ROSSBURG, Ohio — No one on the Wells & Sons Motorsports team was more disappointed than the driver himself following a disheartening 23rd-place finish in Thursday’s preliminary feature at Eldora Speedway. So the driver — Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga. — did something about it. A day after he was forced to pit when a damaged radiator caused the engine in his Longhorn Chassis to overheat with just to two laps remaining while running in the third position, Overton gained a measure of redemption.
Overton drove by leader Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., on a lap-20 restart and led the final 10 laps to win Friday’s $10,000 Dirt Late Model Stream Invitational prelim feature. He pulled away to win by 1.774 seconds, while Owens, who led laps 12-20 after starting fifth, settled for second. Polesitter and early leader Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., finished third after pacing the first 11 laps.
Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, finished where he started in the fourth and Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., the night’s fast qualifier, improved one position to complete the top five in the event that will help set the starting lineups for Saturday’s $50,000-to-win Stream Invitational heat races.
“It’s awesome. I can’t thank David and Eric (Wells) enough for giving me the opportunity to drive this thing,” said Overton after climbing from his car parked on Eldora’s victory lane stage. “We’ve had a really fast car for the past month and just bad luck just keeps getting us. We’re just gonna keep working and keep pushing through it. This is a different car today. Longhorn by Wells, man this thing is awesome. Thanks Eric for everything you do back at the shop, his whole family, all my other sponsors.”
Arguably one of the sports hottest drivers since returning to action following the shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Overton picked up his eighth win of the season and second career Eldora preliminary feature triumph. He had to overcome a driver who’s not only been equally as hot this season, but one who was also rebounding from a tough outing on Thursday as well.
While Overton finished 23rd Thursday, Owens, who has six victories on the season, was 24th, the first driver out the race. But some 24 hours later, their fortunes had turned and they found themselves battling each other for a victory.
Both had to first get by McDowell, however, who pulled away early and led the first 11 laps before a caution on lap 10 closed the gap and allowed the second-running Owens to pull alongside for the restart. McDowell led lap 11, but Owens dove to the bottom entering turn one and slipped in front exiting turn two to lead lap 12.
“I drove in there and got a good run off turn four there and went in under Dale and bottomed out real bad and caused him to have to check up and probably cost him a spot or something,” said Owens. “I apologize for that. But man it’s hard racing. It’s a wide racetrack.”
McDowell said the caution was the culprit.
“I don’t think I needed that caution,” said McDowell. “I was a little tight, so I needed the whole racetrack to turn. Those guys … congratulations too Brandon. He and Jimmy both have been on fire this year, so if I can run right there with them, I can make adjustments. They’ve raced a little bit … quite a bit more than we have. I think we can make adjustments and if things go our way we’ll get this Ez-Go hot rod up there closer to the front and can hopefully make it count.”
Once he dispatched McDowell, Owens began to pull away. Dropping McDowell to third, Overton grabbed second on lap 14 and began cutting into Owens’s lead. He was still closing when the caution waved on lap 20. On the double-file restart, Owens chose the bottom, leaving Overton the top side, which couldn’t have worked out better for Overton.
“Man I was just smiling,” Overton said. “I couldn’t get going on the bottom, so he gave me the top and I got me a good run. I really wasn’t that good. The whole time I was kicking myself in the butt. I made some changes right before the feature and I don’t know how much we won by but I wasn’t that good … kinda tight (entering the corner). But it all worked out for us. Like I said, he gave us that outside line on that restart and we just played the cards we were dealt and come out on top.”
Like McDowell earlier, Owens would have rather not seen the caution.
“We had a really, really good car all night long … had a good car all weekend,” said Owens. “But man those takeoffs just killed me. We’ve got a little stumble we’ve got to take care of. That way we can get fired off a little better on the takeoffs.”
