Owens Holds off Thornton and Sheppard for I-80 Win

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GREENWOOD, NE (July 23, 2020) – Jimmy Owens got back on track on Thursday Night as he captured the caution-free Optima Batteries Dirt Track Bank Go 50 – Presented by K&N Filters at I-80 Speedway.  

Owens had to fend off late challenges from both Ricky Thornton, Jr. and Brandon Sheppard for his series-leading seventh win of the season. Ricky Weiss came home in fourth followed by Josh Richards in fifth. Richards took the lead at the start of the race and held the point for the first four laps of the race. Owens started fifth on the grid and charged to the lead on lap five surpassing Richards for the top spot, but the 2017 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Champion [Richards] roared back to the lead around Owens on lap 11.   

Richards led until lap 27 when Owens caught back up to him to regain the lead for good. Owens then saw Thornton Jr. and Sheppard close the gap on him in the last five laps. Owens, the 3-time series champion held off the challengers for his 71st career LOLMDS victory. 

“I could hear him [Thornton], he got a run off of four and left me plenty room on the high side, and I appreciated that. It’s good to race with guys like that, but man thanks to Leon Ramirez, he’s here and it’s great to get a win in front of him. Thanks to my crew for busting their rear ends in this heat. This car is rolling pretty good; we are looking forward to tomorrow and Saturday. I was concerned a little bit when Josh got around me. He has been really good the last few weeks. I know there was a lot more talent behind us as well. I was able to move around the racetrack and I was hardly losing any time. Then finally he [Richards] started moving back towards me and we were able to capitalize,” said the 48-year-old Tennessee native. 

Thornton was in the hunt for his first career LOLMDS victory but came home in second. “He [Owens] started to get into one and cut across. I was just a little too tight when I got to him. I probably could have done a slide job in turn three, but I didn’t want to wreck us both. Jimmy’s been my hero growing up and to win this race would have been awesome. We had a really good car. I don’t know how much of a cushion we left; we were scrapping the wall there. About halfway through the race we got going good.” 

Sheppard entered the race with three LOLMDS wins in 2020 and made it close in the final stages. “In the heat race everybody was hurting tires, especially the left rear. I was trying to save as much as I could in the feature. Towards the end, we really got it going. We felt really comfortable at the end, we passed some cars so hopefully I will give us some momentum for Friday and Saturday.” The winner’s Ramirez Motorsports Rocket Chassis is powered by a Vic Hill Racing Engine and sponsored by Reece Monument Company, Tommy Pope Construction, Boomtest Well Service, General Tire, Red Line Oil, Ohlins Shocks, Champion Spark Plugs, and Midwest Sheet Metal. Completing the top ten were Jonathan Davenport, Kyle Strickler, Chad Simpson, Chris Ferguson, and Earl Pearson Jr.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Race Summary 
Optima Batteries Dirt Track Bank Go-50 – Presented by K&N
Thursday, July 23rd, 2020
I-80 Speedway – Greenwood, NE

Lucas Oil Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Stormy Scott / 16.836 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Josh Richards / 17.070 seconds 

Penske Race Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer):  1. 2S-Stormy Scott[1]; 2. 20-Jimmy Owens[2]; 3. 8-Kyle Strickler[6]; 4. 1T-Tyler Erb[7]; 5. 75-Terry Phillips[5]; 6. 57-Mike Marlar[3]; 7. 50-Shanon Buckingham[4]; 8. 32B-Cody Laney[8]; 9. 6D-Cory Dumpert[10]; 10. 49T-Jake Timm[9]; 11. 1D-Dylan Schmer[11]; 12. 112-Tyler Smith[12]

FK Rod Ends Heat Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer):  1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[1]; 2. 22F-Chris Ferguson[2]; 3. 16-Tyler Bruening[4]; 4. 21-Billy Moyer Jr[3]; 5. 32-Bobby Pierce[7]; 6. 18-Shannon Babb[6]; 7. 04-Tad Pospisil[5]; 8. 39-Tim McCreadie[8]; 9. 53-Andrew Kosiski[11]; 10. F15-Jeremy Conaway[10]; 11. 52-Brian Kosiski[9]

Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 14-Josh Richards[1]; 2. 1S-Brandon Sheppard[2]; 3. 1C-Chad Simpson[3]; 4. 62-Justin Zeitner[7]; 5. 1ST-Johnny Scott[4]; 6. 40B-Kyle Bronson[11]; 7. 56C-Colton Horner[10]; 8. 1-Earl Pearson Jr[8]; 9. 40-Joel Callahan[9]; 10. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[5]; 11. 0-Scott Bloomquist[6]; 12. (DNS) 10C-Junior Coover

