ELDON, Mo. — In a thriller that had everyone guessing who would take the win at Lake Ozark Speedway, John Carney II held off the hard-charging duo of Jonathan Cornell and Matt Covington for his first victory of the season with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network on Sunday night.
“Man, this feels good. We’ve been working hard, and we’ve had a fast car. Just haven’t caught any breaks and I guess we did catch at least one tonight, but this car was great,” Carney said.
Carney’s fourth victory with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network, the battle between he and early race leader Covington, saw the duo trade the lead nearly a dozen times with each answering the other’s slide job over the course of the $5,000 to win feature.
Taking the point after a second attempt at the start, Covington led the way with the race halted on lap six when Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Kyle Bellm came together battling for third; sending the pair flipping violently into the third and fourth turns.
Restarting with Jamie Ball and Carney in tow, Covington held the point as Carney worked to second on a lap-seven restart for a stopped No. 28 of Scott Bogucki.
Working the low side of the Lake Ozark Speedway, Carney advanced to the point on Lap 10 with the pair exchanging the position several times before Carney was able to get some breathing room. Short-lived as the pair hit traffic, Carney found his line blocked; allowing the Triple X Race Co. No. 95 to make the high line pass working lap 20, but the caution would bring the field back to lap 19, and the Danny Sander Construction No. J2 back to the lead.
Keeping pace on the field at the restart, Carney continued to work the hub as Covington railed the cushion. Going after the lead with five to go, the pair were joined by Jonathan Cornell with the No. 35m looking anywhere they weren’t. Slide for slide, Carney, and Covington exchanged the lead with Cornell nearly taking it away several times as the laps clicked by. To the white flag, and still anyone’s race, Carney made his car as wide as possible as the trio dove into the final two turns.
A drag race to the checkered flag, Carney snagged the win by 0.194 seconds with Jonathan Cornell getting the last lap pass for the runner-up spot. Matt Covington in a close, and badly needed third after flipping on Saturday night, trailed by a mere 0.911 seconds. Running inside the top five nearly the entire race, Paul Nienhiser held on to fourth with Jamie Ball making a nice rebound run to fifth.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. J2-John Carney II, ; 2. 35M-Jonathan Cornell, ; 3. 95-Matt Covington, ; 4. 9X-Paul Nienhiser, ; 5. 5J-Jamie Ball, ; 6. 52-Blake Hahn, ; 7. 4X-Terry McCarl, ; 8. 22-Sean McClelland, ; 9. 11-Roger Crockett, ; 10. 14-Jordon Mallett, ; 11. 27-Carson McCarl, ; 12. 6-Bryan Grimes, ; 13. 21H-Brian Brown, ; 14. 3-Ayrton Gennetten, ; 15. 21P-Robbie Price, ; 16. 77X-Alex Hill, ; 17. 17W-Harli White, ; 18. 44M-Chris Martin, ; 19. (DNF) 2X-Tucker Doughty, ; 20. (DNF) 21-Miles Paulus, ; 21. (DNF) 0-Steven Russell, ; 22. (DNF) 28-Scott Bogucki, ; 23. (DNF) 37H-Nicholas Howard, ; 24. (DNF) 86-Kyle Bellm, ; 25. (DNF) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr., .