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Daily Dirt 06/19/2024 05:33:00

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August 26
Port Royal Speedway,
Port Royal, PA
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Rumble by the River) - $50,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac, Kyle McFadden, series and track reports (last updated August 27, 11:55 am)
O'Neal rises late, nabs $50,000 at Port Royal
Rumble by the River
  1. Hudson O'Neal
  2. Mike Marlar
  3. Jonathan Davenport
  4. Matt Cosner
  5. Brandon Overton
  6. Tim McCreadie
  7. Devin Moran
  8. Cody Overton
  9. Garrett Alberson
  10. Logan Roberson
  11. Earl Pearson Jr.
  12. Spencer Hughes
  13. Tyler Erb
  14. Daulton Wilson
  15. Gregg Satterlee
  16. Colton Flinner
  17. Max Blair
  18. Rick Eckert
  19. Ross Robinson
  20. Jeff Rine
  21. Kyle Hardy
  22. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  23. Michael Norris
  24. Chris Ferguson
  25. Mason Zeigler
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Hudson O’Neal pounds the roof of his winning car in victory lane.
What won the race: Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., slid under Jonathan Davenport with six laps remaining Saturday at Port Royal Speedway and pulled away for a $50,000 victory in the 50-lap Rumble by the River on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Davenport, who led laps 21-44, settled for third behind Mike Marlar, who was 1,808 seconds behind O’Neal at the checkers. Polesitter Brandon Overton, who led the first 20 laps, faded to seventh and ended up fifth behind 15th-starting Matt Cosner.
Key notes: O'Neal notched his fourth full-field Lucas Oil victory of the season. ... He was a $5,000 Port Royal semifeature winner Friday. ... His previous full-field victory on the series came May 4 at Atomic Speedway near Chillicothe, Ohio. ... Series points leader Ricky Thornton Jr. went to a backup car after heat races because of engine problems and lost his fifth starting spot and started 25th. He rallied into second on the 40th lap, but a hole in his car's radiator caused overheating problems and his car was pushed to the pits during a caution period with 10 laps remaining.
On the move: Matt Cosner of Ridgeley, W.Va., started 15th and finished fifth.
Winner's sponsors: O’Neal’s Rocket Chassis has a Durham Racing Engine and sponsorship from Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Rocket Chassis, Ace Metal Works, Gunter’s Honey, Hoosier Racing Tire, Integra Racing Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing Co., Petroff Towing, WR1 Sim Chassis, O’Neal’s Salvage & Recycling, Performance Grading, Slavic Shirts & Decals, Sunoco Race Fuels and Rocket Preowned Motors.
Points chase: After Port Royal: 1. Ricky Thornton Jr. (6,365); 2. Hudson O’Neal (6,075); 3. Jonathan Davenport (5,765); 4. Brandon Overton (5,675); 5. Tim McCreadie (5,630); 6. Devin Moran (5,570); T7. Tyler Erb (5,080); T7. Daulton Wilson (5,080); 9. Max Blair (5,040); 10. Earl Pearson Jr. (5,030).
Current weather: Scattered Clouds, 72°F
Car count: 52
Polesitter: Brandon Overton
Heat race winners: Brandon Overton, Hudson O'Neal, Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, Ricky Thornton Jr., Mike Marlar
Consolation race winners: Max Blair, Tyler Erb
Provisional starters: Spencer Hughes, Ross Robinson, Jeff Rine
Next series race: September 2, Portsmouth Raceway Park (Portsmouth, OH) $15,000
Editor's note: Reverses second- and third-place finishers.
From staff reports

PORT ROYAL, Pa. — In his first full season in the potent Rocket Chassis house car, Hudson O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., got rolling with nine victories through the late spring, setting up what was certain to be a double-figure victory season and more for the Mark Richards-owned team.

A summer dry spell — and some dramatic near-misses — slowed his winning momentum, but during the Rumble by the River on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, Port Royal Speedway helped O'Neal get back to his winning ways.

