SARVER, Pa. — About the only considerable thing missing on Tim McCreadie’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series championship resume last year had been a flashy paycheck.
On Saturday night in the Firecracker 100 finale Lernerville Speedway, McCreadie not only returned to prominence in the big race department with flash, but with firepower, too.
In a race he led all 100 laps from the outside pole, McCreadie secured his first paycheck of $50,000 or more in nearly two years by winning Lernerville’s crown jewel race over reigning event winner Brandon Overton.
The last race McCreadie won of that magnitude monetarily-wise had been the North-South 100 at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky., on Aug. 15, 2020.
“We’ve run a lot of top-fives — a lot of seconds — the last year-and-a-half without getting one of these big ones,” said McCreadie, taking his fifth overall win of the season, three of those now with the Lucas Oil Series. “We were close at (the) Eldora (Million). A couple of the XR races we’ve been good at. Finally, here we are.”
Overton, hungry for his first big paycheck of the season, on the other hand, gave McCreadie all he could handle down the stretch.
McCreadie crossed the finishing line just 0.459 of a second ahead of Overton, who in the final laps gave the impression that he had something up his sleeve.
McCreadie’s comfy lead that spanned more than two seconds with 10 laps to go evaporated in large part to a slight misstep in traffic, which allowed Overton to close in.
“I made a big mistake coming down to two to go in three and four and kind of just sat there,” McCreadie said. “Hudson (O’Neal) and (Chris) Ferguson were running side-by-side in front of me, and what Ferguson was doing … he didn’t know I was there, but he was arcing out and coming down the hill and it would kind of affect me a little bit.”
On the final lap, Overton entered turns one and two with the game plan of cutting off the cushion and rolling down the banking to perhaps generate the race-winning run and pass of McCreadie. But McCreadie, knowing Overton had been right behind, used the slower car of Hudson O’Neal as a proverbial pick, heaving his Longhorn Chassis underneath O’Neal into turn one.
“If Hudson wouldn’t have been there I could’ve entered higher (in turn one) and maybe (McCreadie) would’ve slid himself and I could’ve got a run,” Overton said. “But he went below Hudson, and where Hudson was at is where I needed to enter to come back down the hill. So I was kind of screwed. All I could hope for was he’d go in there and really blast it and slide way up, but he didn’t.
“It was just whoever hit the traffic right. He did a good jo. He slid ‘em when he was supposed to slide ‘em, and when I got to ‘em it just didn’t go right.”
“He’s good. He’s raced long enough and knows what he’s doing, so we just run second. It didn’t go our way, but our car’s not bad. We had a good night.”
During the first half of the 100-lap affair, McCreadie had to worry most about polesitter Brandon Sheppard, who stayed within a second of McCreadie until lap 24.
“On the start, when I was still at (Sheppard’s) number going down the front stretch, I knew he saw me and I thought he might slide me,” McCreadie said. “But he probably thought it didn’t really matter who was leading early, and so I just bent it in there and when I cleared him off of two I tried to stay in my lane. I kept seeing his nosepiece beside me and I thought, I gotta try to get in the infield maybe in three and four and see if it’s better.
“I struggled a little, but it was me making mistakes. Then once I got that right a few times I saw my signal guy getting wider with the sticks, and I thought, OK, I’m doing this right, and I just kept trying to be smooth and not buzz the ends of this thing in the first 30 laps because they has watered and tilled it (before the feature).
“Then, all of a sudden with like 20 to go, I started struggling a little with lapped traffic. I couldn’t just arc out wide and diamond the corner right, and then I saw the sticks getting closer and I thought, Gosh, if I give this thing up.”
The race had been slowed twice on laps 44 and 57 for Tyler Erb and Spencer Hughes, respectively, and fortunately for McCreadie his sizable lead provided a bit of insurance amid Overton’s late-race scare.
“Coming down to the white I finally got a run on Hudson and I thought, I need to be able to shoot the gap and hopefully he sees me,” McCreadie said. “And if he can cut me a small break off of two and not still be on my quarter-panel, maybe it’ll affect Brandon because Brandon couldn’t swing wide and keep his momentum up. And when I went down the backstretch the sticks weren’t completely tight together so I thought, Well, fire it in hard through the middle and try to keep it up on the radius rods and hope for the best. It worked out.”
Mike Marlar, who swept the $6,000-to-win preliminary features Thursday and Friday, finished third, while Sheppard faded to finish fourth. Earl Pearson Jr. rounded out the top five.
16th annual Firecracker 100 presented by Big River Steel
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., Longhorn, $50,000
2. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., Longhorn, $20,000
3. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Longhorn, $10,000
4. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., Rocket, $8,000
5. Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla., Longhorn, $6,000
6. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., Longhorn, $5,000
7. Garrett Alberson (58), Las Cruces, N.M., Black Diamond, $4,000
8. Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C., Longhorn, $3,000
9. Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., Rocket, $2,750
10. Mark Whitener (58), Middleburg, Fla., Rocket, $2,600
11. Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., Team Zero, $2,500
12. Hudson O'Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., Rocket, $2,475
13. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Rocket, $2,450
14. Rick Eckert (0), York, Pa., Rocket, $2,425
15. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, Rocket, $2,400
16. Ashton Winger (89), Hampton, Ga., Rocket, $2,375
17. Spencer Hughes (11), Meridian, Miss., Longhorn, $2,350
18. Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C., Longhorn, $2,325
19. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $2,300
20. Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., Longhorn, $2,250
21. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Team Zero, $2,200
22. Jared Miley (10m), Pittsburgh, Pa., Rocket, $2,150
23. Ross Robinson (7), Georgetown, Del., Longhorn, $2,100
24. Charles Powell Jr. (94), Brookville, Pa., Longhorn, $2,050
25. Matt Lux (21), Franklin, Pa., Rocket, $2,000
26. Alex Ferree (1c), Saxonburg, Pa., Rocket, $2,000
27. Dan Stone (2D), Thompson, Pa., Longhorn, $2,000
28. Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., Rocket, $2,000
29. John Garvin Jr. (J4), Sarver, Pa., Longhorn, $2,000
Lap leader: McCreadie 1-100
Preliminary feature winners: Marlar (2)
Heat race winners (among 54 cars): Sheppard, McCreadie, Pearson, Erb, Overton, Norris
Consolation winners: Bloomquist, Frank, Strickler
Non-qualifiers' race winner: Stone
Provisional starters: Hughes, Robinson, Ferree, Garvin
Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, Tim McCreadie
Row 2: Earl Pearson Jr., Tyler Erb
Row 3: Brandon Overton, Michael Norris
Row 4: Mike Marlar, Garrett Alberson
Row 5: Hudson O’Neal, Gregg Satterlee
Row 6: Daulton Wilson, Jonathan Davenport
Row 7: Ashton Winger, Chris Ferguson
Row 8: Jimmy Owens, Mark Whitener
Row 9: Ricky Thornton Jr., Charles Powell Jr.
Row 10: Scott Bloomquist, Chub Frank
Row 11: Kyle Strickler, Rick Eckert
Row 12: Matt Lux, Jared Miley
Row 13: Spencer Hughes, Ross Robinson
Row 14: Dan Stone, John Garvin Jr.
Row 15: Alex Ferree
Uncle Sam 30
Non-qualifiers' race: Dan Stone, Colton Flinner, Tyler Dietz, Ken Schaltenbrand, Daryl Charlier, Doug Drown, Gary Lyle, Logan Zarin, Cory Sines, Trevor Collins, Levi Yetter, Todd Bachman, Breyton Santee, Joe Petyak, Mason Zeigler, Brandon Little, Dan Angelicchio, Drake Troutman, Darrell Bossard. Scratched: Joshua Powell, Gale Huey, Tim Vance.
(10 laps; top two transfer)
First consolation: Scott Bloomquist, Rick Eckert, Alex Ferree, Ross Robinson, Daryl Charlier, Dan Stone, Gary Lyle, Darrell Bossard, Brandon Little, Levi Yetter, Gale Huey, Ryan Scott.
