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Daily Dirt 04/15/2024 13:40:39

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January 31
Ocala Speedway,
Ocala, FL
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Winter Nationals) - $10,000
Information provided by: Kyle McFadden, series and track reports (last updated February 1, 12:00 am)
O'Neal snuffs out Harris's upset bid in Ocala finale
Winter Nationals
  1. Hudson O'Neal
  2. Clay Harris
  3. Brian Shirley
  4. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  5. Kyle Bronson
  6. Devin Moran
  7. Ashton Winger
  8. Tim McCreadie
  9. Brandon Sheppard
  10. Tyler Erb
  11. Jonathan Davenport
  12. Earl Pearson Jr.
  13. Boom Briggs
  14. Daulton Wilson
  15. Ross Robinson
  16. Dennis Erb Jr.
  17. Spencer Hughes
  18. Garrett Alberson
  19. Cody Overton
  20. Tony Jackson Jr.
  21. Max Blair
  22. Bob Gardner
  23. Drake Troutman
  24. Mark Whitener
  25. Donald McIntosh
  26. Mike Marlar
  27. Blair Nothdurft
  28. Tanner English
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Hudson O'Neal celebrates his $10,000 victory Wednesday night at Ocala Speedway.
What won the race: Nixing a monumental upset bid by Clay Harris, Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., regained the lead from the young Florida driver on lap 18 and controlled the remainder of the distance to capture Wednesday night’s 40-lap Winter Nationals finale at Ocala Speedway. O’Neal beat Harris to the finish line by 1.093 seconds to earn $10,000 for his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory in four events this season and the 23rd full-field triumph of his career on the tour.
Quotable: “I just got caught up behind a lapped car down here, he kind of pinched me, and I just completely messed up and about spun out,” O’Neal said of losing the lead to Harris on lap eight. “I was lucky the caution came back out and let us get back to second there and give it a run. That Clay, he drove a good race. I was just able to sneak by him. One time he just messed up a little bit and got up there … I think he drove the backstretch wall.”
Key notes: O'Neal led laps 1-7 before slipping in lapped traffic and watching Harris slide by, but Harris's run in front ended on lap 18 when he skated high and O'Neal surged ahead off the inside of turn four. ... The 22-year-old Harris made a last-ditch attempt to challenge O'Neal using the outside lane on the final lap, but he couldn't find grip with the moisture-laden bottom lane dominant for the final 30 circuits. ... It was just the fourth career Lucas Oil feature start for Harris — all coming this month — and blew away his previous best finish of 14th in Tuesday's A-main at Ocala. ... Brian Shirley and Tuesday winner Ricky Thornton Jr. finished third and fourth; they ran in the positions from lap 11 to the checkered flag. ... Jonathan Davenport climbed as high as third on laps 9-10 before fading to an 11th-place finish. ... The race was slowed by five caution flags, all in an early three-lap span: Tanner English slowed on lap eight; Blair Nothdurft back into the turn-two wall on the restart; Drake Troutman twirled out of seventh place amid a lap-nine scramble off turn two; Tony Jackson Jr. and Garrett Alberson spun together in turn four on lap 10; and a lap-10 tangle between turns three and four that swept up Donald McIntosh, Mike Marlar and Mark Whitener (all three towed off). … Whitener angrily climbed out of his car and expressed displeasure with Tyler Erb.
On the move: Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, started 23rd and finished sixth.
Winner's sponsors: O’Neal’s Rocket Chassis has a Durham Racing Engine and sponsorship from Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Rocket Chassis, Ace Metal Works, Gunter’s Honey, Hoosier Racing Tire, Fox Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing Co., Petroff Towing, WR1 Sim Chassis, O’Neal’s Salvage & Recycling, Performance Grading, Slavic Shirts & Decals, Sunoco Race Fuels and Rocket Preowned Motors.
Points chase: After Ocala Wednesday: 1. Ricky Thornton Jr. (920); 2. Hudson O'Neal (910); 3. Jonathan Davenport (845); 4. Devin Moran (815); 5. Brandon Sheppard (725); 6. Tyler Erb (685); 7. Mike Marlar (680); 8. Garrett Alberson (675); T-9. Kyle Bronson (670); T-9. Clay Harris (670); T-11. Tim McCreadie (645); T-11. Daulton Wilson (645); 13. Brian Shirley (635).
Current weather: Clear, 63°F
Car count: 43
Fast qualifier: Hudson O'Neal
Time: 14.012 seconds
Polesitter: Hudson O'Neal
Heat race winners: Hudson O'Neal, Clay Harris, Blair Nothdurft, Daulton Wilson
Consolation race winners: Brandon Sheppard, Cody Overton
Provisional starters: Devin Moran, Tyler Erb, Max Blair, Spencer Hughes, Ross Robinson, Bob Gardner
Next series race: February 2, All-Tech Raceway (Ellisville, FL) $12,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

