Owens Stops Richards In Mississippi

Jimmy Owens en route to victory at Magnolia Motor Speedway. (Chris McDill photo)
Jimmy Owens en route to victory at Magnolia Motor Speedway. (Chris McDill photo)

COLUMBUS, Miss. — Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point leader Jimmy Owens won a battle with Josh Richards on Friday night of the General Tire Clash at the Mag at Magnolia Motor Speedway.

Owens yielded the lead to Richards on the 19th lap, but one circuit later he was back in front. He pulled away from Richards to take his 66th career series win and second of the season.

Richards finished second followed by Tyler Erb, Frank Heckenast Jr. and Michael Page.

Richards started fifth on the grid and vaulted to the second spot on the opening lap behind Owens and battled with Tyler Erb for the runner-up slot. Richards and Erb went back-and-forth, with Richards gaining the advantage with 11 laps scored.

Richards began to pull away from Erb and started challenging Owens for the lead soon thereafter, especially after the fourth and final caution of the race with 12 laps complete.

Richards tried several times to get by Owens as the two were using every available line around the three-eighths-mile oval. Richards dropped to the inside of Owens coming off turn to take lead as the two Rocket Chassis drivers completed the 19th circuit. Richards slid high in turn one, opening the door for Owens to regain the lead for the final time.

“After they prepped the track tonight before the feature, you didn’t know whether to go high or low. I knew the middle of the track was going to be good. I knew Josh was behind me and he’s got a great car, and also that he would challenge me hard. When he passed me and he scooted up the track, he left me the room I needed to get by,” said Owens.

Richards was seeking his second series win of the year and was pleased with his second place run in the Clint Bowyer Racing-owned car.

“When I got the lead on Jimmy, I should have rolled the middle in one and two but got too far up the track and left him too much room,” Richards said. “Jimmy’s been great this year, congrats to him and his team on the win. It was good for us to start in the back last night. I could maneuver and really see what the car could do when the track gets slower. I am sure they are really going to work the track good tomorrow and we are going to have a good race.”

Erb came home third for his second straight top-five performance.

“Jimmy had the best car tonight. I thought the top was going to be better. The track was really racy for a long-time time, but those two got away from me. I was just trying to hang on for third. It should set us up for tomorrow night with a good starting position.”

The finish:

1)Jimmy Owens 2)Josh Richards 3)Tyler Erb 4)Frank Heckenast Jr. 5)Michael Page 6)Shane Clanton 7)Tim McCreadie 8)Devin Moran 9)Jonathan Davenport 10)Bobby Pierce 11)Billy Moyer 12)Kyle Bronson 13)Joseph Joiner 14)Brian Rickman 15)Chris Brown 16)Spencer Hughes 17)Drew Armstrong 18)Kyle Beard 19)Neil Baggett 20)Morgan Bagley 21)Billy Moyer Jr. 22)Devin Gilpin 23)Michael Arnold 24)Scott Dedwylder