The COVID-19 pandemic has given hardship to a number of business operations, including the cancellation or longstanding postponement of short track racing across the country.


However, as a result of both state and local health safety restrictions loosened in Moberly, Randolph County Raceway received special treatment Friday to provide a location for a high speed racing circuit to compete for the first time this 2020 season.


Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Racing Association chose to wave its first green flag of its summer campaign at the half-mile dirt track provided by RCR. The Moberly facility was the first of three successive nights of competition for the MLRA touring circuit in the midwest and attracted 37 registered drivers from nine other states.


Quincy Raceway, Ill. owner Jason Goble, who is leasing RCR for 19 scheduled racing dates with all but the June 12 special taking place on Sunday evenings, heavily petitioned the MLRA to bring its semi-professional racing circuit here. The event accompanied two of the five regular racing classes offered at RCR in that a B-Modifieds and Sport Compact (4-cylinder) races were also held Friday.


RCR's grandstand, which seats 2,200 person, appeared to be at 90% capacity and another 500 more persons were estimated to be along the fence line or in the pit area watching the racing action.


Here's a look at the top finishers from all three racing features Friday at RCR.


Sport Compact


Kyle Burton's ability to navigate around three key trouble areas while competing in the Sport Compact's feature race paid dividends. Those adjustments corrected some problems Burton had in his heat.


As a result, the changes became a key strategy for Burton to emerge from the sixth starting position into become the night's champion among 11 other drivers in this class.


"It's good to win. This is my eighth since I first started racing in 2006 in this same class. This is my second race of the year and I only raced twice a year ago," Burton said. "The prize money is already spent. I believe whenever you win money it's already spent on something you've been working on with your race car."


Burton drove a 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier was placed in the sixth position to begin this 12-lap feature, and the fourth lap proved bountiful for the 28-year old from Clark, Mo.


In the June 7 season opener, Burton placed fourth among 21 competitors and spent much of the week repairing what he named as routine issues that occur. The most significant repair made was replacing the alternator for Friday's race, and perhaps this change gave his car a little extra energy to get the job done.


"I passed three cars on that lap and held the lead the rest of the way. I was challenged pretty good the first couple of laps after I took the lead, then I gradually extended my distance to pull away," said Burton, who was the Hornets' class 2014 season points champion at Moberly. "The track was a little better than last weekend, but it's still pretty rough to drive on. I found some big holes at turn one and also at both turn three and four, and in that final feature I did better because I did what I could to avoid them."


https://youtu.be/DthK6cWiE0s

B-Modifieds Feature


For the second time in as many B-Modified feature races offered at RCR this season, the checkered flag waved in honor of Cole Campbell, his fourth overall win among 10 races he's entered since late April.


The 22-year old Mexico driver once again started at the pole position and Campbell held off Earl Pryor of Troy, who began in the sixth spot and finished second, and Bowling Green's Terry Wilson's third place effort.


Friday's top prize money for Campbell was a couple of hundred dollars more than opening night June 7 win as Campbell brought home $500 on this occasion.


There were three heats to accommodate the 20 registered drivers. Seventeen of them made it to the feature but only seven finished the 20-lap race.


Fourth place went to David Snyder of Greentop and he was followed by Salisbury's Trevor Gladbach, David Dawson of Mexico and Hugh Eddy from Milan.


Clark native Kyle Burton beat 11 drivers to the finish line and pocked $300 in winning the Sport Compact feature. He fought off second place finisher Jeffrey DeLonjay of Quincy, Ill. and three Mexico residents – Alvin Cooney, Austin Parks and Matt Barnett – who followed Burton respectively in the top five.


Lucas Oil MLRA


After a nine week late start due to the pandemic, the first checkered flag of the 2020 MLRA season celebrated a 40-lap victory acquired by Shannon Babb from Moweaqua, Ill.


Babb and Tony Jackson Jr. of Lebanon, Mo. shared leads throughout the feature but following the third and final restart of this event, Babb passed Chad Simpson of Mt. Vernon, Ia. and Jackson Jr. on the 29th lap and never relinquished the lead thereafter and he won the $3,000 cash prize on June 12.


Six laps later Ryan Gustin moved up a couple of notches and held his position to finish second behind Babb. Simpson took third place and he was followed by Jackson Jr. and defending MLRA series champion Will Vaught of Crane, Mo. placed fifth.


Super Late Model driver Tony Toste made the longest journey to compete at this special MLRA event as he traveled more than 1,900 miles from his home in Arroyo, Calif. Garrett Alberson drove 625 miles from Shreveport, La., while Jordan Yaggy of Rochester, Minn. and Mitch McGrath of Waukesha, Wisc. each covered more than 430 miles of roadway to reach Moberly.


The 52-year old Toste said the late model division around the west coast area of his hometown has greatly dwindled in recent years. His passion for the sport gave cause for Toste to travel to Missouri with a a fellow driver and friend, Jason Papich from Niporro, Calif., and the duo have plans to spend a few weeks here to compete in as many races in the midwest as they can before returning home.


Drivers were divided up into four Heats, and drivers having the fastest time of each Heat automatically advanced directly to the main 40-lap A Feature race. Shannon Babb and Tony Jackson Jr. were in the top two positions respectively, and behind them were Payton Looney of Republic and Vaught.


Meanwhile, the next 20 heat finishers had to keep their engines running as they were equally divided into a pair of B Features according to their Heat time and run around the track 10 times for seeding purposes in the A Feature race.


Rounding out the Top 10 finishers in the MLRA Super Late Model's A Feature race are Vaught finishing fifth and he was followed by Looney, Simpson, Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill. Billy Moyer Sr. of Batesville, Ark. and 10th place went to McGrath.


On Saturday night the MLRA drivers competed at Maquoketa Speedway and then Sunday at West Liberty Raceway. A $5,000 first place prize was offered at both Iowa racing facilities.