LOCUST GROVE, Ark. — Jimmy Owens completed his dominating Comp Cams Topless 100 on Saturday with a $40,000 victory, but not before a hometown Hall of Famer threw a scare into him on the final lap.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader from Newport, Tenn., briefly fell behind for the first time in the race when Moyer edged past exiting turn two on lap 100, but when Moyer got into the concrete wall on the backstretch, The pole-starting Owens breathed a sigh of relief in finishing off his flag-to-flag victory for his third career victory in Batesville Motor Speedway’s biggest event.
His series-leading 10th victory of the season was his richest and capped a weekend that saw Owens lead 158 of 160 laps of three feature races.
“My hat’s off to the crew. They kicked butt all weekend and we had a great car all weekend,” Owens said in victory lane. “Things are just jiving well between everybody … it’s just a good team right now.”
Moyer’s last-lap scrape with the wall dropped him to fourth with Earl Pearson Jr. finishing second, 1.452 seconds behind Owens. Despite a mid-race pit stop to replace deflating tire, Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. — Thursday’s winner after overtaking Owens with two laps remaining in a 30-lap prelim — was third followed by Moyer, who started outside the ninth row, and Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga.
Most of the race race was relatively uneventful, but when the four-time race winner Moyer took second from Pearson on lap-64 restart, he eventually began closing in on Owens in the late stages, pulling right up on the leader’s rear deck with 17 laps remaining.
Continuing to stalk Owens in traffic, Moyer was a tenth of a second back at the white flag and “let it all go for broke there off of (turn) two” on the final lap. He edged ahead of Owens briefly as the frontrunners raced behind the slower car of Tyler Bruening, but with the big crowd anticipating the hometown hero’s move, Moyer got hung up on the backstretch fence to allow Owens to slip away.
“It rubbered up there towards the end and got single-file, but Billy was fixing to have one heckuva finish right there, getting up next to Jimmy,” Pearson said. “I guess he got into the back straightaway wall, but that was going to be one of a heckuva finish.”
Owens caught a glimpse of Moyer on the final lap, but just as soon as he saw him he was back behind the race-long leader.
“I just didn’t know where to go. It looked like was nobody was passing nobody,” Owens said. “Then he snuck around me and he was by me down there and I guess he got a little push off the corner there and tagged the wall a little bit.
“I was mainly concerned about the guys that had (flat tires) early and were able to come in. You see Timmy (McCreadie) came in with a flat and came all the way back to the front there. So the new tires was going to be a big concern toward the end — and it definitely was.”
Moyer took his best shot in trying to win his first Topless 100 since 2005.
“I was working him and working him for a long time, and when you’re leading like that, you don’t know where to go … I had a good car there and I just kept kind of biding my time. I got a little too tight right there at the end,” Moyer said. “Anyway, I made a run for it that last lap there, and I was ahead of him a little bit and I should’ve just cooled my jets off turn two there. The 16 car was messing us up. I thought I was going to try and go by the outside of him, and I should’ve just lifted and followed him down the back straightaway. But I figured that would let Jimmy get a run under back underneath me going into (turn) three, then on the last lap, I kinda knew how that might turn out.”
The 62-year-old Moyer said he came to the track “with high expectations, for sure, right here at home, and we unloaded not near (as good) I thought we would. We just never gave up. These guys that work for me, I can’t say enough about ’em. They just worked their hearts out and I did, too.
“We’ve had every corner of this off several times through the weekend, and finally we got it pretty good there. I knew it’d be good at the end when the track (surface changed). At the beginning, heck, it was not very good there for five or 10 laps. I was about to pull in. But anyway, we soldiered through.”
Pearson got the benefit of Moyer’s last-lap struggles in posting a $20,000 finish for his richest paycheck of the season.
“All in all, we started sixth and to come home second with the Lucas Oil car here, Black Diamond Chassis, it’s a good race for us,” he said. “We kind of moved around throughout the race there and Billy got me on that restart there, and we just had to follow one line. But all in all it was a good night for us.
“Everybody knows Jimmy’s on fire right now. Just to come home second to him, I guess you gotta feel good about that, because he’s winning everything right now.”
Forced to pit midrace — the team ended up changing both rear tires — McCreadie stormed back into contention, but his car was spent in the final laps.
“We didn’t have any plan to pit. I got together with a car and it pushed the body into the tire and must’ve cut it down,” McCreadie said. “I probably should’ve pitted the yellow before, but when we went green, I was kind of laying on the right-rear and popping a wheelie. Dale McDowell helped me out. I kind of weaved around on the next yellow and he told me what was happening.
“For a little while, when I was coming through, I thought we’d be really good, and I just overabused the right rear. This place is so hard on right rears so when I got up to where I was at, I had nothing for ’em.”
The race was slowed by four cautions, the most significant when fourth-running Shannon Babb spun in turn two trying to get under Earl Pearson Jr. on lap 54.
