CONCORD, N.C. – Jimmy Owens collected his seventh Can-Am World Finals victory during the season finale for the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series Saturday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Owens started fourth in the 50-lap feature, with Shane Clanton and John Blankenship brought the field to the green flag. Blankenship took the lead on the opening lap, with Clanton, Owens, Jonathan Davenport and Ricky Weiss giving chase.
On lap five Owens was able to slip past Clanton to take over second, taking the position out of turn four. On the next lap the caution flag waved when Brian Birkhofer slowed on the backstretch, setting up the first restart of the evening.
Blankenship held his lead on the restart despite Owens getting an incredible start, which saw Owens challenge Blankenship entering turn one before falling back in behind him in second. Owens didn’t give up, getting back alongside Blankenship and leading at the start/finish line to start lap seven.
On the next lap Owens was able to clear Blankenship in the battle for the lead, but behind them Davenport was moving forward after taking third from Clanton. On lap 11 Davenport dispatched Blankenship to move into second and quickly began to close the gap.
Using the top line to gain momentum, Davenport chased down Owens as the pair navigated traffic. On lap 20 Davenport got a massive run on the outside of turn four, which allowed him to get to Owens’ outside and take the lead at the start/finish line.
Unfortunately things turned sour for Davenport on the next lap as the Georgia native bounced the right side of his car off the turn four wall, killing his momentum and allowing Owens to get back by him for the lead.
Two laps later the caution flag waved for series champion Brandon Sheppard, who slowed to a stop on the backstretch. When racing resumed Owens held serve as Davenport, with a visible damage to his rear spoiler, did his best to keep up.
Owens was just beginning to enter traffic again when the next caution waved when Ross Bailes looped his car on the frontstretch with 33 laps complete. During the restart Owens held his position, but behind him Weiss threw a big slide job into turn one to take second away from Davenport.
Traffic came into play again on lap 43, with Owens forced to navigate slower cars as Weiss did his best to close in. Weiss suddenly found himself with company in the form of a fast closing Dale McDowell, with the two going side-by-side for second on laps 44 and 45 before Weiss pulled clear.
Meanwhile, Owens was still struggling with traffic and that allowed Weiss to close to within two car lengths of the race leader. That was as close as he could get though as Owens held on to collect the victory, worth $12,000.
“It was an extremely fun race. It’s good to be back in victory lane,” said Owens after his third series victory of the season. “When I moved up a lane I couldn’t steer as good as I wanted to, so I had to either go all the way to the top or toward the middle. I went to the top down yonder in three and four once and it didn’t do as good as I needed it to.
“We were able to hold them off and come home with the win.”
Weiss, who will be honored as the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series rookie-of-the-year during Sunday’s banquet, fell just short of his first series victory.
“We tried everything we could do,” Weiss said. “We were gaining, gaining, gaining. I looked up when I saw 45 (laps complete) and then Dale (McDowell) got under me. That was some of the hardest five laps I’ve ever driven in my life. I didn’t want to give up second.
“I really wanted to get that win. We were just driving as hard as we could drive.”
McDowell finished third, followed by Mike Marlar and Friday’s race winner Chris Madden.
Jimmy Owens, Ricky Weiss, Dale McDowell, Mike Marlar, Chris Madden, Jonathan Davenport, John Blankenship, Josh Richards, Scott Bloomquist, Don O’Neal, Brandon Sheppard, Shane Clanton, Dennis Erb Jr., Hudson O’Neal, Chris Ferguson, Brandon Overton, Max Blair, Chase Junghans, Darrell Lanigan, Jason Covert, Tyler Erb, Steven Roberts, Rick Eckert, Boom Briggs, Brent Larson, Tim McCreadie, Ross Bailes, Cade Dillard, Trent Ivey.