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September 29, 2020

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Peyton Taylor aims for Street Stocks walk-off win at Big Buck 50

Peyton Taylor (01) dueled with David Hendrix (54) before taking command midway through last year's Big Buck 50 at Lucas Oil Speedway. Taylor looks for a repeat in what will be his final Street Stock race. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)
WHEATLAND, MO. (Sept. 29, 2020) - Peyton Taylor is spending the early portion of the week going over his Street Stock with the proverbial fine-tooth comb, readying for a title defense of his Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt victory at Lucas Oil Speedway.
But win or lose, Taylor is hoping he doesn’t haul the car back home to Batesville, Arkansas. It’s for sale as the veteran driver is planning to campaign a Modified full-time after Saturday.
“It’s been a good ride,” Taylor said. “But I have the opportunity to go back Modified racing full time again. We’re racing two cars right now and it’s hard to race two cars.”
Taylor has been a big-game hunter in the Street Stock over the last few years, taking home a $10,000-to-win at Batesville in just his second race in the division. And, of course, the $10,000 prize he earned one year ago at the Big Buck 50 from a field of 107 entries.
Taylor said he possibly already has the car sold, with the prospective buyer picking it up after the checkered flag flies Saturday night. He said the perfect scenario would be to give the car, built by Lebanon’s Tony Jackson Jr. and TJR Motorsports, a happy sendoff from victory lane.
“The majority of my success in the Street Stock, I couldn’t have done it without Tony Jackson,” Taylor said. “Me and him have built a friendship around racing. It’s pretty cool to do that. He has great tech support and a good product.”
Aware that several TJR Motorsports cars likely will be in the field, Taylor said, “I hope it’s us taking it to the win. I’d like to go out in style.”
It was a challenging path to the win a year ago. Taylor’s motor went sour during time trials and required a replacement power plant the next morning.
“We realized we were down one cylinder after we timed in,” Taylor said. “We changed motors Friday morning, then I didn’t like way the car was balanced. We literally ended up changing everything but the transmission and the driver.
“It was an event. Once again, Tony came over and we all went to town - me, him and Ricky (Jeffrey) and we got it figured out.”
Taylor won his qualifying heat race on Friday night and ran second in the pole dash, for the eight heat-race winners. That put him on the outside of David Hendrix on the front row for the feature.
After patiently following Hendrix through the first half of the main event, Hendrix took the lead and went on to victory.
“We rode around there and bided our time first 15-20 laps,” Taylor said. “Hendrix got gone and we started reeling him back in. Then once we got past him and found some open track and clean air, we were able to go and set our own pace.”
Taylor said he’s always enjoyed 50-lap races, because the track surface usually goes through a transition.
“It starts out with a little bit of traction normally and transitions to a slicker track,” he said. “You have to be good in all areas of track conditions. You have to make sure your tires are right. One thing our program is really good on is tires and tire wear.”
Taylor said he has some extra motivation this week. He is dedicating his race to a close friend, Randy Sherril, who passed away last week due to a heart attack. 
“He was a good buddy and a big racing guy,” Taylor said. “He was close to everybody around Batesville. I told Tony, when he called with condolences, ‘Man, this is my last one. I really want to try and win it for this guy.’ To win it for him and go out in style, it would be almost unbelievable.
“To win and get to do a reverse victory lap would mean a lot to me. That would probably mean more than the money.”
The 7th annual Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt begins with practice and qualifying on Thursday night and leading to Saturday night’s 50-lap main event, in which the winner will take home $10,000 and a free entry, valued at more than $3,000, into the prestigious Whitetail Trophy Hunt in mid-Missouri this November.
Drivers can download the Big Buck 50 entry form and submit before Thursday for a $100 entry fee and save $25 on the entry. Payout for the race will be: 1st - $10,000; 2nd - $5,000; 3rd - $2,500; 4th - $1,500. 5th - $1,250. 6th - $1,000. 7th - $900. 8th - $850. 9th - $800. 10th - $750. 11th - $700. 12th - 650. 13th - $600. 14th - $550. 15th -24th - $500. Non-transfers $200.
Practice is set for Thursday night for both Street Stocks and ULMA Late Models from 5-8 p.m., plus time trials for the Street Stocks from 8-9 p.m. Grandstand admission will be free with pit passes $25. A beer trailer will set up in the pits next to the tech building, with sales opening after qualifying and the band Comancheros will play in the pits following the time trials.
Once again this year, TJR Motorsports will provide $500 for the Fast Time Bonus to the driver quickest in time trials.
Qualifying heat races are set for Friday, along with dashes for the top two finishers in each heat to set the field for the first 16 position of Saturday’s feature. Alphabet mains on Saturday will finalize the field for the main event.
Two Lucas Oil Speedway provisional starters will be added to the field, based on final 2020 track points.
The ULMA Late Models will run full programs with $1,000-to-win features on both Friday and Saturday. The Lucas Cattle Company ULMA National Champion will be crowned on Oct. 3. Lucas Oil Speedway 2020 track champion Cole Henson of Russellville has a 32-point lead over Nevada’s Larry Ferris in ULMA national points with Tucker Cox of Jefferson City 46 behind.
More about the Whitetail Trophy Hunt: The only way to now gain entry in the 2020 Whitetail Trophy Hunt is to win the Big Buck 50 as this year’s hunt has long been sold out. Visit for info on the 2021 hunt, which is set for Nov. 13-15 of 2021.
This fall marks the 32nd anniversary of the Whitetail Trophy Hunt at Lake of the Ozarks. Event dates will be Nov. 14-16. This tremendously popular hunt brings in participants from all over the United States and abroad. Entries are limited to a maximum of 220 hunters.
Past Street Stocks Big Buck 50 winners:
2019 - Peyton Taylor, Batesville, Arkansas
2018 - Rained out
2017 - Tony Anglin, Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
2016 - Tim Brown, Stoutland, Missouri
2015 - Jeremy Russell, Jonesboro, Arkansas
2014 - Terry Schultz, Warrensburg, Missouri
Thursday's schedule
3 p.m. - Gates open
5-8 p.m. - Open practice
8-9 p.m. - Street Stocks qualifying
Friday's schedule
4 p.m. - Gates open
6:30 p.m. - Hot laps
7:05 p.m. - Racing begins
Saturday's schedule
3 p.m. - Gates open
5:30 p.m. - Hot laps
6:05 - Racing begins
Thursday's admission:
Grandstands free
Pit passes $25
Friday's admission:
Adults (16 and over) $15
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $12
Youth (ages 6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Pit pass $35
Saturday's admission:
Adults (16 and over) $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $17
Youth (ages 6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Pit pass $40
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 for more information.
Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984