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Jimmy Owens Breaks Through With His First Knoxville Late Model Nationals Win!

Jimmy Owens won the $40,000 Knoxville Late Model Nationals Saturday (Knoxville Raceway Photo)

Tad Pospisil Wins Bang Bang Finish with Malvern Bank SLMR Series

by Bill Wright                                                                                               

 KNOXVILLE, Iowa (September 15, 2018) – Over the years, Newport, Tennesee’s Jimmy Owens has had his share of bad luck at the Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores, but Saturday night his perseverance paid off to the tune of $40,000!  Gaining the lead before the halfway point, he built big leads and fended off all challenges in winning his first ever Knoxville Late Model Nationals.  The Malvern Bank SLMR Series provided excitement of their own.  In a fender-clashing finish, Tad Pospisil won the series inaugural race at Knoxville over Kyle Berck.

The 100-lap Knoxville Late Model Nationals saw Earl Pearson Jr. lead Brandon Sheppard early on, while Don O’Neal and Scott Bloomquist traded third.  Fan favorite Brian Birkhofer was done early on, bowing out on lap six.

Sheppard took his turn at the point, passing Pearson on lap seven.  He entered lapped traffic before the first of several cautions in the first half of the race flew for Ricky Thornton Jr.  While Sheppard looked comfortable out front, Bloomquist would move into second for a time.  Jimmy Owens was moving forward, however, and entered the top five before taking fourth from O’Neal on lap 16.

When Mason Zeigler tagged the wall on lap 22, a caution flew and the lone fuel stop for the race was called.  Owens battled Pearson before taking third before Chris Simpson slowed on lap 38.  Owens would shoot around Bloomquist to take second on the restart, and then overtook Sheppard to take the lead on lap 40 before Jared Landers made hard contact with the wall to bring the red flag on lap 41.

Owens led Sheppard, O’Neal, Bobby Pierce and Bloomquist at that point.  Many had their eyes on Pierce, who was busting the cushion after starting 22nd.  Pierce slid into third on the restart, and used another on lap 47 for Tyler Bruening to over come O’Neal for second.  More yellow laundry flew for Jimmy Mars and a three-car altercation for Tim McCreadie, Gregg Satterlee and Kyle Bronson.

After Shane Clanton got over the turn two cushion into the wall while running eighth on lap 56, the race saw a long period of green flag racing.  Bloomquist and O’Neal worked by Pierce and battled for second.  Meanwhile, Owens was running away to a straightaway lead by lap 65 when he got into lapped traffic.

At that point, Pierce surged on the cushion again.  Over the next ten laps, he gained on Owens, who was in traffic.  On lap 81, he shot around the leader briefly before jumping the turn two cushion and almost coming to a stop.  Owens was able to pull away again.  A lap later, Sheppard surrendered third with a flat right rear.  He would restart.

Owens led Pierce, O’Neal, Josh Richards and Bloomquist back to green.  O’Neal surged into second, with Richards in tow.  Pierce battled back by Richards before O’Neal jumped the turn four cushion and turned sideways, collecting him with 12 to go.  Pierce spun, and the caution flag flew.  He would restart.

Owens would pull away to win ahead of O’Neal, Richards, Bloomquist and hard-charger Brian Shirley who came from the B main.  Sheppard and Pierce rebounded for sixth and seventh, respectively, while Tyler Erb, Chad Simpson and Pearson rounded out the top ten.  Scott James won the C main, while Ricky Thornton Jr. claimed the B.

“It’s awesome!” said Owens in Victory Lane.  “I’m thankful to get this win.  I’ve got to thank my crew and everybody for busting their butts.  We had a good car, and the lapped cars were in front of us.  We knew they were going to close in on us.  I was expecting some sort of pass.  I was hoping there wasn’t a pass, but it was hard to maneuver through traffic.  When they are three and four-wide in front of you, it’s hard to go anywhere.  We lost this race several years ago.  I saw there were five to go, and I thought, ‘Don’t hit no cushion, don’t hit anything.’”

