05results_6-25.jpg

MCCOOL JUNCTION, NE (June 25, 2005)-Don O'Neal raced to his fifth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of 2005 leading all 50 laps in taking the "King of the Hill Shootout 50" on Saturday Night, June 25 at the Junction Motor Speedway.  O'Neal had to withstand a late race charge from Brian Birkhofer, who closed to within two car lengths of O'Neal when the checkers fell.  O'Neal earned $10,000 for his win which was his 11th overall in '05.  O'Neal drove the Well-Pict Berries/A-1 Auto Salvage/Living Room Centers/All Star Performance/Ken Schrader Racing/Jay Dickens Racing Engines/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo to victory circle over Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA in the TB and Company/Pro Power/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo, Matt Miller of Waterville, OH in the Dirt Shop, Inc/McCullough Motorsports/Rocket Grand Prix, Kelly Boen of Henderson, CO in the Road Runner Fabrication/Jay Dickens Racing Engines/Rocket Grand Prix and Steve Kosiski of Papillion, NE rounded out the top five in the Kosiski Auto Parts/TB and Company/Rocket Grand Prix.  The track hosted 39 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and TORA Series drivers who ventured to the state of the art facility for the first time. 

When the 50 lap main event got underway all eyes were on O'Neal, who started on the pole and was attempting to become the first driver in 10 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events to win from the front row.  O'Neal would take to the point immediately racing into turn one around the 3/8th's mile track.  Steve Kosiski would go to second with Brian Birkhofer and Matt Miller in pursuit.  O'Neal would start to stretch his lead out over the stout field of competitors as Kosiski and Birkhofer would put on a show for the large fan base on hand at Junction going side by side on several occasions in the race for second place.  By the 12th lap O'Neal was flying around the race track opening up a large lead over Kosiski and Birkhofer.   O'Neal would then start to encounter the back of the field by lap 12 as Kosiski and Birkhofer were still dicing it out for second.  O'Neal would start lapping cars and by the 20th circuit he had cleared three cars to put some more distance between himself and the rest of the field.  It was still a dandy race for second between Kosiski and Birkhofer as the two veteran drivers were squaring off still racing side by side on several laps with Kosiski always being scored in front of Birkhofer as the two would cross the start-finish line.  At the halfway mark it was still O'Neal showing the way followed by Kosiski, Birkhofer, Miller and Scott James.  Miller and James were starting to close on Kosiski and Birkhofer as thoe four drivers would now be within car lengths of each other. 

With O'Neal in control of the race and continuing to dominate the race all attention was clearly on the race for second place as Kosiski and Birkhofer raced hard and clean through traffic trying desperately to catch O'Neal.  The top five would remain in the same running order until Birkhofer was finally able to completely get by Kosiski 31 laps into the race.  Birkhofer then would have to hope for a caution flag or something to happen to O'Neal as O'Neal had built such a lead it looked almost impossible for Birkhofer to catch him.  Miller then would start to pressure Kosiski for third with the Dream winner who was celebrating his 34th birthday on Saturday able to get past Kosiski for third on lap 39.  O'Neal's huge lead looked insurmountable at tthis point and with ten laps to go it looked like he would go unchallenged the rest of the way.  Some more lapped traffic forced O'Neal to change his driving line a few times in the final ten laps as Birkhofer was driving the wheels off of his car in his attempt to chase down O'Neal.  Miller and Kosiski would continue to fight it out for third with Kosiski going back around Miller on lap 41, but Miller would return the favor three laps later moving back into third for good.   

