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Daily Dirt 03/25/2023 17:36:05

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June 27
Talladega Short Track,
Eastaboga, AL
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (EZ-Go 50) - $12,000
Information provided by: Series reports (last updated June 28, 8:16 am)
Owens grabs Talladega's $12,000, fourth in a row
EZ-Go 50
  1. Jimmy Owens
  2. Josh Richards
  3. Kyle Hardy
  4. Michael Page
  5. Billy Moyer Jr.
  6. Cory Hedgecock
  7. Dillon Tidmore
  8. Tanner English
  9. Tyler Erb
  10. Stormy Scott
  11. Devin Moran
  12. Dalton Cook
  13. Kyle Bronson
  14. Shanon Buckingham
  15. Jonathan Davenport
  16. Tyler Bruening
  17. Earl Pearson Jr.
  18. Brandon Overton
  19. Tim McCreadie
  20. Heath Hindman
  21. Zach Leonhardi
  22. Joseph Joiner
  23. Hudson O'Neal
  24. Shane Clanton
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Jimmy Owens takes the checkers for his fifth series victory of 2020.
What won the race: Completing the weekend sweep by leading 50 laps, second-starting Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., charged to the Lucas Oil Late Model Series victory in the EZ-Go 50 at Talladega Short Track on Saturday night. Tallying his 69th career series win and fourth in a row, Owens bagged $12,000.
Key notes: Talladega hosted the national tour for the first time since 2008 (Chris Madden won that event). ... The series makes its 10th-ever trip to Alabama. … Two Crate Late Model divisions (604 and 602) were among others in action.
On the move: Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas, started 18th and finished ninth.
Winner's sponsors: Owens drives a Ramirez Motorsports Rocket Chassis powered by a Vic Hill Racing Engine and sponsored by Boomtest Well Service, Reece Monument, Tommy Pope Construction, Redbone Fishing & Rental, Power Rig, Redline Oil and General Tire.
Points chase: After Talladega: 1. Jimmy Owens (3,545); 2. Jonathan Davenport (3,145); 3. Tim McCreadie (3,140); 4. Tyler Erb (3,115); 5. Josh Richards (3,090); 6. Devin Moran (3,035); 7. Kyle Bronson (2,975); 8. Shane Clanton (2,975); 9. Billy Moyer Jr. (2,725); 10. Tanner English (2,615); 11. Shanon Buckingham (2,505); 12. Earl Pearson Jr. (2,470); 13. Hudson O’Neal (2,445): 14. Tyler Bruening (2,320).
Current weather: Clear, 79°F
Car count: 42
Fast qualifier: Jonathan Davenport
Time: 14.036 seconds
Polesitter: Jonathan Davenport
Heat race winners: Jonathan Davenport, Josh Richards, Jimmy Owens, Hudson O'Neal
Consolation race winners: Shanon Buckingham, Tyler Erb
Provisional starters: Shane Clanton, Tyler Bruening
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

EASTABOGA, Ala. — Everything's going right these days for Jimmy Owens, but even with his fourth straight Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory within his grasp Saturday at Talladega Short Track, the third-mile oval's trick turn two was haunting him.

"I told everybody, I don't think I've not been here that I didn't run over that corner right over yonder," said Owens, who indeed flirted with slipping over the wall-less banking a time or two. "It was way more closer than I needed it to be, but you just shut your eyes and hope for the best when you go through there."

Never fear, Owens handled it with aplomb — just like everything else recent as the Newport, Tenn., driver stretched his series points lead with his 69th straight victory and fourth over the last nine days. During the last weekend in June, he led all 100 feature laps in dominating series foes Friday at 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, Tenn., and again Saturday at Talladega.

The four-race win streak is "pretty awesome," Owens said after winning from outside the front row at TST. "I don't even think we won four races last year."

Owens was never challenged in racing to a 1.581-second margin of victory over Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., while Kyle Hardy of Stephens City, Va., rallied from his 10th starting spot for his best career Lucas Oil finish. Michael Page of Douglasville, Ga., and Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., rounded out the top five.