One night after dominating a 25-lap semifeature, O'Neal raced to the front just in time in Saturday's 50-lap finale, sliding past Jonathan Davenport with six laps remaining and pulling away for a $50,000 payday and his fourth full-field Lucas Oil victory of the season.

The 22-year-old O'Neal never doubted his team, but it took some extra effort from the driver to give the Rocket1 two victories in a 24-hour stretch.

"Man, they gave me a great race car all weekend. We were able to get back in victory lane last night and I knew coming into the day we had a great piece," O'Neal said. "We just needed to play our cards right and the driver had to get up on the wheel a little bit there at the end — nothing wrong with that though."

The outside front-row starter took the checkers 1.808 seconds ahead of runner-up Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., while Blairsville, Ga.'s Davenport, who led laps 21-44, settled for third. A surprising Matt Cosner of Ridgeley, W.Va., just missed his first career podium finish in rallying from 15th to fourth while polesitter Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., a Friday semifeature winner and leader of the first 20 laps Saturday, rounded out the top five after slipping back as far as seventh.

Series points leader Ricky Thornton Jr. made a dramatic charge from the tail — because he went to a backup car after having engine problems he lost his scheduled fifth starting spot — but it all went awry with 10 laps remaining. Just after Thornton slid ahead of Marlar to take second, a caution appeared to erase the move, then Thornton's car stopped on the backstretch with his engine overheating because there was a hole in his car's radiator. He retired in 22nd.

While O'Neal was among the frontrunners throughout the race, but he slipped back to fourth with 14 laps remaining. He inherited third with Thornton's departure, took second from Marlar on lap 43 after a tussle, then made the winning pass in turns one and two on lap 45.

"I had to get up on the wheel. I was just so tight. Against that cushion, I was kind of afraid to run it that hard," he said. "It just came down and last 10 laps. I knew I had a shot if I could just run it hard enough and get a good enough run down the straightaways."

With the last of four cautions appeared with five laps remaining, O'Neal made sure that Davenport couldn't regain the lead on the restart.

"I'm thinking that I gotta get to good start or Jonathan's gonna return the favor down here after I slid him. I don't know," O'Neal said. "I felt like I tried to time it right with the (turn-four) opening down there and make sure I pinched the opening a little bit so he couldn't get under me. It worked out. I seen his nose. I just drove it off in there as hard as I could and hope it stuck, man."

O'Neal pulled away by more than two seconds, the biggest lead for any driver in the race, in wrapping up his victory.

"It was a long couple of months and we went winless for like two months — second, second, third, third, third, second, second, then we fell out of a couple of races I felt like we should have won, or at least competed in," he said. "Yeah, it's refreshing. I thought them last couple of lap, me running the cushion, there was stuff scattered down across the racetrack and I was like, 'Please don't have a flat tire.' "

Marlar, who called the track preparation "phenomenal," couldn't find a way past Davenport or O'Neal to grab a lead he was confident he could keep.

"My car's balanced really good, but it won't wheelspin good. When it comes to wheelspinning on the cushion, I'm just a little wrong there somehow. And that's how a lot of these races are getting won," Marlar said. "We're so close, so it depends on how it all plays out, you know. If we one or two more laps a few of them times  without cautions, I probably would have got the lead. I think if ever I'd got the lead, I'd have been gone pretty good."

Davenport kept his pursuers in check for nearly half the race but felt vulnerable in the latter stages in his Double L Motorsports machine.

"Them guys were just a little bit better than me," Davenport said. "I thought I was OK, then when Mikey could run a little bit lower than I could and keep up, I knew I was probably in trouble. And then Hudson could just run around the cushion a little bit better than I can. I gave it all we had, you know."

Four cautions slowed the action, the most serious on lap 27 for a three-car pileup in turn three of Mason Zeigler, Earl Pearson Jr. and Chris Ferguson. A lap-36 caution flew when sixth-running Michael Norris slowed. The third yellow appeared on the 40th lap when Ross Robinson got into the fence and the final slowed came on lap 45 for Rick Eckert’s flat tire.

