O’Neal Tops Battle At The Beach
GRANITE CITY, Ill. — A day after celebrating his birthday, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point leader Don O’Neal gave himself quite a present by winning the Battle at the Beach 50 on Friday night at Tri-City Speedway.
O’Neal took the lead from his teammate Steve Francis on lap 26 and withstood challenges from Jimmy Owens and Scott Bloomquist for the win.
In a battle amongst the top three in LOLMDS standings, O’Neal held on for his fifth series win of the season. Bloomquist snuck by Owens at the end to finish second. Owens came home third, followed by 12th starting, Brian Birkhofer, and Francis rounded out the top five.
“What a win for this Clint Bowyer Race Team tonight,” O’Neal said. “I saw Jimmy pull alongside a few times and I thought I had better get going. That top line was going away. The car handled really well whether we ran low, in the middle, or the top. It got pretty loose there at the end. I kept my pace pretty good, there were a few lapped cars that actually helped up keep the lead. The track was in excellent shape tonight, and I hope the fans got their money’s worth.”
Bloomquist overcame a few early setbacks; falling to fifth at one point; to collect the second-place money.
“We had a really good car; the track was just spectacular all night. I had a run there a few times and I thought I was going to get both Don and Jimmy for the lead,” he explained. “Another second-place finish for us tonight. It feels good knowing we have a car capable of winning every time out.”
Owens was in the hunt trying to make it back-to-back wins after a stunning run from 17th place to win at 201 last Saturday.
“Wow what a race, at one point there was five of us racing for the lead. I tried a few times to slide up there in front of him (O’Neal), but I was going to race him clean,” Owens said. “Then I got into the wall and that ended any chance I had of passing him for the win. Then here comes Scott and he got underneath me for second. We had a good points night and we’ll head down to Wheatland tomorrow and try to get us another win there.”
Jim Shereck set the overall Miller Welders Fast Time (Group A) among the 37 entrants, with a lap of 14.733 seconds.
Don O’Neal, Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Brian Birkhofer, Steve Francis, Jared Landers, Ryan Gustin, Chad Simpson, Billy Moyer Jr., Terry Phillips, Jim Shereck, Brandon Overton, Tim Manville, Earl Pearson Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., Jack Sullivan, Tony Jackson Jr., Jason Papich, Jason Hughes, Paul Schrempf, Michael Kloos, Eddie Carrier Jr., John Blankenship, Travis Dickes, Randy Korte, Jeremy Payne, Scott Weber, Scott Lewis.