MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Hudson O’Neal wrestled the lead from Mike Marlar on lap 30 and cruised on to his third Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season on Saturday night at Smoky Mountain Speedway.
The Big Daddy 60 was the biggest paying single-day event in Smoky Mountain Speedway history with a first-place prize of $15,000 up for grabs.
Ricky Weiss crossed the finish line in second, but he was several car lengths behind the winner. Weiss moved by Josh Richards on lap 47, and despite a caution with 11 laps remaining, he was unable to challenge O’Neal for the lead. Richards was third, with Tim McCreadie and Jimmy Owens completing the top five.
Marlar was looking for his third Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win this month as the Tennessee veteran and O’Neal went back and forth for several laps with O’Neal finally gaining the lead for good with 30 laps remaining.
Marlar suffered a left-rear flat while running third to O’Neal and Josh Richards which forced a caution flag, ending Marlar’s night as he took his car pit side on lap 36. O’Neal had to wait through a lap 49 caution before he extended his lead back out again over the field.
The 18-year-old third-generation racer went on to record his second straight Father’s Day weekend victory. Last year O’Neal scored his first career LOLMDS win by capturing the Clash at the Mag victory in Mississippi.
“Hopefully this makes my dad feel a little better. He has had a rough weekend inside and out of his race car,” said Hudson O’Neal referring to his father Don, the 2014 series champion. “This one’s for him. He has had such a rough weekend. What a great Father’s Day gift. To do it two years in a row, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Weiss came home with a runner-up finish after falling back as far as eighth.
“Our car was little snug at the start. I was actually bottoming out. It seemed to work better the longer we went,” Weiss said. “We like the longer races. We started forward and then went back and then back to the front. Josh [Richards] and I had a good race for second. I thought I might have had something for Hudson there on that last restart, but I don’t think he missed a mark. Hats off to him for a great race.”
Richards rallied for a podium finish.
“Hudson could really hit the brown on the track. We thought we could be pretty good in the race. My nose folded under me a little bit; it was starting to chatter going into three. Ricky was able to get by us. We’ve had a fast car all weekend, but just no luck whatsoever.”
Hudson O’Neal, Ricky Weiss, Josh Richards, Tim McCreadie, Jimmy Owens, Tyler Erb, Earl Pearson Jr., Kyle Strickler, Dale McDowell, Jonathan Davenport, Stormy Scott, Devin Moran, Shanon Buckingham, Donald McIntosh, David Payne, Kyle Bronson, Billy Moyer Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Robby Moses, Vic Hill, Ryan King, Mike Marlar, Don O’Neal, Shane Clanton