The World of Outlaws Late Model Series concluded a two-day weekend sweep through Tennessee on Saturday night with a $12,000-to-win event in front of the biggest crowd ever to watch a race at Smoky Mountain Speedway. Jimmy Owens earned the trophy and a big payday as he crossed the finish line ahead of the pack at the Maryville, TN facility. In the process, the Newport, TN driver put an end to the winning streak of second-finishing Brandon Sheppard that had seen the Rocket Chassis house car driver score five WoO Late Model out of a total of six feature wins in a row.
Sheppard scored the win on Friday night when the series paid a visit to Duck River Raceway Park in middle Tennessee.
Vic Hill driving a new MB Customs car proved to be fastest in Group A qualifying as he turned a lap in 17.125 seconds around the 4/10 mile clay oval to better the efforts of Brandon Sheppard, Darrell Lanigan and Josh Richards.
Jonathan Davenport was quickest in Group B time-trials and overall with a lap of 16.954 seconds as he beat out Chris Madden, Jimmy Owens and Chase Junghans.
Darrell Lanigan won the night’s first heat race ahead of Vic Hill, Ricky Weiss and Brian Shirley while Brandon Sheppard took the second preliminary over Shanon Buckingham, Brandon Overton and Josh Richards.
Jimmy Owens won the third heat race by beating out Mike Marlar, Jonathan Davenport and Brent Larson just before Devin Moran earned the win in the fourth and final heat over Chris Madden, Chase Junghans and Don O’Neal.
Cory Hedgecock and Tommy Kerr were the winners of the two Last Chance Showdown races used to set the remainder of the starting lineup for the feature.
The WoO Late Models redraw placed Sheppard at the front of the field for the main event with Owens, Moran, Lanigan, Marlar, Madden, Hill and Buckingham positioned behind the pole sitter.
At the start of the 60-lap feature it was Owens and Sheppard who battled side-by-side for a couple of laps with Moran, Langian and Madden in tow. However, a caution for a spin by Hill that ultimately collected multiple cars would slow the action.
On the ensuing restart Lanigan got the jump on Sheppard and moved into the runner-up position bouncing Sheppard back to third. Two laps later, Davenport entered the top-5 as he by Moran to seize fifth. All the while, Owens began slipping away from his pursuers as he built a lead of approximately ten car lengths.
Sheppard closed in on Lanigan and began applying pressure the second place runner on lap 14. The No. 1 car was finally able to pass the No. 29 on lap 16 and then set his sights on Owens, who was by this time negotiating slower traffic.
Further back, Weiss looked to move forward as he began to pressure Davenport for fifth, a spot he would claim just after the halfway point.
As they continued to battle slower cars, the top-6 of Owens, Sheppard, Lanigan, Madden, Weiss and Davenport raced in tight formation as the event worked into its second half.
A yellow flag for the slowing car of Dennis Erb, Jr. slowed the action briefly. The restart that followed allowed Madden to move by Lanigan to grab the third position. However, just one lap later Moran spun while battling Marlar for a top-10 position to bring out the final caution of the night.
Madden gave up two positions on the lap 40 restart when Lanigan and Weiss drove by to claim third and fourth. Just behind that fight, Marlar slipped around Davenport to claim sixth.
But the remainder of the laps it would be Owens who would show the way and drive under the checkered flag first.
Feature Finish: 1. Jimmy Owens, 2. Brandon Sheppard, 3. Ricky Weiss, 4. Darrell Lanigan, 5. Chris Madden, 6. Jonathan Davenport, 7. Mike Marlar, 8. Don O’Neal, 9. Shane Clanton, 10. Shanon Buckingham, 11. Brandon Overton, 12. Chase Junghans, 13. Brent Larson, 14. Vic Hill, 15. Cade Dillard, 16. Kyle Hardy, 17. Boom Briggs, 18. Dennis Erb, Jr., 19. Tommy Kerr, 20. Devin Moran, 21. Brian Shirley, 22. Josh Richards, 23. Cory Hedgecock, 24. Michael Chilton