Richards Wins Exciting Season Opener

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Richards Wins Exciting Season Opener

Story By: Jeremy Shields/LOLMDS

Photos By: Heath Lawson/LOLMDS

BRUNSWICK, GA (February 2, 2018) – The 2018 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series season kicked off in grand fashion on Friday night of the RhinoAg Super Bowl of Racing – presented by General Tire. Defending series champion Josh Richards earned a hard-fought victory over 2017 Rookie-of-the Year, Hudson O’Neal.

Richards took the lead from Jonathan Davenport on lap five and then held off a furious late-race charge from the 15th-place starting O’Neal. O’Neal made what appeared to be a winning pass on Richards in turns three and four on the final lap, but Scott Bloomquist was sitting in the middle of turn four and brought out a caution, negating O’Neal’s pass for the lead.

In the end, Richards was able to hold off O’Neal to score his twenty-third career LOLMDS victory. The driver of the Best Performance Motorsports car took the first event of the season over O’Neal, Davenport, Jimmy Owens, and Brandon Sheppard.

Richards and Davenport exchanged the lead three times in the first five laps of the 50-lap main event, with Richards forging ahead. Owens challenged Davenport for third, and finally got by him. Owens ran in second for several laps until O’Neal and Davenport got around him late in the race.

Richards breathed a sigh of relief in Lucas Oil Victory Lane, “I knew I was a sitting duck, I didn’t pay attention to the scoreboard. I thought I was protecting the top from Davenport making the pass and here comes Hudson on the bottom. He got to the bottom of the burm in turn three and got by, but then the caution came out.”

“We were too tight to steer down off turn two. I thought I had lost the race. Fortunately, the caution came out and we were able to hold him [O’Neal] off on the last lap. It is a great way to start the season. We didn’t run Gateway and Arizona like some of the guys did. We were getting ready for this. There really isn’t an off-season anymore. If the race stays green, he [O’Neal] would have had us.”

While the 17-year-old O’Neal was denied his first career LOLMDS feature, he was happy with his close call. “I just wish we hadn’t started so far back. We probably had the fastest car during the race. Yes, it was a desperate pass there on Josh on that final lap and then I saw the caution flag and said oh no. We can build on this. It is just a matter of time before we get that first Lucas Oil win.”

Davenport was looking for his fourth career win at Golden Isles, and felt he had a good run for his new race team, owned by Lance Landers. “This is a new engine combo that I haven’t run before. It will take a little bit of time to get used to that. I didn’t cut up my right rear tire enough. I was hoping some cars would run the top and help clean it off more. It was a great run for us and we will back tomorrow night after making some adjustments.”

Completing the top ten were Earl Pearson Jr., Tim McCreadie, Kyle Bronson, Mason Zeigler, and Don O’Neal.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Race Summary
Friday, February 2, 2018
RhinoAg Super Bowl of Racing – Presented by E3 Spark Plugs
Golden Isles Speedway – Waynesville, GA

Miller Welders Fast Time Group A: Jonathan Davenport / 16.070 seconds
Miller Welders Fast Time Group B: Josh Richards / 16.185 seconds

Eibach Springs Heat Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Jonathan Davenport, Shane Clanton, Don O’Neal, Gregg Satterlee, Tim McCreadie, Shanon Buckingham, Billy Moyer, Jr., Jonathan Rowan, Carder Miller, Mike Benedum, Jason Jameson

FK Rod Ends Heat Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Jimmy Owens, Kyle Bronson, Brandon Overton, Hudson O’Neal, Casey Roberts, Chase Junghans, Boom Briggs, Blake Spencer, Shane Tankersley, Brian Shirley-DNS

Simpson Performance Products Heat Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Josh Richards, Earl Pearson, Jr., Darrell Lanigan, Morgan Bagley, Mason Zeigler, Timothy Culp, Ryan King, Jason Fitzgerald, Brian Connor, Donald McIntosh

QA1 Heat Race #4 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Brent Larson, Scott Bloomquist, Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce, Tyler Erb, Dennis Erb, Jr., Jeff Mathews, Coleby Frye, Craig Wolford, Steven Roberts

Penske Racing Shocks B-Main #1 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Tim McCreadie, Casey Roberts, Shanon Buckingham, Billy Moyer, Jr., Jason Jameson, Chase Junghans, Boom Briggs, Jonathan Rowan, Mike Benedum, Blake Spencer, Carder Miller, Shane Tankersley, Brian Shirley-DNS

Fast Shafts B-Main #2 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Mason Zeigler, Dennis Erb, Jr., Timothy Culp, Tyler Erb, Brian Connor, Jeff Mathews, Craig Wolford, Ryan King, Steven Roberts, Coleby Frye, Jason Fitzgerald-DNS, Donald McIntosh-DNS

FINISH
START
CAR #
DRIVER NAME
HOMETOWN
EARNINGS
1
2
1R
Josh Richards
Shinnston, WV
$10,100
2
15
71
Hudson O’Neal
Martinsville, IN
$5,500
3
1
49
Jonathan Davenport
Blairsville, GA
$3,600
4
3
20
Jimmy Owens
Newport, TN
$2,750
5
12
1s
Brandon Sheppard
New Berlin, IL
$2,250
6
6
1
Earl Pearson, Jr.
Jacksonville, FL
$1,800
7
17
39
Tim McCreadie
Watertown, NY
$1,500
8
7
40B
Kyle Bronson
Brandon, FL
$1,300
9
18
25Z
Mason Zeigler
Chalk Hill, PA
$1,200
10
9
5
Don O’Neal
Martinsville, IN
$1,100
11
4
B1
Brent Larson
Lake Elmo, MN
$1,075
12
10
14
Darrell Lanigan
Union, KY
$1,050
13
20
28
Dennis Erb, Jr.
Carpentersville, IL
$1,025
14
21
50
Shanon Buckingham
Morristown, TN
$1,000
15
13
22
Gregg Satterlee
Indiana, PA
$950
16
23
99B
Boom Briggs
Bear Lake, PA
$925
17
8
0
Scott Bloomquist
Mooresburg, TN
$900
18
16
32
Bobby Pierce
Oakwood, IL
$875
19
11
116
Brandon Overton
Evans, GA
$850
20
24
12J
Jason Jameson
Lawrenceburg, IN
$825
21
14
14m
Morgan Bagley
Gladewater, TX
$800
22
5
25
Shane Clanton
Zebulon, GA
$800
23
22
C8
Timothy Culp
Prattsville, AR
$800
24
19
101
Casey Roberts
Toccoa, GA
$800

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