MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Brandon Overton held off several challenges in a furious finish to win the Mountain Moonshine Classic on Saturday night at Smoky Mountain Speedway.
He earned the $15,000 payday for his third Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season in front of a record-setting crowd. Overton also became the sixth different winner in the six appearances by the series at Smoky Mountain Speedway.
Overton had to hold off Brandon Sheppard, Jimmy Owens, and Josh Richards in the closing laps to win the 60-lap event. Earl Pearson Jr. completed the top five drivers.
Sheppard took the early lead of the race and held the point until Overton was able to mount a charge and catch him. Overton briefly cleared Sheppard heading down the backstretch, but Sheppard was able to get by Overton at the start-finish line.
Overton was not finished, squeezing by on the bottom to take the lead on lap 27. Meanwhile, Owens caught up to Sheppard and the two drivers ran side-by-side for the second spot.
The last 30 laps were spectacular as Richards started making up distance on the top three. Overton began battling heavy traffic and things got interesting for the top position late in the race.
As the laps wound down, Owens yielded the second spot to Sheppard who cut dramatically into Overton’s lead with five laps to go.
But Overton was able to work enough distance between himself, Sheppard, and Owens to come home with the win.
In victory lane for the third time in four races, Overton was happy the race was over.
“I just wanted the race to be done. I didn’t know where they were at,” said Overton. “I saw so many people on that backstretch some were saying go high or go low and I did not know where to go. I could see him [Sheppard] on the bottom, but I am just fortunate to drive for an awesome group of people. We have had a lot of bad luck, and we have got a fast race car. Thank you to all the fans for coming out tonight. I was excited to see all these people here especially on the backstretch, it’s awesome to come here and see all of these fans. If I am going to win one it’s great do this in front this crowd.
“If the fans don’t come see us then we don’t have a job.”
Sheppard was in the hunt the entire distance at Smoky Mountain and came home in second.
“That was a lot of fun out there. It was a good race between Brandon and Jimmy and me. Overton came out on top tonight. He [Overton] did a really good job and Jimmy did too,” said Sheppard. “I hate leading that early in a race. We were really good on the bottom and then I caught lapped traffic and at some point I knew they would move up the track. The track got to be pretty even across the surface, and it made for some great racing.”
Owens completed the weekend with another podium finish and maintained the top spot in the championship point standings.
“That was a heck of show! I enjoyed being a part of it,” noted Owens. “I wish we had been like a car length up further. Everybody got to swapping the lead back-and-forth a little bit. These guys will race you clean and that’s the way it should be.”
Brandon Overton, Brandon Sheppard, Jimmy Owens, Josh Richards, Earl Pearson Jr., Dale McDowell, Ricky Weiss, Cory Hedgecock, Tyler Erb, Kyle Hardy, Shanon Buckingham, Tim McCreadie, Jonathan Davenport, Jonathan Davenport, Kyle Bronson, Billy Moyer Jr., Kyle Strickler, Tanner English, Tyler Bruening, Stormy Scott, Shane Clanton, Tommy Kerr, Devin Moran, Jay Scott, Robby Moses, Hudson O’Neal.