“(The cushion) really got bad there towards the end,” said O’Neal.  “We’d fall back a spot or two, and then get one back on the restart.  We’ve got to thank everyone.  We’ve been struggling lately, but we’ll take second.  We’ve had a little bad luck and tonight sure helps.  I thank the guys for how hard they work.”

“I had a blast out there,” said Richards who started 21st.  “We had some problems yesterday that put us behind.  I want to thank my guys for working hard on this car.  I think we were a little better than Don at the end.  We had a fun race there.  I’m kind of glad we didn’t finish second for a fifth time there.”

It was the inaugural appearance for the Malvern Bank SLMR Series at Knoxville Raceway.  The 22-lap feature saw Tad Pospisil lead Kyle Berck early.  The leaders entered lapped traffic on lap eight before the only caution of the event came for a spun Corey Zeitner.

Pospisil led Berck, Ryan Griffith, Paul Glendenning and Andrew Kosiski back to green.  Kosiski surged to second, but Berck would battle back by on lap 11.  Pospisil was back in traffic with six to go.

Berck tracked the leader down and went door to door to take the lead on the white flag.  The pair swapped metal all the way to the checkers with Pospisil rubbing by again for a .089 second win at the checkers!  Berck followed, ahead of Andrew Kosiski, Chad Holladay and Brian Kosiski.  Josh Krug, Jason Hahne, Matt Buller, Denny Eckrich and Ryan Griffith completed the top ten.  Glendenning set quick time over the 29-car field, while Pospisil, Krug and Allan Hopp won heats.  Jerry Roose presented Jeff Aikey with $500 for his hard-charger honors (25th to 12th).

“With about four to go, I wasn’t gaining on the lapped cars as much,” said Pospisil, who accepted $4,000 in $2 bills in Victory Lane.  “I guess I wasn’t looking at my signal guy close enough.  He must have been telling me to go to the bottom.  I was hanging up there in four and Kyle went by.  I’ve lost a lot of races to that guy on the last lap.  Hats off to him.  I know we got together a little in four, but I would have expected the same from him.  I’m just proud to be here.  We’ve worked hard all season.  To win at Knoxville…this is just awesome!”

The 2018 race season at Knoxville Raceway concludes with the annual enduro on Saturday, September 22!  For more information, visit www.KnoxvilleRaceway.com

Results the 15th Annual Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores

 C main (started), 15 Laps, NT: 1. 83, Scott James, Lawrenceburg, IN (1); 2. 14m, Morgan Bagley, Longview, TX (3); 3. 22, Greg Satterlee, Indiana, PA (2); 4. B1, Brent Larson, Lake Elmo, MN (5) / 5. 39T, Rob Toland, Davenport, IA (4); 6. 4w, JC Wyman, Griswold, IA (9); 7. 54, Mike Fryer, Freeport, IL (7); 8. 6H, Al Humphrey, Giltner, NE (10); 9. 93, Brian Harris, Davenport, IA (8); 10. 1GRT, Justin Zeitner, Malvern, IA (6); 11. 10c, Junior Coover, Norfolk, NE (12); 12. 9, Lyle Zanker, Rockford, IL (11) DNS – 14z, Zach McMillan, Gladewater, TX, 93J, Jay Johnson, West Burlington, IA, 22B, Jonathan Brauns, Muscatine, IA, 40, Joel Callahan, Dubuque, IA.

