something for him there, early on,” said Herndon, who set the fast time in qualifying on Thursday and started the main event fourth. “I went to try to get underneath him a time or two.
“We both race for Dale Nelson and (Taylor) is quitting this week and I didn’t want to get fired (for taking) the top two spots out,” Herndon added with a chuckle.
A three-car incident in turn four on lap 23 brought out another caution. This one involved two-time Lucas Oil Speedway champion Toby Ott and Tyler Worley, both of whom were running in the top eight at the time.
Worley spun again on lap 28 to bring out a red flag, as he popped the turn-three wall. That erased a 1.7-second lead that Taylor had built over Herndon.
Heath Philpot cracked the top five by lap 32, an amazing run for the driver who started on the front row and spun on lap three and had to restart 25th. But Philpot would pull off with four laps to go, while running fifth and wound up 15th.
Meanwhile, Taylor took all the mystery out of a race that remained green over the final 22 laps. He gradually pulled away to win more than a straightaway’s margin over Herndon. Hendrix was third followed by Carroll and Kris Lloyd.
For Hendrix, a former track champion who had only raced a handful of laps all season due to work and family commitments, there was little sign of rust. It was his fourth top-five finish in the Big Buck 50.
“The car was pretty good. The car was probably better than the driver,” Hendrix said. “This was the first full feature we’ve finished all year, we’ve just been so busy.”
But the night belonged to Taylor, driving a TJR Motorsports-built car for a big farewell triumph in the division.
“We have a whole package here,” Taylor said of the car and team. “You can come and run these deals, but you’re not gonna perform if you don’t have the right ingredients. I feel like we have a pretty solid team.”
The Big Buck 50 attracted 90 entries when action began with time trials on Thursday night.
Henson nails down ULMA championship as Fennewald takes the win: Johnny Fennewald of Appleton City led flag to flag to capture the Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model 30-lap feature victory. Fennewald finished a dominating 7.4 seconds in front of second-place Justin Russell.
Meanwhile, Cole Henson’s fourth-place finish was plenty good enough to give the Russellville, Missouri driver the Lucas Cattle Company ULMA season championship. Henson doubled up after also winning the Lucas Oil Speedway season championship.
Consistency was the key. Henson, 24, did not win a feature race but had 12 top-five finishes in 14 races. He never finished outside the top 10.
“I said in an interview at the beginning of the year that I would like to come out and win either the Lucas Oil Speedway championship or the ULMA championship. I cannot believe I just done both,” Henson said. “It’s been a crazy year. I know we didn’t get the win, but I tell you what, this is way better than a win.
“In my second year in a Late Model and to come out and do this, it’s unbelievable.”
Henson thanked his car owner Rob Schlup, sponsors, family, friends and veteran racer Tony Jackson Jr. who gave him helpful advice throughout the season.
“And thanks to the fans. Without you guys, we wouldn’t be doing this,” Henson said. “It’s awesome to see you in the stands.”
As happened so often during the season, Fennewald found victory lane while Henson ran clean and near the front. A pair of DNFs early in the season damaged Fennewald’s title hopes for either points chase.
Fennewald started on the outside of row one and sprinted to the lead as the green flag dropped. Kaeden Cornell quickly worked has way from sixth to second by lap three and those two had separated from the field by 1.5 seconds when the race’s first caution came out on lap nine.
Cornell faded after the restart to sixth and eventually pulled off the track. Fennewald proceeded to drive away from the field as the race remained caution free the rest of the way.
“The track was really good tonight,” Fennewald said after his seventh feature win of the Lucas Oil Speedway season. “Congratulations to Cole on the championship. We fell short on the track and the ULMA championship, but we won a lot of races this year. I’m pretty happy about that.”
Russell slipped past Larry Ferris on the final lap with Henson coming home in fourth, clinching the ULMA season championship over Ferris.
