Mike Looney wraps his arms around Philip Morris as the two embrace following the side by side battle for the win on July 27, 2019 at Motor Mile Speedway. Morris would be victorious but both drivers could appreciate the battle they waged. (Jaden Austin photo)

Philip Morris and Mike Looney have combined to win every race so far this season at Motor Mile Speedway. Out of the 10 races that have been run so far, this season Looney has six victories and Morris now has four.

On Saturday night, July 27th the two Late Model Stock Car Heavyweights clashed again in a 100-lap feature. In one of the best displays of talent, the duo raced door to door for the better part of the final 60-laps before Morris held off Looney for the victory.

Both drivers had to come from deep within the field to get to the lead but with cautions falling at just the right moment to put them both in position to rocket into the top two positions. Neither drivers route to the front of the field was easy as Looney by virtue of his last three wins in a row had to start shotgun on the field in 13th and Morris had to start seventh after the track’s redraw handicapped the field.

Kres VanDyke would draw the first position during the redraw and that would give him the advantage from the drop of the green flag. VanDyke would get a big lead while positions changed quickly behind him. Ryan Wilson quickly moved to second dropping Nik Williams back to third.

In the meantime, Looney made light work of the back of the short 13-car field. He was quick to seventh while Morris had made his way from seventh to third by lap nine. Within a few laps, Morris moved to second overtaking Wilson while Looney rocketed up to fifth. By the time the first caution waved Morris was working the back bumper on VanDyke for the lead and Looney sat fourth.

Philip Morris (01) lines up on the inside with leader Kres VanDyke (15) taking the high line. Mike Looney (87) who came from the rear at the start is already up to third for this lap 26 restart at Motor Mile Speedway on July 27, 2019. (Jaden Austin photo)

On this restart, VanDyke was the leader but he chose the high side of the cone allowing Morris and Looney to restart nose to tail on the inside. Soon after the restart, the top three got shuffled up as they raced in close proximity and Morris was bounced out of the lead as VanDyke took over again but Looney was all over him for the lead. Morris fell all the way back to fifth while Looney took over the top spot from VanDyke.

Morris was quick to get back into position and chase down the leaders bypassing the third-place car of Ryan Wilson and rallying to catch VanDyke who slipping back from Looney. After a Wayne Hale spin on lap 40, the field was reset again with Morris and Looney on the front row setting up the beginning of a 60-lap show for the fans.

Mike Looney (87) and Philip Morris stayed much like this over the course of the last 60-laps of the 100-lap race on July 27, 2019 at Motor Mile Speedway. (Jaden Austin photo)

Looney would give Morris the high side and Morris made the most of it. Morris and Looney would race door to door over the next 60-laps of the race with Looney only falling in line behind Morris momentarily before diving back beside him again. Looney and Morris would trade the lead at least nine times officially at the line over the course of the final 60-laps but likely traded the lead unofficially during the laps more than 30 times.

It was an incredible battle by two of short track racing’s biggest current stars. Morris used the high line to keep his momentum up while Looney tried to complete the pass on Morris from the low line. Lap after lap they battled making contact with one another hard several times during the contest but showing each other the respect to continue racing that way for the final 60-laps.

Click here to relive all the action as it was happening on our RACEDAY LIVE Updates.

Morris was in awe after the race and said that’s the reason he got into racing.

“That’s the reason I got into racing right there,” Morris told RACE22. “You give it your all and if you come up short that’s fine. I don’t think that Looney came up short tonight. I think he won because he came away from here a winner. He’s a class act. That was sportsmanship. This might have been my favorite race, you never know when you’re going to come to the track and get something this special and it was just great.”

Morris said after the race that he never knew that Motor Mile was a two groove track.

“I didn’t know this was a two groove track,” Morris stated. “I didn’t know you could race that many laps side by side. I don’t think I could have made a few more. My car started to chatter up there, I had abused the tires up on the top side.”

Mike Looney (inside) and Philip Morris raced door to door swapping the lead at least nine times over the course of the final 60-laps of the 100-lap contest at Motor Mile Speedway. (Branden Horton photo)

Morris felt as if Looney had the best car tonight.

“He had the best car no question,” Morris told RACE22. “He was firing off the corners and all I had was the outside. I just couldn’t get that drive up off and Looney’s a class act, I’ll tell you. He could have taken me out at any time.”

