ROSSBURG, Ohio (Sept. 4) — What Jimmy Owens lacked early in the night at Eldora Speedway, he made up for it in the night’s closing 25-lap feature.
Roaring to the front from his 14th starting spot in the 24-car field, the Newport, Tenn., driver went from fourth to first over a four-lap stretch just past the race’s midpoint, overtaking polesitter Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., on the 15th lap and racing to victory.
“We qualified, and had some stuff go wrong qualifying, and was pretty good in our heat race, and had a couple of problems there. But we got all the bugs worked out and was able to move up through there,” said Owens, a two-time World 100 winner. “I didn’t expect to win it, but I knew we had a lot better car than what we did in our heats and qualifying.”
A pair of slower cars gave Owens a little trouble late in the race with fellow Club 29 Race Car driver Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., threatening to track the leader down, but he broke through for breathing room in the final laps.
“Traffic here is always worrying, and I was worried we maybe had everybody out-tired, but maybe my tires were going to give up,” Owens said. “We was able to hold everybody off.”
Robinson, who started fourth but slipped back to sixth early, had an ill-handling race car after getting knocked around in his heat race earlier in the night.
“Yeah, we’re happy. Second, like I said, to run second to Jimmy, I’ll take it at Eldora,” Robinson said. “But we had that contact there in that heat with (Dustin) Linville, and I think it knocked the servo out of it and we didn’t change it. We knew what it was, but it didn’t fix it. It was a handful out there. It was shaking everywhere.
“I knew I needed to get to the bottom, but I thought maybe I could just hang on in the middle. When Jimmy passed me down there, I knew I had to get down there, but it shook way worse when I was down there, so I finally just manned up and got down there, and said, 'If I wreck, I wreck.' To come home second, we’re happy.”
Robinson, driving the new car he guided to victory Sunday in Sunoco American Late Model Series action at Eldora, is looking forward to Friday’s prelims and Saturday’s big show with $47,000 on the line.
“It’s a momentum builder. That’s why we’re here … the car’s really fast right now. That’s encouraging. The team’s working together well and I think we’ve got some momentum going into tomorrow and into Saturday.”
Robinson finished 1.330 seconds behind Owens at the checkers while fifth-starting Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., was third. Madden, who led laps 7-14, settled for fourth. Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., came from 12th to fifth while tail-starting Billy Moyer Jr. rallied to finish seventh.
Jeff Babcock of Wayne, Ohio, started outside the front row and led the first five laps, but he slipped to an eighth-place finish in a race with a single caution flag.
The first start was called back when for the tail-starting Dustin Linville’s turn-two spin.
First heat (top three transfer): John Blankenship, Earl Pearson Jr., Chris Simpson, Earl Pearson Jr., Jacob Hawkins, Jason Hughes, Timothy Culp, Charles LaPlant, Scott James, Chad Ruhlman. Scratched: Austin Smith.
Second heat (top three transfer): Tim McCreadie, Shane Clanton, Jimmy Owens, Randy Korte, Wayne Chinn, Aaron Scott, Billy Ogle Jr, Jim Shereck, Jon Hodgkiss, Scott Bowersock.
Third heat (top three transfer): Kent Robinson, Brian Shirley, Mason Zeigler, Dustin Linville, Shannon Babb, Bub McCool, Mark Dotson, Cecil Eunice, Brett Wyatt, Andrew Gordon.
Fourth heat (top three transfer): Bobby Pierce, Steve Francis, Brandon Overton, Tanner English, Greg Johnson, Dan Schlieper, Terry Wolfenbarger, Shannon Thornsberry, Ron McQuerry.
Fifth heat (top three transfer): Jeff Babcock, Eddie Carrier Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., Jerry Bowersock, Billy Moyer, Jeep Van Wormer, Steve Lance Jr., J.T. Conley, Walker Arthur, Ernie Cordier.
