CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – Jimmy Owens recovered from mechanical issues early on Thursday night to win the fifth annual Buckeye Spring 50 at Atomic Speedway.
The three-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion led all 50 laps of the event for his first win of the season.
Owens broke a fan blade in hot laps, which relegated him to his back-up car. His backup entry proved to be the best of the night, however, as he dominated the main event.
Brandon Sheppard tried to track down Owens but came home in second-place. Jonathan Davenport crossed third, while Tim McCreadie and Earl Pearson Jr. completed the top five.
Owens started third and quickly darted to the lead on the opening lap, with Tyler Erb following. Having won a pair of events last September at the Ohio speed plant, Erb was looking for his third straight win at Atomic.
Erb held the second spot until Sheppard got around him. A furious battle behind Owens ensued for the runner-up slot between Sheppard and several drivers, lasting several laps.
Pearson went to the outside and briefly took second from Sheppard at the halfway mark, but Sheppard came back a lap later to regain the position.
Owens was set on cruise control for most of the race and was rolling around the three-eighths-mile track with as much as a straightaway lead at times.
A caution flag with 43 laps complete appeared to set up a dash to the finish between Owens and Sheppard, but Owens pulled away to become the seventh different winner this year on the tour.
The 47-year-old was ecstatic to finally breakthrough with his first series win of 2019.
“We fixed everything on the main car this week from last Saturday. We broke a fan blade in hot laps. Then we had to get our back-up car out,” noted Owens. “My hat is off to the crew for getting this car prepared. They busted their rear ends tonight. We had a quick turnaround time to get it in line just to qualify.
“The crew gave me a good car that I could feel confident in,” Owens added. “We had second quick time in our group and then we went out and won our heat race and so here we are in victory lane. We have a good car, a great team, and we are just as capable as anybody to run up front night in and night out. Thanks to the fans for coming tonight to watch a good show and thanks to the track crew for a well-prepared track.”
Runner-up Sheppard was quick to congratulate Owens on his win.
“We had a really good race tonight. Jimmy and his crew are really rolling. It is a lot of fun running against these Lucas Oil guys,” said Sheppard. “Everybody races each other clean and it was getting exciting. Thanks for all of the fans for coming out on a Thursday night. Thanks to Mark Richards and Steve Baker for giving me this opportunity.”
Davenport, who completed the podium, was seeking his fifth series win of the season.
“I tried to slide Brandon there once and couldn’t quite clear him. I wanted to try again but I didn’t have him cleared enough to do so and I wasn’t going to take both of us out,” noted Davenport. “We just didn’t take off like we wanted to.”
Davenport, the defending series champion, heads to Sharon Speedway on Friday night maintaining his points lead.
Jimmy Owens, Brandon Sheppard, Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, Earl Pearson Jr., Devin Moran, Tyler Erb, Steve Casebolt, Hudson O’Neal, Colten Burdette, Shanon Buckingham, Don O’Neal, Frank Heckenast Jr., Stormy Scott, Jackie Boggs, Tyler Carpenter, Ryan King, Billy Moyer Jr., RJ Conley, Kyle Bronson, Jason Jameson, Rod Conley, Josh Richards, Kody Evans.