LOCUST GROVE, Ark. — The habit of dominating races — leading 88 percent of the laps in the last three Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events — without winning was getting a little tiresome for Jimmy Owens.
So instead of watching one of his competitors sneak by late for a victory again, the Newport, Tenn., driver finished a race successfully Friday at Batesville Motor Speedway for a $5,000 preliminary victory on Comp Cams Topless 100 weekend.
“Hope we can keep this rolling for tomorrow night,” said Owens, who will chase the $40,000 winner’s share of the Topless 100 purse in Saturday’s weekend finale from the pole position.
The series points leader started on the pole and led all 30 laps, turning back a few serious second-half challenges from Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., for his series-leading ninth victory of the season.
Overton finished 1.186 seconds behind at the finish with reigning series champ Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., in third. Shanon Buckingham of Morristown, Tenn., and Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., rounded out the top five.
Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who captured Thursday’s 30-lap prelim after slipping around Owens with two laps remaining, finished eighth.
Owens was comfortably ahead the first half of the race, but Overton closed in amid traffic to cut the leading margin to under three-tenths of a second just past halfway.
When the slower car of Timothy Culp was holding up Owens in the final laps, Overton cut the margin to his lowest of the race — 0.149 seconds — but couldn’t find a way past.
When the race’s lone caution appeared on lap 26 — Culp blew out a right-rear tire — Owens had clear track that allowed him to secure the victory.
“The track had gotten a little bit of rubber and stuff, so I didn’t know (what to do). The track’s notorious for being able to move up a lane a little bit right there, and it rubbered through the middle a little bit,” Owens said. “But it looks like it was primarily on the bottom and I was afraid to step out a bit. But that caution played in our favor and we ended up with the win.”
Overton ventured into a higher groove a few times looking for a way around Owens, but it never worked.
“I was trying. You now how it is, it’s pretty narrow out there right now, but maybe they’ll work on it a little bit tomorrow and we’ll have a little better racing surface,” Overton said. “We’ll take it. We had some bad luck last night in the feature and didn’t run very well … I’m happy. Jimmy’s been good all year and we’re right there with him. We just gotta get a little bit better. We’ll work on it tomorrow and see what we’ve got.”
Davenport, racing in the hometown of his car owner Lance Landers and several nearby sponsors, improved his car, but not as much as he’d have liked.
“We’re trying some new things and it seemed it was were pretty good. I think we just need to go a little bit more,” he said. “As far as our race team, we’re definitely getting better, I think. We just need to keep going in the direction we’re going. We kind of got lost there midseason, and it was probably pretty much just my fault for not communicating well enough with my team. But thanks to Jason (Durham) and Tyler (Breashears) and Matt (Langston) and everybody that works on this thing. We couldn’t do it without them.”
The podium finishers know Saturday’s long-distance finale will require awareness of track conditions throughout the night.
"It’s definitely going to be a different animal,” Owens said. “Usually they prep the track a little bit different, and it won’t have near as many laps on it. We’ll start out and hopefully end up really well.”
After 30 laps Friday, "we’re almost bald here on tires,” Overton said. “Like I said, if he works on the track a little bit more tomorrow, maybe (the surface) will last a little longer. I think he usually does, so we’ll just see what we’ve got.”
Davenport shared Overton’s concerns.
“I’m just worried about tire wear, really. We already seen one guy tonight blowed out on lap 26 or whatever, so we’ve gotta go 100 tomorrow,” he said. “My tire’s not looking too good and I don’t think Jimmy’s is, either, so we’ll just have to wait and see what it does. It may be a pit stop game tomorrow."
Notes: Owens won his 73rd career Lucas Oil Series feature. … All 24 starters were running at the finish with only two a lap down. Culp’s lap-26 caution was the only yellow in two nights of preliminary features.
