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Hudson O'Neal celebrates after winning the Buckeye 50 Sunday at Atomic Speedway. (Mike Campbell Photo)

O’Neal Has What It Takes In The Buckeye State

WAVERLY, Ohio – Hudson O’Neal won the Buckeye Spring 50 on Sunday night at Atomic Speedway to claim his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season.

The victory moved O’Neal to the stop of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series standings for the first time in his young career.

O’Neal became the third and final leader of the race after he took the lead on lap nine from Devin Moran. He held off Tim McCreadie to win by .563 seconds. Moran came home in third followed by Jonathan Davenport and Kyle Bronson.

Kyle Strickler started on the pole and took the lead at the start of the race as drivers were running two and three-wide around the three-eighths-mile high-banked track. Strickler led until Moran took over the point on lap five. The top three of Moran, Strickler and O’Neal were putting on a spectacular race for the lead when Strickler suffered a right-rear flat tire, forcing a caution flag with 19 laps complete. Strickler exited to the pits, which meant that no driver on the series tour this year has won from the pole.

A caution at the halfway mark set-up a long green-flag stretch of racing for 22 laps until a lap-48 caution set up a race to the finish. O’Neal was able to break away on the restart, and that was enough to send him to Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the ninth time in his career.

Hudson O'Neal (71) races around the outside of Tim McCreadie Sunday at Atomic Speedway. (Heath Lawson Photo)
Hudson O’Neal (71) races around the outside of Tim McCreadie Sunday at Atomic Speedway. (Heath Lawson Photo)

O’Neal has now joined Tyler Erb as the only two-time winners so far in Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competition this season. He previously went to Lucas Oil Victory Lane at East Bay Raceway Park in January.

“I can’t thank these guys enough for their work on this race car. We had one of the University of Northwestern Ohio students on board with us this weekend,” O’Neal said. “Thanks to my family and everybody involved with the race team. This car was awesome from the start. I know McCreadie was all over me a couple of times and all it was going to take was one mistake and he [McCreadie] would get by me.”

McCreadie stayed with O’Neal and was ready to pounce if O’Neal made a mistake, but settled for the second spot.

“I didn’t need the yellow at the end. It looked like he [O’Neal] got lost on the track a little bit, which happens sometimes when you are leading,” McCreadie said. “I moved around and found something that was really good. His guys told him that under the caution. We passed a lot of good cars. I wish I could have been a tick better, but it’s no shame finishing second to Hudson.”

Moran was in the hunt for his first series win of the season for most of the race and rounded out the podium in third.

“That was a heck of a race. Congratulations to Huddy. He capitalized when I messed up and I feel like we gave that one away,” Moran said. “Good job to those guys for winning and to Timmy for second. I feel like we need to keep our heads up and we can get a lot of wins this year.”

The finish:

Hudson O’Neal, Tim McCreadie, Devin Moran, Jonathan Davenport, Kyle Bronson, Jimmy Owens, Tyler Erb, Josh Richards, Shane Clanton, Mike Marlar, Tanner English, Brandon Sheppard, Ricky Thornton Jr., Steve Casebolt, Earl Pearson Jr., Rod Conley, Jeff Roth, Kirk Phillips, Rusty Griffaw, Joe Godsey, Todd Brennan, Ryan Gustin, Tyler Carpenter, Clint Keenan, Kyle Strickler, Kody Evans, Tristan Chamberlain, Billy Moyer Jr., Josh Rice.

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