Owens A Show Stopper In Finale

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OH BABY: Jimmy Owens waves to the crowd after winning Saturday night's World of Outlaws Late Model Series World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Rhonda McCole Photo)

OH BABY: Jimmy Owens waves to the crowd after winning Saturday night’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Rhonda McCole Photo)

CONCORD, N.C. — Jimmy Owens’s impressive charge to the front of the pack Saturday night was a bad dream for his fellow World of Outlaws Late Model Series competitors as Owens triumphed in the final night of the third annual World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Sharing the stage with Owens at the four-tenths-mile oval was 21-year-old Josh Richards, who secured his first series title with a seventh-place finish in the night’s 50-lap season finale.

The victory, worth $10,100, was Owens’s second career series win and the second triumph at the North Carolina facility for the driver known as “The Newport Nightmare.” Tim McCreadie trailed Owens by 2.599 seconds, followed by Earl Pearson, Jr., Darrell Lanigan and Shannon Babb in front of a sell-out crowd.

“The car was great. My hat is off to my crew and all my fans,” said Owens, who missed Friday’s feature after a heat-race incident that disabled his No. 20 Team Zero by Bloomquist machine.

“Congratulations to Josh (Richards). I’m glad to see him get it and it’s a hard-fought battle for everyone. I’m just glad to win in front of this crowd.”

Starting eighth, Owens methodically worked his way forward and used heavy lapped traffic to catch race-long leader and outside polesitter Shannon Babb by the halfway point. Owens dug deep, going low on Babb lap after lap, until he cleared Babb’s machine to take the lead on lap 34.

From there, Owens was untouchable, despite traffic and a caution for the lame car of Tommy Kerr with 10 laps to go, and easily cruised to the checkered flag.

While Owens was racing his way to the win, Richards was fighting for the series championship. After a fifth-place finish in Friday night’s feature, Richards held a slim four-point margin over 2007 champ Steve Francis going into the finale. “Kid Rocket” started Saturday’s feature in 14th, four spots behind Francis, and after scrapping with Francis for position, followed Owens across the line in seventh.

“To be the 2009 champion is just a dream come true,” said Richards, who claimed the title by 14 points over Francis aboard father Mark’s Rocket chassis. “We’ve been in a tight battle all year, but man, when it came down to the end, basically tied with Francis in points, it definitely made it well worth it. I’ve always watched all these (WoO LMS) guys run and I know how good they are, so being a World of Outlaws champion is just awesome.”

Francis was never a factor. Contact with Chris Madden early in the race damaged Francis’s Rocket and the former champ fell to a 12th-place showing.

The finish:
Jimmy Owens, Tim McCreadie, Earl Pearson, Jr., Darrell Lanigan, Shannon Babb, Clint Smith, Josh Richards, Rick Eckert, Dale McDowell, Scott Bloomquist, Chris Madden, Steve Francis, Tim Fuller, Brady Smith, Brad Neat, Shane Clanton, John Blankenship, Mike Knight, Greg Satterlee, Russell King, Dan Schlieper, Kenny Schrader, Jason Feger, Brent Robinson, Tommy Kerr, Jordan Bland, Matt Lux, Chris Ferguson.