Notes: Overton’s previous Eldora prelim victory came before the 2017 Dream aboard a Longhorn backed by Tennessee’s Stone-Weaver Racing. … Twenty-one of 24 starters competed Friday’s feature, all on the lead lap. … The race was slowed by three cautions: lap 10 for a slowing Jonathan Davenport who pitted with an overheating engine; a lap-10 restart for Thursday winner Kyle Strickler who spun; and lap 20 for Chris Ferguson. … While fortunes turned for the better for Overton and Owens, Lady Luck frowned on Thursday’s winner and runner-up, Strickler and Shane Clanton. Strickler finished 20th after his spin and Clanton failed to transfer to the feature after finishing seventh in his consolation race. … Overton feels comfortable going into Saturday’s $50,000-to-win finale. “We’re just gonna do smart things. My car’s been really good. It’s been balanced,” he said. “If I just don’t screw it up, I think we’ll be there at the end.” … Hall of Famer Scott Bloomquist has yet to be a factor. Bloomquist qualified 40th among the 43 drivers who registered a time, finished eighth in his heat and was 12th in his consolation race in failing to make the feature for the second night. … McDowell said he may need to adjust his style in competing in Saturday’s 67-lap feature, especially considering Eldora’s crown jewel events are typically 100-lappers. “I’m gonna have to race it a little bit different tomorrow night because it’s less (laps),” he said. “Usually I like the last 30 or 40 laps. We’re just a little snug and we were here at the World (100) in September, so we’ll work on it and free it up a little bit and just hope we don’t go too far. It’s a game of fractions.” … Three-time World 100 winner Jonathan Davenport has yet to get up to speed. Davenport advanced to the feature though a consolation race, but was the first retiree.
Preliminary notes and results:
Row 1: Dale McDowell, Chase Junghans
Row 2: Brandon Overton, Devin Moran
Row 3: Jimmy Owens, Josh Richards
Row 4: Donald McIntosh, Chris Madden
Row 5: Jason Jameson, Kyle Bronson
Row 6: Chris Simpson, Brandon Sheppard
Row 7: Ashton Winger, Kent Robinson
Row 8: Michael Page, Tim McCreadie
Row 9: Bobby Pierce, Shanon Buckingham
Row 10: Kyle Strickler, Ricky Weiss
Row 11: Shannon Babb, Chris Ferguson
Row 12: Mason Zeigler, Jonathan Davenport
Polesitter Dale McDowell has three career preliminary feature wins in Eldora crown jewels, but it’s been five years since he stood on the victory stage after capturing one. His prelim triumphs came at the 2014 Dream (he went on to claim the $100,000 finale), the ’14 World and the ’15 World 100. … Donald McIntosh emerged victorious in the second heat after his crew scrambled to patch together his car’s thoroughly bent right-rear bodywork that was damaged during time trials. … Tim McCreadie transferred with a fourth-place finish in Heat 4, but engine trouble that developed late in the race forced him to park his Donald and Gena Bradsher-owned Longhorn house car. He pulled out his backup machine to run in the feature. … Jason Feger was an early retiree from his heat because a miss in his car’s engine intensified. … Nick Hoffman’s Hatcher Motorsports car sustained significant nosepiece damage when he spun between turns three and four during the third heat and was clipped by Michael Norris’s passing mount. … Scott James patched up his Dolhun Motorsports car from his qualifying wreck just enough to start his heat and B-main ignored to earn extra points toward Saturday’s lineup. … Frustrating electrical problems that short-circuited Darrell Lanigan’s qualifying effort ultimately prompted him and his Viper Motorsports BWRC house car team to load up and withdraw from further action this weekend.
Ricky Weiss grabbed the lead from polesitter Dennis Erb Jr. on the opening lap and led all 12 circuits to win the second consolation. Chris Ferguson slipped by Erb on lap two and held the second spot to the finish, while Jonathan Davenport, who nearly tagged the wall on lap three, regrouped and took the third spot from Erb Jr. on lap seven.
