GREENWOOD, Neb. — Jimmy Owens got back on track on Thursday night as he captured the caution-free Optima Batteries Dirt Track Bank Go 50 at I-80 Speedway.
Owens had to fend off late challenges from both Ricky Thornton Jr. and Brandon Sheppard for his Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series best seventh win of the season.
Ricky Weiss came home in fourth followed by Josh Richards in fifth.
Richards took the lead at the start of the race and held the point for the first four laps of the race. Owens started fifth on the grid and charged to the lead on lap five surpassing Richards for the top spot, but Richards roared back to the lead around Owens on lap 11.
Richards led until lap 27 when Owens caught back up to him to regain the lead for good. Owens then saw Thornton Jr. and Sheppard close the gap on him in the last five laps.
Owens, the three-time series champion held off the challengers for his 71st career LOLMDS victory.
“I could hear him [Thornton], he got a run off of four and left me plenty room on the high side, and I appreciated that. It’s good to race with guys like that, but man thanks to Leon Ramirez, he’s here and it’s great to get a win in front of him,” Owens said. “Thanks to my crew for busting their rear ends in this heat. This car is rolling pretty good; we are looking forward to tomorrow and Saturday. I was concerned a little bit when Josh got around me. He has been really good the last few weeks.
“I know there was a lot more talent behind us as well. I was able to move around the racetrack and I was hardly losing any time. Then finally he [Richards] started moving back towards me and we were able to capitalize.”
Thornton was in the hunt for his first LOLMDS victory but came home in second.
“He [Owens] started to get into one and cut across. I was just a little too tight when I got to him,” Thornton explained. “I probably could have done a slide job in turn three, but I didn’t want to wreck us both. Jimmy’s been my hero growing up and to win this race would have been awesome. We had a really good car. I don’t know how much of a cushion we left; we were scrapping the wall there. About halfway through the race we got going good.”
Jimmy Owens, Ricky Thornton Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Ricky Weiss, Josh Richards, Jonathan Davenport, Kyle Strickler, Chad Simpson, Chris Ferguson, Earl Pearson Jr., Stormy Scott, Chase Junghans, Kyle Bronson, Billy Moyer Jr., Tanner English, Shanon Buckingham, Shane Clanton, Devin Moran, Tyler Erb, Shannon Babb, Tim McCreadie, Johnny Scott, Tyler Bruening, Terry Phillips, Ben Schaller, Justin Zeitner.