CANEY, Kan. — Saturday night’s long-awaited return of the Lucas Oil MLRA to the Caney Valley Speedway proved to be well worth the 23-year wait.
For 2018 MLRA series runner-up Will Vaught, it marked his first visit to the quarter-mile speedway as he cashed in on the $3,000 payday, collecting his first series win of the season.
A solid field of 24 late models checked in to do battle with Jeremy Grady, Gary Gorby, and Payton Looney collecting wins in heat race action.
However, it would be the veteran and seven time MLRA series champion Al Purkey rolling from the DirtonDirt.com pole and jumping to the lap one lead. A caution at the conclusion of lap one set up a critical restart that would prove to be the difference in determining the outcome of the race.
Billy Moyer Jr. took full advantage of the re-start opportunity and cleared Purkey exiting turn two only to set up a door to door battle with Vaught entering turn three. Vaught would charge deep into the turn as he and Moyer Jr. made contact battling for the race lead. Off the exit of four it would be Vaught jumping to the point and taking control of the field.
Mitch McGrath who started in the ninth position quickly took advantage of the contact between the leaders and found himself locked to the rear bumper of Vaught’s XR1 Rocket in the runner up position.
With Vaught caught up in lapped traffic, a multitude of cautions would fly over the course of the 40-lap main event, each time giving way to opportunities for the likes of McGrath, Purkey, and Moyer Jr. to capitalize.
With 19 laps remaining, Moyer Jr. was able to clear McGrath finding himself within striking distance of the 1V of Vaught.
Although Moyer Jr. had a couple of late race opportunities to challenge for the lead by virtue of cautions, it would be Vaught picking up his first win of the season. Moyer Jr. would claim runner-up honors, followed by McGrath, Payton Looney, and Logan Martin rounding out the top five.
“This is our fourth race of the year and I had never seen Caney, Kansas before, but I love it now,” Vaught said. “My car didn’t feel good all night, and I kind of just had to man handle it there. We’ve got a lot of work to do to this thing, but we still won the race and we will go into next week with a lot of momentum now.”
Feature (40 Laps): 1. Will Vaught 2.Billy Moyer Jr. 3.Mitch McGrath 4.Payton Looney 5.Logan Martin 6.Joseph Gorby 7.Jake Neal 8.Gary Gorby 9.Jacob Magee 10.Mark Daye 11.Clyde Ward 12.David Young 13.Marvin Jones 14.Jason Anderson 15.Gene Hogan 16.Dustin Bolster 17.Cory Green 18.Shannon Phillips 19.Richard Shepler III 20.Al Purkey 21.Curt Acker 22.Jeremy Grady 23.Jesse Stovall 24.Blair Dothdurft (DNS)