B main (started), 20 Laps, NT: 1. 20RT, Ricky Thornton Jr., Chandler, AZ (13); 2. 1777, Jared Landers, Batesville, AR (4); 3. 28, Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, IL (11); 4. 3s, Brian Shirley, Chatham, IL (2); 5. Scott James (19); 6. 14, Darrell Lanigan, Union, KY (9) / 7. 25F, Jason Feger, Bloomington, IL (17); 8. 58H, Jeremiah Hurst, Dubuque, IA (1); 9. 15D, Justin Duty, Portland, OR (5); 10. 14J, Jake Neal, Omaha, NE (10); 11. 1M, Mike Mataragas, DeKalb, IL (14); 12. Morgan Bagley (20); 13. 56s, Chris Spieker, Massena, IA (16); 14. 51M, Joey Moriarty, Phoenix, AZ (15); 15. 37, Scott Ward, Hayti, SD (7); 16. 51, Matt Furman, Iowa City, IA (3); 17. 94, Austin Rettig, Sikeston, MO (6); 18. Greg Satterlee (21); 19. Brent Larson (22); 20. 58, Dave Eckrich, Oxford, IA (8); 21. 33, Nick Marolf, Moscow, IA (18); 22. 29D, Spencer Diercks, Davenport, IA (12)

A main (started), 100 Laps, NT: 1. 20, Jimmy Owens, Newport, TN (7); 2. 5, Don O’Neal, Martinsville, IN (4); 3. 1R, Josh Richards, Shinnston, WV (21); 4. 0, Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, TN (3); 5. Brian Shirley (27); 6. 1s, Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, IL (1); 7. 32, Bobby Pierce, Oakwood, IL (22); 8. 91, Tyler Erb, New Waverly, TX (5); 9. 25s, Chad Simpson, , Mt. Vernon, IA (6); 10. 1, Earl Pearson Jr., Jacksonville, FL (2); 11. 49, Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, GA (9); 12. Dennis Erb Jr. (26); 13. 99JR, Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, IL (8); 14. 18J, Chase Junghans, Manhattan, KS (20); 15. Ricky Thornton Jr. (24); 16. Darrell Lanigan (29); 17. 16T, Tyler Bruening, Decorah, IA (14); 18. 25z, Mason Zeigler, Chalk Hill, PA (18); 19. 76, Brandon Overton, Evans, GA (12); 20. 32s, Chris Simpson, Oxford, IA (10); 21. 21, Billy Moyer, Batesville, AR (23); 22. Jason Feger (31); 23. 18, Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, IL (17); 24. 25c, Shane Clanton, Zebulon, GA (15); 25. Greg Satterlee (30); 26. 39, Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY (13); 27. 40B, Kyle Bronson, Brandon, FL (11); 28. 28M, Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, WI (16); 29. Jared Landers (25); 30. Scott James (28); 31. 30, Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, IA (19); 32. 00S, Jesse Stovall, Billings, MO (32). Lap Leaders: Pearson 1-6, Sheppard 7-39, Owens 40-100. Hard-charger: Shirley.


Malvern Bank SLMR Series Results


Time Trials (Qualifying Order), 2 laps: 1. 33, Paul Glendenning, Mt. Ayr, IA (8) 18.776; 2. 14, Kyle Berck, Marquette, NE (15) 18.884; 3. 53, Andrew Kosiski, La Vista, NE (9) 19.120; 4. 52, Brian Kosiski, Papillion, NE (7) 19.123; 5. 15x, Ryan Griffith, Webster City, IA (11) 19.137; 6. 76H, Jason Hahne, Webster City, IA (14) 19.232; 7. 04, Tad Pospisil, Norfolk, NE (21) 19.233; 8. 15, Jason O’Brien, Atlantic, IA (4) 19.317; 9. 26JR, Corey Zeitner, Omaha, NE (3) 19.428; 10. 32c, Chad Holladay, Muscatine, IA (28) 19.484; 11. 4K, Josh Krug, Omaha, NE (23) 19.496; 12. 80, Allan Hopp, Harlan, IA (12) 19.502; 13. 24, Bill Leighton Jr., La Vista, NE (2) 19.509; 14. 301, Matt Buller, Henderson, NE (10) 19.522; 15. 99D, Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown, IA (22) 19.525; 16. P7, Eric Pollard, Peosta, IA (5) 19.537; 17. 30, Todd Cooney, Des Moines, IA (29) 19.562; 18. 1, Denny Eckrich, Tiffin, IA (26) 19.568; 19. 15K, Justin Kay, Wheatland, IA (20) 19.581; 20. 10T, Jeff Tharp, Sherrill, IA (16) 19.692; 21. 98, Ben Schaller, Omaha, NE (27) 19.716; 22. 3, Sterling Perkins, Lamoni, IA (6) 19.936; 23. 36, Jim Johnson, Plainview, NE (17) 19.976; 24. 1D, Ryan Dolan, Lisbon, IA (24) 20.045; 25. 24F, Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls, IA (13) 20.060; 26. 83, Jake Bridge, Waverly, NE (18) 20.126; 27. 25, Brad Perdue, Council Bluffs, IA (19) 20.302; 28. 76, Zach Zeitner, Bellvue, NE (25) 20.326; 29. 87, John Emerson, Waterloo, IA (1) 21.312.


