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Daily Dirt 06/21/2024 18:48:03

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February 14
Volusia Speedway Park,
Barberville, FL
Sanction: DIRTcar Supers (Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals) - $7,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac and track reports (last updated February 15, 10:33 am)
McCreadie turns back Pierce, O'Neal at Volusia
Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals
  1. Tim McCreadie
  2. Bobby Pierce
  3. Hudson O'Neal
  4. Brandon Sheppard
  5. Kyle Bronson
  6. Dale McDowell
  7. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  8. Brent Larson
  9. Brian Shirley
  10. Mason Zeigler
  11. Chris Madden
  12. Kyle Strickler
  13. Kyle Larson
  14. Dylan Thompson
  15. Cade Dillard
  16. Frank Heckenast Jr.
  17. Dennis Erb Jr.
  18. Nick Hoffman
  19. Tanner English
  20. Ashton Winger
  21. Blair Nothdurft
  22. Brandon Overton
  23. Tyler Bruening
  24. Payton Freeman
  25. Max Blair
  26. Shane Clanton
presented by
Rick Neff
Tim McCreadie enjoys the spoils of Tuesday's win at Volusia Speedway Park.
What won the race: Regaining the lead from Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., on lap 12, Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., won Tuesday’s Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals main event at Volusia Speedway Park. McCreadie held on after a caution with five laps remaining, turning back a furious charge from 11th-starting Hudson O’Neal and finally Pierce, who slipped by O’Neal in the final turn on the final laps and finished 1.235 seconds behind McCreadie.
Key notes: Tim McCreadie won his first feature of the season and the 15th Georgia-Florida Speedweeks main event of his career. ... Volusia Speedway Park hosted the second night if three DIRTcar Late Models programs as part of the 52nd annual Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals. … Hudson O’Neal, who won Monday’s $7,000 opener, giving him three consecutive wins going back to last Thursday at East Bay Raceway Park, charged to second before slipped to third on the final circuit.
On the move: Hudson O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., started 11th and finished third.
Winner's sponsors: McCreadie’s Paylor Motorsports Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsored by Mega Plumbing & HVAC of the Carolinas, Mega Electrical Services, Racing for Heroes, Armslist.com, New Point Lighting & Design, Baker Mitchell Company, Integrous Risk Solutions, D&E Marine and Bilstein.
Current weather: Clear, 63°F
Car count: 51
Fast qualifier: Blair Nothdurft
Time: 15.601 seconds
Polesitter: Bobby Pierce
Heat race winners: Blair Nothdurft, Kyle Bronson, Brandon Overton, Bobby Pierce, Dale McDowell, Tim McCreadie
Consolation race winners: Frank Heckenast Jr., Kyle Larson, Nick Hoffman
Provisional starters: Tanner English, Shane Clanton
Next series race: February 15, Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL) $5,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

BARBERVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 14) —Tim McCreadie has been patient during the 2023 Georgia-Florida Speedweeks. Through 13 features before Tuesday’s 25-lap Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals main event at Volusia Speedway Park, the Watertown, N.Y., native had five runner-up finishes, including three in a row at Volusia dating back to January’s Sunshine Nationals.

The two-time and reigning Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion plodded along while others — including a handful of youngsters — grabbed headlines as they moved south from Georgia and then zigzagged across the Sunshine State. But back at Volusia for the 52nd annual DIRTcar Nationals, where he’s tallied more than half of his Georgia-Florida Speedweeks victories, McCreadie wouldn’t settle for a sixth runner-up finish this early in the season.

Regaining the lead from Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., on lap 12, McCreadie led the rest of the way to win the $7,000-to-win feature, his first triumph of the season and his 15th career Georgia-Floroida Speedweeks victory. McCreadie held on after a caution with five laps remaining, turning back a furious charge from 11th-starting Hudson O’Neal before finishing 1.235 seconds ahead of Pierce at the finish.

Denied his fourth consecutive victory, O’Neal, of Martinsville, Ind., finished third after slipping over the cushion on the final lap, allowing Pierce to slip by as they headed toward the checkered flag. Eighth-starting Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., finished fourth, while Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., dropped two spots to complete the top five.

O’Neal was running sixth when the 25-lapper’s lone caution waved on lap 20 for Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., who relinquished the third position when he slowed with a flat right rear tire with five laps remaining. Restarting fifth, O’Neal blasted around the outside to quickly gain two positions.

