O’Neal Tops Ocala for Second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Win of 2024

O’Neal Tops Ocala for Second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Win of 2024

OCALA, Fla. (January 31, 2024) – Hudson O’Neal, the reigning Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion picked up his second series win of the 2024 season on Wednesday night at Ocala Speedway.

O’Neal led 30 of the 40 laps for his 26th career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory earning $10,000 for the win. Clay Harris who led 10 laps during the race finished second 1.093 seconds behind the winner. For Harris, who has made only four career starts in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (all this year) in was followed by Brian Shirley who rounded out the Big River Steel Podium in third. Ricky Thornton Jr. and Kyle Bronson rounded out the top five finishers.

O’Neal grabbed the lead at the start of the race and led the first seven laps of the event. Harris, who was looking for his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win then challenged O’Neal for the lead getting past him down the back stretch on lap eight. The race was slowed multiple times with five caution flags over a three-lap span.

The final caution of the race came out with 10 laps complete as Harris still was showing the way. Harris tried to stretch his lead out over the field but as he approached the tail end of the field, O’Neal was able to squeeze by him coming off of turn four to regain the lead on lap 18. O’Neal then went on for the win, his second of the year after scoring an opening night win at Golden Isles last Thursday.

It was O’Neal’s first ever win at Ocala, which was formerly known as Bubba Raceway Park. “I just got behind a lapped car down here and he kind of pinched me and I just completely messed up and about spun out. I just tried to move to get by those lapped cars and just couldn’t move you know. I was lucky the caution came back out and let us get back to second there and give it a run. Man, that Clay [Harris] drove a good race and I was just able to sneak by him. There was one time he kind of messed up and got up there and I think he grabbed the backstretch wall.”

“That bottom was just really wet, and it just never gave up especially down here in one. No matter how many laps we ran it never really changed colors. So, it just worked out and we were able to get the lead back and just hold on and I was just trying to not miss that bottom the best I could going into one because you really had to slow down and be patient,” said the 23-year-old Martinsville, Indiana native.

Harris, who had only attempted one Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series start in his career before this year, came home in the runner-up spot. “I should have hugged the bottom there, you know at first, I thought I could run up high and do something, because last night you could. I should have known better, in fact that’s when I passed him the first time. I still think it was good run. We’ve run four races this year and made every show so far. We only did a handful of super racing last year. So, I think it is a win in our book.”

Shirley has his best finish of 2024 coming home in third. “We haven’t been giving our sponsors what they deserve here the last couple of weeks, but that’s the good thing about Bob [Cullen] and them guys behind me is that they don’t give up on me. They just let me keep doing what I do and keep racing here and get into the groove. We are just trying to play catch up.”

The winner’s Mark Richards Racing, Rocket Chassis is powered by a Durham Racing Engine and sponsored by Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Performance Grading, Ace Metal Works, WR1 Sim Chassis, Stiles Marine and Maintenance, Wheeler Metals, O’Neal’s Salvage and Recycling, Gunter’s Honey, Professional Concrete Cutting and Drilling, Fox Shocks, and Sunoco Race Fuels.

Completing the top ten were Devin Moran, Ashton Winger, Tim McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard, and Tyler Erb.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Race Summary
Winter Nationals | Night 2
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
Ocala Speedway – Ocala, FL

Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Hudson O’Neal | 14.012 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Blair Nothdurft | 14.263 seconds

Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 1-Hudson O’Neal[1]; 2. 3S-Brian Shirley[4]; 3. 7T-Drake Troutman[3]; 4. 40B-Kyle Bronson[7]; 5. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[6]; 6. 17SS-Brenden Smith[5]; 7. 7-Ross Robinson[8]; 8. 2*-Logan Hitt[11]; 9. 20-Jimmy Owens[2]; 10. 28B-Carson Brown[10]; 11. 30-Ryan Gustin[9]

Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 Finish (8Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 6-Clay Harris[2]; 2. 49-Jonathan Davenport[1]; 3. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[3]; 4. 39-Tim McCreadie[5]; 5. 5-Mark Whitener[7]; 6. B5-Brandon Sheppard[4]; 7. 66C-Matt Cosner[6]; 8. 4G-Bob Gardner[9]; 9. 81J-Jack Riggs[10]; 10. 93-Cory Lawler[8]; 11. 81F-Jadon Frame[11]

