Rising stars Moran & O’Neal facing an unfortunate parallel

The racing careers of Devin Moran and Hudson O’Neal have multiple parallels with each other. Both are the sons of two of Dirt Late Model racing’s most well-known figures. Each was crowned as a national touring series Rookie of the Year in 2017. Each can boast of top-10 finishes in the final standings of a national touring series and both have achieved significant feature wins during their relatively short careers.

However, as the end of the 2019 season fast approaches the news of another, less hopeful, parallel for two of Dirt Late Model racing’s brightest young stars was made known. Both Moran and O’Neal recently received news that they will not be back with the teams they have previously raced for during the upcoming 2020 season.

Devin Moran

The 25-year-old Moran drove on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in 2019 for Dunn-Benson Motorsports. Although he did not win a race on that tour this season, he and the DBM team finished consistently and still managed a sixth place finish in the final series standings.

Moran, the son of Hall of Fame driver Donnie Moran, was the 2017 World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series Rookie of the Year as he drove to a fourth place finish in the overall standings that season. He can count the $30,000 Prairie Dirt Classic at the Fairbury(IL) American Legion Speedway and the $15,000 Coors Light Fall Classic at Whynot(MS) Motorsports Park as two of his top career victories.

Moran will compete in the National 100 at East Alabama Motor Speedway and the Fall Classic at Whynot Motorsports Park while driving the No. 22 car for Tommy Pope to finish out the 2019 season. However, it has already been announced that “The Mailman” will pilot a No. 9 machine for Tye Twarog throughout the 2020 campaign. This will serve as a reunification with the car owner in which he enjoyed success in 2017 and 2018.

Twarog has stated that he hopes to enter Moran in one of the major tours next year but much will depend on sponsorship.

Devin Moran will be back behind the wheel of Tye Twarog’s No. 9 car in 2020

Click here to check out our interview with Moran from earlier this season in which he discusses the ending of his time with Dunn-Benson. 

Hudson O’Neal

The 19-year-old O’Neal just recently received the news that his SSI Motorsports team will be dissolved at the end of the current season. This comes after a seventh place result in the 2019 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series standings in a campaign that saw him earn a total of five checkered flags, including $15,000 LOLMDS victories at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tenn. and at his home track at the Brownstown(IN) Speedway.

O’Neal, the son of star driver Don O’Neal, was the 2017 Rookie of the Year on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. He can count the $20,000 Clash at the Mag at Magnolia(MS) and the $12,000 Ralph Latham Memorial at Florence(KY) Speedway as two of his most prestigious triumphs.

While in the midst of a solid 2018 effort that had seen him score the Magnolia and Florence wins, O’Neal was forced to sit out the final third of the year following shoulder surgery.

“The New Deal” will steer the No. 71 machine he has driven over the past four years for owners Todd and Vicki Burns for the final time in the upcoming World of Outlaws sanctioned World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. But unlike Moran, the future for O’Neal is largely unknown as he searches for a ride to carry him into the coming season.

Hudson O’Neal(71) racing alongside his father

Dirt Late Model Racing is fortunate enough to be populated with some very big stars. However, some of those well-known racers have reached the ages of 40 and even 50. Having young and talented competitors who can step in and led the sport into the future is, of course, beneficial. Both of these young drivers have demonstrated the talent to do exactly that. Hopefully the opportunities will present themselves to let each of them shine on the dirt tracks of America for years to come.

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