CHATSWORTH, GA (June 15, 2007)-Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN led all 40 laps of the Harris-Sutton Chevrolet 40 on Friday Night at the North Georgia Speedway as he became the 12th different winner in 15 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events held this season. Owens’ second career Lucas Oil Series win earned himself and car owner Mike Reece $7,000. Wendell Wallace of Batesville, AR passed Brad Neat of Dunnville, KY with five laps to go to finish second. Neat took third for his best career finish with the series. Shane Tankersley of Morganton, GA and Robert Gant of Flat Rock, AL rounded out the top five.
Owens and Tankersley started on the front row of the event, which was the first time the series had visited the Monty Morrow promoted facility. Owens quickly grabbed the lead with Wallace, Neat, Tankersley and defending North Georgia track champion, Gary McPherson, the top five in the running order, with one lap in the books.
The top five would remain the same until the first caution came out on lap ten for Billy Drake, who slowed the track. On the Delaware double file restart, Owens would have a clear race track in front because, right before the yellow, he had closed in on the tail end of the field, allowing Wallace and Neat to close in on him.
On the restart, Neat, who had begun to reel in Wallace in the race for second, had a good restart and passed Wallace to go to second. Meanwhile, up front, Owens had stretched out his lead over the field and by the 15th lap, had built a six car length lead. When the drivers got the crossed flags at the 20 lap halfway mark it was all Owens, but he was about to catch back up to some traffic which again would allow both Neat and Wallace to chop down his lead.
On lap 21, the second caution would come out for LifeLong Locks Fast Qualifier, Benji Cole, who was trying to come to the infield pit, but missed the exit and stopped just passed the opening. On the restart Neat and Wallace would continue a torrid battle for second with Owens creeping away once again.
With 30 laps complete, Owens had bolted to a ten car length advantage over Neat and Wallace, with another nice race going between Tankersley, McPherson and Robert Gant. Gant would pass McPherson to take over the fifth spot on the 30th circuit.
Owens, with his healthy lead over the field, would once again run up on the back of the field with less than ten laps to go. But, Owens would handle the lapped traffic with ease as he would go on to score a convincing win. The race for second went down to the final five laps with Wallace getting back by Neat on lap 35 to regain the second slot. Wallace then held off Neat at the finish line to garner runner-up honors.
In the Lucas Oil victory lane, Owens had just won his first series race since September 5th, 2005 at Tazewell, TN Speedway and commented to the packed house on hand for the event. “We had a good track tonight and the car was great. I want to thank my crew. They rallied back after one of them got sick last night and everything went good for us tonight. Lapped traffic wasn’t too big of a problem out there. You could run three wide around the track.” Owens said everything was better for his brother and crew chief, Chris, who was in attendance at North Georgia. Chris had taken ill on Thursday night at Duck River and the team decided to head back home for his medical attention.
The 35 year old Owens was behind the wheel of the Reece Monuments/Gantt Auctions/Redline Oil/Performance Rod and Custom/Byrd’s Radiators/VP Racing Fuels/Cornett Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Ford Fusion.
Wallace took his best series finish of ’07 in the Garrett Racing/Davison Transport/GRT Ford Fusion. Neat, with his best career finish, was third at the pay window in the Greg Neat/Neat’s Service Center/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo. Tankersley, a former O’Reilly Southern All-Star Champion, was fourth in his King of the Road Custom Coaches/C.J. Rayburn Taurus with Gant recording his best career Lucas Oil finish with a fifth in his James Gant/Carl Gregory Ford/MasterSbilt Taurus.
Completing the top ten were: Gary McPherson, Dale McDowell, Steve Casebolt, Garrett Durrett and Randy Weaver.
In preliminary action, Benji Cole took the LifeLong Locks Fast Time Award with a lap of 13.030 seconds. The Hawk Brake and Quarter Master sponsored Heat Races were won by: Shane Tankersley, Wendell Wallace, Jimmy Owens and Brad Neat. The Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno and Penske Shocks sponsored B-Mains were won by Freddy Smith and Billy Ogle, Jr. The Edelbrock Hard Charger of the Race was Scott James, who had to take a series provisional, forcing him to start 23rd on the grid and he raced his way to the 11th finishing spot advancing 12 positions. The K&N Clean Pass Award went to Brad Neat.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
North Georgia Speedway-Chatsworth, GA
Friday Night, June 15, 2007
LifeLong Locks Fast Qualifier: Benji Cole 13.030 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Shane Tankersley, Randy Weaver, Shawn Chastain, Benji Cole, Damon Eller, Jake Knowles, Todd Morrow, Billy Mayo, Brandon Kinzer, Jamie Oliver, Ricky Arms, Larry Boutwell, Ray Cook
Quarter Master Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Wendell Wallace, Gary McPherson, Dale McDowell, Steve Casebolt, Freddy Smith, Tommy Kerr, Skip Arp, Dan Schlieper, Scott James, Ivedent Lloyd, Jr., Derek Ellis, Tony Morris, Sam Ruff
Hawk Brake Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Jimmy Owens, Donnie Moran, Justin Rattliff, Terry English, Garrett Durrett, Michael England, Jesse Lay, Keith Frazier, Frank Ingram, Rick Rogers, David Payne, Brian Hickman, Jeff Madden
Quarter Master Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Brad Neat, Robert Gant, Billy Drake, Earl Pearson, Jr., Billy Ogle, Jr., Joe Armes, Gar Dickson, Kelly Hanvey, Lee Sutton, Scott Knowles, Johnny Chastain, Tyler Landers
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock First B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Freddy Smith, Skip Arp, Todd Morrow Brandon Kinzer, Billy Mayo, Ricky Arms, Tommy Kerr, Dan Schlieper, Damon Eller, Ivedent Lloyd, Jr., Jake Knowles, Tony Morris, Sam Ruff, Scott James
Penske Shocks Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Billy Ogle, Jr., Garrett Durrett, Michael England, Frank Ingram, Jesse Lay, David Payne, Kelly Hanvey, Joe Armes, Gar Dickson, Rick Rogers
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Harris-Sutton Chevrolet 40 Feature Finish (40 Laps): Jimmy Owens, Wendell Wallace, Brad Neat, Shane Tankersley, Robert Gant, Gary McPherson, Dale McDowell, Steve Casebolt, Garrett Durrett, Randy Weaver, Scott James, Billy Ogle, Jr., Earl Pearson, Jr., Justin Rattliff, Dan Schlieper, Michael England, Skip Arp, Donnie Moran, Shawn Chastain, Terry English, Todd Morrow, Freddy Smith, Benji Cole, Billy Drake
Yellow Flags: 2
Lap Leaders: Jimmy Owens 1-40
Edelbrock Hard Charger Award: Scott James (Started 23rd and Finished 11th-Advanced 12 Positions)
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Garrett Durrett
K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Brad Neat
COMP Cams Rookie of the Race: Brad Neat
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Scott James and Dan Schlieper