The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series staged the first of a two-night swing through the state of Georgia on Saturday night as the tour made its annual stop at the Dixie Speedway in Woodstock. At the end of the evening it was Chickamauga, Georgia native Dale McDowell who led all the way and came away from the historic facility with the $12,000 victory.
McDowell began the night by leading the way in Group A qualifying and overall when he turned a lap of 14.455 seconds around the clay oval. That effort beat out Josh Richards, Justin Shipley, Casey Roberts and Cla Knight.
Tyler Millwood completed the sweep by Peach State residents in time-trials as he led Group B qualifying with a lap of 14.573 to top Michael Page, Jimmy Owens, Jonathan Davenport and Austin Horton.
McDowell earned the pole position for the feature by taking the win in the night’s first heat races as he crossed the line in front of Knight. Michael Brown and Shipley while Richards took the checkered flag ahead of Casey Roberts, Brandon Overton and Donald McIntosh in the second preliminary of the evening.
Millwood would start from the outside of the front row in the main event by virtue of his victory in the third heat of the night as he bettered Owens, Austin Horton and Clint Smith just before Davenport took advantage of contact between Page and Tim McCreadie to get the win in the fourth and final heat as he beat out McCreadie, Earl Pearson, Jr., and Don O’Neal.
Ray Cook and Jason Hiett won the two B-mains used to set the remainder of the starting lineup.
At the start of the 50-lap feature it was McDowell who bolted to the early lead ahead of Richards, Davenport and Millwood. Davenport immediately issued a challenge to Richards over the runner-up spot as McDowell flexed the muscle of the Sweet-Bloomquist Race Car/Clements Racing Engine No. 17m machine.
Casey Roberts, fresh off of a $10,000 Southern Nationals Bonus Series win at Tri-County Race Track the night before, showed that he had intentions of being heard when he passed by Millwood to take fourth on lap 2. Shortly thereafter, McCreadie also swept by Millwood to move into the top-5.
McDowell quickly caught the tail of the field and found himself fighting with slower traffic for much of the first half of the affair. Just behind, Davenport used an outside move on Richards to grab the second spot on lap 18. Significantly, Davenport holds a significant lead over Richards in the LOLMDS standings as the season winds down.
The only caution flag of the night waved on lap 25 when Shipley’s car came to a stop on the backstretch.
McDowell again put distance between himself and his pursuers when the race returned to green flag conditions. The most intense racing came further back in the top-10 where Roberts, Overton and McCreadie waged war for positions 4-6 over the course of several circuits.
With ten laps remaining, McDowell again found himself among slower machines which allowed Davenport to close the gap. But over the final circuits McDowell was able to keep the competition in arrears as he sailed on to the checkered flag to collect his fourth Dixie Shootout win.
Feature Finish: 1. Dale McDowell, 2. Jonathan Davenport, 3. Josh Richards, 4. Brandon Overton, 5. Tim McCreadie, 6. Casey Roberts, 7. Tyler Millwood, 8. Jimmy Owens, 9. Don O’Neal, 10. Earl Pearson, Jr., 11. Clint Smith, 12. Austin Horton, 13. Frank Ingram, 14. Scott Bloomquist, 15. Jason Hiett, 16. Darrell Lanigan, 17. Ray Cook, 18. Michael Brown, 19. Dennis Erb, Jr., 20. Bobby Pierce, 21. Jason Croft, 22. Gregg Satterlee, 23. Zach Leonhardi, 24. Cla Knight, 25. Justin Shipley, 26. Donald McIntosh