UNION, Ky. — Jimmy Owens survived a fierce battle with Darrell Lanigan to win the Sunoco Race Fuels North/South Shootout presented by Lucas Oil on Thursday night at Florence Speedway.
Owens and Lanigan swapped the lead several times before the halfway mark, with Owens gaining the lead for good on lap 16, though never comfortably ahead of the pack.
Lanigan stayed close and finished right on Owens’ bumper as the checkers fell. Tim McCreadie finished a close third with polesitter Hudson O’Neal taking fourth. Bobby Pierce charged from 17th to finish fifth.
It was Owens’ third LOLMDS win of the season, but his first outside of his home state of Tennessee where he had recorded wins earlier this season at Tazewell and Smoky Mountain.
The three-time North/South 100 winner was elated.
“It was a good show tonight. I was thankful to get the lead on the bottom when I did,” Owens said. “The lapped traffic was a bear. I had a hard time getting around Scott [Bloomquist]. Wherever I went, he went, but that’s part of it. Maybe we can run good in the heat races tomorrow and get a good starting spot for Saturday.
“I really felt like I needed to get off the top. I saw O’Neal up there and I figured he was running the cushion. I didn’t think I could catch the lapped cars on the bottom so that is why I stayed up top. I had to look over my shoulder there at the end to see who was there, especially on a track like tonight the guy running in second has the advantage. You never know where to be. Hats off to the track crew for a doing a great job on the track,” said the three-time series champion.
Lanigan debuted a new car and was in the hunt the entire 50-lap distance.
“We struggled last week in Illinois and Wisconsin so we came home and built a new one. I love coming home and running here,” Lanigan said. “The fans are great. Hopefully we can finally win this race. We have tried for a long-time to win the North/South 100. We have run second three or four times. So hopefully we can bring this I-Racing.com entry home with the win for Clint Bowyer and all the guys.”
McCreadie had a great points night with his third-place finish.
“It was definitely top-dominated,” he said. “Jimmy did a good job there and I thought well maybe we could get around him, but Darrell was there and we all had a heck of a race going. I am happy with a third place. I think we can get some more out of it.”
Jimmy Owens, Darrell Lanigan, Tim McCreadie, Hudson O’Neal, Bobby Pierce, Earl Pearson Jr., Brandon Overton, Don O’Neal, Josh Richards, Zack Dohm, Devin Moran, Dennis Erb Jr., Mike Marlar, Rick Eckert, Scott Bloomquist, Kent Robinson, Austin Hubbard, Gregg Satterlee, R.J. Conley, Jesse Lay, Scott James, Steve Francis, Michael Page, Chris Ferguson, Michael Chilton, Tyler Erb, Boom Briggs.