Hudson O’Neal Caps Eldora Doubleheader

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Hudson O'Neal (71) races under Shanon Babb at Eldora Speedway. (Jim DenHamer photo)
Hudson O'Neal (71) races under Shanon Babb at Eldora Speedway. (Jim DenHamer photo)

ROSSBURG, Ohio — There aren’t many race car drivers, if any at all, that can say they’ve won a dirt late model feature at Eldora Speedway at just 19 years old, let alone one as part of World 100 weekend.

Hudson O’Neal grabbed the lead away from Shannon Babb after a restart to claim his very first Eldora Speedway crown jewel event preliminary feature win in the second of two 25-lap main events at the historic half-mile dirt track.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, 61-year-old Billy Moyer won the opening feature.

Babb kicked things off by jumping out to the early lead and clicking off the first eight circuits before the race’s first caution came out. On the ensuing restart, Babb got the jump to get ahead and lead lap nine but not without heavy pressure from O’Neal to his inside.

The field raced across the start/finish line and O’Neal threw it hard into turn one, pulling a perfectly executed slide job on the Petroff Towing #18 to swipe the spot, and the eventual win. The Dyno-One No. 71 brought it the rest of the way home for $10,000 and a good start to his World 100 weekend, as he attempts to qualify for his second main event start.

“I knew that I needed to get to the lead, and it was going to be so hard to pass [Babb] racing,” O’Neal said. “That yellow provided the perfect opportunity to take advantage of it.”

“I knew that if I could get a good restart and roll with him down the front-stretch, I could probably set myself up good, and that’s exactly what I did,” O’Neal added.

The finish:

Feature (25 laps): 1. 71-Hudson O’Neal[3]; 2. 49-Jonathan Davenport[8]; 3. 39-Tim McCreadie[5]; 4. 18-Shannon Babb[1]; 5. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[10]; 6. 50-Shanon Buckingham[6]; 7. 23B-John Blankenship[11]; 8. 32S-Chris Simpson[4]; 9. 15B-Brian Birkhofer[16]; 10. 83-Scott James[15]; 11. 32P-Bobby Pierce[23]; 12. 28M-Jimmy Mars[21]; 13. 12W-Ashton Winger[17]; 14. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr.[7]; 15. 14-Josh Richards[20]; 16. 2H-Nick Hoffman[12]; 17. 8H-Jacob Hawkins[19]; 18. 1s-Brandon Sheppard[22]; 19. 22S-Gregg Satterlee[9]; 20. 18j-Chase Junghans[24]; 21. 8-Kyle Strickler[13]; 22. 12J-Jason Jameson[18]; 23. CJ1-Rusty Schlenk[2]; 24. 40B-Kyle Bronson[14]