BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Inheriting the lead from race-long leader Billy Moyer Jr. during a lap-37 caution, Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., led the final 13 laps of the Lucas Oil season opener at Golden Isles Speedway to capture the first night of the Rhino Ag Super Bowl of Racing.
“We’re excited, we’re just ready to race,” Overton said, adding that he was sorry to see Moyer’s demise. “Randy (Weaver) and Chip Stone, they’ve put a heckuva team together with all these boys that help me, Pearl, Josh and Vinny, and all the sponsors and all, I can’t thank them enough. I’m just kind of in a dream driving this thing.
With a clear track in front of him, the home-state driver edged away from a pair of former national touring champions, as former World of Outlaws champ Tim McCreadie, of Watertown, N.Y., and former Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series champion Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., finiahed second and third. Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., was fourth, while Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., rounded out the top five.
Overton, making his sixth start aboard the Dream Team No. 116, since replacing Randy Weaver in November, stalked Moyer from the onset. He started third and quickly put himself in position to claim his second straight $10,000 victory for the Crossville, Tenn.-based team and first ever on the Lucas Oil tour.
Moyer, of Batesville, Ark., led from the onset and appeared to be on the way to his first Lucas Oil victory until radiator damage from contact with the slower car of Scott Bloomquist ended his night and handed Overton the lead.
Early in the race, the polesitting Moyer stayed tucked to the bottom of the high-speed 3/8-mile oval. Moyer caught lapped traffic on lap 12, but managed to maintain his lead over Overton. Four laps later, Moyer was right in Bloomquist’s tire tracks. Despite struggling to find a way around the backmarkers in single-groove conditions, Moyer maintained his advantage and held a .368-second lead at the halfway point.
Moyer continued to roll around the bottom while Overton stayed on his tail, occasionally making a bid for the lead as the pair exited turn two. But while Moyer attempted to fend off the advances of Overton, Bloomquist appeared to slow exiting turn two on lap 37.
Moyer couldn't avoid contact and the resulting damage ended of an otherwise sterling Speedweeks start for the 2013 Lucas Oil Series Rookie of the Year.
After Moyer’s demise, the 25-year-old Overton simply needed to hit his marks to keep McCredie and Owens at bay. He beat McCreadie to the checkers by more than three seconds.
In six starts with his new team, Overton has finished worse than third just one time. He won his most recent outing in the Weaver-prepared machine — the $10,000-to-win Southern Nationals Bonus Series Gobbler — Nov. 19 at Boyd's Speedway in Ringgold, Ga.
After winning his heat and starting sixth in the feature, McCreadie's move to a podium finish was methodical. He initially dropped back to seventh and he rode just outside the top five for the first half of the race. By lap 30 however, McCreadie had cracked the top five. When the caution waved for Bloomquist, McCreadie was already up to third.
“I’m excited for this whole program,” said McCreadie, who is piloting the Longhorn Chassis house car. “I want to thank (South Carolina driver) Chris Madden; he really helped us down here. He actually baselined the car because I couldn’t make it because my wife had surgery. … it’s pretty cool so far. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
It was a good start for Owens, who's hoping for a bounce-back season following a dismal 2016 campaign. He ran as high as second after passing Overton on a lap-six restart. But Overton re-payed the favor two laps later in much the same fashion, getting by Owens on a lap-eight restart.
“We had a good car all night long,” Owen said. “I chose the inside on that last restart when I got to second on the outside. I thought maybe (Overton) just slipped his tires, because the bottom was really good. I think (we) had a bad lane choice there and maybe we could’ve come up a winner, who knows?”
The dominating start by Moyer and convincing win by Overton overshadowed what was supposed to be a showdown between defending series champion Bloomquist and series newcomer Josh Richards.
Bloomquist arrived at the track late and had to take a provisional to start the feature. Richards meanwhile won his heat race and started alongside Moyer on the front row. But the Shinnston, W.Va., driver was never a factor after slipping high in turn one on the opening lap, allowing both Overton and Owens to get by. He settled for a sixth-place finish.