Earnhardt Technologies Heat Race #3 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 76N-Blair Nothdurft[1]; 2. 12-Ashton Winger[4]; 3. 25-Tony Jackson Jr[2]; 4. 99B-Boom Briggs[3]; 5. 58-Garrett Alberson[5]; 6. 79-Donald McIntosh[8]; 7. 99-Devin Moran[6]; 8. 111-Max Blair[9]; 9. 0-Ryan Scott[11]; 10. 75-Daniel Adam[10]; 11. 1T-Tyler Erb[7]

Simpson Race Products Heat Race #4 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 18D-Daulton Wilson[1]; 2. 46-Earl Pearson Jr[3]; 3. 157-Mike Marlar[2]; 4. 96V-Tanner English[5]; 5. 97-Cody Overton[6]; 6. 19M-Spencer Hughes[4]; 7. 174-Ethan Dotson[7]; 8. 11C-Trevor Collins[9]; 9. 128-Kylan Garner[8]; 10. 8-Dillon McCowan[10]

Fast Shafts B-Main Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. B5-Brandon Sheppard[4]; 2. 5-Mark Whitener[2]; 3. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[1]; 4. 17SS-Brenden Smith[3]; 5. 66C-Matt Cosner[6]; 6. 7-Ross Robinson[5]; 7. 4G-Bob Gardner[8]; 8. 2*-Logan Hitt[7]; 9. 81J-Jack Riggs[10]; 10. 81F-Jadon Frame[14]; 11. 93-Cory Lawler[12]; 12. 28B-Carson Brown[11]; 13. (DNS) 20-Jimmy Owens; 14. (DNS) 30-Ryan Gustin

UNOH B-Main Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 97-Cody Overton[2]; 2. 58-Garrett Alberson[1]; 3. 79-Donald McIntosh[3]; 4. 174-Ethan Dotson[6]; 5. 111-Max Blair[7]; 6. 19M-Spencer Hughes[4]; 7. 11C-Trevor Collins[8]; 8. 8-Dillon McCowan[12]; 9. 0-Ryan Scott[9]; 10. 75-Daniel Adam[11]; 11. 128-Kylan Garner[10]; 12. (DNS) 99-Devin Moran; 13. (DNS) 1T-Tyler Erb

Winter Nationals | Night 2 Feature Finish (40 Laps):

Race Statistics

  • Entrants: 43
  • Victory Fuel Pole Sitter: Hudson O’Neal
  • Lap Leaders: Hudson O’Neal (Laps 1-7); Clay Harris (Laps 8-17); Hudson O’Neal (Laps 18-40)
  • Wieland Feature Winner: Hudson O’Neal
  • Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Feature Winner: n/a
  • Brandon Ford TV Challenge Feature Winner: n/a
  • Margin of Victory: 1.093 seconds
  • Dave Warren Powersports Cautions: Tanner English (Lap 8); Blair Nothdurft (Lap 8 Restart); Drake Troutman, Mike Marlar (Lap 9); Tony Jackson, Jr.,
  • Garrett Alberson (Lap 10); Donald McIntosh, Mike Marlar, Mark Whitener (Lap 10 Restart)
  • Series Provisionals: Devin Moran; Tyler Erb
  • Fast Time Provisional: n/a
  • Series Emergency Provisionals: Max Blair, Spencer Hughes, Ross Robinson, Bob Gardner
  • Track Provisional: n/a
  • Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Hudson O’Neal, Clay Harris, Brian Shirley
  • Penske Shocks Top 5: Hudson O’Neal, Clay Harris, Brian Shirley, Ricky Thornton, Jr., Kyle Bronson
  • Todd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race: Devin Moran (Advanced 17 Positions)
  • Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7th Place Feature: Ashton Winger
  • Deatherage Opticians Lucky 13th Place Feature: Boom Briggs
  • MD3 Most Laps Led: Hudson O’Neal (30 Laps)
  • Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Hudson O’Neal
  • Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: n/a
  • Coltman Farms Fastest Lap of the Race: Hudson O’Neal (Lap 1 – 15.176 seconds)
  • Slicker Graphics Slickest Move of the Race: Hudson O’Neal
  • Miller Welders Hard Luck Award: Blair Nothdurft
  • Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Danny White (Hudson O’Neal)
  • ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Durham Racing Engines
  • Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
  • Dirt Draft Fastest in Hot Laps: Devin Moran (14.159 seconds)
  • Time of Race: 31 minutes 35 seconds

Big River Steel Chase for the Championship Presented by ARP Point Standings: