The Schaeffer’s Oil Southern National Series came to its traditional end destination on Saturday night as the tour roared onto the high banks of the Tazewell Speedway. For the second night in a row, Dale McDowell collected a winner’s check valued at $10,000(actually $10,053) after also scoring a Southern Nationals win on Friday night at 411 Motor Speedway.
Brandon Overton was crowned as the Southern Nationals champion for 2019.
Kyle Strickler led the way in Group A qualifying with a mark of 11.850 seconds around the third-mile speed plant to better the efforts of Forrest Trent, Jason Trammell and Ross Bailes.
Michael Chilton proved to be fastest in Group B time-trials with a lap of 12.112 seconds to out pace Dale McDowell, Brandon Overton and Vic Hill.
Strickler earned the pole position for the feature race by winning the first heat race ahead of Trammell, Cla Knight and Tanner English while Bailes took the win in the second preliminary ahead of Jake Knowles, Jackie Boggs and Forrest Trent.
Overton would start the main event from the outside of the front row by virtue of his win in the third heat over Chilton, Donald McIntosh and Jason Jameson just before McDowell took the fourth and final heat by beating out Hill, Dakotah Knuckles and Tyler Clem.
Jeff Wolfenbarger won the B-main used to set the remainder of the starting lineup.
At the start of the 53-lap feature it was Stickler who took the early lead ahead of Overton, McDowell, Bailes and Chilton. However, Chilton’s night would come to an early end when he slowed to bring out the race’s only caution flag just after the completion of the first lap.
The lap 1 restart provided McDowell with the opportunity he needed to move forward as the No. 17m machine moved by Overton to claim the runner-up position behind Strickler. At the same time, Trammell also moved forward as he passed by Bailes to grab fourth. But that pass would prove to be short-lived as Bailes would reclaim the fourth spot away from Trammell on lap 7.
Just outside the top-5, a fierce battle raged between series title contender Knowles, Hill and McIntosh as they contested positions 6-8.
McDowell began to harass Strickler for the lead of the race on lap 10 as the two cars fought through slower traffic. Those efforts would pay off two laps later as McDowell surged to the lead and immediately began to pull away from the former front runner.
From that point, the race boiled down a fight for second as Overton pulled up to the rear spoiler of Strickler and set about the task of moving around. However, Strickler would not give up easily as the two would continue this battle until the latter stages of the feature.
Finally, Overton took second on lap 49. Bailes, who had been lurking just behind the battle for second, then moved in and also went to work on Strickler. But after a strong bid with just over two laps remaining, Strickler fought off the challenge.
But in the end it was McDowell who came away with the race win while Overton’s second place finish was more than enough to secure the series title.
Feature Finish: 1. Dale McDowell, 2. Brandon Overton, 3. Kyle Strickler, 4. Ross Bailes, 5. Jason Trammell, 6. Jake Knowles, 7. Vic Hill, 8. Donald McIntosh, 9. Jackie Boggs, 10. Dakotah Knuckles, 11. Cla Knight, 12. Tanner English, 13. Forrest Trent, 14. Kenny Collins, 15. Tyler Clem, 16. Eric Webber, 17. Mack McCarter, 18. Greg Estes, 19. Jeff Wolfenbarger, 20. Benji Hicks, 21. Jason Jameson, 22. Michael Chilton