OCALA, Fla. (Jan. 31) — Updates and results from Wednesday’s Winter Nationals finale at Ocala Speedway highlighted by a 40-lap, $10,000-to-win feature for Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned Super Late Models (results unofficial):


Nixing a monumental upset bid by Clay Harris, Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., regained the lead from the young Florida driver on lap 18 and controlled the remainder of the distance to capture Wednesday night’s 40-lap Winter Nationals finale at Ocala Speedway. O’Neal beat Harris to the finish line by 1.093 seconds to earn $10,000 for his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory in four events this season.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Hudson O’Neal, Blair Nothdurft
Row 2: Clay Harris, Daulton Wilson
Row 3: Brian Shirley, Ashton Winger
Row 4: Jonathan Davenport, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 5: Drake Troutman, Tony Jackson Jr.
Row 6: Ricky Thornton Jr., Mike Marlar
Row 7: Kyle Bronson, Boom Briggs
Row 8: Tim McCreadie, Tanner English
Row 9: Brandon Sheppard, Cody Overton
Row 10: Mark Whitener, Garrett Alberson
Row 11: Dennis Erb Jr., Donald McIntosh
Row 12: Devin Moran, Tyler Erb
Row 13: Max Blair, Spencer Hughes
Row 14: Ross Robinson, Bob Gardner

Consolation results

(10 laps; top three transfer)

First consolation finish: Brandon Sheppard, Mark Whitener, Dennis Erb Jr., Brenden Smith, Matt Cosner, Ross Robinson, Bob Gardner, Logan Hitt, Jack Riggs, Jadon Frame, Cory Lawler, Carson Brown.

Second consolation finish: Cody Overton, Garrett Alberson, Donald McIntosh, Ethan Dotson, Max Blair, Spencer Hughes, Trevor Collins, Dillon McCowan, Ryan Scott, Daniel Adam Kylan Garner (DNS) Devin Moran, Tyler Erb.

Heat notes

Hudson O’Neal was a wire-to-wire victor in the first heat. … Contact between Drake Troutman and Jimmy Owens in turns three and four on the opening lap of Heat 1 caused both drivers to slide sideways, but Owens lost more momentum and fell all the way to last in the running order before getting back up to speed. … Ryan Gustin, who joined the Ocala field for Wednesday’s action driving his car owner Todd Cooney’s No. 30, retired three laps into the first heat due to body damage. … Florida’s Clay Harris outgunned polesitter Jonathan Davenport for the lead at the start of the second heat and went on to a flag-to-flag win over a succession of Dirt Late Model titans: Davenport, Ricky Thornton Jr. and Tim McCreadie. … Blair Nothdurft, who was a group fast-timer for the second straight night, led every lap of the third heat. He beat Ashton Winger by 0.930 of a second to earn the outside pole for the feature as he seeks to improve upon his career-best Lucas Oil Series finish of 12th in 2020’s tour stop at 300 Raceway in Farley, Iowa. … Tyler Erb, who finished second in Tuesday’s feature after leading 36 laps, failed to complete a lap in the third heat due to an apparent broken j-bar. … Daulton Wilson ran away from the pack to claim the fourth heat by 2.172 seconds over Earl Pearson Jr.Tanner English transferred with a fourth-place finish in Heat 4 after surviving an opening lap scramble off turn two that sent him and Cody Overton spinning. Both drivers retained their starting spots because a lap was not completed. … Donald McIntosh’s Billy Hicks-owned No. 79 was pushed into the pits after hot laps due to a broken driveshaft and he missed his spot in the qualifying order, but he made it out to take one lap at the end of the second group. He finished sixth in the third heat. … Boom Briggs timed fifth-fastest in his qualifying group despite clipping the homestretch wall at the checkered flag and then sliding into the tires protecting the track opening in turn one. The damage was minimal, however, and he transferred with a fourth-place finish in the third heat. ... Three of the four heat winners have never won a Lucas Oil Series feature.

