Remaining red hot, Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN came from his fifth starting spot to win Saturday Night's first ever visit by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series to Wythe Raceway. For Owens, it was a series record tying third consecutive win; it also enabled him to take over the points lead for the first time in his career. Trailing Owens across the finish line was early-race leader Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL; Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, GA; Steve Casebolt of Richmond, IN; and Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN.
Bub McCool and Pearson made up the front row for the 50-lap main event before a jammed -packed grandstands on the hillside at Wythe. Pearson took the lead at the drop of the green flag with McCool running second followed by Jonathan Davenport, Owens and Dennis Franklin.
Owens was on the move early after getting beaten in his heat race by McCool, Owens charged from the fifth spot past McCool on lap two to take the second spot. Pearson and Owens then started to pull away from the pack of cars that were battling for the third position. McCool slowed on lap seven and dropped out the race giving up his top five spot. Will Vaught, who started eight then moved into a top five position and began challenging the third place running Davenport.
Up front the battle for the lead was heating up as Pearson and Owens went toe to toe for six laps until Owens finally cleared Pearson for the lead on lap ten. The first caution of the race came out with ten complete for a slowing Dennis Franklin. On the restart Owens was out in front for the Delaware double-file restart with Pearson and Vaught; who had climbed to third in the race; lined up side-by-side heading to the green flag.
Owens quickly pulled out to a two-car length lead as Vaught made a move on Pearson taking the second spot on lap 12. Pearson fought back, regaining the position from Vaught two laps later as the torrid battle continued for the runner-up spot, but on lap 16 Vaught snatched second away from Pearson again.
Meanwhile Owens was on cruise control as he stretched his lead out over Vaught and Pearson as Dale McDowell and Steve Casebolt maintained the fourth and fifth positions. The top five remained the same until lap 27 when Vaught broke a rear-end, ending his night as he came to a halt in turn four.
Owens encountered traffic with eight laps to go and it looked like Pearson was going to be able to gain some ground on Owens in the waning laps. But Owens cleared the lapped traffic with very little issues and went on unchallenged the rest of the way to score his record-tying third straight series victory, the 16th of his career.
In the Sunoco Race Fuels Road to Wheatland Victory Lane, Owens was beaming ear-to-ear in the Mike Reece owned Bloomquist Race Cars Ford Fusion; powered by a Cornett Racing Engine. "Man I have to thank the crew again, they did a great job as usual, and everything's clicking right now, they made us earn it tonight, we started fifth but the car took off real well and we got off to a good start, it didn't take long to get up there and Earl and I had a great race going, we gave each other plenty of room and I was fortunate enough to get by him," said Owens who scored his second ever win at the Fred Brown promoted facility and his first there since 2007.
With the win, Owens took over first place in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings for the first time in his career. He now leads defending series champion, Scott Bloomquist by 30 points. "We are just worried about the wins right now, we are really on a hot streak and if we keep winning, the points will come along," said the 38-year-old driver.
Owens' #20 is sponsored by Reece Monument Company, Gantte Appraisals, Red Line Oil, VP Racing Fuels, Byrd's Radiator, C&C Trucking, Hoosier Tires and Ohlins.
Pearson finished second in the Bobby Labonte Racing/ Lucas Oil Products/ MasterSbilt Dodge Charger with McDowell coming home third in the Clint Bowyer/Dollar General/ Racing Warrior Impala SS. Casebolt was fourth in the Bob Harris Motorsports/Dixie Chopper/Rocket GTO followed by Bloomquist in his Miller Brothers Construction/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo SS.
Completing the top ten were Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC, Chris Madden of Gaffney, SC, Eric Wells of Hazard, KY, Steve Shaver of Vienna, WV and Chris Wall of Holden, LA.