Morris appreciated the way Looney drove him but thought Looney could have cleared him and thanked Looney for the victory.

“Of course, we rubbed a couple of times and one time he actually of cleared me and probably didn’t because he just wanted to continue to battle,” Morris continued. “That’s why I’m still here at this age and he’s my favorite driver right now. I’d like to thank Mike Looney for this win.”

Mike Looney (87) led a few different times as he and Philip Morris raced side by side for the lead over the final 60-laps of the 100-lap race at Motor Mile Speedway. (Branden Horton photo)

Morris said he didn’t think he could race with anyone else side by side like that.

“I can’t think of anybody,” Morris said. “I’ve raced side by side here with Jeff Agnew, some great drivers but that’s got to the smoothest inside drive of anybody I’ve ever raced against. I was risking a race car right there because you know one slip on his part or mine it would have been both ends of the car.”

Looney parked his car at the tech shed when the race was over and sprinted over to Morris’ car to embrace him in victory lane. After the race, he said that’s why they call Morris the King.

“That guy is unbelievable,” Looney told RACE22. “That’s why they call him the king. At the end of the day, that damn dude can drive a race car. We had a better car. We were cutting the center better but he was just keeping his momentum up somehow and I just thought if I stayed patient I’d wear him down but he never slipped, never bobbled one time.”

Looney said that his only option was to move him and he didn’t want to race him like that.

“He gave me plenty of room to race,” Looney continued. “As the laps ran down my only move was to move him and how can you move a guy who’s giving you all the room in the world. He’s raced me with some respect over the years and I appreciate that.”

Philip Morris (01) takes the checkered flag ahead of Mike Looney by just a car length, which was one of the biggest gaps between the two for the final 60-laps of the race at Motor Mile Speedway. (Jaden Austin photo)

Like Morris, Looney wasn’t lost in the moment and knew how much fun racing like that was.

“That was just a blast,” Looney exclaimed. “I feel just as good as if we’d have won. We needed to win but second and putting on a show like that is pretty cool. I’m just really blessed that Billy Martin gave me a race car like that. I hope the fans enjoyed that.”

Looney agreed that there are not many other racers he thinks he could have raced like that for that long.

“That’s well over 20 years experience for both of us,” Looney stated. “That just goes to show you that it can be done. Some of the younger guys just gotta calm down and keep your car under control. That was a talent show of some control right there. We touched and bumped several times but kept the wheels on them and kept them straight.”

VanDyke came home third but felt good about his run and was hoping Looney and Morris might get together.

“I was reading off mylaps and we were running about identical times they were,” VanDyke told RACE22. “They got out front a little bit and we just didn’t have time to get up there with them. They got out there and just set and we all just set together. Pretty good little race.”

Stuart Crews in his first start at Motor Mile Speedway finished fourth with Bryan Reedy finally shaking his bad luck and finishing fifth. Nik Williams, Wayne Hale, Ryan Wilson, Kyle Dudley and Kyle Barnes completed the top ten finishers.

In other divisions: Daryn Cockram finally broke into victory lane in the first of twin races for the Limited Sportsman division edging out Cory Dunn for the victory. Karl Budzevski would pick up the win in race two over Dunn and Cockram.

Kirby Gobble won the Super Street race after a fierce battle with last race winner Kyle Barnes and season dominator Dennis Holdren. Barnes would finish second with Holdren finishing fourth behind Matthew Gusler after the track added 50 pounds to Holdren’s car following qualifying in an effort to equal the field.

Ricky Howell would win the U-Car feature in a photo finish with Mike Reed. The race winner would have to be determined by video after transponders showed Reed winning by 0.079 but the video clearly showing Howell ahead at the line. Ryan Cox would finish third.

Cover photo by Jaden Austin.

Unofficial Results:
1 -Philip Morris #01
2 – Mike Looney #87
3 – Kres VanDyke #15
4 – Stuart Crews #29
5 – Bryan Reedy #17
6 – Nik Williams #32
7 – Wayne Hale #19
8 – Ryan Wilson #12
9 – Kyle Dudley #4
10 – Kyle Barnes #5
11 – Matt Elledge #9
12 – Travis Byrd #81
13 – Wes Thomason #14