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Brandon Overton
Row 2: Shanon Buckingham, Kyle Bronson
Row 3: Jonathan Davenport, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 4: Dale McDowell, Spencer Hughes
Row 5: Tim McCreadie, Stormy Scott
Row 6: Shane Clanton, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 7: Tanner English, Josh Richards
Row 8: Timothy Culp, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 9: Mason Oberkramer, Billy Moyer
Row 10: Chris Madden, Shannon Babb
Row 11: Tyler Erb, Tyler Bruening
Row 12: Devin Moran, Morgan Bagley
Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., starts from the pole for the second night in row. … Thursday winner Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., starts ninth. … Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, swapped motors in his Capital Race Car on Friday morning. Moyer said the engine he used on Thursday’s fifth-place finish had about 1,300 laps on it. … Timothy Culp of Prattsville, Ark., and Wendell Wallace of Batesville are both using modest open trailers this weekend. “It’s all we need,” said Culp, who recently sold his enclosed trailer and is waiting to take delivery of a used S&S stacker that he purchased. … Wallace is driving one of Raymond Merrill’s cars in search of his second Topless 100 victory. …. After he had a flat in his heat, Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., rallied from sixth to win his consolation race. … Tyler Bruening of Deborah, Iowa, rallied from eighth in his heat to fourth, then finished second in his consy to grab a starting spot. Bruening had to go to a backup car after qualifying after he pounded the tire barrier on the outside of turn four during qualifying. … Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., left on Thursday after a pair of wrecks damaged his new Longhorn. … Jeff Roth of Bentonville, Ark., went to the hospital Thursday night after his hard crash in his consolation race. Roth was complaining of his back hurting. Jeff’s brother Randy said Jeff got a shot for his back and was resting in the team’s hauler Friday. Roth’s Bloomquist Race Car was heavily damaged in the crash and will likely need to be clipped according to Randy Roth. … Shanon Buckingham, Ricky Thornton Jr., Mason Oberkramer, Tyler Bruening and Morgan Bagley are drivers who advanced to Friday’s feature after failing to make the main event on Thursday. … Kyle Beard, Neil Baggett, Wendell Wallace, Logan Martin and B.J. Robinson were in Thursday’s feature, but missed the cut on Friday.
(10 laps; top three transfer)
First consolation: Chris Madden, Tyler Erb, Devin Moran, Logan Martin, B.J. Robinson, Chad Mallett, Brian Rickman, Scott Crigler, Kyle Beard, Daniel Hilsabeck,
Second consolation: Shannon Babb, Tyler Bruening, Morgan Bagley, Neil Baggett, Drew Armstrong, Jamie Elam, Robert Baker, Colton Horner, Wendell Wallace, Steve Stultz, Austin Vincent, Derrick Nichols, David Payne, Travis Ashley.
(12 laps, top three transfer)
Row 1: Devin Moran, Tyler Erb
Row 2: Joe Godsey, B.J. Robinson
Row 3: Logan Martin, Chris Madden
Row 4: Brian Rickman, Scott Crigler
Row 5: Daniel Hilsabeck, Kyle Beard
Row 6: Rick Rickman, Chad Mallett
Row 7: Joey Smith, Ross Farmer
Row 8: Mike Myers
Row 1: Morgan Bagley, Tyler Bruening
Row 2: Wendell Wallace, Shannon Babb
Row 3: Neil Baggett, Austin Vincent
Row 4: Drew Armstrong, Colton Horner
Row 5: Steve Stultz, Jamie Elam
Row 6: David Payne, Travis Ashley
Row 7: Derrick Nichols, Robert Baker
Heat race notes
For the second night in a row, Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., cruised to victory in the first heat. Owens, who outran Dale McDowell to win the heat, predicted Friday’s feature would be won from the middle groove up. “It looks like it’s gonna be around the top and the middle. We’ll just have to maneuver wherever we can to get the win I guess,” said Owens. … Shanon Buckingham of Morristown, Tenn., outdistanced Thursday’s feature winner Tim McCreadie, of Watertown, N.Y., to win the second heat. … Ross Farmer of Glenwood, Ark., took a wild ride after slamming into the turn-one wall on the opening lap of the second heat. Farmer slid into the wall, caught it hard with his right rear and then flipped several times before coming to rest on all four tires. Farmer signaled that he was OK after removing his helmet. … Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., won the third heat comfortably ahead of Shane Clanton. … Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., was in a transfer spot in the third heat, but a flat tire with two laps to go slowed his process and he faded to fifth. … Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., outran Spencer Hughes to capture heat four. … Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., rallied from third to win the fifth heat. Bronson said his team has been searching for speed all weekend. “We’ve been working our butt off changing everything every time we hit the racetrack,” said Bronson. … Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., got the jump on polesitter Billy Moyer Jr. and went on to win the final heat. EPJ was followed by the Batesville contingent of Moyer Jr., Billy Moyer and Wendell Wallace. … Among drivers needing to transfer from a consolation race on a night when no provisionals are given: Devin Moran, Tyler Erb, Madden, Tyler Bruening, Wallace, Neil Baggett and Shannon Babb. Each of those drivers were in Thursday’s feature.