Sixth heat (top three transfer): Chris Madden, Frank Heckenast Jr., Doug Drown, Billy Moyer Jr., Duane Chamberlain, Rod Conley, Jay Johnson, Brian Diveley, Chris Nash, Curtis Deisenroth.
First consolation (top three transfer): Randy Korte, Jason Hughes, Dustin Linville, Jacob Hawkins, Timothy Culp, Bub McCool, Shannon Babb, Chad Ruhlman, Aaron Scott, Jim Schereck, Wayne Chinn, Billy Ogle Jr., Jon Hodgkiss, Brett Wyatt, Cecil Eunice, Charles LaPlant. Scratched: Scott Bowersock, Mark Dotson, Scott James.
Second consolation (top three transfer): Jerry Bowersock, Greg Johnson, Billy Moyer Jr., Billy Moyer, Rod Conley, Tanner English, Duane Chamberlain, Jeep Van Wormer, Brian Diveley, Walker Arthur, Steve Lance Jr., Dan Schlieper, Terry Wolfenbarger, Jay Johnson, J.T. Conley, Shannon Thornsberry, Ron McQuerry, Chris Nash.
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, time
John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., 15.669
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.824
Brian Shirley (81), Chatham, Ill., 15.869
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.956
Jeff Babcock (1), Wayne, Ohio, 16.025
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 16.052
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 16.086
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 16.090
Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., 16.107
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 16.126
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., 16.160
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 16.200
Jason Hughes (12), Watts, Okla., 16.214
Wayne Chinn (1), Bradford, Ohio, 16.218
Dustin Linville (D8), Bryantsville, Ky., 16.227
Greg Johnson (80), Bedford, Ind., 16.253
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 16.266
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 16.2791
Scott James (83), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 16.293
Randy Korte (00), Highland, Ill., 16.303
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pga., 16.327
Brandon Overton (5) Appling, Ga., 16.343
Jerry Bowersock (95j), Wapakoneta, Ohio, 16.378
Doug Drown (20), Wooster, Ohio, 16.411
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 16.439
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 16.457
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 16.460
Shannon Thornsberry (17), Martin, Ky., 16.488
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 16.519
Rod Conley (71r), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 16.545
Jacob Hawkins (20), Fairmont, W.Va., 16.576
Donald McIntosh (7), Dawsonville, Ga., 16.622
Brett Wyatt (360), Crossville, Tenn., 16.632
Tanner English (96), Benton, Ky., 16.667
Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich., 16.697
Duane Chamberlain (20c), Richmond, Ind., 16.711
Chad Ruhlman (49c), Bemus Point, N.Y., 16.745
Aaron Scott (33), Newark, Ohio, 16.762
Bub McCool (57j), Vicksburg, Miss., 16.774
Dan Schlieper (15) Oak Creek, Wis. , 16.792
Steve Lance Jr. (25), Cuba, Ill., 16.828
Jay Johnson (93), West Burlington, Iowa, 16.851
Walker Arthur (87), Forest, Va., 16.923
George Lee (21), Millersburg, Ohio, 17.004
Ryan Gustin (19r), Marshalltown, Iowa, 17.038
Ross Nicastri (3), Camden, New South Wales, 17.061
McKay Wenger (42), Fairbury, Ill., 17.081
Mack McCarter (51), Gatlinburg, Tenn., 17.287
Jason Welshan (29), Maryville, Tenn., 17.329
Rodney Melvin (27), Benton, Ill., 17.355
Brian Gray (3), Hamilton, Ohio, 17.509
Tim Sabo (16), Toledo, Ohio., 17.678
Don Gordon (33), Chatham, Ontario, 18.163
Bryant Dickinson (5*), Ionia, Mich., 18.523
Austin Smith (11), Cedartown, Ga., no time
Scott Bowersock (26), Wapakoneta, Ohio, no time
Andrew Gordon (18g), Dubois, Pa., no time
Correction: Fixes leader of sixth lap.