By CHRIS TILLEY
RURAL RETREAT, VA – From start to finish, Dale McDowell showed sheer domination during the Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series presented by Sunoco Race Fuels and Tennessee RV opening event at Wythe Raceway Saturday Night.
The Chickamauga, Ga. driver drove the Shane McDowell Racing entry to his third career series victory in front of a packed house and the $10,000 payday. McDowell’s Sweet-Bloomquist Race Car is sponsored by New Era Industrial, Textron Off Road, Will Kinzer Foundation for Autism Research, Cometic Gasket and Quality Natural Gas.
From the drop of the green flag McDowell would set a blistering pace over the 30-car field. He would lead the entire distance of the 53-lapper and go on to take victory over fourth starting Vic Hill, fifth starting Eric Wells, tenth starting Ross Bailes and 14th-starting Casey Roberts who rounded out the top-five at the finish.
Four caution flags slowed the race. The first yellow was on lap 14 as Joey Coulter would come to a stop at the top of turn two with mechanical problems. The second yellow flag would fly on lap 24 as Steve Casebolt spun in turn three and with his nosepiece underneath the race car was unable to continue. Casebolt was running sixth at the time. The third caution would fly on lap 43 as Dwayne Joyce would slow in turn two and the final yellow flag waved on the 50th lap as Shanon Buckingham slowed in turn four with a right-rear flat tire. Buckingham was running in the top five at the time of the flat tire and at one point in the race was running in the runner up slot. Buckingham’s crew went to work, changed the tire and he restarted in the 18th spot and finished one spot better.
The series moves to Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn. on Monday Night July 16th paying $3,500-to-win at the McCarter Family promoted facility for Round Two of the 11-race journey.
Official Summary of Results
Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series
Round 1-Wythe Raceway-July 14, 2018
1. Dale McDowell-Chickamauga, Ga.
2. Vic Hill-Mosheim, Tenn.
3. Eric Wells-Hazard, Ky.
4. Ross Bailes-Clover, S.C.
5. Casey Roberts-Toccoa, Ga.
6. Johnny Pursley-Clover, S.C.
7. Aaron Ridley-Chatsworth, Ga.
8. Donald McIntosh-Dawsonville, Ga.
9. Dennis Franklin-Gaffney, S.C.
10. Walker Arthur-Forest, Va.
11. Forrest Trent-Talbott, Tenn.
12. Craig Vosbergen-Perth, W. Australia
13. Cla Knight-North Augusta, S.C.
14. Jeff Smith-Dallas, N.C.
15. Jonathan Rowan-Jackson, Tenn.
16. Justin Williams-Concord, Va.
17. Shanon Buckingham-Morristown, Tenn.
18. Robby Moses-Maryville, Tenn.
19. Carder Miller-Salem, Va.
20. Kyle Pierce-Statesville, N.C.
21. Doug Sanders-Belmont, N.C.
22. Peter Nicola-Melbourne, Australia
23. Jeff Neubert-Rockford, Tenn.
24. Dwayne Joyce-Walkertown, N.C.
25. Brandon Overton-Evans, Ga.
26. Jason Lawrence-Pilot, Va.
27. Steve Casebolt-Richmond, Ind.
28. Joey Coulter-Concord, N.C.
29. Chris Combs-Isom, Ky.
30. David Crabtree-Maryville, Tenn.
31. Van Lester-Dandridge, Tenn. (Did Not Start)
Overall Fast Qualifier: Donald McIntosh-16.531 seconds
Time of Race: 36 minutes, 50 seconds
Lap Leaders: McDowell (1-53)
Cautions: Four (laps 14, 24, 43, 50)
Red Flags: None
Heat-1 Finish: Dale McDowell, Eric Wells, Donald McIntosh, Jonathan Rowan, Joey Coulter, Kyle Pierce, Peter Nicola, Jason Lawrence.
Heat-2 Finish: Shanon Buckingham, Aaron Ridley, Cla Knight, Forrest Trent, Carder Miller, Robby Moses, Dwayne Joyce, Van Lester.
Heat-3 Finish: Brandon Overton, Steve Casebolt, Ross Bailes, Casey Roberts, Jeff Smith, Justin Williams, Doug Sanders, Jeff Neubert.
Heat-4 Finish: Vic Hill, Johnny Pursley, Dennis Franklin, Walker Arthur, Chris Combs, Craig Vosbergen, David Crabtree.
Current Series Points:
1. Dale McDowell-200
2. Vic Hill-196
3. Eric Wells-194
4. Ross Bailes-192
5. Casey Roberts-190
6. Johnny Pursley-188
7. Aaron Ridley-186
8. Donald McIntosh-184
9. Dennis Franklin-182
10. Walker Arthur-180