Lucas Oil weekend might not bring much clarity at the top of the standings

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The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will swing back into action this coming weekend with races set for the Brownstown(IN) Speedway on Saturday night and a rescheduled event at the Atomic Speedway in Alma, Ohio on Sunday. After having what would have been a lucrative double-header cancelled because of weather at 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, Tennessee last Friday and Saturday, this will be the tour’s first action since Georgia-Florida SpeedWeeks back in January and February.

Something that might not come from this weekend, however, will be clarity in terms of who will rise up as serious threats to compete for the season-long title. So far in 2022, there have been no schedule conflicts with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series and that will be true again at these upcoming venues. As was the case during SpeedWeeks, key invaders will make their way to Indiana and Ohio.

As a result, those non-regulars who entered multiple Lucas Oil races during SpeedWeeks and did well enough to be highly ranked in the standings may not fall back very far if at all after these two features are completed.

Despite not planning to run the full schedule, Brandon Sheppard leads the Lucas Oil standings

Brandon Sheppard currently leads the standings after posting four wins in February. The driver of the Rocket Chassis house car earned eight top-five finishes along with eleven top-tens in the 12 features held so far. And while the New Berlin, Illinois native does have both LOLMDS races on his schedule for this weekend, he is almost certainly going to ultimately try for a fourth consecutive and fifth overall WoO Late Models title this season so his Lucas Oil entries over the renainder of the year will be limited.

Devin Moran used three wins and ten top-fives to place himself second behind Sheppard in points. And like Sheppard, he and his Tye Twarog Longhorn Chassis team plans on racing at Brownstown and Atomic. After that though, the Dresden, Ohio racer plans to participate in upcoming XR Super Series races as well as the Castrol FloRacing Night in America events but does not have the full Lucas Oil tour on his schedule.

Tim McCreadie is the reigning LOLMDS champ

Reigning series champion Tim McCreadie sits third in the standings and appears poised to put up a strong defense of his 2021 championship after grabbing one win along with six top-five and nine top-10 finishes during SpeedWeeks. The Paylor Motorsports driver from Watertown, NY looks the like highest ranked among those who will run the full tour this year. Two strong finishes, even if Sheppard and Moran run well, would help to solidify his place atop the regulars.

Positions 4 through 8 also appear to be occupied by drivers and teams who will be seeking a title with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in 2022.

Tyler Erb does not have a complete schedule posted on his website but the Best Performance Motorsports team has been a tour regular for the past several seasons. With the New Waverly, Texas native running well early, it would seem reasonable to expect that this Rocket Chassis crew to remain on the tour.

2021 LOLMDS ‘Rookie of the Year’ Ricky Thornton Jr. ranks fifth in the standings. The SSI Motorsports Longhorn Chassis pilot has yet to win a feature on the series this year but last season’s Dirt Track World Championship victor has amassed four top-five and nine top-ten results to this point in the young campaign. The No. 20RT driver’s development in his second full season on turn will be interesting to watch.

Ricky Thornton Jr. will be looking to back up his Rookie of the Year campaign of last year

Ashton Winger, Hudson O’Neal and Earl Pearson Jr. occupy spots 6-8 in the standings and each looks to stay on tour all year. While each ran well enough during SpeedWeeks to place themselves in the top-ten of the standings, improvement over the next few races could be important in setting the tone for the remainder of the season. Brownstown and Atomic would be great places to start their ascension up the ranks.

It’s still very early in the season and much is yet to be determined. Considering that the top-two drivers in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series are not likely to be regulars this season but both plan to race this weekend, there may not be a series stalwart to emerge as the points leader after these next two races. Even though this weekend may not provide complete clarity at the top, it does provide a chance for those further back to make a move and work their way into contention once the regulars begin to separate themselves from the invaders.

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The time has come for regional racers to make a decision

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