Ohlins Shocks Heat Race #4 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport[2]; 2. 7W-Ricky Weiss[3]; 3. 9-Devin Moran[1]; 4. 98-Ben Schaller[11]; 5. 18J-Chase Junghans[7]; 6. 14J-Jake Neal[5]; 7. 32S-Chris Simpson[6]; 8. 24X-Bill Leighton[9]; 9. 80-Allan Hopp[10]; 10. 81E-Tanner English[8]; 11. 25-Shane Clanton[4]

Tiger Rear Ends B-Main #1 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer):  1. 50-Shanon Buckingham[5]; 2. 75-Terry Phillips[1]; 3. 18-Shannon Babb[4]; 4. 32-Bobby Pierce[2]; 5. 57-Mike Marlar[3]; 6. 04-Tad Pospisil[6]; 7. 6D-Cory Dumpert[9]; 8. 39-Tim McCreadie[8]; 9. F15-Jeremy Conaway[12]; 10. 53-Andrew Kosiski[10]; 11. 32B-Cody Laney[7]; 12. 49T-Jake Timm[11]; 13. 112-Tyler Smith[15]; 14. 52-Brian Kosiski[14]; 15. (DNS) 1D-Dylan Schmer

FAST Shafts B-Main #2 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 18J-Chase Junghans[2]; 2. 40B-Kyle Bronson[3]; 3. 1ST-Johnny Scott[1]; 4. 1-Earl Pearson Jr[7]; 5. 14J-Jake Neal[4]; 6. 25-Shane Clanton[14]; 7. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[11]; 8. 32S-Chris Simpson[6]; 9. 24X-Bill Leighton[8]; 10. 56C-Colton Horner[5]; 11. 80-Allan Hopp[10]; 12. 40-Joel Callahan[9]; 13. 81E-Tanner English[12]; 14. 0-Scott Bloomquist[13]; 15. (DNS) 10C-Junior Coover

Lucas Oil Feature Finish (50 Laps): 

PosStartCar #CompetitorHometownPay
1520Jimmy OwensNewport, TN$12,000
2320RTRicky Thornton JrAdel, IA$5,500
361SBrandon SheppardNew Berlin, IL$3,500
487WRicky WeissHeadingley, MB$2,750
5214Josh RichardsShinnston, WV$2,250
6449Jonathan DavenportBlairsville, GA$1,800
798Kyle StricklerMooresville, NC$1,500
8101CChad SimpsonMt. Vernon, IA$1,300
9722FChris FergusonMt. Holly, NC$1,200
10261Earl Pearson JrJacksonville, FL$200
1112SStormy ScottLas Cruces, NM$1,075
121818JChase JunghansManhattan, KS$1,050
132040BKyle BronsonBrandon, FL$1,025
141521Billy Moyer JrBatesville, AR$1,000
152581ETanner EnglishBenton, KY$100
161750Shanon BuckinghamMorristown, TN$1,000
172425Shane ClantonZebulon, GA$1,000
18129Devin MoranDresden, OH$1,000
19131TTyler ErbNew Waverly, TX$1,000
202118Shannon BabbMoweaqua, IL$1,000
212339Tim McCreadieWatertown, NY$1,000
22221STJohnny ScottLas Cruces, NM$1,000
231116Tyler BrueningDecorah, IA$1,000
241975Terry PhillipsSpringfield, MO$1,000
251698Ben SchallerOmaha, NE$1,000
261462Justin ZeitnerMalvern, IA$1,000

Race Statistics
: 46
Lap Leaders: Josh Richards (Laps 1 – 4); Jimmy Owens (Laps 5 – 9); Josh Richards (Laps 10 – 27); Jimmy Owens (Laps 28 – 50)
Wrisco Feature Winner: Jimmy Owens
Margin of Victory: 0.718 seconds
Cautions: n/a
Series Provisionals: Tim McCreadie, Shane Clanton
Fast Time Provisional: n/a
Series Emergency Provisionals: Tanner English, Earl Pearson Jr.
Track Provisionals: n/a
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Jimmy Owens, Ricky Thornton Jr., Brandon Sheppard
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr. (Advanced 16 Positions) 
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Jimmy Owens
Allstar Performance Most Laps Led: Jimmy Owens (28 Laps)
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Jimmy Owens
Eibach Springs Rookie of the Race: Tanner English
ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Vic Hill Racing Engines
Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Jeff Strope (Jimmy Owens)
Dirty Girl Racewear Fastest Lap of the Race: Jimmy Owens (Lap #6 – 18.365 seconds)
STEEL-IT Tough Break of the Race: Tanner English
PFC Brakes Pole Award: Stormy Scott
Time of Race: 15 minutes 59 seconds