LOCUST GROVE, Ark. — Reigning series champion Jimmy Owens hadn't won a race on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series this season, so the three-time Comp Cams Topless 100 winner was glad to pull into Batesville Motor Speedway this week.
The 49-year-old driver from Newport, Tenn., ended his winless streak on the national tour by making quick work of his competition in Friday's preliminary program for the Topless 100, a race Owens won last season en route to his fourth series championship.
"The car was flawless tonight and maybe we can carry it into tomorrow," said polesitting Owens, who along with his fellow series drivers will chase Saturday's $40,000 winner's purse at the Mooney Starr-promoted track.
Owens never faced a serious challenge in leading all 30 laps as the took the victory by 2.397 seconds over Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who took the second spot from Brandon Overton on the 24th lap and held on despite a deflating right-rear tire.
Fourth-starting Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C., slipped back to seventh early but rallied back to finish third while substitute in Scott Bloomquist's Team Zero house car while Evans, Ga.'s Overton and 10t-starting Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., rounded out the top five.
Owens let it all hang out in a race that will help set the starting lineup for Saturday's action after Thursday's preliminary program was washed out by rain.
"It's 30 laps, so there wasn't much sense in taking it easy to the end of the race. The car was good, it's been good all night long, and I gotta thank the crew and those guys for busting their butts," Owens said. "Me and Mikey (Marlar) were talking (before the race). Tonight you gotta do the best you can do because we don't get two points nights, so you gotta capitalize on what you've got tonight and we was able to do all right."
The fifth-starting McCreadie worked under Overton in the race's late stages to grab the second spot and his fourth straight podium finish on the tour.
"It wasn't the greatest at the beginning, but that's what we're hoping for, we're hoping for a car that will get a little bit as you run. And it did," McCreadie said. "We've got a tough decision, because the car I've been running, like last week (at Florence's North-South 100) and most of last year makes a lot of money, makes a ton of money. We'll make a decision tomorrow on what to do with this thing, if we can make it better.
"It was pretty cool to get up there. I think I found a little bit of that rubber (strip) in the bottom (lane) before most of (the competition). The last little bit, we were having a flat right-rear, so we had a little luck on our side to run second, so that's pretty cool."
Hoffman recovered from his poor start and took third late from Overton, who had a brush with the wall during his run.
"The race car's really been good. Talking to Scott (Bloomquist) coming into this weekend, we just felt this place would fit my driving style. We drive a lot alike and he's won a lot of races here," Hoffman said. "There at the beginning, I kind of faded a little bit. A lot of it was just me probably not being aggressive enough there at the beginning and then I got rolling at the end and we were really good."
The lone caution appeared on the eighth lap for Morgan Bagley's flat tire in a race where 19 fo 24 starters completed 30 laps.
Notes: Owens has 76 career Lucas Oil Series victories, second on the all-time tour list. ... His previous series victory came Sept. 18, 2020, at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb. ... Shane Clanton elected to start on the tail because he had power steering problems during pace laps; he retired after four laps.
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 2: Brandon Overton, Nick Hoffman
Row 3: Tim McCreadie, Hudson O'Neal
Row 4: Mike Marlar, Jonathan Davenport
Row 5: Billy Moyer Sr., Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 6: Josh Richards, Tyler Erb
Row 7: Scott Crigler, Cade Dillard
Row 8: Kyle Bronson, Shane Clanton
Row 9: Stormy Scott, Timothy Culp
Row 10: Wendell Wallace, Kylan Garner
Row 11: Brian Rickman, Terry Phillips
Row 12: Kyle Beard, Morgan Bagley
Consolation race results
(10 laps; top three transfer)
First consolation: Wendell Wallace, Brian Rickman, Kyle Beard, Shannon Babb, Spencer Hughes, Earl Pearson Jr., Hunter Rasdon, Michael Arnold, Neil Baggett, B.J. Robinson, Jadon Frame, Steve Stultz, Robbie Stuart, Rayce McCord. Scratched: Cole Farmer
Second consolation: Kylan Garner, Terry Phillips, Morgan Bagley, Rick Rickman, Johnny Scott, Chris Jones, Logan Martin, Brayden Proctor, Austin Vincent, Chad Mallett, Jason Miles, Derrick Nichols, Dustin Holmes, Travis Ashley.
Heat race results
(Eight laps; top three transfer)
First heat: Jimmy Owens, Mike Marlar, Scott Crigler, Brian Rickman, Spencer Hughes, Michael Arnold, Robbie Stuart, Rayce McCord.
Second heat: Brandon Overton, Billy Moyer Sr., Kyle Bronson, Wendell Wallace, Kyle Beard, Earl Pearson Jr., Steve Stultz, B.J. Robinson.
Third heat: Tim McCreadie, Josh Richards, Stormy Scott, Shannon Babb, Hunter Rasdon, Neil Baggett, Jadon Frame, Cole Farmer.
Fourth heat: Billy Moyer Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Cade Dillard, Kylan Garner, Chad Mallett, Brayden Proctor, Rick Rickman, Dustin Holmes.
Fifth heat: Nick Hoffman, Ricky Thornton Jr., Shane Clanton, Terry Phillips, Johnny Scott, Travis Ashley, Austin Vincent, Derrick Nichols.
Sixth heat: Hudson O'Neal, Tyler Erb, Timothy Culp, Morgan Bagley, Chris Jones, Logan Martin, Jason Miles.
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 (as needed)
- Late Model feature (30 laps)
- Modified feature (20 laps)