Finish (top three transfer): Ricky Weiss, Chris Ferguson, Jonathan Davenport, Dennis Erb Jr., Rick Eckert, Frank Heckenast Jr., Shane Clanton, Jeep Van Wormer, Michael Norris, Earl Pearson Jr., Nick Hoffman, Scott Bloomquist, Scott James. DNS: Darrell Lanigan.
Wrestling the lead away from Steve Casebolt on lap five, Kyle Strickler of Mooresville, N.C., won the first consolation race. Shannon Babb finished second. Mason Zeigler held off Zack Dohm for the final transfer spot as Casebolt faded before pulling off the track on lap eight.
Finish (top three transfer): Kyle Strickler, Shannon Babb, Mason Zeigler, Zack Dohm, Tyler Erb, Gregg Satterlee, Billy Moyer Jr., Ricky Thornton Jr., Rusty Schlenk, Jerry Bowersock, Steve Casebolt. DNS: Jason Feger.
(12 lap; top three transfer)
Row 1: Steve Casebolt, Shannon Babb
Row 2: Kyle Strickler, Zack Dohm
Row 3: Tyler Erb, Mason Zeigler
Row 4: Gregg Satterlee, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 5: Billy Moyer Jr., Jerry Bowersock
Row 6: Rusty Schlenk, Jason Feger
Row 1: Ricky Weiss, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Chris Ferguson, Jonathan Davenport
Row 3: Rick Eckert, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 4: Shane Clanton, Scott Bloomquist
Row 5: Michael Norris, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 6: Nick Hoffman, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 7: Darrell Lanigan, Scott James
Turning back an early challenge from Dale McDowell, Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, cruised to a 2.324-second victory in the final heat. McDowell finished second, while Brandon Sheppard moved forward from fifth to finish third. Tim McCreadie, who appeared to have engine trouble at the end of the heat, held off Dennis Erb Jr. and Jonathan Davenport for fourth.
Finish (top four transfer): Devin Moran, Dale McDowell, Brandon Sheppard, Tim McCreadie, Dennis Erb Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Frank Heckenast Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Jeep Van Wormer, Earl Pearson Jr., Scott James.
Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., held off fifth-starting Jimmy Owens to win the third heat. Madden led every lap from the pole position and won by .795 of a second. Owens moved forward from fifth following an early caution for Nick Hoffman on lap one after after contact with Chris Ferguson in turn three. Michael Page slipped over the cushion in turn two while batting for second, but rebounded and finished fourth, just behind Chris Simpson.
Finish (top four transfer): Chris Madden, Jimmy Owens, Chris Simpson, Michael Page, Ricky Weiss, Rick Eckert, Shane Clanton, Michael Norris, Nick Hoffman. DNS: Darrell Lanigan.
Slinging his Buick-powered machine around the top side, Donald McIntosh of Dawsonville, Ga., led all 10 laps of the caution-free second heat. McIntosh was comfortably ahead for the first five laps, but had to defend the top spot in the second half as Chase Junghans entered the fray. McIntosh crossed the line .372 of a second ahead of third-starting Junghans. Kyle Bronson finished third, while Kent Robinson grabbed fourth after a spirited battle with Shannon Babb.
Finish (top four transfer): Donald McIntosh, Chase Junghans, Kyle Bronson, Kent Robinson, Shannon Babb, Bobby Pierce, Zack Dohm, Mason Zeigler, Ricky Thornton Jr., Jerry Bowersock, Jason Feger.
Overall fast qualifying Josh Richards, of Shinnston, W.Va., backed up his fast time with a flag-to-flag win in the first heat. Richards was slated to start fifth, but moved up a row when Brandon Overton was penalized a couple of starting positions for failing the “droop” check after qualifying. Richards topped Overton by a commanding 3.278 second. Jason Jameson slipped by Ashton Winger on the final lap for third, while Winger held onto the final transfer spot.
