PORT ROYAL, PA – Hudson O’Neal and Brandon Overton each won a 25-lap preliminary A-Main on Friday Night at Port Royal Speedway.
O’Neal led wire-to-wire in the first 25-lap main event for his fifth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season. Rick Eckert, the current track points leader at Port Royal came from fifth to take second with current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader Ricky Thornton Jr. rounding out the Big River Steel Podium in third after he had started eighth. Cody Overton came home fourth followed by Tim McCreadie.
Brandon Overton was able to fend off the challenges of both Jonathan Davenport and Mike Marlar to win the second 25-lap main event. Michael Norris was fourth with Chris Ferguson rounding out the top five drivers in the nightcap.
O’Neal, who enters the weekend second the championship points standings behind Thornton set himself up for a good starting spot in Saturday’s heat race. “I thought I was making a lot of time difference going to that top; there was a time there when a lapped car slowed way up in front of me and I just misjudged how much faster I was getting off the corner. I was happy to see no cautions out there. If we had a caution, it might have played out differently. We had a good race car all night long, it qualified good, and it heat raced good. It’s refreshing to come out and get a win, it’s been a long couple of months.”
Eckert, a member of the National Dirt Late Model Hall-of-Fame came home in second-place behind O’Neal. “That second place was very important, we really haven’t qualified well here all year. We heat race really good, and we hadn’t feature raced very good. Mark Richards gave me some hints for the feature. It drove way better in the feature than I have been. I think our car is pretty close for tomorrow night’s big race realistically until we got to heavy traffic I was coming back to Huddy, and he just manned up on that cushion and I am an old guy. I was trying not to do it and finally I guess I had no choice.”
Thornton, who on Thursday Night at Georgetown Speedway rallied from sixth to win came from the outside of row four to finish third in the caution-free race. “In the grand scheme of things, you just wanted to run in the top six tonight in this feature to put yourself in a good position for tomorrow. I took off there and I didn’t think I was going to be very good; I fell back to about tenth or so. I just started running a little harder and the car got a lot better. The biggest thing for me here is to try to pace, but not pace too much where you can’t do anything early and get way behind.”
O’Neal’s Mark Richards Racing, Rocket Chassis is powered by a Durham Racing Engine and sponsored by Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Ace Metal Works, Petroff Towing, Rocket Pre-Owned Motors, Gunter’s Honey, WR1 Sim Chassis, O’Neal’s Salvage and Recycling, Sunoco Race Fuels, Integra Racing Shocks, and Performance Grading.
Completing the top ten in the first feature were Daulton Wilson, Ross Robinson, Earl Pearson Jr., Mason Zeigler, and Justin Kann.
Brandon Overton got his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win since January, but he had to work for this one. “It’s about time something went my way. The caution come out as soon as JD [Davenport] passed me and let us get back out front. I might have not had the best car. I said the way we have been going it’s like we’ll take it and keep on working. I was starting to wonder whether I was going to win another race. He [Davenport] slid me so obviously I wasn’t going into three hard enough. As soon as he passed me, he went to the top to try and protect. I just wasn’t good no matter where I went. That’s how it is sometimes.”
Davenport gave Overton all he wanted for the lead as he came home in the runner-up spot. “It just wasn’t meant for us to win tonight. We had a really good car; Brandon obviously was a little better than us through the middle. We just have to work on it to get it better for tomorrow night, but once the middle started dying the top starting coming in. I was driving pretty hard there and the caution came out and I then got squeezed on the back straightaway and I lost quite a bit of ground there. I just could never get the timing right when I would catch Brandon. I would catch him at the wrong part of the corner.”
Marlar, who took third the previous night at Georgetown rounded out the Big River Steel Podium for the second night in a row. “I hit a hole wrong in three and got really sideways, luckily, we got it straightened up there. It was good racing there. We raced all over the racetrack. If not for those cautions, we would have been out there; it really would have been an awesome race. You could have thrown a blanket over the top three at the finish for sure.”
Brandon Overton’s Wells and Sons Motorsports, Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by Garnto Southern, Muscle Factory, Victory fuel Flavored Electrolyte Water, R.W. Powell Construction, Penske Racing Shocks, Convenient Lube, Dirt Mafia, Boswell Oil, H&A Development, EZ-GO, and Earnhardt Technologies.
Completing the top ten were Garrett Alberson, Devin Moran, Kyle Hardy, Colton Flinner, and Logan Roberson.