Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN took the lead with ten laps to go and then dominated the final laps to win the first ever LOLMDS sanctioned event at Fonda Speedway. The win marked Owens' 20th victory in Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competition ever. Vic Coffey of Caledonia, NY kept the home state fans on their feet by finishing second. Don O'Neal of Martinsville, IN, finished third followed by series points' leader, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN and Billy Decker of Unadilla, NY.
"Man I didn't know at the start if we picked the right tires or not, we dropped back to sixth after starting on the front row, but I have to thank Vic Coffey for showing me that outside line," exclaimed Owens. "I was able to get the momentum I needed up there and once we caught up to O'Neal and passed him, the car was awesome," said the 38-year-old driver in Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 20th time in his career.
"I have to thank my car owner, Mike Reece, Reece Monument Company, Gantte Appraisals and Red Line Oil. I also want to thank Scott (Bloomquist) for building a great race car, Cornett Engines and everybody on the crew," said Owens.
The event was the first Late Model Race at Fonda Speedway since 1982 and did not lack any excitement. O'Neal bolted to the lead and led the first 39 laps of the race. He held off challenges from both Decker and McDowell early on. Owens managed to make a late-race run to grab his second consecutive series win.
Coffey, started eighth in the Sweeteners Plus sponsored Rocket and put on a late charge. He passed O'Neal for second with four laps to go. O'Neal in the Superior Cleaning sponsored MasterSbilt had the strongest car for most of the race as he had to fight off a late-race charge from Bloomquist who placed a close fourth in the Miller Brothers Construction, Bloomquist Race Cars entry. Decker in the Gypsum Express Rocket gave the home state fans a thrill early on. He was constantly challenging O'Neal for the lead in the early goings, before fading to fifth at the finish.
Completing the top ten were Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL; Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, GA; Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC; Dan Stone of Thompson, PA; and John Blankenship of Williamson, WV.
O'Neal was the Red Buck Cigar Fast Qualifier among the 23 entries. Heat race winners were O'Neal, Owens and Decker. Dale Caswell captured the B-Main.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series stays in the state of New York for a second-ever visit to Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, NY. The event will be held on Thursday Night, July 29th for a $10,000 to win main event. Ray Cook won the series' first ever event at the facility last year. For more information, check out www.uticaromespeedway.com.