He tracked down Pierce a lap later and closed the distance on the leader, but a bobble in turn two and a full-blown assault on the turns three and four cushion cost him any opportunity he had at catching McCreadie, who in victory lane said the caution wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, despite O’Neal’s charge.

“I was kind of glad (the caution) came out because I thought I could cool these tires down. I had real soft tires on tonight and I was beating on them pretty hard,” said McCreadie. “I knew (O’Neal) would be there. I knew what tires they put on. Probably the restart helped them because they could get some clean traffic. Off of turn two I thought I heard somebody and I thought it was (Bobby) Pierce. Well, (Pierce) has passed me a lot in the last 10 years since he started racing us and I thought I'm not going to get beat on that top.

“So I just flung it through the middle and parked down here and then flung it through the middle to the top at the end and was able to hold on for this Paylor Motorsports team, the first (win) of the year. … It's tough to run with these guys man. They're all in their 20s and I'm almost in my 50s. I was out there giving it all I got.”

McCreadie’s move to keep Pierce at bay, turned out keeping O’Neal in arrears as well. O’Neal, who entered Tuesday’s action after winning Feb. 9-10’s Lucas Oil Series events at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla., as well as Monday’s Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals opener — his first three victories since going the Rocket Chassis house car team — realized he had a car capable of yet another victory, as long as no one blocked his lane.

“I was just hoping no one would go to that top and let me have it,” said O’Neal. “It was a long way around there and that cushion was really, really treacherous. I just got off in there and I just bobbled one time and it just got my right rear hung over down there. McCreadie knew, he knew I was up there and he went up top down here and just kind of messed my air up bad enough to where I did the exact same thing down (in turn four).

“I think I gave this one away. Maybe if I could have got through that end the first time whenever I (initially) jumped (the cushion), maybe I could have got at least beside him down the backstretch. I don't care what anybody says man this (Rocket) race car is badass. It's just a dream to drive right now.”

After leading laps 2-11, Pierce, in his first season since joining the Longhorn Chassis camp in the offseason, was happy with his new mount as well, with his runner-up finish backing up Monday’s seventh-place run.

“I think now we can actually tighten the car back up a little more,” Pierce said. “(Monday) we were too tight. Just trying to find a good balance, but these are some of the best guys here and (McCreadie) has so many laps in the big block (modifieds) here. I know he said that earlier. Congrats to him on the win. It was a really fun race and (O’Neal) almost got him four in a row. Luckily he jumped the cushion and allowed us to get back to second or else we were a third-place car.

“But for sure, it's something we can build off of. So far everything is working wonderful and we really have a good piece. I really think we can get one of these wins if everything falls our way. We just got to get a little bit better.”

Notes: McCreadie’s first win of ’23 is his 15th career Georgia-Florida Speedweeks victory and his ninth during Volusia’s Winter events, moving him up fourth on the track’s all-time win list (for it’s Winternationals races) behind Billy Moyer (19), Scott Bloomquist (12) and Josh Richards (10). With four races remaining, he could leave Florida second on the list. “The whole entire shop, this is for them guys,” McCreadie said while thanking his crew and team. “This car was built by Longhorn in the Longhorn shop, eased over to our place and it's amazing to drive.” … McCreadie has started al 14 Speedweeks races he’s entered this season. … After leading early, Pierce dropped to third before he regained second on lap 19. … Fifth-starting Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., finished sixth in his 2023 Georgia-Florida Speedweeks debut. … Brandon Overton appeared primed to challenge for his third Speedweeks win of the season until he shredded his right rear tire. He finished 22nd. … Overall fast qualifier Blair Nothdurft of Sioux Falls, S.D., jumped the cushion on lap two and slowly faded to 21st after starting fourth. … Dresden Ohio’s Devin Moran, who swept January’s Sunshine Nationals at Volusia in January, failed to transfer into the feature.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Bobby Pierce, Tim McCreadie
Row 2: Kyle Bronson, Blair Nothdurft
Row 3: Dale McDowell, Brandon Overton
Row 4: Brent Larson, Brandon Sheppard
Row 5: Ashton Winger, Dylan Thompson
Row 6: Hudson O’Neal, Brian Shirley
Row 7: Mason Zeigler, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 8: Chris Madden, Cade Dillard
Row 9: Kyle Strickler, Dennis Erb. Jr.
Row 10: Frank Heckenast Jr., Kyle Larson
Row 11: Nick Hoffman, Payton Freeman
Row 12: Tyler Bruening, Max Blair
Row 13: Tanner English, Shane Clanton

Consolation results

(10 laps; top two transfer)

First consolation finish: Frank Heckenast Jr, Payton Freeman, Jimmy Owens, Chase Junghans, Logan Martin, Michael Norris, Dustin Walker, Jordan Koehler, Stacy Boles, Chase Osterhoff (DNS) Mark Whitener, Hunt Gossum.

