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Hudson O'Neal en route to victory at East Bay Raceway Park. (Paul Arch photo)

O’Neal Rolls In East Bay Lucas LM Run

GIBSONTON, Fla. — Hudson O’Neal won the opening round of the 48th annual Wieland Winternationals presented by Lucas Oil on Tuesday night at East Bay Raceway Park. 

O’Neal picked up right where he left off, ending last year’s Winternationals at East Bay winning the Thursday and Friday night programs as Saturday’s finale was rained out. O’Neal battled with Tyler Erb for the first 10 laps of the race until taking the lead for good on lap 11.

Daulton Wilson tracked down O’Neal on occasion, but never got the opportunity to pass O’Neal as O’Neal raced through traffic toward the end of the race to score his 27th career win on the tour.

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Hudson O’Neal (Mike Ruefer photo)

Wilson finished second, followed by Jonathan Davenport, Ashton Winger and Devin Moran, who started 18th.

“It looked like they shoved those tires in three and four a little bit,” O’Neal said after his fifth East Bay triumph. “I knew that if I could just stay patient enough eventually that top was going to go away. Tyler [Erb] went down there in front of me one time and it came down to a crucial pass coming off of two he just missed the bottom a little bit and let me sneak in. We rubbed some doors, but I knew that was probably going to be the only chance I had to get back by him. We had a little different tire on I feel like that the rest of the field, but it ended up working out.”

Wilson finished second for the ninth time in his career in Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competition. 

“The race track was pretty bottom dominant and starting sixth I knew we had to get to the front quickly,” Wilson said. “It was a great night for us, we had good speed and moved moved forward tonight. We brought home everything in one piece. Since we went to this new car it’s really easy to drive. I feel like I can go wherever I want to. Hats off to my guys for building a great race car.”

Davenport was third.

“I would have bet this thing would had rubbered in no time and it never did for sure. I don’t know why it didn’t. We went a little harder on tire. I lost my grandpa today. He was probably one of the pioneers of the sport that nobody knows about. He probably owned a car for 40 or 50 years. We hate that we lost him but he lived a great life, he was 94 years old. We was hoping we could win one for him and hopefully tomorrow night we can do that.”

The finish:

Hudson O’Neal, Daulton Wilson, Jonathan Davneport, Ashton Winger, Devin Moran, Tyler Erb, Chase Junghans, Brandon Sheppard, Ricky Thornton Jr., Spencer Hughes, Dennis Erb Jr., Brian Shirley, Max Blair, Garrett Alberson, Tim McCreadie, Boom Briggs, Wil Herrington, Garrett Smith, Tony Jackson Jr., Matt Cosner, Tyler Millwood, Logan Zarin, Kyle Bronson, Jimmy Owens.