The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is set to resume racing action this week with events slated for Golden Isles Speedway near Brunswick, GA on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Since it has been weeks since the series last ran, here is a reminder of what each driver had done prior to the shutdown brought on by the coronavirus.
Before the stoppage, the 2020 version of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series had contested a total of eight feature races at three separate tracks during the tour’s portion of Georgia-Florida SpeedWeeks. Events held so far at Georgia’s Golden Isles Speedway(one of the two scheduled races was lost to rain) along with Florida facilities East Bay Raceway Park and All-Tech Raceway have provided a degree of insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the drivers and teams who plan to run this tour throughout the season.
For this year’s edition of SpeedWeeks, the LOLMDS instituted a new policy which allowed for drivers to count their best five finishes out of all the races held during that 9-day period toward their season-long point total rather than selecting particular features to serve as points-paying events. As a result, most of the regular teams entered as many races as they could at the tracks mentioned above in order to secure the best possible point totals upon leaving the Sunshine State.
One thing to further keep in mind is the fact that with no scheduling conflicts against the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series so far in 2020, many drivers have participated in numerous races outside of the series and the fields for many of those events have been stellar.
Click here for the list we have compiled of drivers and teams who have indicated their intention of racing with the Lucas Oil Late Models throughout the entirety of the 2020 season. This Team Chart includes chassis type and primary engine builder information as well.
Much is still yet to play out over the course of what was originally planned to be a 56-race schedule. But even with a relatively small sample size to work with up to this point, here are the re-caps for each driver who had initially stated the intention of racing full-time with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in 2020:
Kyle Bronson: This Florida native seems to always be fast during Georgia-Florida SpeedWeeks and this year proved to be no different as his two top-5 and three top-10 finishes have placed the driver of the No. 40B machine in the seventh position of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series standings. He also added three more top-5 efforts during the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. With the LOLMDS moving back to Georgia and Florida for the resumption of its 2020 season following the break to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, this is a driver who could surge over the next few weeks.
Tyler Bruening: Shane Clanton’s teammate at Skyline Motorsports is making his first run at the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. So far, he stands 15th in the series standings with one top-10 finish to his credit in seven feature starts. The Iowa driver picked up an unsanctioned win in his home state during the break from series competition.
Shanon Buckingham: This driver and his Double Down Motorsports team took the checkered flag in a Lucas Oil feature last year at Tazewell Speedway then went on to post a solid second half of the season on their way to a 10th place finish in the 2019 standings. However, things have gotten off to a difficult start so far this year. Buckingham has managed only one top-10 in series competition and currently resides in the 16th position of the LOLMDS standings. The break in the schedule could well provide this team with an opportunity to reignite their effort and climb back into the top-10 hunt.
Shane Clanton: This longtime regular on the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series made the switch along with his Skyline Motorsports team at the start of this year’s campaign to go with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in 2020. So far the results have been somewhat mixed as the No. 25 has earned two top-5 and four top-10 finishes in eight series starts but with some less-than-favorable results mixed in, Clanton finds himself back in the 11th spot of the series standings. The Capital Race Cars driver did achieve a win during the break by capturing the Tarheel Invitational at Tri-County Race Track in a made-for-PPV race.
Jonathan Davenport: The defending LOLMDS champion certainly did not get off to a bad start in 2020 but the outset of his season was not exactly reminiscent of previous campaigns in which Davenport would fire off hot and put the onus on the competition to play catch up for the rest of the year. ‘The Fast 49’ currently ranks 4th in the overall standings by piling up six top-10 finishes in the eight races held so far. Perhaps most worrisome to the competition, the Georgia native appeared to regain his old form in the final Lucas Oil race of Georgia-Florida SpeedWeeks when he turned in a dominating performance at All-Tech Raceway. While it remains to be seen if a fourth series title is in the offing, it is almost certain that this Lance Landers-owned team will earn its share of checkered flags over the remainder of the 2020 season.
Tyler Erb: This driver and his Best Performance Motorsports team were one of, if not the, hottest things going in Dirt Late Model racing coming out of Georgia-Florida SpeedWeeks in 2019. And they have nothing to hang their heads about in 2020 although no wins came out of the early portion of this year’s efforts in the deep southeast. Erb is currently fifth in the series standings after recording four top-5 and five top-10 finishes. The Texas native did pick up a win in the Comp Cams-sanctioned Ronny Adams Memorial at Louisiana’s Boothill Speedway just before the pandemic break. If Erb and crew chief Randall Edwards find the winning formula they had in 2019, this could easily be a title contending team.