7th annual Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt
Saturday’s unofficial results
O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks
A Feature – 1. 01-Peyton Taylor; 2. 1-TJ Herndon; 3. 54-David Hendrix; 4. 94-Kenny Carroll; 5. 1X-Kris Lloyd; 6. 1G-Tony Anglin; 7. 30C-Clayton Campbell; 8. 68M-James McMillin; 9. 04B-Brian Worley; 10. 27D-Derek Henson; 11. 04-Cody Frazon; 12. 69-Brian Brown; 13. 4-Jared Hays; 14. (DNF) 525-Heath Philpot; 15. (DNF) 5H-Eric Hammons; 16. (DNF) 35-Johnny Coats; 17. (DNF) 42-James Flood; 18. (DNF) 66-Tyler Worley; 19. (DNF) 18X-Blake Schmidt; 20. (DNF) 27OTT-Toby Ott; 21. (DNF) 327-Dale Richardson; 22. (DNF) 60-Chuck Knight; 23. (DNF) 11-Derek Brown; 24. (DNF) 357-Kyle Slader; 25. (DNF) 31R-Erik Maggard; 26. (DQ) 11T-Richie Tosh
B Feature – 1. 27D-Derek Henson; 2. 68M-James McMillin; 3. 1X-Kris Lloyd; 4. 35-Johnny Coats; 5. 04-Cody Frazon; 6. 60-Chuck Knight; 7. 5H-Eric Hammons; 8. 4-Jared Hays; 9. 40-Taylor Carver; 10. 38-Jessie Shearin; 11. 7C-Collin Parmer; 12. 88B-Ben Waggoner; 13. 27-Bob Barnett; 14. 88-Jason Winkle; 15. 11-Derek Brown; 16. 69-Brian Brown; 17. 73-Francisco Escamila; 18. 10 4J-Cody Jones; 19. 2J-Johnny Fennewald; 20. 23-Kevin Salter; 21. 67I-Devin Irvin; 22. 7X-John Scott
C Feature – 1. 2J-Johnny Fennewald; 2. 38-Jessie Shearin; 3. 23-Kevin Salter; 4. 88-Jason Winkle; 5. 7X-John Scott; 6. 1XM-Mitchell Mourot; 7. 78-Marlin Cathey; 8. 89-Mark Mullins; 9. 19-Tyler Barker; 10. 26B-Bobby Brown; 11. 77DD-Danny Mckenzie; 12. 14-Larry Ferris; 13. 15X-Harry Palmer; 14. 46-Tony Wyatt; 15. 31-Ed Griggs; 16. 9X-Austin Vincent; 17. (DNF) 5D-Dustin Tiger; 18. (DNF) 1N-Dale Nelson; 19. (DNF) 1B-Nick Gibson; 20. (DNF) 17-Jeremy Tharp; 21. (DNF) 67I-Devin Irvin; 22. (DNS) 76J-Jeremy Russell
D Feature – 1. 88-Jason Winkle; 2. 15X-Harry Palmer; 3. 78-Marlin Cathey; 4. 1N-Dale Nelson; 5. 26B-Bobby Brown; 6. 24-Toby Lindell; 7. 4G-Garry Tackitt; 8. 7M-Scott Johnson; 9. 27O-Joe Walkenhorst; 10. 20-Robbie Jones; 11. (DNF) 10 4-Billy Wheeler; 12. (DNF) 3-Dale Douty; 13. (DNF) 127-Andrew Morris; 14. (DNF) 3J-Josh Halbrook; 15. (DNF) 02-Aaron Gustin; 16. (DNF) 83K-Denny Fitzpatrick; 17. (DNF) 94C-JT Carroll; 18. (DNF) 777-Jeff Douty; 19. (DNF) 53S-Jess Sims; 20. (DNF) 5D-Dustin Tiger; 21. (DNS) 99W-Edwin Wells; 22. (DNS) 27B-Terry Schultz
E Feature – 1. 777-Jeff Douty; 2. 53S-Jess Sims; 3. 3-Dale Douty; 4. 15X-Harry Palmer; 5. 26B-Bobby Brown; 6. 127-Andrew Morris; 7. 70-Bobby Bryant; 8. 28K-Chris Kircher; 9. 7-Brandon Hays; 10. 22M-Danny Monroe; 11. 56-Mark Davis; 12. 1K-Jim Kimbell; 13. 53-Danny O’Neal; 14. (DNF) 22J-Joey Holdren II; 15. (DNF) 10-Steve Beach; 16. (DNF) 64M-Terry Muskrat; 17. (DNF) 41M-Donnie Miller; 18. (DNF) 54ML-David Higgins; 19. (DNF) 89D-Daniel Deason; 20. (DNF) 164-Michael Muskrat; 21. (DNF) 2XM-Carl Murphy; 22. (DNS) 111-Tim Brown; 23. (DNS) 440-Brandon Rowland; 24. (DNS) 1XX-Steven Crocker
Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models
A Feature – 1. 21-Johnny Fennewald; 2. 12J-Justin Russell; 3. 51-Larry Ferris; 4. 31C-Cole Henson; 5. 5-Todd Shute; 6. 1T-Tucker Cox; 7. 69-Dalton Imhoff; 8. (DNF) 16-Ashlee Lancaster; 9. (DNF) 15-John Aitken; 10. (DNF) 14C-Jerry Croney; 11. (DNF) 3P-Matt Patton; 12. (DNF) 50-Kaeden Cornell; 13. (DNF) 99-Larry Jones; 14. (DNF) 66T-Matt Becker
Heat 1 – 1. 51-Larry Ferris; 2. 31C-Cole Henson; 3. 12J-Justin Russell; 4. 5-Todd Shute; 5. 66T-Matt Becker; 6. 1T-Tucker Cox; 7. 16-Ashlee Lancaster
Heat 2 – 1. 21-Johnny Fennewald; 2. 96-Dalton Imhoff; 3. 50-Kaeden Cornell; 4. 15-John Aitken; 5. 99-Larry Jones; 6. 14C-Jerry Croney; 7. 3P-Matt Patton
MLRA Fall Nationals, B-Mod Clash next: Lucas Oil Speedway next plays host to the 7th annual Lucas Oil MLRA Fall Nationals and Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod Clash of Champions III next weekend.
Action begins with an open practice from 5-8 p.m. Thursday night. On Friday, the Lucas Oil MLRA Late Models run a 40-lap, $3,000-to-win feature and the B-Mods run a double set of heat races to determine the alphabet soup running order for Saturday’s feature. On Saturday, the MLRA will be running a 50-lap $5,000-to-win main event with the B-Mods holding the alphabet features leading to a 30-lap, $3,000-to-win feature.
For ticket questions or information for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at email@example.com for more information.