The race was slowed by four cautions. The first came on lap six when Bloomquist and Dennis Erb Jr. tangled in turn four. Another yellow flag waved two laps later for Don O'Neal, who spun on the backstretch. Bloomquist brought out the third caution after the contact from Moyer on lap 37. The final caution came with six laps remaining as Tyler Erb stopped at the track exit in turn two attempting to pull into the pit area.
Preliminary results and notes:
Frank Heckenast Jr. led all 12 laps from the pole, pulling away from Kenny Pettyjohn by as much as three seconds to win the final consolation race. Pettyjohn held off a last-lap charge from Greg Satterlee to earn the last transfer spot. Satterlee fell one spot short after getting by Dennis Erb Jr. for the third spot midway through the race. The race was slowed by a pair of cautions, the first for Austin Rettig who looped his car on the back stretch. On lap three, Shane Tankersley and Joey Coulter got together exiting turn two to draw the second caution.
Finish (top two transfer): Frank Heckenast Jr., Kenny Pettyjohn, Gregg Satterlee, Dennis Erb Jr., Michael Page, Chase Junghans, Timothy Culp, Hudson O'Neal, Bob Gardner, Austin Rettig, Joey Coulter, Shane Tankersley, Zeke McKenzie. Scratched: Austin Hubbard.
Polesitter Rick Eckert led all 12 laps of the first consy to transfer to the main event along with G.R. Smith. Eighth-starting Earl Pearson Jr. made a late charge on the high side in a bid for second but settled for third followed by Doug Drown and Donald Bradsher. A lap-seven caution appeared for Ricky Weiss. Reigning series champ Scott Bloomquist, who skipped time trials and his heat race, started on the rear and briefly tuned up for his provisional starting spot in the feature.
Finish (top two transfer): Rick Eckert, G.R. Smith, Earl Pearson Jr., Doug Drown, Donald Bradsher, Colton Flinner, Kyle Breonson, Steve Francis, Cecil Eunice, Blake Spencer, Brian Ligon, Pancho Lawler, Ricky Weiss, Scott Bloomquist, Steven Roberts. Scratched: Brian Conner, Brian Shirley, Mike Nasworthy.
(12 laps; top two transfer)
Row 1: Rick Eckert, Doug Drown
Row 2: G.R. Smith, Donald Bradsher
Row 3: Ricky Weiss, Steven Roberts
Row 4: Kyle Bronson, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 5: Steve Francis, Blake Spencer
Row 6: Colton Flinner, Pancho Lawler
Row 7: Cecil Eunice, Brian Ligon
Row 8: Brian Conner, Mike Nasworthy
Row 9: Brian Shirley
Row 1: Frank Heckenast Jr., Kenny Pettyjohn
Row 2: Gregg Satterlee, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 3: Michael Page, Chase Junghans
Row 4: Brett Hamm, Austin Rettig
Row 5: Shane Tankersley, Joey Coulter
Row 6: Hudson O’Neal, Bob Gardner
Row 7: Mike Nasworthy, Timothy Culp
Row 8: Zeke McKenzie, Austin Hubbard
Tim McCreadie powered into the lead from the high side at the start and steadily pulled away from polesitter Boom Briggs, who fought off an early challenge from Tyler Erb. Erb stayed just in front of a hard-charging Gregg Satterlee to claim the final transer spot.
Finish (top three transfer): Tim McCreadie, Boom Briggs, Tyler Erb, Gregg Satterlee, Chase Junghans, Shane Tankersley, Bob Gardner, Zeke McKenzie.
Polesitter Darrell Lanigan, sporting the new No. 14 of his car owner Clint Bowyer, emerged from a tight first-lap pack to grab a 10-lap vicotry over third-starting Ross Bailes, who never let the leader get too far out of his sights. Outside front-row starter Ryan King got the third and final transfer spot after holding off sixth-starting Kenny Pettyjohn. Fourth-starting Hudson O’Neal got shuffled back on the start and finished seventh.
Finish (top three transfer): Darrell Lanigan, Ross Bailes, Ryan King, Kenny Pettyjohn, Michael Page, Austin Rettig, Hudson O’Neal, Timothy Culp.
