Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Don O’Neal Victorious in Grassy Smith Memorial at Cherokee Speedway
O’Neal led the first two laps until Overton powered by him to take the point. Overton then led until lap 36 when O’Neal maneuvered around the leader for good and went on to win his fourth LOLMDS event of 2014. Overton recorded his best career LOLMDS finish with his second place run. Jonathan Davenport finished third, followed by Casey Roberts, and Jimmy Owens.
“What a night! To win for Barry and Lance Wright is great! The race shop is just down the road, so I know its special for them to be in victory lane tonight. We had a terrific night,” said O’Neal, who swept the evenings events
“I kind of stumbled there in turn two on about the third lap and let those guys [Overton and Davenport] by me. But we fought back. I went by Davenport and then followed him [Overton] for what seemed like forever. Traffic kind of held him up a little. I knew I had a car capable of getting back around him. I was patient with him. He drove a very good race. Once we caught up to him we were able to work the car better off of turn four and that’s when we retook the lead.”
“I have to thank Clint Bowyer for giving me this opportunity. Thanks to all of my sponsors, Peak, Crawford Supply, Traeger Grills, Ohlins, Toyota, Georgia Boot, Clements Race Engines, and of course Barry Wright Race Cars. Good to have Casey Bowyer [Clint’s brother] here tonight to see us win. My crew chief Jeremy Justice was giving me hand signals, and telling me where to run, I just can’t thank him enough. He may be young, but he knows what he is doing. It takes a total team effort to win this championship, and we have all the pieces in place.”
Overton; piloting the Troy Baird owned, Baird Transport, Club 29 Race Cars entry; was pleased with his runner-up finish. “To run second with these guys, wow, I don’t know what to say. I thought for a moment, hey I am leading this race, I might just win it. When he [O’Neal] got back around me, I knew I was in trouble. That caution with eight laps to go gave us some hope, but once we went green he [O’Neal] was gone. I have to thank Ronnie Stuckey and Darrell Lanigan for their help on the car. We are very pleased with it. We look forward to running several more Lucas Oil races the rest of the season.”
Davenport came into the race as one of the local pre-race favorites and held steadily in third place at the finish. “We had a really good car tonight, those top two were just a little better than us. We will take it and head to Smoky Mountain tomorrow night, said the driver of the K&L Rumley, Longhorn Chassis #6.
Completing the top ten were Steve Francis, Chris Ferguson, Chris Madden, Dennis Franklin, and Eddie Carrier Jr.
In preliminary action, Don O’Neal set the overall Miller Welders Fast Time amongst the 28 entrants, with a lap of 15.410 seconds. Don O’Neal, Scott Bloomquist, and Brandon Overton won their respective heat races. John Blankenship won the B-Main.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Friday Night, June 20th, 2014
16th Annual Grassy Smith Memorial
Cherokee Speedway – Gaffney, SC
Miller Welders Fast Time: Don O’Neal / 15.410 seconds
Fast Shafts Heat Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 6 Transfer): Don O'Neal, Eddie Carrier, Jr., Casey Roberts, Chris Madden, Dennis Erb, Jr., Johnny Pursley, Earl Pearson, Jr., Jared Landers, Eric Jacobsen, Kevin Wilson
Eibach Springs Heat Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 6 Transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Jonathan Davenport, Steve Francis, Chris Ferguson, Brent Dixon, Jason Hughes, John Blankenship, Ricky Weeks, Anthony Sanders
Simpson Performance Products Heat Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 6 Transfer): Brandon Overton, Dennis Franklin, Jimmy Owens, Zack Mitchell, Ross Bailes, Dale McDowell, Jason Papich, Doug Sanders, Jason Hiett
JRi Shocks B-Main (12 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): John Blankenship, Ricky Weeks, Jared Landers, Eric Jacobsen, Doug Sanders, Jason Hiett, Kevin Wilson, Anthony Sanders, Jason Papich, Earl Pearson, Jr.-DNS
Feature Finish (50 Laps): 1. 5-Don O'Neal; 2. 5E-Brandon Overton; 3. 6-Jonathan Davenport; 4. 101-Casey Roberts; 5. 20-Jimmy Owens; 6. 15-Steve Francis; 7. 22-Chris Ferguson; 8. 44M-Chris Madden; 9. 2F-Dennis Franklin; 10. 28-Eddie Carrier Jr; 11. 1D-Brent Dixon; 12. 28E-Dennis Erb Jr; 13. 44-Earl Pearson Jr; 14. 23-John Blankenship; 15. 17M-Dale McDowell; 16. 777-Jared Landers; 17. 87-Ross Bailes; 18. 12-Jason Hughes; 19. 5J-Eric Jacobsen; 20. 91P-Jason Papich; 21. 09-Johnny Pursley; 22. 57-Zack Mitchell; 23. 0-Scott Bloomquist; 24. 1W-Ricky Weeks
Lap Leaders: Don O’Neal (Laps 1 – 2); Brandon Overton (Laps 3 – 35); Don O’Neal (Laps 36 – 50)
Caution Flags: Ross Bailes (Lap 42)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Earl Pearson Jr.; Jason Papich
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Wrisco Feature Winner: Don O’Neal
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr. (Started: 23rd; Finished: 13th; Advanced 10 Positions)
Keyser Mfg Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Don O’Neal
Allstar Performer of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr.
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Don O’Neal
Dunn Benson Ford Rookie of the Race: Jason Hughes
Midwest Sheet Metal Highest Finishing Rookie: Jason Hughes
COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Clements Race Engines
Ohlins Shocks Chassis Builder of the Race: Barry Wright Race Cars
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Jeremy Justice (Don O’Neal)
HAWK Performance Fastest Lap of the Race: Jonathan Davenport (Lap #5 – 15.859 seconds)
Time of Race: 17 minutes 02 seconds
Submitted By: Jeremy Shields