Finish (top four transfer): Josh Richards, Brandon Overton, Jason Jameson, Ashton Winger, Steve Casebolt, Kyle Strickler, Tyler Erb, Shanon Buckingham, Gregg Satterlee, Billy Moyer Jr., Rusty Schlenk.
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Ashton Winger, Steve Casebolt
Row 2: Josh Richards, Shanon Buckingham
Row 3: Brandon Overton, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 4: Jason Jameson, Kyle Strickler
Row 5: Rusty Schlenk, Tyler Erb
Row 6: Gregg Satterlee
Row 1: Donald McIntosh, Kent Robinson
Row 2: Chase Junghans, Kyle Bronson
Row 3: Bobby Pierce, Shannon Babb
Row 4: Zack Dohm, Jason Feger
Row 5: Mason Zeigler, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 6: Jerry Bowersock
Row 1: Chris Madden, Chris Simpson
Row 2: Nick Hoffman, Chris Ferguson
Row 3: Jimmy Owens, Michael Page
Row 4: Shane Clanton, Michael Norris
Row 5: Rick Eckert, Ricky Weiss
Row 6: Darrell Lanigan
Row 1: Tim McCreadie, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Dale McDowell, Devin Moran
Row 3: Brandon Sheppard, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 4: Scott James, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 5: Jonathan Davenport, Scott Bloomquist
Row 6: Earl Pearson Jr.
Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., topped 41 drivers who made a qualifying attempt Friday for the second night of Dirt Late Model Stream Invitational. Richards turned a lap of 15.502 seconds, just nipping Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., who stopped the clock at 15.522 seconds. Richards, who didn’t transfer into Thursday’s 30-lap main event, alluded to a handful of changes his Clint Bowyer Racing team did overnight to hopefully turn his fortunes around.
“We tried a couple things yesterday and had decent speed, but it just felt terrible driving,” said Richards.
Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., also hoping to rebound after finishing 24th in Thursday’s feature, was third quick at 15.562 seconds and Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., was fourth at 15.590.
Brandon Overton timed ninth-fastest but failed the postqualifying “droop” test, handing him a two-position penalty for his heat race along with a loss of time trial points. Earl Pearson Jr., meanwhile, had his time wiped out because he weighed in 12 pounds light at the scales.
Scott James slammed the turn-three wall on his second qualifying lap after his car’s right-front tire blew. He expressed doubt that his crew would be able to repair the damage in time for him to run even a B-main this evening.
Other drivers who experienced qualifying problems: Donald McIntosh and Tyler Erb, both of whom clipped the outside wall; Darrell Lanigan, who didn’t register an official lap because of an apparent crank trigger problem; and Jerry Bowersock, who took one lap at the end of the session because he had to repair a coil that went bad before hot laps.