Heat one (started), 8 laps, 2:40.9: 1. Tad Pospisil (3) 2. Chad Holladay (2) 3. Paul Glendenning (5) 4. Brian Kosiski (4) 5. Bill Leighton Jr. (1) 6. Eric Pollard (6) 7. Justin Kay (7) 8. Zach Zeitner (10) 9. Jeff Aikey (9) 10. Sterling Perkins (8)


Heat two (started), 8 laps, 2:41.0: 1. Josh Krug (2) 2. Kyle Berck (5) 3. Ryan Griffith (4) 4. Todd Cooney (6) 5. Matt Buller (1) 6. Jim Johnson (8) 7. Jason O’Brien (3) 8. Jeff Tharp (7) 9. Jake Bridge (9) 10. John Emerson (10)


Heat three (started), 8 laps, 2:43.3: 1. Allan Hopp (2) 2. Jason Hahne (4) 3. Corey Zeitner (3) 4. Ben Schaller (7) 5. Darrel DeFrance (1) 6. Andrew Kosiski (5) 7. Denny Eckrich (6) 8. Ryan Dolan (8) 9. Brad Perdue (9)


A main (started), 22 laps, NT: 1. Tad Pospisil (3) 2. Kyle Berck (1) 3. Andrew Kosiski (7) 4. Chad Holladay (9) 5. Brian Kosiski (6) 6. Josh Krug (8) 7. Jason Hahne (4) 8. Matt Buller (12) 9. Denny Eckrich (19) 10. Ryan Griffith (5) 11. Justin Kay (18) 12. Jeff Aikey (25) 13. Paul Glendenning (2) 14. Ben Schaller (16) 15. Bill Leighton Jr. (13) 16. Todd Cooney (14) 17. Darrel DeFrance (15) 18. Ryan Dolan (23) 19. Jeff Tharp (21) 20. Brad Perdue (26) 21. Allan Hopp (11) 22. Jake Bridge (24) 23. Jim Johnson (20) 24. John Emerson (27) 25. Eric Pollard (17) 26. Sterling Perkins (22) 27. Corey Zeitner (10) DNS – Jason O’Brien, Zach Zeitner. Lap Leaders: Pospisil 1-20, Berck 21, Pospisil 22. Hard-charger: Aikey.



KNOXVILLE, IOWA (September 15, 2018) – Three-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion walked away with a $40,000 check after ruling the 15th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store.


Owens took the lead on lap 41 from Brandon Sheppard and held off a charging Bobby Pierce to score his first Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals victory. Don O’Neal fought off a late-race challenge from Josh Richards to finish second. Richards came home in third, followed by Scott Bloomquist and 28th starter Brian Shirley.


Gaining momentum from a lap 38 restart, Owens powered on lap 41. Owens stretched his lead to a full straightaway mid-race before encountering lapped traffic on lap 75, opening the door for Pierce. The duo crossed the line door-to-door on the 80th circuit before Pierce slipped over the berm and lost his momentum, relinquishing the spot to Owens.


Don O’Neal moved into second after a lap-82 restart, shuffling Pierce to third. The final caution waved on lap 88 when O’Neal and Pierce made contact while battling for second. Owens sailed away in the final laps to become the twelfth different winner of the annual event.


