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Florence Speedway

O'Neal tops 64 qualifiers for the North-South 100

August 10, 2012, 5:46 pm
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com managing editor
Don O'Neal tells the Florence crowd about his fast time. (Jeremey Rhoades)
Don O'Neal tells the Florence crowd about his fast time. (Jeremey Rhoades)

UNION, Ky. (Aug. 10) — Winningest Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series driver Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., topped 64 qualifiers Friday at Florence Speedway for the $50,000-to-win Sunoco Race Fuels North-South 100.

The 48-year-old O’Neal, who turned a lap of 16.501 seconds at the smallish half-mile oval, will be gunning for his first victory in Kentucky’s richest Dirt Late Model race after his near-miss in 2009. | Complete North-South coverage

While O’Neal, a 10-race winner on the series, topped the first Red Buck Cigars qualifying group after the field was split in half, series points leader Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., was quickest in the second qualifying group. Owens won the night's Red Buck Cigars Fast Dash, pocketing $500 in a race among the top three qualiifers in each group. Randy Weaver was second followed by Steve Francis, O'Neal, Jonathan Davenport and Greg Johnson. The dash doesn't affect Saturday's heat lineups.

With a three-car inversion in Saturday’s heat races, heat polesitters are: Dustin Linville of Bryantsville, Ky.; Tim Rivers of Salem, Ind.; Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C.; Freddy Smith of Seymour, Tenn.; Mike Jewell of Scottsburg, Ind.; and R.J. Conley of Wheelersburg, Ohio.

Action continues Saturday at Florence with six heats, consolation races and the 100-lap main event. Saturday’s racing is preceded by the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at 6 p.m. Driver inductees are Mike Balzano of Parkersburg, W.Va., Kenny Brightbill of Sinking Springs, Pa., Ray Guss Jr. of Milan, Ill., Don Hobbs of Bloomington, Ind., and Doug Ingalls of Longview, Texas.

Other inductees include chassis builders Keith and Tader Masters of MasterSbilt Race Cars along with late Maryland-based sponsor and car owner Raye Vest. Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., will received the Sportsman award and the family of late Kentucky racer Walter Combs will receive a Lifetime Achievement award.

Qualifying notes

After a hot summer seemingly everyone, teams got a reprieve had Florence with temperatures in the 70s most of the afternoon. ... A brief rain shower blew through the speedway with some gusty winds before 6 p.m., but weather didn’t delay delay the program or leave much moisture. ... Lucas Oil Series points leader Jimmy Owens is going for his fourth North-South 100 victory in six years. ... Other previous race winners entered include Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va., Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., John Gill of Mitchell, Ind., and John Mason of Millersburg, Ohio. ... One of the surprise non-entries is hometown driver Darrell Lanigan, who is on a record-setting six-race win streak on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. After victories Monday (Independence, Iowa) and Tuesday (Shawano, Wis.), Lanigan headed for vacation in Miami, Fla. ... Lanigan's crew chief Jason Jameson is piloting his John Weber-owned No. 12 and Lanigan's cousin is in his No. 29, a lookalike car to Darrell's usual ride. .... Kenny Hyde Jr., a title contender in the figure-8 division at asphalt's Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway, piloted Gordon Bernzott's No. 47 at Florence. Bernzott formerly raced with Hyde's father in New York but relocated to northern Kentucky 10 years ago. Hyde didn’t appear to get out of first gear in qualifying. ... Jesse Lay piloted Jeff Alsip's No. 78. ... Tyler Reddick spun on his first qualifying lap. ... Among first-time Florence racers: Walker Arthur of Forest, Va., and Michael Asberry of Crossville, Tenn. ... Besides Late Models, modifieds and pure stocks were in action.

