The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series made its way to the Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC on Friday night to contest a $10,000-to-win feature race as the second in what is scheduled to be a three-race weekend for the national touring series. Brandon Overton thrilled the huge crowd assembled with a daring three-wide pass that eventually led to him collecting the winner’s rewards.
Chris Ferguson picked up the win on Thursday night at North Carolina’s Fayetteville Motor Speedway in the first leg of those events.
Scott Bloomquist was fastest in Group A qualifying and overall when he posted a lap of 15.328 seconds around the 4/10 mile clay oval with Ferguson, Johnny Pursley and Tim McCreadie following. However, the time posted by McCreadie, who ranked third in the LOLMDS standings prior to the race, was disallowed when his car came up light at the scales.
Overton set quick time in Group B qualifying with a time of 15.408 seconds around ‘The Place Your Momma Warned You About’. Jimmy Owens, Jonathan Davenport and Boom Briggs followed Overton in that group.
Bloomquist earned the pole for the feature by winning the first heat race over Josh Richards, Don O’Neal and Steve Francis while Ferguson took the second preliminary ahead of Ross Bailes, Earl Pearson, Jr. and Dennis Erb, Jr.
Davenport would start from the outside of the front row in the feature by virtue of beating out Overton, Michael Brown and Brent Dixon in the third heat. Owens won heat 4 over Briggs, Donald Bradsher and G.R. Smith.
McCreadie won the lone B-main used to set the remainder of the starting lineup for the main event.
Davenport took the lead at the start of the 50-lap feature when emerged onto the backstretch after racing Bloomquist side-by-side through the first set of turns after the waving of the green flag. Ferguson, Owens and Richards trailed the lead duo at the completion of the first circuit.
However, Richards, who assumed the series points lead on Thursday night in Fayetteville, was not content with his position and he moved around Owens to seize fourth as the cars completed their second lap on the track.
The first caution of the night was displayed on lap 3 when Darrell Lanigan spun after losing his left rear wheel. Following the ensuing restart, the cars fell into line for appeared as if it would be a follow-the-leader type affair with Davenport continuing to show the way.
A lap 19 yellow flag for a flat tire on the third running machine of Ferguson changed the entire complexion of the race. On the restart, Richards and Bloomquist raced hard into turn one as they contested second place. Bloomquist’s car was forced high on the track and the defending series champion fell back to fifth as Owens and Bailes passed him by.
Overton then took his shot at Bloomquist as the No. 116 moved around the No. 0 to capture fifth. But Bloomquist would not go quietly as he retook the spot away from Overton two laps later. In the meantime, Davenport appeared to be on cruise control as he stretched his lead to about five car lengths over Richards and Owens while Bailes, Bloomquist and Overton continued their fight further back.
On lap 27, Overton’s car came to life in the outside groove as he passed by Bloomquist for fifth then then Bailes for fourth on lap 30. Three laps later the Georgia native took third away from Owens with another outside maneuver.
Over the next ten laps, Davenport, Richards, Overton and Owens ran in tight formation as they battled for the lead. On virtually every lap one or more of those competitors was attempting a pass on one of the others. On lap 35, Richards moved inside of Davenport in an attempt to grab the lead while Overton looked to the outside of both.
Finally on lap 40, Richards again went low on Davenport. This time, however, a gap was left between those two cars and Overton seized the opportunity. As they roared off of turn two and down the backstretch, the No. 116 squeezed between the other two and stormed into turn three with the lead.
Davenport’s night turned sour on lap 46 when he spun and tagged the outside wall in turn one. Following the restart from that caution, no one was able to challenge Overton as the was the first to see the checkered flag.
Feature Finish: 1. Brandon Overton, 2. Josh Richards, 3. Jimmy Owens, 4. Scott Bloomquist, 5. Ross Bailes, 6. Don O’Neal, 7. Earl Pearson Jr., 8. Steve Francis, 9. Michael Brown, 10. Tim McCreadie, 11. Brent Dixon, 12. Dennis Erb Jr., 13. Gregg Satterlee, 14. Boom Briggs, 15. G.R. Smith, 16. Hudson O’Neal, 17. Donald Bradsher, 18. Jonathan Davenport, 19. Chris Ferguson, 20. Tyler Millwood, 21. Johnny Pursley, 22. Darrell Lanigan, 23. Casey Roberts, 24. Dennis Franklin