Chillicothe, OH (Monday, March 22, 2021) - The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series stormed into southern Ohio for a rare Sunday night appearance at Atomic Speedway last night. The show originally scheduled for Friday, March 19th was moved due to poor weather forecasts for Friday night and improved forecasts for Sunday afternoon. The move also allowed drivers to head north from the Bristol Dirt Nationals for a shot at the show.
All 29 cars on the property were granted a starting spot for the Buckeye Spring 50. Kyle Strickler, fresh off his DIRTcar UMP Modified win at Bristol, and Devin Moran led the field to the green flag. The racing was intense all around the facility as drivers jockeyed for position. Quickly, inside row two starter, Hudson O’Neal showed his strength behind the wheel of his number 71 machine.
The race was on for the second spot behind O’Neal, with Moran and Strickler throwing slide-jobs on each end of the Speedway. As those two danced around the race track, Tanner English and Tim McCreadie also threw their names into the ring for a shot at the podium. Things quickly changed when on lap 19, Strickler blew a right-rear tire in Turn three, forcing a yellow flag.
Another pair of cautions would slow the race, but they would prove no match for O’Neal. In fact, a caution at the halfway point for a spinning Clint Keenan could have potentially saved O’Neal’s race; as McCreadie had a run to the inside of O’Neal down the backstretch when the caution flew. The race was slowed two final times on lap 47 for Ricky Thorton, Jr who high-sided on the exit of turn two, and for Joe Godsey on lap 48. O’Neal went on to capture the $12,000 prize and is now the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points leader for the first time in his career.
O'Neal's win came with some extra help on Sunday as well thanks to the University of Northwestern Ohio. Student and race car driver himself, Mason Bevard was on O'Neal's crew gaining knowledge about the Super Late Models and how to win races. Bevard is a former feature winner and Rookie of the Year at Butler Motor Speedway in Quincy, Michigan.
The next race for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is Saturday, April 17th at Hagerstown Speedway where they race for $15,000 to win and Sunday, April 18th at Port Royal Speedway with $10,000 on the line. For more information on the Late Model Dirt Series, log on to lucasdirt.com.
Story - Zach Hiser, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Michael Boggs Photography