Josh Richards drove by polesitter Donald McIntosh on the second lap and pulled away for a convincing win in the fourth heat. Richards won by 5.6 seconds over McIntosh. Jason Fitzgerald rallied from the third row to grab the final transfer spot. Second-row starters Joey Coulter and Brett Hamm slipped back early in the caution-free heat.
Finish (top three transfer): Josh Richards, Donald McIntosh, Jason Fitzgerald, Frank Heckenast Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., Brett Hamm, Joey Coulter, Mike Nasworthy. Scratched: Austin Hubbard.
Outside front-row starter Jimmy Owens ducked under Devin Moran exiting turn four on the third lap and cruised to a 10-lap victory. Moran, making his debut with Tye Twarog’s team, kept Casey Roberts in check the rest of the way as the top three transferred to the main event. G.R. Smith was a distant fourth in the caution-free affair.
Finish (top three transfer): Jimmy Owens, Devin Moran, Casey Roberts, G.R. Smith, Steven Roberts, Steve Francis, Pancho Lawler.
Brandon Overton won the second heat ahead of Brandon Sheppard and Brent Larson. A caution waved on lap four when Ricky Weiss and Earl Pearson Jr. spun in turn three after a side-by-side battle for the lead.
Finish (top three transfer): Brandon Overton, Brandon Sheppard, Brent Larson, Doug Drown, Ricky Weiss, Earl Pearson Jr., Colton Flinner, Brian Ligon.
Polesitter Billy Moyer Jr. fought off challenges from fellow front-row starter Jonathan Davenport to win the first heat and grab the pole for the 50-lap feature. Davenport, who nearly pulled alongside Moyer a few times, finished second with fifth-starting Don O'Neal getting the third transfer spot in the caution-free prelim.
Finish (top three transfer): Billy Moyer Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Don O'Neal, Rick Eckert, Donald Bradsher, Kyle Bronson, Blake Spencer, Cecil Eunice.
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Billy Moyer Jr., Jonathan Davenport
Row 2: Kyle Bronson, Rick Eckert
Row 3: Don O'Neal, Donald Bradsher
Row 4: Blake Spencer, Cecil Eunice
Row 5: Brian Conner
Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, Ricky Weiss
Row 2: Earl Pearson Jr., Brandon Overton
Row 3: Brian Ligon, Doug Drown
Row 4: Brent Larson, Colton Flinner
Row 1: Devin Moran, Jimmy Owens
Row 2: Casey Roberts, Steven Roberts
Row 3: G.R. Smith, Pancho Lawler
Row 4: Steve Francis, Brian Shirley
Row 1: Donald McIntosh, Josh Richards
Row 2: Joey Coulter, Brett Hamm
Row 3: Shane Tankersley, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 4: Frank Heckenast Jr., Austin Hubbard
Row 5: Mike Nasworthy
Row 1: Darrell Lanigan, Ryan King
Row 2: Ross Bailes, Hudson O'Neal
Row 3: Michael Page, Kenny Pettyjohn
Row 4: Austin Rettig, Timothy Culp
Row 1: Boom Briggs, Tim McCreadie
Row 2: Tyler Erb, Jason Fitzgerald
Row 3: Gregg Satterlee, Chase Junghans
Row 4: Bob Gardner, Zeke McKenzie
Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., topped 51 drivers in qualifying for Friday's Lucas Oil Series season opener and will start on the pole of the first heat race. Other drivers starting on the pole of their respective heats are Donald McIntosh, Brandon Sheppard, Darrell Lanigan, Devin Moran and Boom Briggs.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series opens the 2017 season Friday at Golden Isles Speedway, the first of two nights of action at the 4/10-mile south Georgia oval.
Last year’s Super Bowl of Racing winners — Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., and Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., a two-race winner — are among expected drivers as the national tour opens its season at Golden Isles for the fourth consecutive season, but both are driving for different teams.
Davenport, who drove for K&L Rumley Enterprises last season, is piloting the Barry Wright house car in ’17 while Richards has moved to the Ohio-based Best Performance Motorsports team after departing his father’s Rocket Chassis house car.
