SYLVANIA, Ga. — Brandon Overton led all 50 laps to win the season opener for the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series Friday night at Screven Motor Speedway.
It was his fourth career WoO LMS victory and his first since his big $30,000 payday at the Firecracker 100 back in June of 2017.
Overton excelled in all areas of competition on Friday night. Qualifying sixth fastest out of 39 cars in the pit area, Overton sat on the pole for the second heat led all 10 laps. He redrew the outside pole, took the lead on lap one over polesitter Chase Junghans and never looked back, going flag-to-flag for Rum Runner Racing’s best finish with Overton behind the wheel of the Schaeffer’s Racing Oil No. 2.
The big win to open the 2019 World of Outlaws season comes just two-and-a-half months after Overton and Rum Runner Racing went public with their plans to team up this year.
Former pilot Joey Coulter stepped down from his driving duties at the end of 2018 to make room for the 2015 Rookie of the Year, and the decision seems to have paid off well against the Outlaws. But Overton said it didn’t start out that way in his ventures racing elsewhere earlier this week.
After two average finishes of 12th and 14th at Golden Isles Speedway and a dismal 23rd earlier this week at East Bay Raceway Park, Overton found his mojo on Wednesday and Thursday with a fourth and an eighth to give him a boost of confidence heading into Screven.
“I just rolled off on the outside of that front row,” Overton said. “Hell, if I’d have lost tonight, I’d have been pretty upset, myself. I just got the job done, I guess. Everything fell our way and it had been going pretty [bad], so, it’s time for a change.”
His journey to victory lane on Friday night was anything but comfortable, and full of pressure from runner-up Chris Madden and third-place finisher Brian Shirley.
Madden started directly behind Overton but had a costly miscue on the opening lap, jumping the cushion in turn three and lightly scrubbing the wall, throwing him all the way back to ninth before the first caution came out.
Several yellows and even a red flag for Scott James and Boom Briggs, who managed to stack their cars on top of each other after a jingle in turn 1, gave Overton headaches all race long with constant restarts.
This, much to their liking, gave Madden several opportunities to make up the lost ground and aided in Shirley’s efforts to keep up with Overton through lapped traffic. Madden got his new Skyline Motorsports Capital Chassis No. 44 straightened out rather quickly, getting back to fourth by lap 10.
He finally broke into the top three with 15 laps to go, getting around Darrell Lanigan after chasing him for half of the race. Then came the pass for second, when Shirley, who drove runner-up for nearly 80 percent of the race, slipped up in turn three with 11-to-go, opening the door for Madden’s slide job out of turn four.
“We finally got some green flag laps in and got to rolling pretty good,” Madden said. “I was able to rebound from something that could have been real tragic, but we turned it around into a real positive night. To come back and run second here is pretty impressive for our new team.”
After starting fifth, Shirley knew his mistake was costly, but said that he had a great night overall and will be ready to come back on Saturday.
“I was trying to keep pace with Brandon and I just went into [turn three] and didn’t get turned and it pushed,” Shirley said. “Chris must have been right there on me so he just got to slide by in the rubber better than me. Thankfully, we were able to get back in there and run third. It’s just one of those things where you make a mistake sometimes and it costs you.”
- 2-Brandon Overton [$10,000]; 2. 44-Chris Madden [$5,000]; 3. 3s-Brian Shirley [$3,000]; 4. 29-Darrell Lanigan [$2,500]; 5. 18-Chase Junghans [$2,000]; 6. 1-Brandon Sheppard [$1,700]; 7. 25-Shane Clanton [$1,400]; 8. 7-Ricky Weiss [$1,300]; 9. 9-Billy Moyer [$1,200]; 10. 16-Tyler Bruening [$1,100]; 11. 36v-Kyle Hardy [$1,050]; 12. 1x-Chub Frank [$1,000]; 13. 28-Dennis Erb [$950]; 14. 97-Cade Dillard [$200]; 15. 7r-Ross Robinson [$850]; 16. 22x-G.R. Smith [$800]; 17. C9-Steve Casebolt [$770]; 18. 99B-Boom Briggs [$110]; 19. 83-Scott James [$730]; 20. B1-Brent Larson [$700]; 21. 6-Blake Spencer [$700]; 22. 25h-Chuck Hummer [$110]; 23. 77-Brian Connor [$700]; 24. 72c-Jason Covert [$700]; 25. 6m-Mike Marlar [$700]; 26. 1D-Brent Dixon [$700]; 27. 58-Ivedent Lloyd [$700]