During the 2018 season Jimmy Owens led a total of 18 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series features but because of mechanical failures and/or just plain bad luck he only won two of those races. In events such as the Dirt Million and the LOLMDS main event at Tazewell Speedway he had built commanding leads only to see those advantages go away when mechanical issues derailed his efforts.
Unfortunately for the Newport, TN racer, the 2019 season has started off no better. In the two features contested at the Golden Isles Speedway near Brunswick, GA, Owens scored finishes of 13th and 21st which have placed the three-time series champion all the way back in the 18th position of the series standings.
While he never led the first feature race on Saturday(held over after being postponed due to weather from Friday), Owens had a strong car and was battling for a place within the top-5 after having started 11th. However, contact from Jonathan Davenport’s right rear while those two were racing along with Brandon Sheppard sent Owens into the turn 3 retaining wall. He returned to the track but was mired deep in the field and eventually retired from the race.
The regularly scheduled Saturday night event was going even better for the 47-year-old Owens as he started from the front row by virtue of a win in the third heat race of the night. The No. 20 machine led early in the going and appeared poised for a strong run. However, Scott Bloomquist drove inside of Owens in turn 1 on lap 10 and slid up the track in front of “The Newport Nightmare”. The two cars touched and Owens was sent spinning. To further add to his troubles, Josh Richards was left with nowhere to go and drove into and under the front of the Owens car. The resulting damage brought about another early retirement for the Ramirez Motorsports team.
Owens clearly showed that he has the speed to be a contender for race wins in 2019. He qualified in the top-5 of his group each night, finished third and first respectively in his heat races, and led laps in the main event on Saturday night. It’s just a matter of finding the luck that will get him to the finish line without incident. And of course, there is a very long way to go in the 2019 season.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series moves to East Bay Raceway Park in the Tampa, Florida area for a week long stay at that facility then will end its portion of Georgia-Florida SpeedWeeks at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida next Sunday night.
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