Stovall captures Larry Phillips Memorial
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Nov. 3) — Jesse Stovall zipped around polesitter Brad Looney on the sixth lap and raced to victory in Saturday's Larry Phillips Memorial at Springfield Raceway.
“Brad’s a good racer. I had to make a serious charge when I went around him on the top,” the third-starting Stovall said. "You can’t show those guys what you’re doing — you gotta do it all at once.”
Stovall turned back challenges from Looney over the next 15 laps, then outran hometown driver Terry Phillips and Jack Sullivan on a lap-33 restart to secure the victory in a race honoring Terry’s father, a short track racing legend.
“There was a heckuva group of cars here. .... this race is really special to me. I didn’t know Larry personally. My grandma was a big fan of it. It really means a lot to me to get to win this race,” Stovall said. "I know Terry wants to win ‘em all, but for me and him to run first and second, we’re in kind of close quarters where we’re working on race cars right now, so that’s pretty cool, too. All in all it was just an awesome night. Probably one of my biggest wins of the season.”
Despite a deflating tire, Phillips rallied after a consolation race victory to finish second while Sullivan, of Greenbrier, Ark., settled for third. Justin Zeitner of La Vista, Neb., who started outside the front row, was fourth and Dustin Mooneyham of Aurora, Mo., rounded out the top five.
Looney’s race came to an end on the 20th lap when he got too high exiting turn four and crunched the wall, while Tony Jackson Jr. of Lebanon, Mo., was running third when ignition failure forced him out in the second half the race.
“I was glad to see if I couldn’t get it, Jesse; we’re good friends,” Phillips said. "I’m glad to see him get it ... he’s pretty emotional right now, and I appreciate that. Glad to see him win it if I couldn’t, but we’ll give it a whirl next year.”
Stovall wasn’t challenged after Looney’s departure, but the caution with two laps remaining allowed the second-running Sullivan and third-running Phillips to line up behind him in double-file formation for the final restart.
Stovall was glad he had two drivers behind him who wouldn’t race him too aggressively.
"That’s always comforting,” Stovall said. "And I was pretty confident in my car. Not to be overly confident talking here, but my car was pretty good, and I knew if I could just go down there and roll through the middle one lap and kind of keep ‘em at bay in (turns) one and two, (turns) three and four I was good enough that they were really going to have to work hard to get by me.”
Although he took second from Sullivan, the deflating tire prevented Phillips from making a serious charge at the lead in the final laps.
“I just couldn’t get off the corner,” Phillips said. "I was loose (into the corner) with that tire going down. I knew something was wrong — I wasn’t sure what it was. But anyway, we hung in there and got second (against) Jack there at the end. That’s about all we could do. I was glad it was over when it was.”
Sullivan, who nearly got crossed up on the frontstretch while battling with Mooneyham on the second lap, wished he’d have selected the inside groove for the final restart.
“We weren’t too bad. Once we got strung out going, I felt like I was as good as Jesse,” he said. "I was hoping we wouldn’t have that last caution, but he’d have been hard to get by. He was pretty good.”
Notes: Stovall’s Victory Circle Chassis is sponsored by Hatcher Auto Body, B2R Racing, Joyce Agronomics, and Hendrick Buick-GMC-Cadillac. ... Shane Essary was scheduled to start on the pole, but he elected to start on the tail because of transmission problems; he was the first driver out in the 20-car field. ... The race paid $475-to-start. ... The event drew 160 race teams overall. ... Springfield wraps up its season Nov. 17 with the sixth annual KMJ Performance Turkey Bowl presented by Dirt Works Race Cars, which includes a $2,000-to-win Super Late Model event. Racing begins at 3 p.m.
Larry Phillips Memorial: (1) Jesse Stovall, (2) Terry Phillips, (3) Jack Sullivan, (4) Justin Zeitner, (5) Dustin Mooneyham, (6) Kyle Beard, (7) Brandon McCormick, (8) Justin Wells, (9) Jeff Floyd, (10) Bryon Allison, (11) Brandon Morton, (12) Mike Hammerle, (13) Dewayne Kiefer, (14) Cole Wells, (15) Patrick Johnson, (16) Jacob Magee, (17) Tony Jackson Jr., (18) Brad Looney, (19) Alan Vaughn, (20) Shane Essary. Heat race winners (among 33 cars): Sullivan, Jackson, Looney, Mooneyham. Consolation winners: McCormick, Phillips.