Tim McCreadie: During the off-season it was announced that T-Mac would leave the Sweeteners Plus team he had driven for over the course of numerous seasons to take a seat in a car owned by Donald Bradsher. The move paid immediate dividends as the New York native won the first LOLMDS feature of the season at Golden Isles Speedway. McCreadie then added another Lucas Oil triumph at East Bay Raceway Park and a DIRTcars Nationals victory at Volusia Speedway Park. The No. 39 Longhorn machine currently sits second in the series standings, which essentially amounts to first when it is considered that series leader Brandon Sheppard is a World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series regular. Unlike many of his competitors, McCreadie has not raced in any events since the shutdown so it will be interesting to see if he can regain the strength shown prior to the break in the action.
Devin Moran: In 2019 Moran piloted the Dunn-Benson Motorsports ride but that opportunity went away at the end of the season. However, the son of Hall of Fame member Donnie Moran found himself back with Tye Twarog Racing for the 2020 campaign. The results of that reunification have been quite good so far as Moran currently resides in the third spot of the LOLMDS standings after scoring one win along with three top-5 and seven top-10 finishes in series competition. This team’s early season strength might have been seen as a bit surprise to some as there may not be quite the resources available that others have. The break might have actually helped this effort to pool their resources in order to prepare for the remainder of the season.
Billy Moyer Jr.: Seemingly always fast in qualifying and heat races, Moyer has been able to carry that speed into the features more often so far in 2020. The second-generation racer currently sits 9th in the series standings after garnering a top-5 and four top-10 results during Georgia-Florida SpeedWeeks competition. If he can consistently run within the top-10 most of the time and keep the disastrous finishes to a minimum, this could end up as a top-10 season in the final standings.
Hudson O’Neal: Following the demise of SSI Motorsports during the most recent off-season, the second-generation racer landed as the driver for Tader Masters in the MasterSbilt Race Cars house car. After starting six of the eight LOLMDS features held so far, O’Neal ranks 14th in the series standings with one top-10 result. The next few races could be very telling in regard to this team’s future plans.
Jimmy Owens: The Newport Nightmare currently ranks 8th in the series standings but the story of this driver’s 2020 season comes primarily from races held outside of the series. After years of what would be considered struggling by this three-time series champion’s standards, Owens racked up three consecutive World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series feature victories at Florida’s Volusia Speedway Park. He then followed that up returning from the unplanned break with back-to-back wins at Magnolia Motor Speedway and 411 Motor Speedway. He comes into the resumption as the hottest LOLMDS regular but now needs to carry that success into the series itself.
Earl Pearson Jr.: The four-time Lucas Oil champion has definitely stumbled out of the starting gate. Pearson currently sits 18th in the series standings with no top-10 finishes in the eight races contested so far. As a matter of fact, a 14th in one of the features held at East Bay has to date been the best finish in an LOLMDS-sanctioned event in this early phase of the 2020 campaign. Perhaps the break allowed for the Black Diamond Race Cars team to go back to the drawing board and regroup. The second trip to the Georgia and Florida tracks where EPJ has had previous success could offer an opportunity for improvement otherwise it could be a very long season.
Josh Richards: One of only two drivers(Scott Bloomquist being the other) to have won a championship on both the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series got off to a somewhat uninspiring start in LOLMDS competition in 2020. Inconsistency on the chosen tour for the Clint Bowyer Racing team has delivered one top-5 and three top-10s but those results have combined with poor finishes to place Richards in the 12th position of the series standings. However, signs of life definitely began to emerge in non-Lucas Oil races as the No. 14 pulled into victory following a WoO Late Models feature at Tennessee’s Duck River Raceway Park just before the shutdown. The key for this team going forward is to consistently capitalize on their good nights and to minimize their poor outings.
Brian Shirley: The Bob Cullen Racing operation made the decision to compete with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in 2020 and has gotten off to a reasonably good start. Two top-5s and four top-10s have placed the Illinois driver in the 10th position of the series standings. Shirley did score two wins very early in the year in the Wild West Shootout in Arizona. This normally steady competitor and team could very well hang within the top-10 of the standings throughout the campaign.
2020 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Standings:
|Pos||No.||Competitor||Features||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||Points|
New Berlin, IL
New Waverly, TX
Las Cruces, NM
Chalk Hill, PA