Second consolation finish: Kyle Larson, Tyler Bruening, Devin Moran, Shane Clanton, Donny Schatz, Mike Benedum, Doug Drown, Brenden Smith, Reid Millard (DNS) Todd Cooney, David Breazeale.

Third consolation finish: Nick Hoffman, Max Blair, Tanner English, Daulton Wilson, Boom Briggs, Brian Booze, Trevor Gundaker (DNS) Stormy Scott, Austin Kirkpatrick, Mike Spatola.

Heat results

(Eight laps; top three transfer)

First heat finish: Blair Nothdurft, Brent Larson, Mason Zeigler, Michael Norris, Payton Freeman, Chase Osterhoff, Dustin Walker, Hunt Gossum, Stacy Boles.

Second heat finish: Kyle Bronson, Brandon Sheppard, Ricky Thornton Jr., Frank Heckenast Jr., Jordan Koehler, Logan Martin, Mark Whitener, Jimmy Owens, Chase Junghans.

Third heat finish: Brandon Overton, Ashton Winger, Chris Madden, Kyle Larson, Tyler Bruening, Devin Moran, Doug Drown, David Breazeale, Brenden Smith.

Fourth heat finish: Bobby Pierce, Dylan Thompson, Cade Dillard, Shane Clanton, Mike Benedum, Reid Millard, Todd Cooney, Donny Schatz.

Fifth heat finish: Dale McDowell, Hudson O’Neal, Kyle Strickler, Nick Hoffman, Daulton Wilson, Boom Briggs, Stormy Scott, Austin Kirkpatrick.

Sixth heat finish: Tim McCreadie, Brian Shirley, Dennis Erb Jr., Max Blair, Tanner English, Brian Booze, Trevor Gundaker, Mike Spatola.

Pre-race notes

Tuesday’s second night of Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals action boasts superb weather conditions: clear skies with temperatures, which reached the mid-70s during the afternoon, expected to be a bit warmer after sunset than Monday’s chilly air. … The car count has grown to 51 with six new entries: Michael Norris of Sarver, Pa., who is making his debut in the Joe Corrado No. 10 driven last year by Jared Miley; NASCAR star Kyle Larson, who is sneaking in a night of action with the K&L Rumley Enterprises No. 6 before his Cup Series commitments begin Wednesday night at Daytona International Speedway; two-time 2022 Volusia winner Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga.; World of Outlaws regular Tanner English of Benton, Ky.; Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan.; and Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn. … Among drivers not entered Tuesday but expected to compete later this week are Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, whose crew swapped engines in his car at the track while he is enjoying some time at the beach with his family; Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga.; Gordy Gundaker of St. Charles, Mo.; and Johnny Scott of Las Cruces, N.M. … After abruptly canceling Monday’s drivers’ meeting because only one competitor was in attendance one minute after the scheduled 4 p.m. start time, DIRTcar director Sam Driggers conducted a meeting on Tuesday but offered some pointed words to the assemblage that had drivers talking afterward. “Sam let everyone know who he was,” longtime DIRTcar racer Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., said with a laugh when asked about Driggers’s stern comments. … Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C., felt he let a real shot at his first win driving for Ohio’s Tye Twarog slip through his fingers in Monday’s 25-lap feature when he didn’t take off well on a lap-five restart and fell from the lead to fourth, but he was still pleased with a fourth-place finish in his first start since last month’s Sunshine Nationals. “These guys have been racing all month and they’re real good, so for us to just pop in and run these two shows (Volusia in January and February), I feel really confident about whole program,” he said. … Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., discovered how quickly a driver can lose positions at Volusia when he went from leading the 14th lap of Monday’s feature to finishing seventh. “We were too tight from the beginning and the track kind of got slicker,” he said. “I had to maneuver, and it was kind of game-over from there. It seemed like I made just a couple mistakes and it was, like, guys flying by me.” … Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., and Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., retired from Monday’s A-main after hitting the thick cushion and folding their cars’ noses under. … WoO rookie candidate Payton Freeman of Commerce, Ga., somehow avoided a serious incident in a Monday heat when his Team 22 Inc.’s car’s right-rear wheel came off as he rounded turns three and four due to a broken center section of the wheel. … After breaking the steering in his car during a Monday B-main, Brent Larson of Lake Elmo, Minn., decided to pull the motor from the machine and bolt it in his newer No. B1 for Tuesday’s program. … Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who on Monday registered his third runner-up finish in as many Volusia starts this year, is bidding to take over sole possession of fourth place on the track’s all-time DIRTcar Nationals win list. His eight career victories — comprised of three in 2005 and one in ’04, ’13, ’18, ’20 and ’21 — has him tied with four other drivers but only one who is active (Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill.).