Temperatures have climbed into the upper 80s for the second night of the Stream Invitational with sunny skies; the chance of thunderstorms that seemed to be in Friday’s forecast just over 24 hours ago are essentially out of the picture. … The Stream weekend has ended up being a nightmare for three of the four drivers who earned berths in the event through fan voting with Tanner English and the father-and-son pair of Freddie and Tyler Carpenter heading home after Thursday’s program. English left after his Riggs Motorsports machine was felled by terminal engine trouble; Freddie made only a half-lap of practice before motor woes sidelined him while Tyler pulled out of the first B-main with smoke and steam spewing from his car. … Rick Eckert is the lone driver voted in by fans remaining. He struggled Thursday in his first Eldora appearance since 2014 when he drove the Rocket Chassis house car in the Dream and World 100, turning the slowest qualifying time of the 46 entrants who made a lap and coming six spots short of transferring in his B-main. … Thursday feature winner Kyle Strickler has his Longhorn car repaired from the battering it took during his triumphant drive; its rear deck had to be rebuilt and his front suspension corrected because his crew found that its toe was off by 2-and-a-half inches. … Hall of Famer Billy Moyer has withdrawn from further weekend competition with engine trouble he experienced during a Thursday heat race. … Brandon Overton has switched cars — bringing out a 3-race-old Longhorn vehicle — after deciding to park his Wells Motorsports mount that was forced out of Thursday’s feature when mud busted its radiator as he ran third on the final lap. … After fighting engine issues Thursday and falling three spots short of transferring in his B-main, Kent Robinson swapped motors for Friday’s action. … Nick Hoffman has a fresh powerplant under the hood of his Hatcher Motorsports car after motor woes that developed during hot laps prevented him from competing in Thursday’s program. … Jimmy Owens reported that he didn’t think the mechanical trouble that knocked him out of Thursday’s feature was serious, saying it appeared to be a “bad plug wire.” … In an attempt to jump-start his performance, Earl Pearson Jr. has switched to his newer Black Diamond house car for Friday’s competition. His only previous action with the machine came when he debuted it in the March 6-7 Comp Cams Super Dirt Series doubleheader at Boothill Speedway in Greenwood, La., where he finished third in the finale — his lone top-five run of 2020. … Darrell Lanigan was turning wrenches on his Viper Motorsports BWRC house car on Friday afternoon looking to find speed that has eluded him in recent weeks. Switching to a backup car after struggling on Thursday (second-slowest qualifying lap, ninth in B-main) wasn’t an option; the team has only one car along after damaging their second mount in a tangle Saturday at Davenport (Iowa) Speedway. ... There's a five-car invert for Friday's heat races.
Time trial results (unofficial)
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
- Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., 15.502
- Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.522
- Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.562
- Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 15.590
- Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn.,15.647
- Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 15.672
- Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 15.682
- Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 15.688
- Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 15.701
- Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 15.745
- Nick Hoffman (2), Mooresville, N.C., 15.766
- Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 15.775
- Steve Casebolt (C9), Richmond, Ind., 15.793
- Kent Robinson (7R), Bloomington, Ind., 15.806
- Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 15.807
- Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.808
- Ashton Winger (12), Hampton, Ga., 15.809
- Donald McIntosh (7m), Dawsonville, Ga., 15.809
- Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 15.838
- Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.843
- Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 15.844
- Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 15.847
- Michael Page (18x), Douglasville, Ga., 15.879
- Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 15.879
- Jason Jameson (16), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 15.895
- Zack Dohm (17), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 15.905
- Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.913
- Scott James (83), Bright, Ind., 15.922
- Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C., 15.924
- Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 15.941
- Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., 15.967
- Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich., 16.018
- Rusty Schlenk (91), McClure, Ohio, 16.021
- Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 16.089
- Rick Eckert (0), York, Pa., 16.099
- Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 16.110
- Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 16.346
- Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 16.435
- Ricky Weiss (7), Headingley, Manitoba, 16.468
- Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 16.487
- Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 16.565
- Jerry Bowersock (95j), Wapakoneta, Ohio, 16.891
- Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., DQ’d (light)
- Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., no time
- Tanner English (81E), Benton, Ky., no time
- Freddie Carpenter (c4), Parkersburg, W.Va., no time
- Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., no time
- Tyler Carpenter (28), Parkersburg, W.Va., no time
(All times EDT)
Noon: Hauler staging in Camping Lots 1 and 2 (any hauler that left following Thursday’s event)
12:30 p.m.: Medical screening (manufacturers, support and vendors)
1 p.m.: Medical screening (race teams at haulers)
1:15-4 p.m.: Hauler parking
1:30-4:30 p.m.: Inspection and registration
2:30 p.m.: Medical screening (broadcast team)
5 p.m.: Virtual drivers’ meeting
6:30 p.m.: Hot laps/multicar qualifying by group
7:20 p.m.: Opening ceremonies
- Four heat races (10 laps; top four transfer)
- Two consolation races (12 laps; top three transfer)
- Main event (30 laps)