Lucas Eb Butcosk 2 6 2024 382
Hudson O'Neal in the cockpit of the Rocket Chassis house car. (Matt Butcosk photo)

O’Neal Splits From Rocket1 Racing, Makes Temporary Plans

An update to this news story was made at 10:19 a.m. on Friday morning with the latest update from O’Neal.

On Thursday night, reigning Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion Hudson O’Neal announced his departure from Mark Richards Racing Inc. and Rocket1 Racing.

“As this was a hard decision for me, I believe this was the best decision for myself,” O’Neal said in a Facebook statement. 

The 23-year-old has been with Rocket1 Racing — the Rocket Chassis house car team — since late 2022. Last season, O’Neal amassed 15 wins with the team, including the prestigious World 100 at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.

“As for my future plans, I really don’t have any at this point. I am certain I will be back on track again soon, but no concrete plans are in place moving forward,” O’Neal wrote on Thursday. “As one book closes, another storybook will open.” 

He is currently second in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series standings. 

O’Neal then announced on Friday morning that he has “officially lined up a very temporary deal for next weekend for our next two Lucas Oil races at Atomic (Speedway) and Brownstown (Speedway). Without going into details, as we feel like this is the right thing to do as a family. We understand that our roll in the industry is fan base oriented, but we do like to keep some of our life private if we can.”

The next Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series races will take place March 22-23.  

O’Neal also supplied a bit more clarification about the split with Rocket1 Racing.

“As far as my departure from Rocket1, there are no secrets. It was just a difference in where I thought my career and life needed to be. There was nothing that took place that caused mine and Rocket1’s split other than just a difference in vision,” O’Neal said.