Second consolation: Chub Frank, Matt Lux, Colton Flinner, Dan Angelicchio, Spencer Hughes, Ken Schaltenbrand, Logan Zarin, Joe Petyak, Todd Bachman, Joshua Powell, Tim Vance (DNS) Ryan Montgomery.
Third consolation finish: Kyle Strickler, Jared Miley, Drake Troutman, Mason Zeigler, Doug Drown, Trevor Collins, Tyler Dietz, Breyton Santee, Cory Sines (DNS) John Garvin Jr.
(Eight laps; top three transfer)
First heat: Brandon Sheppard, Mike Marlar, Ashton Winger, Scott Bloomquist, Ross Robinson, Dan Stone, Daryl Charlier, Brandon Little, Ryan Scott.
Second heat: Tim McCreadie, Garrett Alberson, Chris Ferguson, Rick Eckert, Alex Ferree, Darrell Bossard, Levi Yetter, Gary Lyle, Gale Huey.
Third heat: Earl Pearson Jr., Hudson O’Neal, Jimmy Owens, Chub Frank, Ken Schaltenbrand, Joe Petyak, Tim Vance, Todd Bachman. Scratched: Ryan Montgomery.
Fourth heat: Tyler Erb, Gregg Satterlee, Mark Whitener, Matt Lux, Colton Flinner, Spencer Hughes, Dan Angelicchio, Logan Zarin, Joshua Powell.
Fifth heat: Brandon Overton, Daulton Wilson, Ricky Thornton Jr., Kyle Strickler, Mason Zeigler, Drake Troutman, Trevor Collins, Cory Sines.
Sixth heat: Michael Norris, Jonathan Davenport, Charles Powell Jr., Jared Miley, Doug Drown, Tyler Dietz, Breyton Santee, John Garvin Jr.
Saturday’s heat lineups
(Eight laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Mike Marlar, Brandon Sheppard
Row 2: Ashton Winger, Scott Bloomquist
Row 3: Ross Robinson, Garrett Smith
Row 4: Daryl Charlier, Dan Stone
Row 5: Brandon Little, Joe Loffredo
Row 1: Tim McCreadie, Garrett Alberson
Row 2: Rick Eckert, Chris Ferguson
Row 3: Alex Ferree, Darrell Bossard
Row 4: Gary Lyle, Levi Yetter
Row 5: Gale Huey
Row 1: Earl Pearson Jr., Hudson O’Neal
Row 2: Jimmy Owens, Chub Frank
Row 3: Ryan Montgomery, Ken Schaltenbrand
Row 4: Tim Vance, Joe Petyak
Row 5: Todd Bachman
Row 1: Mark Whitener, Tyler Erb
Row 2: Gregg Satterlee, Matt Lux
Row 3: Colton Flinner, Spencer Hughes
Row 4: Logan Zarin, Dan Angelicchio
Row 5: Joshua Powell
Row 1: Ricky Thornton Jr., Brandon Overton
Row 2: Daulton Wilson, Kyle Strickler
Row 3: Drake Troutman, Mason Zeigler
Row 4: Trevor Collins, Brenden Smith
Row 5: Cory Sines
Row 1: Jonathan Davenport, Michael Norris
Row 2: Jared Miley, John Garvin Jr.
Row 3: Tyler Dietz, Charles Powell Jr.
Row 4: Doug Drown, Breyton Santee
Row 5: Jonathan Lee
2 p.m. - Pit gates open
3 p.m. - Grandstands open
4 p.m. - Driver autograph session in midway
- RUSH Late Model hot laps
- RUSH Late Model consolations (12 laps)
7:30 p.m. - Opening ceremonies
- Lucas Oil Late Model heats (8 laps)
- Lucas Oil consolations (10 laps)
- RUSH Late Model feature hot laps
- Uncle Sam 30 non-qualifiers’ race
- Firecracker 100 feature
- RUSH Bill Emig Memorial feature (50 laps)
- RUSH non-qualifiers’ race (15 laps)