Other cautions appeared for a Timothy Culp flat (lap 29), Kyle Bronson’s lap-48 spin after contact with Tyler Erb (lap 48) and Neil Baggett’s flat tire (lap 50). Shane Clanton was running sixth on lap 63 when he slowed and pulled pitside with a deflating right-rear tire.
Notes: Owens has 74 career Lucas Oil Series victories. … His previous Topless 100 victories came in 2009 and 2014. … He earned his richest victory since his $40,000 triumph last September in the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway.
Comp Cams Topless 100
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Rocket, $40,000
2. Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., Black Diamond, $20,000
3. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., Longhorn, $10,000
4. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., Capital, $5,000
5. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., Bloomquist, $4,000
6. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., Longhorn, $3,750
7. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., Longhorn, $3,500
8. Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., Longhorn, $3,000
9. Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., Rocket, $2,800
10. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, Rocket, $2,700
11. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $2,500
12. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., Bloomquist, $2,400
13. Timothy Culp (c8), Prattsville, Ark., Rocket, $2,350
14. Neil Baggett (21xxx), Columbus, Miss., Rocket, $2,300
15. Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, Rocket, $2,250
16. Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., Rocket, $2,200
17. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., Capital, $2,150
18. Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, Capital, $2,125
19. Tanner English (81E), Benton, Ky., Rocket, $2,100
20. Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., Capital, $2,075
21. Logan Martin (36), West Plains, Mo., Rocket, $2,050
22. Spencer Hughes (11), Meridian, Miss., Capital, $2,025
23. Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn., Longhorn, $2,000
24. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., Rocket, $2,000
25. B.J. Robinson (1), Shreveport, La., Black Diamond, $2,000
26. Rick Rickman (86), Columbus, Miss., Rocket, $2,000
Lap leader: Owens 1-100
Preliminary feature winners (among 49 cars): McCreadie, Owens
Consolation winners: Erb, Moyer Sr.
Provisional starters: Bruening, Robinson, Martin, Rickman
Comp Cams Topless 100 lineup
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Tim McCreadie
Row 2: Brandon Overton, Dale McDowell
Row 3: Jonathan Davenport, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 4: Shane Clanton, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 5: Kyle Bronson, Stormy Scott
Row 6: Spencer Hughes, Shanon Buckingham
Row 7: Chris Madden, Shannon Babb
Row 8: Josh Richards, Tanner English
Row 9: Tyler Erb, Billy Moyer
Row 10: Devin Moran, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 11: Timothy Culp, Neil Baggett
Row 12: Tyler Bruening, B.J. Robinson
Row 13: Logan Martin, Rick Rickman
Polesitter Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., chases his third Topless 100 victory and first since 2014. He finished 21st last season and in 2017 and 17th in 2015. In his two wins, Owens started seventh (2014) and fifth (2009). … Just as he did in winning the 2008 Topless 100 for his first-ever crown jewel win, Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. starts second. McCreadie is making just his sixth Topless 100 start. … Third-starting Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., is looking to improve upon his lone Topless 100 start. Overton finished second last year after starting 10th. … Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., picked up his only Topless 100 win in 2004. … Last year’s hard charger, Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., started 16th and finished fifth. Babb, who won the Topless 100 in 2003 and 2015, starts 14th this year. … Winners of 11 of the 25 Topless 100s are in Saturday’s 26-car starting field: Chris Madden (’19); Babb (’15, ’03); Owens (’14, ’09); McCreadie (’08); Billy Moyer (’05, ’02, ’97, ’95) and McDowell (’04). … This is the first Topless 100 without five-time event winner Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., since 1996 and first feature without the Hall of Fame driver since 2000. … Former winner Wendell Wallace (’98) of Batesville, finished seventh in his consolation race. … 1996 winner Bill Frye of Greenbrier, Ark., was among those in attendance spectating this weekend. … Provisional starters are Tyler Bruening of Deborah, Iowa; B.J. Robinson of Haughton, La.; Logan Martin of West Plains, Mo.; and Rick Rickman of Columbus, Miss. … After a relatively cool two days of preliminary action, it was noticeably warmer on Saturday with temps peaking in the low to mid-90s.
(15 laps; top 3 advance)
First consolation: Tyler Erb, Devin Moran, Timothy Culp, Drew Armstrong, Logan Martin, Morgan Bagley, Wendell Wallace, Rick Rickman, Daniel Hilsabeck, Chad Mallett, Steve Stutlz, Robert Baker, Mason Oberkramer, Travis Ashley. DNS: Joe Godsey, Mike Marlar, Jeff Roth.
Second consolation: Billy Moyer, Ricky Thornton Jr., Neil Baggett, B.J. Robinson, Kyle Beard, Jamie Elam, Colton Horner, Derrick Nichols, Joey Smith, Austin Vincent, Brian Rickman, David Payne, Scott Crigler. DNS: Tyler Bruening, Ross Farmer, Mike Myers.