It looked like all that was to be determined in this race is how big of lead O'Neal would have at the finish, but Birkhofer with five laps to go and facing a 10 car length disadvantage to O'Neal would pour on the heat cutting O'Neal lead down to five car lengths with three to go, Birkhofer would momentarily be slowed by a couple of lapped cars, but he powered past them and would try and track down O'Neal with two to go.  Birkhofer would make it quite interesting in the last two laps as he now had a last shot at O'Neal as the two drivers took the white flag.  Birkhofer would close on O'Neal driving hard into turns three and four, but it just wasn't quite enough as O'Neal would lead him to the checkered flag winning by just two car lengths.  Birkhofer would finish second followed by Miller.  Ninth place starter Kelly Boen came on strong at the end moving into the top five with seven laps to go and passing Kosiski in the final laps to take fourth.  Kosiski was fifth.  The entire 50 laps main event was run without the benefit of a caution flag once a lap was scored. 

On the track afterwards in victory lane, O'Neal would dedicate his win to friend and engine builder, Jay Dickens.  "I just got word before the race that Jay Dickens broke both his arms in a shop accident when a tire exploded on him,  we just want to send our thoughts and prayers to him for a successful recovery." said O'Neal after wards.  "The car worked well all night, this is a super nice facility and we enjoyed coming here for the first time, I didn't know how close Birky was to me at the finish, but I could hear his engine, so I knew someone was close to me, but we just kept our line and took it home for the win,".  Over the past two seasons O'Neal is the winningest dirt late model driver in nation scoring 26 features in both '03 and '04 and with his win on Saturday Night at Junction Motor Speedway O'Neal now has 63 feature wins over the last two and half seasons. 

Completing the top ten finishers were Earl Pearson, Jr., Scott James, Brady Smith, Freddy Smith and Donnie Moran. 

The next Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series race will take place on Sunday Night, July 3 at the Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, OH. 

Race Summary  Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series  Saturday Night, June 25, 2005  Junction Motor Speedway - McCool Junction, NE  

Fast Time:  Don O'Neal 16.810 

Heat #1:  Don O'Neal, Brady Smith, Kelly Boen, Al Humphrey, Johnny Bone, Jr., Raymond Merrill, Mike Danburg, Jerrod Reimer, Edd Huxoll, John Anderson 

Heat #2:  Matt Miller, Earl Pearson, Jr., Freddy Smith, Kyle Berck, Tim Dohm, Scott Daly, Earl Kinderknecht, Craig Muirhead, Jeremy Bishop, Junior Coover 

Heat #3:  Brian Birkhofer, Scott James, Terry Phillips, Gary Gorby, Mike Wiarda, Ryan McAninch, Steve Foster, Dan Jackson, Billy Murphy 

Heat #4:  Steve Kosiski, Donnie Moran, Larry McDaniels, Delbert Smith, Craig Preble, Eddie Moore, Bo Egge, Brad Fortney, Bill Koons 

B-Main #1:  Tim Dohm, Johnny Bone, Jr., Raymond Merrill, Scott Daly, Earl Kinderknecht, Craig Muirhead, Jerrod Reimer, Edd Huxoll, Jeremy Bishop, Mike Danburg 

B-Main #2:  Eddie Moore, Bo Egge, Rayn McAninch, SteveFoster, Mike Wiarda, Dan Jackson, Bill Koons, Rusty Miller, Brad Fortney, Billy Murphy, Craig Preble 

"King of the Hill Shootout" A-Main: (50 Laps):  Don O'Neal, Brian Birkhofer, Matt Miller, Kelly Boen, Steve Kosiski, Earl Pearson, Jr., Scott James, Brady Smith, Freddy Smith, Donnie Moran, Johnny Bone, Jr., Al Humphrey, Raymond Merrill, Eddie Moore, Kyle Berck, Delbert Smith, Larry McDaniels, Gary Gorby, Earl Kinderknecht, Tim Dohm, Terry Phillips, Bo Egge 

Race Statistics:  Entries:  39 Cautions:  1 Before a lap was scored Red Flags: 0Lap Leaders:  Don O'Neal 1-50 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rookie of the Race:  Scott James TORA Provisionals:  Raymond Merrill and Earl Kinderknecht

Live Timing

Newsletter Sign-up

* Required