Notes: O'Neal scored his 21st career Lucas Oil Series victory and first full-field triumph since May 4 at Ohio's Atomic Speedway. ... Fourth-finishing Matt Cosner said brake problems forced him to run the middle of the track instead of his preferred higher groove. ... Brandon Overton couldn't duplicate his Friday victory, but he said his Wells Motorsports team is "definitely headed in the right direction" in looking for his first full-field Lucas Oil victory since January. "We got our speed back early. We're still struggling a little late, but at least we're not 15th, you know what I mean? So we're getting better." ... Daulton Wilson gave up a top-10 spot during the lap-27 caution to repair a suspension issue. He ended up 14th.

Feature lineup

(50 laps)

Row 1: Brandon Overton, Hudson O’Neal
Row 2: Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie
Row 3: Ricky Thornton Jr., Mike Marlar
Row 4: Devin Moran, Michael Norris
Row 5: Earl Pearson Jr., Rick Eckert
Row 6: Daulton Wilson, Colton Flinner
Row 7: Cody Overton, Logan Roberson
Row 8: Matt Cosner, Kyle Hardy
Row 9: Mason Zeigler, Garrett Alberson
Row 10: Max Blair, Tyler Erb
Row 11: Chris Ferguson, Gregg Satterlee
Row 12: Spencer Hughes, Ross Robinson
Row 13: Jeff Rine

Consolation results

(10 laps; top two transfer)

First B-main: Max Blair, Chris Ferguson, Justin Weaver, Ross Robinson, Dillan Stake, Spencer Hughes, Jeff Rine, Andrew Yoder, Cory Lawler, Boom Briggs, Chad Myers, Justin Kann, Chad Julius, Dave Stamm, Kody Lyter, Shaun Jones. Scratched: Travis Stickley.

Second B-main: Tyler Erb, Gregg Satterlee, Trever Feathers, Dan Stone, Bryan Bernheisel, Hayes Mattern, Kyle Lee, Tim Wilson, Mike Lupfer, Trevor Collins, Gary Stuhler, Ron Fink. Scratched: Logan Zarin.

Consolation lineups

(10 laps; top two transfer)

First B-main
Row 1: Max Blair, Ross Robinson
Row 2: Chris Ferguson, Cory Lawler
Row 3: Dillan Stake, Justin Weaver
Row 4: Spencer Hughes, Shaun Jones
Row 5: Andrew Yoder, Boom Briggs
Row 6: Chad Myers, Jeff Rine
Row 7: Chad Julius, Dave Stamm
Row 8: Kody Lyter, Justin Kann
Row 9: Travis Stickley
Second B-main
Row 1: Trever Feathers, Tyler Erb
Row 2: Bryan Bernheisel, Kyle Lee
Row 3: Mike Lupfer, Gregg Satterlee
Row 4: Ron Fink, Hayes Mattern
Row 5: Gary Stuhler, Dan Stone
Row 6: Trevor Collins, Tim Wilson
Row 7: Logan Zarin

Heat race recap

Nothing too climactic occured in the six eight-lap races in which the cream rose to the top (Brandon Overton, Hudson O'Neal, Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, Ricky Thornton Jr., and Mike Marlar taking the checkers preceeding the 50-lap, $50,000-to-win main event). ... Chandler, Ariz.'s Thornton Jr. thinks he'll have to resort to a backup car, though, despite cruising to his heat race victory. Thornton Jr. cited engine troubles in his post-heat interview to FloRacing's Ben Shelton. ... Overton and O'Neal are slated to start from the front row of the main event, both looking to end uncharacteristic winless spells in full-field Lucas OIl Series events. Overton's last full-field series win came Jan. 28 in the tour's third race of the season at Golden Isles Speedway in Brunswick, Ga., while O'Neal hasn't scored a full-field victory since May 4's Atomic Speedway stop near Chillicothe, Ohio.