(15 laps, top 3 transfer)
Row 1: Tyler Erb, Timothy Culp
Row 2: Devin Moran, Logan Martin
Row 3: Morgan Bagley, Drew Armstrong
Row 4: Wendell Wallace, Mason Oberkramer
Row 5: Chad Mallet, Robert Baker
Row 6: Steve Stultz, Daniel Hilsabeck
Row 7: Rick Rickman, Joe Godsey
Row 8: Travis Ashley, Mike Marlar
Row 9: Jeff Roth
Row 1: Ricky Thornton Jr., Billy Moyer
Row 2: B.J. Robinson, Neil Baggett
Row 3: Tyler Bruening, Kyle Beard
Row 4: Brian Rickman, Scott Crigler
Row 5: Jamie Elam, Colton Horner
Row 6: Austin Vincent, Derrick Nichols
Row 7: Joey Smith, Ross Farmer
Row 8: Mike Myers, David Payne
Driver (car no.), hometown, points
1. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn. - 500
2. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y. - 440
3. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga. - 430
4. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga. - 425
5. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga. - 420
6. Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla. - 410
7. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga. - 380
8. Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark. - 375
9. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla. - 365
10. Stormy Scott (2), Las Cruces, N.M. - 360
11. Spencer Hughes (11), Meridian, Miss. - 360
12. Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn. - 325
13. Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C. - 315
14. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill. - 305
15. Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va. - 305
16. Tanner English (81E), Benton, Ky. - 300
17. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas - 290
18. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz. - 280
19. Timothy Culp (c8), Prattsville, Ark. - 280
20. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark. - 280
21. Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio - 270
22. B.J. Robinson (1), Haughton, La. - 250
23. Logan Martin (36), West Plains, Mo. - 250
24. Neil Baggett (21xxx), Columbus, Miss. - 245
25. Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas - 245
26. Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa - 240
27. Drew Armstrong (11j), Alexander, Ark. - 225
28. Kyle Beard (86), Trumann, Ark. - 220
29. Wendell Wallace (12m), Batesville, Ark. - 220
30. Brian Rickman (90), Columbus, Miss. - 220
31. Mason Oberkramer (93), Broseley, Mo. - 215
32. Scott Crigler (12), Alton, Mo. - 210
33. Chad Mallett (92), Greenbrier, Ark. - 210
34. Jamie Elam (12), Senotobia, Miss. - 210
35. Robert Baker (71), Bryant, Ark. - 210
36. Colton Horner (56C), Katy, Texas - 195
37. Steve Stultz (78s), Peoria, Ariz. -185
38. Austin Vincent (5A), Moody, Mo. - 175
39. Daniel Hilsabeck (22H), Earlham, Iowa - 175
40. Derrick Nichols (13N), Warren, Ark. - 165
41. Rick Rickman (86), Columbus, Miss. - 160
42. Joey Smith (13), Paloma, Mo. - 160
43. Joe Godsey (14G), Bentonville, Ark. - 155
44. Ross Farmer (26R), Glenwood, Ark. - 140
45. Travis Ashley (997), Batesville, Ark. - 100
46. Mike Myers (48), Ruleville, Miss. - 100
47. Mike Marlar (57), Winfield, Tenn. - 75
48. David Payne (7), Cabot, Ark. - 75
49. Jeff Roth (14R), Bentonville, Ark. - 75
Action concludes Saturday at Batesville Motor Speedway as the 3/8-mile oval hosts the 28th annual Comp Cams Topless 100 presented by Nutrien Ag Solutions.
Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., who tops the list of 49 drivers with 500 points after two days of preliminary features, will start from the pole, with Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., alongside on the front row. Owens is seeking his third Topless 100 victory, while McCreadie is chasing his second. Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., starts third as he chases his second crown jewel victory of the season and first-ever Topless 100 win, while 2004 Topless 100 winner Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., starts fourth.
The first eight rows of Saturday’s feature lineup were set via points that drivers accumulated through two rounds of 30-lap preliminary features. Rows 9-11 will be set through a pair of consolation races, with row 12 reserved for Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series provisionals and for 13 for two Comp Cams Super Dirt Series provisionals.
Saturday’s action also includes a $1,000-to-win program for IMCA open-wheel modifieds on the undercard.
3 p.m. - Pit gates open
4 p.m. - Grandstand gates open
6:30-7:15 p.m. - Lucas Oil series driver autograph session
7:30 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
8 p.m. - Competition
- Late Model hot laps (consolation cars)
- Modified hot laps
- Modified heats (8 laps)
- Late Model consolations (15 laps)
- Late Model hot laps (feature lockins)
- Modified consolation (12 laps)
- Modified feature (20 laps)
Intermission/track prep (if necessary)
- Topless 100