Owens denies McDowell, nabs Volunteer victory
By James EssexLucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
BULLS GAP, Tenn. (Aug. 25) — In Thursday's Reece Monument Scorcher 50 at Volunteer Speedway, Jimmy Owens made sure Reece Monument had a prominent place in victory lane — on the side of his race car.
Owens overtook polesitter and fellow front-row starter Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., with nine laps remaining and posted his sixth victory of the season on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series while stretching his series points lead. | Video | Slideshow
"It's good to win here in front of the fans," said the 39-year-old Owens of Newport, Tenn., who pocketed $10,000. "My car owner was here, Mike Reece and he sponsored the race, which makes it even more amazing to be able to bring home the win. Dale had a real good car tonight. We slipped up there in turn four on that first lap, but we got it back in line and ran down (Don) O'Neal and then had a really great race with Dale."
McDowell, who led the first 41 laps in looking for his first series victory of the season, settled for the second spot with O'Neal, of Martinsville, Ind., finishing third. Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., and John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., rounded out the top five finishers.
McDowell led at the outset of the 50-lapper while the polesitting Owens slipped to third behind O'Neal. The top three ran that way 14 laps before Owens nabbed the runner-up spot before the race's lone caution on lap 16 for Mark Douglas.
From there on, McDowell and Owens engaged in a tight battle in front of a huge crowd at Volunteer, which hosts its annual late August event in conjunction with NASCAR action up the road at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Owens stalked McDowell for several laps until driving underneath McDowell at the flagstand to complete lap 41. Owens then took the lead heading into turn, racing through heavy lapped traffic the rest of the way en route to the checkers ahead of McDowell, who raced in front of team owner and NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer.
"We led for a long time and I thought tonight may be the night," McDowell said. "With Clint Bowyer in the house, it would have been nice to get the win, but we'll settle for second and head to the next race."
Owens continued his string of finishing in the top five in all but one series race with his performance at Volunteer, one of the tracks where he first started competing.
"The track was really racy tonight, you could run anywhere on it," Owens said. "The lapped cars are always an issue here, but we just took our time and we were fortunate enough to get by Dale. He's had a tough year and I'm sure he is trying hard to get that first win."
Notes: Owens drives a Bloomquist Race Cars Ford powered with a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsored by Reece Monument, Gantte Appraisals, Midwest Sheet Metal, Red Line Oil, VP Race Fuels and Hoosier Tires. ... The feature was complete in less than 15 minutes. ... Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., won PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger honors with his 13th-to-ninth performance. ... Dale McDowell earned the pole for the main event by outdueling teammate and fast qualifier Jared Landers in the first heat race. ... Among drivers failing to make the main event: Jonathan Davenport, Eric Jacobsen, Chad Ogle, Jeff Maupin and Mike Marlar, who debuted a Georgia-based Bryson Motorsports car. ... Jensen Ford won Volunteer's feature for Crate Late Models. ... Next up on the weekend's Lucas Oil tripleheader is a $10,000-to-win event at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway. ... Saturday's $10,000-to-win event at Bluegrass Speedway in Bardstown, Ky., concludes the weekend.
Reece Monument Scorcher 50: (1) Jimmy Owens, (2) Dale McDowell, (3) Don O'Neal, (4) Scott Bloomquist, (5) John Blankenship, (6) Steve Francis, (7) Ray Cook, (8) Vic Hill, (9) Chris Madden, (10) Shane Clanton, (11) Michael Chilton, (12) Steve Casebolt, (13) Jared Landers, (14) Dan Schlieper, (15) Brad Neat, (16) Billy Ogle Jr., (17) Eric Wells, (18) Tyler Reddick, (19) Tommy Kerr, (20) Chris Ferguson, (21) Earl Pearson Jr., (22) Frank Heckenast Jr., (23) Mark Douglas, (24) Mark Vineyard. Fast qualifier (among 31 cars): Landers, 12.180 seconds. Heat race winners: McDowell, Bloomquist, Owens, O'Neal. Consolation winners: Neat, Schlieper. Provisional starters: Wells, Heckenast.