Heat results

(Eight laps; top four transfer)

First heat finish: Hudson O’Neal, Brian Shirley, Drake Troutman, Kyle Bronson, Dennis Erb Jr., Brenden Smith, Ross Robinson, Logan Hitt, Jimmy Owens, Carson Brown, Ryan Gustin.

Second heat finish: Clay Harris, Jonathan Davenport, Ricky Thornton Jr., Tim McCreadie, Mark Whitener, Brandon Sheppard, Matt Cosner, Bob Gardner, Jack Riggs, Cory Lawler, Jadon Frame.

Third heat finish: Blair Nothdurft, Ashton Winger, Tony Jackson Jr., Boom Briggs, Garrett Alberson, Donald McIntosh, Devin Moran, Max Blair, Ryan Scott, Daniel Adam, Tyler Erb.

Fourth heat finish: Daulton Wilson, Earl Pearson Jr., Mike Marlar, Tanner English, Cody Overton, Spencer Hughes, Ethan Dotson, Trevor Collins, Kylan Garner, Dillon McCowan.

Time trials

First group   
1. Hudson O’Neal (1), Martinsville, Ind., 14.012
2. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 14.065
3. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 14.185
4. Clay Harris (6), Jupiter, Fla., 14.262
5. Drake Troutman (7T), Hyndman, Pa., 14.279
6. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20RT), Chandler, Ariz., 14.291
7. Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., 14.338
8. Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 14.384
9. Brenden Smith (17SS), Dade City, Fla., 14.421
10. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 14.430
11. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 14.478
12. Matt Cosner (66C), Ridgeley, W.Va., 14.486
13. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 14.561
14. Mark Whitener (5), Middleburg, Fla., 14.562
15. Ross Robinson (7), Georgetown, Del., 14.650
16. Cory Lawler (93), Hanover, Pa., 14.694
17. Ryan Gustin (30), Marshalltown, Iowa, 14.729
18. Bob Gardner (4G), Washington, Ill., 14.813
19. Carson Brown (28B), New London, N.C., 14.850
20. Jack Riggs (81J), Nolensville, Tenn., 14.864
21. Logan Hitt (2*), Buckhannon, W.Va., 14.906
22. Jadon Frame (81F), Winchester, Tenn., 15.029
Second group   
1. Blair Nothdurft (76), Sioux Falls, S.D., 14.263
2. Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C., 14.327
3. Tony Jackson Jr. (56), Lebanon, Mo., 14.517
4. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 14.550
5. Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 14.569
6. Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla., 14.601
7. Ashton Winger (12), Hampton, Ga., 14.635
8. Spencer Hughes (19M), Meridian, Miss., 14.663
9. Garrett Alberson (58), Las Cruces, N.M., 14.681
10. Tanner English (96V), Benton, Ky., 14.684
11. Devin Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, 14.740
12. Cody Overton (97), Evans, Ga., 14.805
13. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 14.830
14. Ethan Dotson (174), Bakersfield, Calif., 14.982
15. Donald McIntosh (79), Dawsonville, Ga., 15.002
16. Kylan Garner (128), Neosho, Mo., 15.013
17. Max Blair (111), Centerville, Pa., 15.142
18. Trevor Collins (11C), Seaford, Del., 15.154
19. Daniel Adam (75), Wade, N.C., 15.156
20. Dillon McCowan (8), Urbana, Mo., 15.334
21. Ryan Scott (0S), Pittsfield, Pa., 15.536

Wednesday’s schedule

(All times local)
2 p.m. - Pits open
5 p.m. - Grandstands open
 6 p.m. - On-track activity begins
- Late Model hot laps
- Late Model qualifying (2 laps)
- Thunder stock group qualifying
Opening ceremonies
- Late Model heats (8 laps)
- Thunder stock heats (10 laps)
- Late Model consolations (10 laps)
Feature events
- Late Models (40 laps)
- Thunder stocks (20 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: O’Neal, Nothdurft
Row 2: Harris, Wilson
Row 3: Shirley, Winger
Row 4: Davenport, Pearson
Row 5: Troutman, Jackson
Row 6: Thornton, Marlar
Row 7: Bronson, Briggs
Row 8: McCreadie, English
Row 9: Sheppard, C. Overton
Row 10: Whitener, Alberson
Row 11: D. Erb, McIntosh
Row 12: Moran, T. Erb
Row 13: Blair, Hughes
Row 14: Robinson, Gardner
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