The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series took to the track at East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa, Florida for the third night of the 42nd annual Winternationals. A total of 51 cars(most since 2011) hit the speedway to compete for a first prize of $7,000 on Wednesday evening. In the end, it was Brandon Overton of Evans, GA who came away as the winner in the non points paying event.
Boom Briggs used his new Club 29 Race Car to set fast time in Group A time-trials with a lap of 14.807 seconds. He beat out Kyle Bronson, Gregg Satterlee, Jesse Stovall and Timothy Culp.
Mike Benedum was fastest in Group B qualifying and overall with a time of 14.524 seconds around the third-mile facility to beat out Bobby Pierce, Jonathan Davenport, Dennis Erb, Jr. and Devin Moran.
Jimmy Owens moved from the second row to first place on the opening lap of the night’s first heat race. The Newport, Tenn. driver earned the pole for the feature by beating out Briggs and Shane Tankersley to take the first preliminary. Josh Richards started sixth but stormed to the front to capture the second heat race ahead of Stovall and Tyler Erb.
Satterlee won the third heat race from the front row as he bested Culp and Austin Hubbard. Brandon Overton secured the outside front row starting position in the main event by winning the fourth heat over second generation standouts Billy Moyer, Jr. and Hudson O’Neal.
Dennis Erb, Jr. won the fifth preliminary ahead of Pierce and Darrell Lanigan. Davenport beat out Moran and Brian Shirley to win the final heat race of the evening.
Kyle Bronson won the first B-main of the night ahead of Scott Bloomquist while Mason Zeigler took the second B-main race ahead of Don O’Neal.
Brandon Sheppard won the DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash race to claim the final place on the starting grid for the main event.
At the start of the 40-lap feature Owens went to the lead with Overton and Richards right on his rear spolier in a tight side-by-side battle. It didn’t take long for Richards to assert himself as he moved under Owens on the third circuit then moved to the top spot one lap later after the two former series champions traded slide jobs.
Just behind the two front runners, Satterlee and Overton mixed it up for third with Satterlee taking the position on lap 5 and then immediately applying pressure on Owens for third. Three laps later, Satterlee assumed the runner-up position as he moved around Owens.
Richards avoided disaster on lap 9 when the cars of Briggs and Benedum collided on the front stretch just in front of the leader.
Overton began moving forward on lap 12 when he moved inside of Owens in a battle for third while those two machines closed on Satterlee at the same time. The Owens-Overton battle continued for multiple laps before Overton took the spot on lap 16. The No. 116 then went to work on Satterlee for second one lap later.
A lap 18 caution slowed the action when Bloomquist suffered a flat tire and slowed suddenly in front of Tankersley and Zeigler. The ensuing restart allowed Overton to jump into second and then go to work on Richards for the lead of the race as Owens pulled his car into the infield with mechanical issues.
Overton’s harassment of Richards finally paid off on lap 26 when he moved around the defending series champion to go to the front. Just behind the lead duo, the cars of Satterlee, Davenport and Pierce were embroiled in a fierce fight for positions 3 through 5.
Late in the going Overton found himself in the midst of slower traffic but was able to maintain a working margin over his pursuers and took the checkered flag ahead of the pack.
Feature Finish: 1. Brandon Overton, 2. Josh Richards, 3. Gregg Satterlee, 4. Jonathan Davenport, 5. Bobby Pierce, 6. Dennis Erb, Jr., 7. Billy Moyer, Jr., 8. Tyler Erb, 9. Kyle Bronson, 10. Darrell Lanigan, 11. Jesse Stovall, 12. Brandon Sheppard, 13. Austin Hubbard, 14. Devin Moran, 15. Brian Shirley, 16. Scott Bloomquist, 17. Earl Pearson, Jr., 18. Hudson O’Neal, 19. Timothy Culp, 20. Mike Benedum, 21. Shane Tankersley, 22. Jimmy Owens, 23. Mason Zeigler, 24. Tim McCreadie, 25. Don O’Neal, 26. Boom Briggs