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Hudson O'Neal (Mike Ruefer photo)

O’Neal Nips Overton At Davenport

DAVENPORT, Iowa — The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series made its first appearance in 17 years on Wednesday night at the Davenport Speedway and it did not disappoint.

Hudson O’Neal scored what will be a contender for race of the year as he barely held off Brandon Overton for his first series victory of the season.

O’Neal took the lead for good on lap 34 and beat Overton by just .589 seconds at the stripe to become the 16th different winner on the series tour this year.

Mike Marlar, like O’Neal and Overton, led during the race but finished in third followed by Jimmy Owens and Spencer Hughes.

O’Neal, in only his second appearance at Davenport, is now two-for-two at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds track as he also went to victory lane last July 27 over Overton.

O’Neal jumped to the lead at the start of the 40-lap event, but his lead was short-lived as Overton, who started from the pole took over the lead. Overton held the top spot until the high side running Marlar grabbed the lead on the 13th lap. 

Marlar extended his lead over O’Neal and Overton as traffic came into play. O’Neal would take the low route in passing Marlar with six laps to go. Overton followed suit dropping Marlar to third in the closing laps.

“I am feeling a lot of emotions right now,” O’Neal said. “My team has kept digging and digging. I have an awesome support system behind me. It’s nice to finally show what we can do. I am just so excited to get to July and get our first win. It’s tested our patience a lot; we just never give up.

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Hudson O’Neal (Mike Ruefer photo)

“We all raced right there the whole race; it was awesome. I just kept trying to pay attention to my signals. I heard them outside of me a couple of times. I tried the top there for one or two laps and it wasn’t any good. I just moved down to the bottom, and I knew if I didn’t miss that bottom, I was going to be ok. I wish they had 10 more races here.”

Overton picked up the runner slot just missing a clean sweep for the night.

“This is an awesome race track,” Overton said. “It’s hard to go anywhere and race like this. Thanks to the Kays for bringing Lucas Oil back. Man, it’s a really fun place and its refreshing for sure. Congrats to Hudson, he was patient. I moved down through the middle, but he was way down there.”

Marlar, who returned to the state of Iowa for the first time since winning his third Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals last September, finished in third.

“It was an awesome race. I want to thank the Kay family they have done an awesome job with this race track. This dirt has a little more grip in it than Knoxville. It’s a little different, but still an awesome track. I used to enjoy racing on the big track as well. We were three-wide on lap 20 and three wide with three to go. My car didn’t run the bottom good; it just kind of skates up the track. The racetrack was just unbelievable.”

Justin Kay won the IMCA late model feature.

The finish:

Feature (40 laps): 1. Hudson O’Neal; 2. Brandon Overton; 3. Mike Marlar; 4. Jimmy Owens; 5. Spencer Hughes; 6. Tim McCreadie; 7. Ricky Thorton Jr.; 8. Ryan Gustin; 9. Brandon Sheppard; 10. Daulton Wilson; 11. Kyle Strickler; 12. Tyler Bruening; 13. Cade Dillard; 14. Garrett Alberson; 15. Earl Pearson Jr.; 16. Nick Hoffman; 17. Johnny Scott; 18. Ross Robinson; 19. Tyler Erb; 20. Shannon Babb; 21. Chris Simpson; 22. Frank Heckenast Jr.; 23. Ricky Weiss; 24. Chad Simpson;


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