“This is awesome,” Owens said. “I have to thank Leon Ramirez and all of my friends and family for believing in me. Thanks to God for a safe race and to all of the fans. I hope Leon, and everyone was watching tonight cheering me on. They have had enough heartbreak like I have this year. It’s awesome to get this win and thanks to my crew for busting their tails.”


“When Bobby [Pierce] got up beside me it didn’t change how I was running,” Owens added. “We a good car. The lapped cars were running three and four wide and I knew those guys behind me were going to close in on me. I was expecting some sort of pass from someone. It was so hard to maneuver through traffic because the track was so good tonight.”


O’Neal was looking for his second-career Late Model Nationals victory. “The cushion was really treacherous especially at the end of the race. We would fall back a spot or two on the restarts. We have had a little bad luck and been off a few times, but we got things turned around here tonight and it helps the morale of the Peak Antifreeze team.”


Richards, who has earned four, second-place finishes in the event was happy with his podium finish. “I had a blast out there. We had some problems yesterday that got us behind. We could have gotten some more points last night, but thanks to everyone on the Best Performance team for working hard on the car. I think we were a little better than Don [O’Neal] at the end I just couldn’t quite squeeze by him. We had a fun race there.”


Owens’ Ramirez Motorsports-owned Rocket Chassis is powered by a Durham Racing Engine and sponsored by: E3 Spark Plugs, Boomtest Well Service, Tommy Pope Construction, Red Bone Fishing and Rental, Power Rig, LLC, Red Line Oil, Keyser, Hypercoil Springs, Midwest Sheet Metal and Cheap Cars.


Completing the top ten were Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce, Tyler Erb, Chad Simpson and Earl Pearson Jr.


Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Race Summary
Saturday, September 15, 2018
15th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals – presented by Casey’s General Stores
Knoxville Raceway – Knoxville, Iowa

FAST Shafts C-Main Finish (15 Laps, Top 4 Transfer to B-Main): Scott James, Morgan Bagley, Gregg Satterlee, Brent Larson, Rob Toland, JC Wyman, Mike Fryer, Al Humphrey, Brian Harris, Justin Zeitner, Junior Coover, Lyle Zanker, Zach McMillan-DNS, Jay Johnson-DNS, Jonathan Brauns-DNS, Joel Callahan-DNS

Penske Racing Shocks B-Main Finish (20 Laps, Top 6 Transfer to A-Main): Ricky Thornton Jr., Jared Landers, Dennis Erb, Jr., Brian Shirley, Scott James , Darrell Lanigan, Jason Feger, Jeremiah Hurst, Justin Duty, Jake Neal, Mike Mataragas, Morgan Bagley, Chris Spieker, Joey Moriarty, Scott Ward, Matt Furman, Austin Rettig, Gregg Satterlee, Brent Larson, Dave Eckrich, Nick Marolf, Spencer Diercks

Lucas Oil Feature Finish (100 Laps):