Heat race results
(10 laps; top three transfer)
First heat: Jimmy Owens, Dale McDowell, Tanner English, Devin Moran, B.J. Robinson, Brian Rickman, Kyle Beard, Joey Smith.
Second heat: Shanon Buckingham, Tim McCreadie, Timothy Culp, Tyler Erb, Logan Martin, Scott Crigler, Rick Rickman, Ross Farmer.
Third heat: Jonathan Davenport, Shane Clanton, Mason Oberkramer, Joe Godsey, Chris Madden, Daniel Hilsabeck, Chad Mallett. DNS: Mike Myers.
Fourth heat: Brandon Overton, Spencer Hughes, Josh Richards, Morgan Bagley, Shannon Babb, Drew Armstrong, Jamie Elam, Derrick Nichols.
Fifth heat: Kyle Bronson, Stormey Scott, Ricky Thornton Jr., Tyler Bruening, Neil Baggett, Colton Horner, David Payne, Robert Baker.
Sixth heat: Earl Pearson Jr., Billy Moyer Jr., Billy Moyer, Wendell Wallace, Austin Vincent, Steve Stultz, Travis Ashley.
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Dale McDowell
Row 2: Tanner English, B.J. Robinson
Row 3: Kyle Beard, Devin Moran
Row 4: Brian Rickman, Joey Smith
Row 1: Shanon Buckingham, Timothy Culp
Row 2: Tim McCreadie, Tyler Erb
Row 3: Logan Martin, Scott Crigler
Row 4: Rick Rickman, Ross Farmer
Row 1: Jonathan Davenport, Mason Oberkramer
Row 2: Chris Madden, Shane Clanton
Row 3: Chad Mallett, Daniel Hilsabeck
Row 4: Joe Godsey, Mike Myers
Row 1: Brandon Overton, Josh Richardson
Row 2: Spencer Hughes, Shannon Babb
Row 3: Morgan Bagley, Drew Armstrong
Row 4: Jamie Elam, Derrick Nichols
Row 1: Stormy Scott, Neil Baggett
Row 2: Kyle Bronson, Robert Baker
Row 3: Ricky Thornton Jr., Colton Horner
Row 4: David Payne, Tyler Bruening
Row 1: Billy Moyer Jr., Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 2: Wendell Wallace, Billy Moyer
Row 3: Austin Vincent, Travis Ashley
Row 4: Steve Stultz
Jimmy Owens continued to show the way with good early speed as the Newport, Tenn., driver and Lucas Oil Series points leader set the overall fast time. Owens was the 13th driver to hit the track in Group A, stopping the clock at 14.193 seconds. Shanon Buckingham of Morristown, Tenn., was next at 14.234 and reigning series champion Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., was third at 14.288. They’ll start on the pole of heats one, two and three, respectively.
Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., turned a lap of 14.419 seconds to top Group B qualifying, followed by Stormy Scott of Las Cruces, N.M. (14.430 seconds) and Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville (14.685). Those three earned pole starting positions in the final three heats.
Tyler Bruening of Deborah, Iowa, went off track during qualifying, slamming the tire barrier in turn four. Bruening limped his Capital Race Car to the pit area as the team scurried to get out a back-up car. Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., spun off the track during in the same spot, but missed the tire barrier.
Time trial results (unofficial)
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 14.193
Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn., 14.234
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 14.288
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 14.337
Timothy Culp (c8), Prattsville, Ark., 14.373
Mason Oberkramer (93), Broseley, Mo., 14.410
Tanner English (96), Benton, Ky., 14.539
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 14.562
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 14.565
B.J. Robinson (1), Haughton, La., 14.575
Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 14.588
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 14.639
Kyle Beard (86), Trumann, Ark., 14.661
Logan Martin (36), West Plains, Mo., 14.681
Chad Mallett (92), Greenbrier, Ark., 14.798
Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 14.813
Scott Crigler (12), Alton, Mo., 14.886
Daniel Hilsabeck, (22H), Earlham, Iowa, 14.942
Brian Rickman (90), Columbus, Miss., 14.944
Rick Rickman (86), Columbus, Miss., 15.152
Joe Godsey (14G), Bentonville, Ark., 15.204
Joey Smith (13), Paloma, Mo., 15.233
Ross Farmer, (26R), Glenwood, Ark., 15.481
Mike Myers (48), Ruleville, Miss., no time
Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 14.419
Stormy Scott (2S), Las Cruces, N.M., 14.430
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 14.685
Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., 14.686
Neil Baggett (21xxx), Columbus, Miss., 14.720
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 14.746
Spencer Hughes (11H), Meridian, Miss., 14.760
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 14.807
Wendell Wallace (12m), Batesville, Ark., 14.811
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 14.882
Robert Baker (71), Bryant, Ark., 14.888
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.904
Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas, 14.968
Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 15.193
Austin Vincent (5A), Moody, Mo., 15.311
Drew Armstrong (11j), Alexander, Ark. l15.546
Colton Horner (56), Katy, Texas, 15.582
Travis Ashley (997), Batesville, Ark., 15.643
Jamie Elam (12), Senotobia, Miss., 15.644
David Payne (7D), Cabot, Ark., 15.932
Steve Stultz (78s), Peoria, Ariz., 15.956
Derrick Nichols (13N), Warren, Ark., 16.257
Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 44.999
Batesville Motor Speedway hosts the 28th annual Comp Cams Topless 100 presented by Nutrien Ag Solutions — it’s actually the 26th Topless 100 weekend following rainouts in 2016 and ’18 — the crown-jewel event at Mooney Starr’s 3/8-mile oval that began in 1993.
Friday is the second night of preliminary action. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., passes race-long leader Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., with two laps remaining to win Thursday’s 30-lap, $5,000-to-win preliminary feature. Points accrued from the two preliminary nights are used to determine Saturday’s feature lineup as well as consolation races.
Chris Madden, the 2019 Topless 100 winner who is making his debut for North Carolina-based Rum Runner Motorsports this weekend,vcould become the first back-to-back Topless 100 winner. He finished a quite 12th on Thursday.
Action continues Friday with a $5,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series prelim feature. The full program includes hot laps, time trials, heats, consolations and a 30-lap feature. Friday’s action also includes a $1,000-to-win program for unsanctioned open-wheel modifieds on the undercard.
3 p.m. - Pit gates open
5 p.m. - Grandstand gates open
7 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
7:30 p.m. - Competition
- Late Model hot laps
- Modified hot laps
- Late Model time trials
- Modified heats (8 laps)
- Late Model heats (10 laps)
- Modified consolations (12 laps)
- Late Model consolations (15 laps)
Intermission/track prep (if necessary)
- Late Model feature (30 laps)
- Modified feature (20 laps)