The DIRTcar Nationals for Late Model machines returned to Volusia Speedway Park on Tuesday for the second night of the DIRTcar Nationals. At the end of an evening of racing action, it was Tim McCreadie who posed with a live alligator in victory lane and left the Barberville, FL track with a winner’s check valued at $7,000 after holding off the previously red hot Brandon Sheppard.
Counting his win at Golden Isles Speedway and victory at East Bay, it was the third triumph of SpeedWeeks for T-mac.
Jimmy Owens proved to be the fastest in Group A qualifying by turning a lap in 16.965 seconds around the .425 mile clay oval to beat out Tim McCreadie, Logan Martin and Matt Cosner. Dale McDowell was quickest the way in Group B time-trials with a time of 16.755 seconds to better the efforts of Brandon Overton, Stormy Scott and Blair Nothdurft. Ricky Weiss led the way in Group C time-trials with a time of 16,889 seconds to top Brian Shirley, Pearson Lee Williams and Chris Madden.
Jonathan Davenport posted the best lap in Group D time-trials with a time of 16.700 seconds to outperform Dennis Erb Jr., Mike Marlar and Shane Clanton. Michael Norris was first at the top of the board in Group E time-trials with a lap of 16.826 seconds besting Tyler Millwood, Kyle Bronson and Donnie Chappell. And finally, Rick Eckert established the best time in Group F qualifying at 16.823 seconds to better Brandon Sheppard, Donny Schatz and Darrell Lanigan.
The top-3 from each heat race would transfer to the feature.
Tim McCreadie won the first heat race of the night by besting Logan Martin and Cade Dillard while Brandon Overton took the second preliminary ahead of Dale McDowell and Stormy Scott.
Brian Shirley was victorious in the third heat over Ricky Weiss and Chris Madden then Dennis Erb Jr. was first in the fourth heat beating out Jonathan Davenport and Mike Marlar.
Kyle Bronson was the winner of the night’s preliminary race ahead of Michael Norris and Mark Whitener with Brandon Sheppard taking the sixth and final heat by bettering Darrell Lanigan and Rick Eckert.
Kyle Strickler took the first Last Chance Showdown by beating out Jimmy Owens with Shane Clanton getting the win in the second LCS over Josh Richards. Finally, it was 10-time World of Outlaws Nos Energy Drinks Sprint Car champion Donny Schatz taking the win in the third and final LCS ahead of Tyler Millwood.
The DIRTcar redraw placed McCreadie on the pole with Sheppard, Bronson, Erb, Overton and Shirley lining up in order on the starting grid.
At the start of the 30-lap feature it was McCreadie who bolted to the early lead with Erb, Sheppard, Bronson and Shirley in tow. Sheppard, the hottest driver during SpeedWeeks, passed by Erb for the runner-up spot on the second circuit. And on lap 5 the No. 1 machine looked underneath McCreadie in a bid to grab the race lead but the No. 39 held him off.
Davenport made his presence felt by taking fifth from Shirley on lap 6 then Overton passed by Shirley for sixth two laps later.
Laps 9 and 10 saw Bronson pull up side-by-side with Erb to challenge for third while at the same time Davenport an Overton fought over fifth. And just one lap later it was Sheppard who look inside of McCreadie for the race lead.
Bronson took third from Erb at the halfway point as the two lead cars began to encounter slower traffic. On lap 16 Erb took the third position back away from Bronson as the top-4 cars ran in tight formation.
Bronson once more took third from Erb on lap 18 as Sheppard continued to harass McCreadie for the race lead.
The caution flag waved on lap 20 for the slowing car of Whitener. On the restart the No. 39 of McCreadie pulled out to relatively comfortable lead after Sheppard made a brief bit to take the top spot.
Feature Finish: 1. Tim McCreadie, 2. Brandon Sheppard, 3. Kyle Bronson, 4. Dennis Erb Jr., 5. Jonathan Davenport, 6. Mike Marlar, 7. Dale McDowell, 8. Darrell Lanigan, 9. Ricky Weiss, 10. Michael Norris, 11. Jimmy Owens, 12. Brandon Overton, 13. Brian Shirley, 14. Chris Madden, 15. Cade Dillard, 16. Stormy Scott, 17. Chase Junghans, 18. Rick Eckert, 19. Josh Richards, 20. Kyle Strickler, 21. Shane Clanton, 22. Donny Schatz, 23. Tyler Millwood, 24. Logan Martin, 25. mark Whitener, 26. Allen Weisser