1 7 20 Jimmy Owens Newport, TN $40,800
2 4 5 Don O’Neal Martinsville, IN $20,800
3 21 1R Josh Richards Shinnston, WV $11,000
4 3 0 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg, TN $9,550
5 28 3s Brian Shirley Chatham, IL $7,700
6 1 1S Brandon Sheppard New Berlin, IL $7,200
7 22 32 Bobby Pierce Oakwood, IL $6,500
8 5 91 Tyler Erb New Waverly, TX $6,000
9 6 25s Chad Simpson Mt. Vernon, IA $5,500
10 2 1 Earl Pearson, Jr. Jacksonville, FL $5,800
11 9 49 Jonathan Davenport Blairsville, GA $5,400
12 27 28 Dennis Erb, Jr. Carpentersville, IL $4,900
14 8 99JR Frank Heckenast, Jr. Frankfort, IL $3,500
14 20 18J Chase Junghans Manhattan, KS $3,400
15 25 20RT Ricky Thornton Jr. Sedgwick, KS $3,500
16 30 14 Darrell Lanigan Union, KY $4,100
17 14 16T Tyler Bruening Decorah, IA $3,100
18 18 25Z Mason Zeigler ® Chalk Hill, PA $3,800
19 12 76 Brandon Overton Evans, GA $2,900
20 10 32S Chris Simpson Oxford, IA $2,800
21 24 21 Billy Moyer Batesville, AR $2,700
22 32 25F Jason Feger Bloomington, IL $3,800
23 17 18 Shannon Babb Mowequa, IL $2,500
24 15 25C Shane Clanton Zebulon, GA $2,500
25 31 22 Gregg Satterlee Indiana, PA $4,200
26 13 39 Tim McCreadie Watertown, NY $3,200
27 11 40B Kyle Bronson ® Brandon, FL $2,500
28 16 28m Jimmy Mars Menomonie, WI $2,500
29 26 1777 Jared Landers Batesville, AR $2,700
30 29 83 Scott James Lawrenceburg, IN $2,800
31 19 30 Brian Birkhofer Muscatine, IA $2,500
32 23 00s Jesse Stovall Billings, MO $2,500


Race Statistics
: 58
Lap Leaders: Earl Pearson Jr. (Laps 1 – 5); Brandon Sheppard (Laps 6 – 40); Jimmy Owens (Laps 41 – 100)
Wrisco Feature Winner: Jimmy Owens
Margin of Victory: 3.436 seconds
Cautions: Ricky Thornton Jr.(Lap 12); Mason Zeigler (Lap 22); Chris Simpson (Lap 38); Jared Landers (Lap 41); Tyler Bruening (Lap 47); Gregg Satterlee, Tim McCreadie, Kyle Bronson (Lap 52); Shane Clanton (Lap 56); Brandon Sheppard (Lap 81); Bobby Pierce (Lap 88)
Series Provisional: Gregg Satterlee
Knoxville Raceway Provisional: Jason Feger
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Brian Shirley (Advanced 23 Positions)
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Jonathan Davenport
Allstar Performance Power Move of the Race: Brandon Sheppard
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Jimmy Owens
Hot Rod Processing Rookie of the Race: Mason Zeigler
COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Durham Race Engines
Ohlins Shocks Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Jeff Strope (Jimmy Owens)
Fastest Lap of the Race: Brandon Sheppard (Lap #2 – 19.867 seconds)
STEEL-IT Most Laps Led: Jimmy Owens (61 Laps)
Dirty Girl Racewear Farthest Traveler: Justin Duty
PFC Brakes Pole Award: Brandon Sheppard
Time of Race: 88 minutes 17 seconds


Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings:

1 49 Jonathan Davenport Blairsville, GA 7360 $244,948.79
2 1R Josh Richards Shinnston, WV 7185 $169,729.67
3 0 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg, TN 7105 $213,802.58
4 1 Earl Pearson, Jr. Jacksonville, FL 6905 $352,814.50
5 20 Jimmy Owens Newport, TN 6780 $160,933.49
6 5 Don O’Neal Martinsville, IN 6670 $139,158.79
6 32 Bobby Pierce Oakwood, IL 6670 $177,752.90
8 39 Tim McCreadie Watertown, NY 6660 $125,100.00
9 22 Gregg Satterlee Indiana, PA 6165 $114,368.95
10 14 Darrell Lanigan Union, KY 6155 $96,672.00
11 25Z Mason Zeigler ® Chalk Hill, PA 6070 $85,344.97
12 28 Dennis Erb, Jr. Carpentersville, IL 5950 $68,362.31
13 71 Hudson O’Neal Martinsville, IN 5825 $121,325.00
14 40B Kyle Bronson ® Brandon, FL 5820 $79,935.00

*Points are unofficial until Close of Business on the Tuesday following Race Day*

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  1. It’s about time….had a lot of bad luck!

  2. Congratulationson on win Jimmy Owens

  3. Very happy for Jimmy and the crew.

  4. It was a great race. Love going to Knoxville!!