The 2017 edition of the Sunoco North/South 100 lived up to the billing and expectations based on the last few editions as Tim McCreadie made a late race pass to collect his first win in the coveted race.
Sixty-seven cars were on hand trying to grab the $50,000 first place check at Florence Speedway in Florence, Kentucky. A series of heat races on Friday set the starting 16 spots based on passing points. It set the stage for a front row duel between Scott Bloomquist and Jimmy Owens for Saturday’s main event.
Owens grabbed the initial lead on the start of the 100-lap feature. Bloomquist settled into second as cars behind the lead duo began to jockey around for positions. Owens was setting a steady pace as he encountered lap track a dozen laps into the race. Steve Francis and Boom Briggs battled at the tail of the field leaving Owens only the middle groove to pass both cars. As Owens struggled to get past the two slower cars, Bloomquist closed in and passed Owens for the lead on lap 18.
The race’s first caution flag flew on lap 34. With the field lined up, several cars had trouble going on the restart including defending race winner Bobby Pierce who slid from 4th to 6th as another caution waved on lap 38.
Bloomquist stretched his lead out over Owens following the next restart. Brandon Overton, who started 11th, entered the picture by moving into the top 5 passing Josh Richards and later battling Bobby Pierce for 4th. Pierce and Overton swapped positions a number of laps before another caution was displayed on lap 63.
The next restart was the beginning of the race taking a turn. McCreadie used the outside line to finally pass Owens for second. Overton tried passing Owens for third, but Owens held off the challenge. Pierce closed up on Overton and took third from the Georgia driver. Pierce then passed Owens for third and tracked down McCreadie.
Bloomquist appeared to be in control of the race as McCreadie and Pierce battled hard for second. As both drivers exchanged slide jobs, the pair began to track down Bloomquist. Both driver settled into the high groove with the leader in sight. As Bloomquist continued to run the low line, McCreadie and Pierce were within striking distance with 10 laps to go. As McCreadie tried to pass Bloomquist for the lead on lap 95, the veteran driver tried to slide up in front of McCreadie with Pierce locked onto McCreadie’s rear bumper. McCreadie completed the pass one lap later and brought Pierce with him.
With 3 laps to go, Pierce dove to the bottom in an attempt to pass McCreadie. The New York driver kept his #39 wound up on the top side and held off Pierce to win his first North/South 100. Pierce was second and Bloomquist was third.
McCreadie did several burnouts on the track, then applauded the fans in victory lane that gave him a huge cheer following the race.
Top 10 finishers: Tim McCreadie, Bobby Pierce, Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Darrell Lanigan, Brandon Overton, Zack Dohm, Josh Richards, Jonathan Davenport, Hudson O’Neal.
In preliminary action on Saturday, Zack Dohm, Eddie Carrier Jr., and Gregg Satterlee won the B-main races.