Heat race results

(Eight laps; top three transfer)

First heat: Brandon Overton, Devin Moran, Cody Overton, Max Blair, Cory Lawler, Spencer Hughes, Boom Briggs, Chad Julius, Justin Kann.

Second heat: Hudson O'Neal, Michael Norris, Logan Roberson, Ross Robinson, Dillan Stake, Shaun Jones, Chad Myers, Dave Stamm. DNS: Drake Troutman.

Third heat: Jonathan Davenport, Earl Pearson Jr., Matt Cosner, Chris Ferguson, Justin Weaver, Andrew Yoder, Jeff Rine, Kody Lyter, Travis Stickley.

Fourth heat: Tim McCreadie, Rick Eckert, Kyle Hardy, Trever Feathers, Kyle Lee, Ron Fink. DNS: Austin Berry, Nathan Long, Dylan Yoder.

Fifth heat: Ricky Thornton Jr., Daulton Wilson, Mason Zeigler, Tyler Erb, Mike Lupfer, Hayes Mattern, Dan Stone, Tim Wilson.

Sixth heat: Mike Marlar, Colton Flinner, Garrett Alberson, Bryan Bernheisel, Gregg Satterlee, Gary Stuhler, Trevor Collins, Logan Zarin.

Heat race lineups

(Eight laps; top three transfer)

First heat
Row 1: Brandon Overton, Cody Overton
Row 2: Devin Moran, Justin Kann
Row 3: Max Blair, Boom Briggs
Row 4: Cory Lawler, Spencer Hughes
Row 5: Chad Julius
Second heat
Row 1: Hudson O’Neal, Michael Norris
Row 2: Ross Robinson, Logan Roberson
Row 3: Dillan Stake, Shaun Jones
Row 4: Chad Myers, Drake Troutman
Row 5: Dave Stamm
Third heat
Row 1: Jonathan Davenport, Chris Ferguson
Row 2: Earl Pearson Jr., Matt Cosner
Row 3: Andrew Yoder, Jeff Rine
Row 4: Travis Stickley, Justin Weaver
Row 5: Kody Later
Fourth heat
Row 1: Rick Eckert, Tim McCreadie
Row 2: Kyle Hardy, Trever Feathers
Row 3: Austin Berry, Kyle Lee
Row 4: Nathan Long, Dylan Yoder
Row 5: Ron Fink
Fifth heat
Row 1: Ricky Thornton Jr., Daulton Wilson
Row 2: Mason Zeigler, Mike Lupfer
Row 3: Hayes Mattern, Tyler Erb
Row 4: Dan Stone, Tim Wilson
Sixth heat
Row 1: Mike Marlar, Garrett Alberson
Row 2: Colton Flinner, Bryan Bernheisel
Row 3: Gary Stuhler, Gregg Satterlee
Row 4: Logan Zarin, Trevor Collins

Saturday’s schedule

(All times local)

2 p.m. - Dirt Racing Outreach service
3:30 p.m. - Pit gates close
4 p.m. - Pit gates reopen; grandstands open
6 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
6:30 p.m. - On-track activity
- Late Model hot laps
- Mid-Atlantic modified hot laps
Opening ceremonies
- Late Model heat races (8 laps)
- Mid-Atlantic modified heat races (8 laps)
- Late Model consolation races (10 laps)
- Late Model feature (60 laps)
- Mid-Atlantic modified feature (25 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: B. Overton, O’Neal
Row 2: Davenport, McCreadie
Row 3: Thornton Jr., Marlar
Row 4: Moran, Norris
Row 5: Pearson Jr., Eckert
Row 6: Wilson, Flinner
Row 7: C. Overton, Roberson
Row 8: Cosner, Hardy
Row 9: Zeigler, Alberson
Row 10: Blair, Erb
Row 11: Ferguson, Satterlee
Row 12: Hughes, Robinson
Row 13: Rine

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