The 2018 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) got underway at the Golden Isle Speedway in Waynesville, Georga on Friday, February 2. The three day event is labeled as The Lucas Oil Superbowl of 2018. Opening night saw 41 cars tackling the 5/8 mile banked dirt oval. The winner of the opening night’s main event earned a $10,000 prize.
Early reports had fan favorites Kyle Bronson, Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard and Earl Pearson Jr turning fast times in their hot lap sessions. Jonathan Davenport posted a time of 16.070 in qualifying that was the overall quick time.
After an early battle with Jason Jameson, Jonathan Davenport set sail and drove away from the field to win heat one over Shane Clanton and Don O’Neal. Jimmy Owens starting from the front row, took the early lead and was the easy winner in the second heat race.
In what is looking like a trend, Josh Richards started on the front row and after an early battle with Mason Zeigler, Richards put a gap on the rest of the field and drove to an easy win. The final heat race had an early battle with front row starters Scott Bloomquist and Brent Larson. Larson managed to put some distance between him and the field until a late caution. Despite the stoppage, Larson drove away to the win.
In what was becoming a routine, the front row starters of Tim McCreadie and Casey Roberts keep enough distance between themselves and the rest of the field. The two wage a fierce battle with McCreadie taking a lower line and finding more grip and leads to the checkered flag.
In B Main Two, all eyes had to be on the front row starters based on the evening’s results. Mason Zeigler and Tyler Erb took the green after a previous false start attempt. Erb got loose in the first turn and managed to save the car before spinning. Despite the quick save, Erb dropped back to sixth place. Zeigler drove off to the win.
With the smart money betting on the front row to win, Jonathan Davenport and Josh Richards took the field to the green flag. Richards started the race running the low line that he took to a heart race win earlier. Trading slide jobs with Davenport, the two front runners swap the lead several times.
As the race continued, more drivers migrated to the bottom. Jimmy Owens took over second from Davenport as the entire field moved lower on the track with the exception of Owens, who was comfortable running the top. All the while, Richard continued to inch away. By midway through the race, he had a full straight-away lead.
Jason Jameson’s flat on lap 34 grouped the drivers together again, costing Richards the huge lead he had earned. Richards held the lead through another caution while drivers work to avoid a rut that had developed in the turns 3 and 4.
Most of the field fought looking for grip but Hudson O’Neal was steadily working his way through the field. Toward the end of the race, O’Neal had passed Owens for second, and began reeling Richards in. Having started in 15th place, O’Neal clearly had the fastest car in the field and found a line that was working.
Bloomquist’s spin on the last lap brings out a late caution just as Hudson O’Neal was challenging for the lead. Richards manages to clear O’Neal going into the last set of corners when O’Neal’s car slid high allowing Richards to drive to his first victory of the season. A front row starter won, but it wasn’t easy.