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Daily Dirt 09/28/2023 01:48:34

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July 1
Mansfield Motor Speedway,
Mansfield, OH
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Freedom 50) - $12,000
Information provided by: Series and track reports (last updated July 2, 10:35 pm)
O'Neal ends skid with $12,000 Mansfield win
Freedom 50
  1. Don O'Neal
  2. Scott Bloomquist
  3. Jimmy Owens
  4. Earl Pearson Jr.
  5. Hudson O'Neal
  6. R.J. Conley
  7. Dennis Erb Jr.
  8. Devin Moran
  9. Dale McDowell
  10. Josh Richards
  11. Gregg Satterlee
  12. Jonathan Davenport
  13. Kyle Bronson
  14. Jackie Boggs
  15. Mason Zeigler
  16. Tim McCreadie
  17. Tyler Carpenter
  18. Rod Conley
  19. Kody Evans
  20. Kyle Moore
  21. Darrell Lanigan
  22. Jon Henry
  23. Bobby Pierce
  24. Zack Dohm
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Don O'Neal (5) didn't let anyone get much closer in his Mansfield victory.
What won the race: Winning his first series race since October, Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., dominated Sunday's Freedom 50 on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at Mansfield Motor Speedway. O'Neal, who took the checkers 4.130 seconds ahead of Scott Bloomquist, earned $12,000 for his 44th career tour victory.
Key notes: The Lucas Oil Series is in the midst of seven events in eight days from June 30-July 7. … The series returns to Mansfield on Aug. 24-25 for the Dirt Million, one of the sport's richest events.
On the move: Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, started 16th and finished eighth.
Winner's sponsors: O'Neal's Club 29 Race Car is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by Peak Antifreeze and Coolant, Crawford Supply, iRacing, Cometic Gasket, Clint Bowyer Autoplex and Penske Shocks.
Points chase: After Mansfield: 1. Jonathan Davenport (3,915); 2. Scott Bloomquist (3,820); 3. Josh Richards (3,715); 4. Earl Pearson Jr. (3,635); 5. Tim McCreadie (3,545); 6. Bobby Pierce (3,530); 7. Hudson O'Neal (3,520); 8. Don O'Neal (3,455); 9. Jimmy Owens (3,340); 10. Darrell Lanigan (3,135); 11. Gregg Satterlee (1,100); 12. Dennis Erb Jr. (3,090); 13. Kyle Bronson (3,085); 14. Mason Zeigler (2,955).
Car count: 35
Fast qualifier: Hudson O'Neal
Time: 16.507 seconds
Polesitter: Jimmy Owens
Heat race winners: Jimmy Owens, Scott Bloomquist, Don O'Neal, Earl Pearson Jr.
Consolation race winners: Zack Dohm, Kyle Bronson
Provisional starters: Tim McCreadie, Mason Zeigler
Next series race: July 3, Muskingum County Speedway (Zanesville, OH) $12,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff and series reports

MANSFIELD, Ohio — Don O’Neal didn’t just end a nine-month drought. He crushed it.

Winning in dominating fashion, O’Neal, of Martinsville, Ind., led flag-to-flag Sunday at Mansfield Motor Speedway for his first Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series triumph since winning at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway last October. And much like O’Neal’s first Pittsburgher 100 victory, which came by more than four seconds, Sunday’s win came by a heathy margin as well.

O’Neal, who earned $12,000, flashed under the checkered flag 4.130 seconds in front of third-starting Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., while polesitter Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., finished third. Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., finished fourth and Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., finished fifth, both in the same position they started.

O’Neal met little resistance en route to his 44th career Lucas Oil Series win. He set the fast time in the second qualifying group and cruised to an equally dominating victory in the third heat, where he won by 3.522 seconds to earn a starting spot on the outside front row.

Once there, it was relatively easy erasing a dry spell that spanned 267 days.

“Yeah, it’s been a while … seems like a long time,” O’Neal said in victory lane. “Man, hat’s off to all the guys. They’ve worked hard the last few months. To get this Peek car in victory lane … Cometic Gaskets, Crawford Outdoor and Penske Shocks … I mean, it’s been a long time coming for all of them.”

After pulling ahead of Owens in turn two on the opening lap, O’Neal quickly asserted himself, driving away to leave Owens and Bloomquist behind to battle for second. O’Neal knew he was fast — he led by more than a second when the first caution came out on lap six — but was unaware of the gap he’d put between himself and Bloomquist by the end of the race.

“(The crew was) signaling (but) they didn’t say a full straightaway,” O’Neal said, adding that he still needed another win to catch team owner Clint Bowyer. “I just can’t thank everyone there at Clint Bowyer Racing (enough). We finally got one there boss. We’ve got to get another (win) to get even with (Bowyer). I’m just happy for everyone.”

Bloomquist meanwhile was just happy to be there. A week after thinking his season could be over while facing possible surgery as he dealt with a nagging shoulder injury, Bloomquist got a reprieve when he was told by a specialist that the pain he’d been feeling was likely the result of arthritis in his shoulder and that he only has a slight tear in his rotator cuff.

Bloomquist then scrapped his plans to scrap the rest of the season and joined the series for its swing through Ohio. He recorded his second straight podium finish, though he admittedly said he had nothing for O’Neal.

“(O’Neal) was a little better,” Bloomquist said. “We had some issues, stumbling a little bit with the carburetor, just causing the car to not be right through the corners … just blubbering on us. We’ll get it worked out. But he was good, there’s no doubt about it. We couldn’t run with him tonight. We’ll take our second place and keep on working.”

After winning a heat and starting from the pole, Owens felt much the same way.

“We’re good with a third-place finish tonight,” Owens said. “We had a good hot rod. We just tightened the car up a little too much for the feature. We was having to slide it through the corners because it wouldn’t turn. I had a death push it seemed like through the corners. Once we started turning the car and getting it through the corners a little bit better we was turning some pretty good laps.

“Congrats to Don O’Neal and them guys for having a good weekend.”

Notes: The win was O’Neal’s first of any kind this season. … Sixteen cars were still running at the finish, with 13 completing all 50 laps. … Two cars were one lap down, while Tim McCreadie finished nine laps down in 16th place after pitting midway to make repairs to his Sweeteners Plus-sponsored Longhorn. … A lap-23 caution appeared for Darrell Lanigan, who suffered right-front damage in a chain reaction wreck in turn two. ... Fifth in points, sixth-running Bobby Pierce slowed with steering problems on lap 14 and had his second straight DNF. ... Bloomquist and Owens both said they would study their notes and see how they could be applied when they return to Mansfield in August for The Dirt Million. “Everything applies. We’re still learning. We’re still looking. We’ll check out some things after we get back to the pits and document some things and see where we ended up,” said Bloomquist.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Owens, D. O'Neal
Row 2: Bloomquist, Pearson
Row 3: H. O'Neal, R.J. Conley
Row 4: Lanigan, Satterlee
Row 5: McDowell, Erb
Row 6: Rod Conley, Davenport
Row 7: Henry, Pierce
Row 8: Richards, Moran
Row 9: Dohm, Bronson
Row 10: Evans, Carpenter
Row 11: Boggs, Moore
Row 12: McCreadie, Zeigler

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