Brandon Overton completes Southern Nationals title run with Tazewell win

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Brandon Overton claime dthe lead with just two laps remaining

Brandon Overton came into the Southern Nationals finale at Tazewell Speedway with the series points lead and tied with Donald McIntosh for the highest number of victories achieved in the 2017 version of the Ray Cook-promoted mini-tour. He left with his hands on the series trophy and the overall lead in the number of wins during the two-week span of the series by making a late-race pass on McIntosh to earn $10,000 for the race win and $5,053 for the series championship.

Shanon Buckingham proved to be the fastest in Group A qualifying and overall when he laid down a lap of 11.363 seconds around the third-mile speed plant. He was followed by Billy Ogle, Jr., Craig Vosbergen, David Payne and Forrest Trent in that grouping.

Donald McIntosh set the pace in Group B qualifying with a lap of 11.439 seconds around the high-banked facility. Overton, Dakotah Knuckles, Austin Neely and Vic Hill rounded out the top-5 for that group.

Vosbergen beat out Buckingham, Trent and Stacy Boles to claim the first heat race of the night while Ogle took the honors in the second preliminary ahead of Payne, Chicky Barton and Matt Henderson.

McIntosh won the third heat over Knuckles, Hill and Kenny Collins as Overton dominated the final preliminary of the evening in beating out Brian Smith, Neely and Chad Ogle.

Clyde Overholt won the only B-main race of the night.

Vosbergen drove to the early lead when the green flag waved over the 51-lap main event with McIntosh, Ogle, Overton and Knuckles lined up behind the front runner. McIntosh wasted little time in offering up a challenge for the race lead as he looked inside of Vosbergen on lap 4 as the top-4 cars ran in tight formation around the high speed track.

Overton went to work on Ogle in an attempt to take third on lap as McIntosh again peeked under Vosbergen just one lap later.

On lap 12 McIntosh made his move for the top spot on the leader board as he rooted his way under and around Vosbergen. The Australian found his car sliding up the banking after the move which allowed both Ogle and Overton to also pass by.

McIntosh(7) took the lead from Vosbergen on lap 12

Overton wrested the runner-up position away from Ogle on lap 13 and the showdown between the series top-2 winners was on as McIntosh and Overton then ran first and second.

However, the action would be slowed on lap 14 when the car driven by Chicky Barton slowed on track with a broken drive shaft. The driver required medical attention after pulling his machine into the infield but was awake and talking with emergency workers as he was taken away.

The next several laps saw an increase in the intensity level as McIntosh battled to hold back numerous challenges for the lead of the race by Overton. Meanwhile, Buckingham offered an equally relentless challenge to Knuckles as those two drivers fought over the fifth spot.

Knuckles(21) and Ogle battle

On lap 17, Vosbergen and Hill engaged in a position swapping battle for the seventh position as the two passed each other three times during a single lap.

McIntosh and Overton continued their contest for the lead as they raced among slower traffic lap after lap in front of a big crowd that had assembled to take in the finale event.

Matt Henderson suffered a flat tire to bring out a yellow flag on lap 36 which set up the final dash to the finish.

After harassing McIntosh for several laps, Overton seized his opportunity with just two circuits remaining when McIntosh found himself held up in traffic. The No. 116 swept to the outside of turn four and moved around the No. 7 car as the two roared by the grandstand.

From there, Overton would not be denied as he claimed his fourth checkered flag of the series.

Overton in victory lane

 

Feature Finish: 1. Brandon Overton, 2. Donald McIntosh, 3. Billy Ogle, Jr., 4. Dakotah Knuckles, 5. Shanon Buckingham, 6. David Payne, 7. Craig Vosbergen, 8. Brian Smith, 9. Forrest Trent, 10. Austin Neely, 11. Kenny Collins, 12. Matt Henderson, 13. Chad Ogle, 14. Jeff Neubert, 15. Josh Fields, 16. Stacy Boles, 17. Vic Hill, 18. Steve Smith, 19. Chicky Barton, 20. Clyde Overholt, 21. Farrel Skelton, 22. Jason Walker

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