ROSSBURG, Ohio – Brandon Overton found a spot of redemption Friday night at Eldora Speedway.
One night after parking it behind the wall while running on the podium of Thursday’s Dirt Late Model Stream Invitational preliminary feature, Overton parked his No. 76 in victory lane on the back of a stellar performance.
Overton claimed a $10,000 winner’s check and 500 valuable points in the half-mile dirt oval’s unique “Every Lap Matters” event format.
Thursday night, the young Georgian’s chances for a solid finish were dashed when a chunk of mud went through his radiator in the final laps as he was chasing down the leaders, running a strong race in third.
However, an incredible effort by his Wells Motorsports crew to make repairs and regroup for a terrific follow-up performance Friday night was exactly what the team needed for a confidence booster going into the 67-lap, $50,000-to-win finale Saturday night.
“Our car’s been really good, it’s been balanced. If I don’t screw it up, we’ll be there at the end,” Overton told broadcast pit reporter Ben Shelton about his chances for the $50,000 check in victory lane.
Night two of everyone on the track grounds wishing the loyal Eldora fans could join them proved to only motivate the drivers to top the intensity level from the night previous.
With three different leaders over the course of the 30-lap contest, they did just that.
Dale McDowell, the 2014 Dirt Late Model Dream winner, kicked things off from the pole as the green flag dropped and jetted out to a solid lead over runner-up Jimmy Owens.
The first caution was thrown with 10 laps in the books for the 2019 World 100 winner Jonathan Davenport, who took his Double L Motorsports No. 49 behind the wall with overheating issues.
Owens’ big moment came on lap 12 after the restart, as he wound-up his Ramirez Motorsports No. 20 on the high side and threw it hard into turn 1 underneath McDowell in a bid for the lead.
It was successful, but a close shave, as the two nearly came together in the process.
“I got a good run off of turn four there and went in under Dale and bottomed-out real bad, caused him to have to check-up,” Owens said.
McDowell’s slowed momentum opened the door to third-running Overton, who immediately took advantage and dove underneath McDowell down the backstretch the very next lap to take second.
“I don’t think I needed that caution. I was a little tight, so I needed the whole race track to turn,” McDowell said of his challenges after surrendering the lead.
Back out front, Owens continued to lead, but Overton was slowly reeling him in. Another caution flag waved for Eldora track record holder Chris Ferguson, and the field was restacked for one final restart with just 10 laps remaining.
Overton got the best restart he had all weekend to Owens’ outside and it paid off. He got the jump off of turn four and maintained the slight advantage down the backstretch to take the lead for good, while Owens was left wishing he could have a do-over.
“We’ve had a great car all weekend, but those takeoffs have been killing me. We’ve got a little stumble we need to take care of, that way we can get fired off a little better on the takeoffs,” Owens said.
The top three settled back in line as Overton led the field back to the checkered flag untouched for his first marquee Eldora late model victory since September of 2017.
“It all worked out for us. [Owens] gave us the outside on that restart, we played the cards we were dealt and came out on top,” Overton said.
Owens came across the line in second, while McDowell hung on for third.
“[Overton] and Jimmy both have been on fire this year, so if I can right there with them, we can make adjustments. They’ve raced quite a bit more than we have, so I think we can make adjustments and if things go our way, we’ll get this EZ-GO hot rod up there closer to the front and hopefully make it count,” McDowell said.
Devin Moran and Josh Richards completed the top five, followed by Brandon Sheppard, Michael Page, Kyle Bronson, Chase Junghans and Mason Zeigler.
The Dirt Late Model Stream Invitational wraps up Saturday night at Eldora Speedway with a 67-lap, $50,000-to-win finale for the DIRTcar Late Models.
1. 76-Brandon Overton ; 2. 20-Jimmy Owens ; 3. 17m-Dale McDowell ; 4. 9-Devin Moran ; 5. 14-Josh Richards ; 6. 1-Brandon Sheppard ; 7. 18x-Michael Page ; 8. 40b-Kyle Bronson ; 9. 18-Chase Junghans ; 10. 25z-Mason Zeigler ; 11. 0m-Chris Madden ; 12. 32p-Bobby Pierce ; 13. 7r-Kent Robinson ; 14. 7-Ricky Weiss ; 15. 18b-Shannon Babb ; 16. 12-Ashton Winger ; 17. 50-Shanon Buckingham ; 18. 16-Jason Jameson ; 19. 39-Tim McCreadie ; 20. 8-Kyle Strickler ; 21. 32-Chris Simpson ; 22. 7m-Donald Mcintosh ; 23. 22-Chris Ferguson ; 24. 49-Jonathan Davenport .