Saturday's heat race lineups

(12 laps; top three transfer to main event)
First heat
Row 1: Dustin Linville, Chad Stapleton
Row 2: Don O’Neal, Dustin Neat
Row 3: Eddie Carrier Jr., Joe Janowski
Row 4: Josh McGuire, John Mason
Row 5: Michael Asberry, Morgan Bagley
Row 6: Brian Gray
Second heat
Row 1: Tim Rivers, Rick Eckert
Row 2: Jonathan Davenport, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 3: Jason Jameson, Chad Smith
Row 4: John Blankenship, Chris Combs
Row 5: Josh Scott, Danny Hatcher
Row 6: Mason Combs
Third heat
Row 1: Ray Cook, Scott Bloomquist
Row 2: Greg Johnson, Justin Rattliff
Row 3: Brian Birkhofer, Jared Landers
Row 4: Jimmy Mars, James Rice
Row 5: John Gill, Mick Sansom
Fourth heat
Row 1: Freddy Smith, Steve Casebolt
Row 2: Jimmy Owens, Josh Williams
Row 3: Jesse Lay, Tim McCreadie
Row 4: Tyler Reddick, Stephen Breeding
Row 5: D.J. Wells, Jim Price
Row 6: Tommy Carlton
Fifth heat
Row 1: Mike Jewell, Brad Neat
Row 2: Steve Francis, Billy Moyer
Row 3: Walker Arthur, Mike Marlar
Row 4: Terry Lanigan, Nick Latham
Row 5: Mike Unger, Jason Barrett
Row 6: Kenny Hyde Jr.
Sixth heat
Row 1: R.J. Conley, Steve Shaver
Row 2: Randy Weaver, Eric Wells
Row 3: Robby Hensley, Scott James
Row 4: David Spille, Tim Prince
Row 5: Billy Gullion, Vern LeFevers

Time trials (unofficial)

First group
Don O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 16.501
Jonathan Davenport (15), Blairsville, Ga., 16.578
Greg Johnson (24H), Bedford, Ind., 16.774
Chad Stapleton (32s), Edinburgh, Ind., 16.889
Rick Eckert (24), York, Pa., 16.908
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 16.976
Dustin Linville (D8), Bryantsville, Ky., 16.978
Tim Rivers (46), Salem, Ind., 16.999
Ray Cook (53), Brasstown, N.C., 17.025
Dustin Neat (25), Dunnville, Ky., 17.105
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 17.132
Justin Rattliff (16), Campbellsville, Ky., 17.138
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., 17.163
Jason Jameson (12), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 17.201
Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa, 17.264
Joe Janowski (6j), Carmel, Ind., 17.270
Chad Smith (19), Miamisburg, Ohio, 17.314
Jared Landers (5), Batesville, Ark., 17.412
Josh McGuire (41), Grayson, Ky., 17.453
John Blankenship (23), Williamsburg, W.Va., 17.462
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 17.472
John Mason (72), Millersburg, Ohio, 17.677
Chris Combs (47), Isom, Ky., 17.679
James Rice (11r), Verona, Ky., 17.723
Michael Asberry (360), Crossville, Tenn., 17.734
Josh Scott (30js), Grand Rapids, Ohio, 17.813
John Gill (75G), Mitchell, Ind., 17.819
Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas, 17.901
Danny Hatcher (6H), Campbellsville, Ky., 17.956
Mick Sansom (20m), Salt Rock, W.Va., 18.302
Brian Gray (3B), Hamilton, Ohio, 18.415
Mason Combs (98), Springboro, Ohio, 19.346
Second group
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 16.977
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 17.097
Randy Weaver (116), Crossville, Tenn., 17.097
Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind., 17.166
Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky., 17.206
Steve Shaver (6), Vienna, W.Va., 17.232
Freddy Smith (00), Seymour, Tenn., 17.352
Mike Jewell (9), Scottsburg, Ind., 17.354
R.J. Conley (71c), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 17.376
Josh Williams (jj2), West Harrison, Ind., 17.388
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 17.403
Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 17.413
Jesse Lay (78), Walton, Ky., 17.467
Walker Arthur (87), Forest, Va., 17.468
Robby Hensley (21H), Walton, Ky., 17.511
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 17.516
Mike Marlar (5B), Winfield, Tenn., 17.544
Scott James (81), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 17.55
Tyler Reddick (11), Corning, Calif., 17.572
Terry Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., 17.744
David Spille (711), Harrison, Ohio, 17.852
Stephen Breeding (5B), Isom, Ky., 17.858
Nick Latham (31), Winchester, Ohio, 17.944
Tim Prince (P1), Heltonville, Ind., 17.994
D.J. Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 18.110
Mike Unger (23m), Batavia, Ohio, 18.504
Billy Gullion (11G), Waverly, Ohio, 18.708
Jim Price (P51), Salem, Ind., 18.839
Jason Barrett (B5), Waco, Ky., 18.857
Vern LeFevers (1c), Trenton, Ohio, 19.064
Tommy Carlton (17c), Lawrenceburg, Ky., 19.878
Kenny Hyde Jr. (47), Medford, N.Y., 21.386
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