Reigning series champion Scott Bloomquist and former series champs Earl Pearson Jr., Jimmy Owens and Don O’Neal will also be in action.
The field will be split into two groups for time trials followed by six heat races with three drivers apiece transferring. The top two from each of two consolation races and two provisional starters will complete the field for the 50-lap main event.
Reigning series champion Scott Bloomquist arrived after a dozen drivers had qualified. ... Both drivers in Arnie Ranta-sponsored cars had problems in hot laps. Brian Shirley slowed with engine woes and he's done for the night. Brent Larson hit the inside berm and was sent into the turn-two wall, virtually knocking off his nosepiece; he's switching to a backup car. … Brian Conner of Augusta, Ga., broke an axle tube and scratched for the weekend. ... Golden Isles has made improvements since last year’s Super Bowl including increasing seating capacity to 2,700 by adding tower grandstands that were previously used at Daytona International Speedway. … Friday's general admission is $10. … Teams must use uncut right-rear tires; no grooving or siping of right-rear rubber is allowed.
Time trials (unofficial)
Billy Moyer Jr. (21), Batesville, Ark., 15.423
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 15.539
Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 15.587
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 15.595
Ricky Weiss (7W), Headingley, Manitoba, 15.603
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.683
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 15.725
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 15.816
Casey Roberts (101), Toccoa, Ga., 15.834
Rick Eckert (7E), York, Pa., 15.840
Brandon Overton (116), Evans, Ga., 15.884
Steven Roberts (111), Jesup, Ga., 15.902
Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 15.913
Brian Ligon (4), Evans, Ga., 15.983
G.R. Smith (22), Cornelius, N.C., 16.014
Donald Bradsher (93), Burlington, N.C., 16.037
Doug Drown (240), Wooster, Ohio, 16.228
Pancho Lawler (93), Glenville, Pa., 16.315
Blake Spencer (6S), St. Augustine, Fla., 16.489
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 16.523
Steve Francis (15), Bowling Green, Ky., 16.528
Cecil Eunice (22), Blackshear, Ga., 16.629
Colton Flinner (75), Allison Park, Pa., 16.721
Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., no time
Brian Conner (77), Augusta, Ga., no time
Donald McIntosh (7), Dawsonville, Ga., 15.560
Darrell Lanigan (14), Union, Ky., 15.600
Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 15.641
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 15.649
Ryan King (30), Seymour, Tenn., 15.684
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.730
Joey Coulter (2), Miami Springs, Fla., 15.771
Ross Bailes (87), Clover, S.C., 15.779
Tyler Erb (91), New Waverly, Texas, 15.788
Brett Hamm (18), Newberry, S.C., 15.794
Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 15.803
Jason Fitzgerald (7F), Middleburg, Fla., 15.815
Shane Tankersley (21), Blue Ridge, Ga., 15.930
Michael Page (18), Douglasville, Ga., 15.940
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 15.962
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.964
Kenny Pettyjohn (38), Millsboro, Del., 15.976
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 15.986
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 16.036
Austin Rettig (94), Sikeston, Mo., 16.050
Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill., 16.117
Austin Hubbard (11), Seaford, Del., 16.182
Timothy Culp (C8), Prattsville, Ark., 16.275
Zeke McKenzie (24), Claypool, Ind., 16.982
Mike Nasworthy (0), Gray, Ga., 17.370
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., no time
Noon: Pit gates open
3:30 p.m.: Grandstands open
4:30 p.m.: Drivers’ meeting
5 p.m.: Hot laps
- Lucas Oil Late Models
- Southern Thunder Late Models
- Street stocks
- Lucas Oil Late Models
- Southern Thunder Late Models
- Lucas Oil Late Model heats (10 laps)
- Street stock heats (6 laps)
- Southern Thunder Late Model consolations (10 laps)
- Lucas Oil Late Model consolations (12 laps)
- E-mod heats (6 laps)
- Lucas Oil Late Models (50 laps)
- Street stocks (15 laps)
- Southern Thunder Late Models (35 laps)
- E-mods (20 laps)