Time trials

First heat   
Blair Nothdurft (76), Sioux Falls, S.D., 15.609
Stacy Boles (11B), Clinton, Tenn., 15.854
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 15.963
Payton Freeman (22*), Commerce, Ga., 16.309
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 16.409
Hunt Gossum (99G), Mayfield, Ky., 16.445
Chase Osterhoff (130), Kankakee, Ill., 16.517
Michael Norris (10), Sarver, Pa., 16.884
Dustin Walker (14W), Peculiar, Mo., 16.901
Second heat   
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 15.815
Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 15.921
Brandon Sheppard (b5), New Berlin, Ill., 15.959
Jordan Koehler (114) Mount Airy, N.C., 15.979
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 15.987
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 16.001
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 16.045
Logan Martin (36), West Plains, Mo., 16.234
Mark Whitener (5), Middleburg, Fla., 16.408
Third heat   
Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 15.700
Ashton Winger (12), Hampton, Ga., 15.814
Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 15.820
Kyle Larson (6), Elk Grove, Calif., 15.891
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 15.922
Doug Drown (12d), Wooster, Ohio, 16.311
David Breazeale (54), Four Corners, Miss., 16.592
Brenden Smith (17SS), Dade City, Fla., 16.945
Devin Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, 18.527
Fourth heat   
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.925
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 16.286
Donny Schatz (15), Fargo, N.D., 16.289
Todd Cooney (30), Des Moines, Iowa, 16.326
Mike Benedum (25), Salem, W.Va., 16.519
Dylan Thompson (99T), Paducah, Ky., 16.573
Cade Dillard (97), Robeline, La., 16.573
Reid Millard (14R), Jefferson City, Mo., 17.911
Fifth heat   
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 15.902
Hudson O'Neal (1), Martinsville, Ind., 16.053
Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C., 16.059
Nick Hoffman (2), Mooresville, N.C., 16.103
Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.173
Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C., 16.213
Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.315
Austin Kirkpatrick (2), Concord, N.C., 16.898
Sixth heat   
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.891
Max Blair (111B), Centerville, Pa., 16.077
Tanner English (96V), Benton, Ky., 16.147
Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., 16.158
Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill., 16.174
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 16.327
Brian Booze (B2), Greencastle, Pa., 16.608
Trevor Gundaker (14G), St. Charles, Mo., 17.430

Tuesday’s schedule

(All times local)
1 p.m.: Pits open
4 p.m.: Drivers' meeting
5 p.m. Grandstands open
5:30 p.m.: Hot laps
- Sprint cars
- Super Late Models
- Sprint cars group qualifying
- Super Late Models group qualifying
Opening ceremonies
7 p.m.: Heat races
- Sprint cars (8 laps)
- Super Late Models (8 laps)
- Sprint cars (12 laps)
- Super Late Models (10 laps)
- Sprint cars (25 laps)
- Super Late Models (25 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Pierce, McCreadie
Row 2: Bronson, Nothdurft
Row 3: McDowell, Overton
Row 4: B. Larson, Sheppard
Row 5: Winger, Thompson
Row 6: O’Neal, Shirley
Row 7: Zeigler, Thornton
Row 8: Madden, Dillard
Row 9: Strickler, D. Erb
Row 10: Heckenast, K. Larson
Row 11: Hoffman, Freeman
Row 12: Bruening, Blair
Row 13: English, Clanton
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