"The car was again was flawless all weekend. My hat's off to the crew, and (the track) for prepping the track good. ... it's just pretty awesome right here," said Owens, who watched a reworking of the surface before the EZ-Go 50. "I knew they were going to have to do a little something to the racetrack there, because it got a little locked down toward the end (of prelims). They watered it and gave us a little racy track for the first half of the race or whatever. It's just great to come home with a win here for Pope Construction, (Tommy Pope) is from up the road, he's helped us for years and glad he can be a part of it and be with us."

Owens, who won the tour's first-ever visit to Talladega 13 years earlier, praised his crew, including latest addition Cody Mallory, who previously worked with Hall of Famer and three-time Lucas Oil champion Scott Bloomquist.

"I don't know if he's used to winning or not, but maybe we can break him in right," Owens said tongue firmly in cheek. "It's just a team effort. It's no one person. Cody's a big help. He and I seem to work really, really good together. My brother (Kurt's) here. Jeff ("Mullet" Strope) and I have always worked good together. It's just everybody's clicking really good right now."

Richards was glad to rebound from a struggling ninth-place finish at 411, but he knows he has his work cut out trying to catch the No. 20 car of Owens.

"Those guys have done a great job. Whatever he's got going on, he's been riding it, because it doesn't seem like he has to hustle (the car) very much," Richards said.

"Tonight, luckily we kind of the car more dialed in. We won the race I feel like we came to win — we were just right there on him. I felt like he could beat us in certain spots of the tracks, and we were better than him in certain spots on the track. We've just gotta tweak a little bit better and get our balance good and keep digging at it. ...

"We're going to keep digging and see if we can't catch the 20."

Hardy, who tangled with Brandon Overton the previous night at 411, came to Talladega in his Billy Hicks-owned ride with "our backs against the wall," so he was glad to turn things around with a podium finish.

"It just means a lot to come here and finish behind Jimmy Owens and Josh Richards," Hardy said. "The whole field's stacked, so it's tight racing. Everybody's on their A-game. But yeah, we got to racing with I don't know who, and next thing I know we were in the top five. We got to racing with them guys, and everybody races so clean. It's just a different league and I'm really thankful to be standing here.

"It's amazing. We can only get better from here. We didn't time-trial as good as I'd have liked, but I think we're going to get in the right track and just leave this thing along. But it feels good to finish third. I'd ought've been happy with a top-10, absolutely, but when we got to fifth, I thought, ’Maybe we could get up here ...’ But Jimmy's hard to beat. Nobody was going to pass him tonight unless he had (a problem). I'm super happy with third."

Three cautions slowed the 50-lapper, including two involving contenders. Fourth-starting Hudson O'Neal held the second spot early, but slowed with mechanical problems on the eighth lap. Polesitter Jonathan Davenport spun in turn three after contact with Dillon Tidmore on the 31st lap and the final yellow appeared for Shanon Buckingham and Earl Pearson Jr. on lap 40.

Notes: Owens is riding the longest winning streak on the series since Jonathan Davenport won five in a row in 2015. ... Owens has three personal winning streaks in 2020 (three, three and four) that make up all 10 of his victories. ... His previous best winning streak came from Oct. 20-Nov. 11, 2012 when he won five consecutive races starting with the season-ending Dirt Track World Championship on the Lucas Oil Series. ... Talladega hosted its richest Late Model event in history.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Davenport, Owens
Row 2: Richards, O'Neal
Row 3: Tidmore, Moyer Jr.
Row 4: Scott, McCreadie
Row 5: Page, Hardy
Row 6: Pearson Jr., Hedgecock
Row 7: Moran, English
Row 8: Bronson, Overton
Row 9: Buckingham, Erb
Row 10: Hindman, Cook
Row 11: Joiner, Leonhardi
Row 12: Clanton, Bruening
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