$22,022-To-Win / $1,000-To-Start Next on Tap for Miniseries on June 1 at Tri-City Speedway
MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (May 18, 2022) — Hudson O’Neal says his Double Down Motorsports team has been inching toward success in recent weeks. So perhaps it’s fitting O’Neal’s car was within inches of slipping over the razor-thin cushion Wednesday evening at Marshalltown Speedway.
Surviving a few close calls on the high groove at the wall-free oval, the 21-year-old driver from Martinsville, Ind., raced to his first victory of the season, earning $22,022 for a Castrol® FloRacing Night in America triumph. O’Neal slid past race-long leader and hometown driver Ryan Gustin on the 31st of 50 laps and fought off Gustin, runner-up Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., as well as polesitter and third-place finisher Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., in scoring his first victory since Oct. 2, 2021, at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway in Imperial, Pa.
“I couldn’t see behind me, but my guys were giving me a pretty close signal, so it had to be a pretty good race behind me,” the third-starting O’Neal said in victory lane. “It was a good race for the lead.”
The seventh-starting Sheppard, who struggled with what he called “gremlins” during the main event, finished 0.809 of a second behind O’Neal at the checkers followed by Marlar’s body-damaged car, Gustin and 16th-starting Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas.
In stalking Gustin and sliding into the lead on the 31st lap, O’Neal took a step toward getting back to the Tennessee-based team’s level of an impressive 11 victories last season, including an unprecedented sweep of the Show-Me 100 and Topless 100.
“I’m just so, so, so, so happy for all my guys. We’ve all worked so hard and (crewman) Trevor Crittenden couldn’t be here tonight, and I hate it man. I know he’s probably pumped up sitting at home Washington. I wish you were here buddy. But I just can’t think Trevor, Eric, Mason, my girlfriend Tessa, or Roger Sellers car owner, Tom Buckingham, just everybody pitches in on this thing,” said O’Neal, who was coming off a pair of third-place weekend finishes in Illinois on the MARS Racing Series. “It’s been pretty awesome just to see the progression. We’ve just been inching our way. Unfortunately, we haven’t just made a huge stride to get that much better, but we’ve just been inching our way. So I’m so, so happy and proud of this team.
“We’re really really good right now and arguably the best I’ve been. You know, we’ve been able to qualify good, which is something I’ve struggled at. So, you know, we’ll just try and keep the ball rolling. It’s hard to stay on top of these racetracks every night and to make the right decisions and especially tonight, we were a little tight and it was just hard to make the right decision.”
After O’Neal took the lead, he had a couple of tense moments on the cushion, slipping up with 15 laps remaining and allowing Gustin to pull alongside on the backstretch. After edging back away, O’Neal also had a near slipup with two laps remaining but held on for the victory.
“I was having a hard time hitting (the cushion) down here. It was so thin around that top probably, just a foot — if a foot — up there left. I spent most of the time through the middle and then Gustin moved down and I knew I had to get up there to pass him,” O’Neal said. “Man, this car was just awesome all night long. You know being able to qualify good from a deep position like we did and capitalize on starting up front. I knew just running around there pacing them first 20 laps, I knew I had a good race car. I was just trying to keep the tires underneath me for a while.”
Sheppard said he didn’t want to make excuses, but he was fighting issues that didn’t quite allow his Rocket Chassis house car to be at its best.
“We were fighting a few gremlins there in the heat race, and in the feature there. I think, if we could’ve had our stuff running there … I was stopped in the middle of (turns) three and four a couple of times there, so it was definitely a crazy race,” he said. “I was a little bit leery to drive in too hard, because (the engine) would almost die in the middle of the corner. But once it started to slicken off, (the problems) started to go away a little bit and then I could start maneuvering around a little bit and trying to pass some cars. Man, we had a really maneuverable race car again tonight. It was just a heck of a night for me and the team and congratulations to Hud. That was a heck of a race, a really fun racetrack. Hopefully get to come back soon.”
Marlar never led a lap despite starting on the pole and managed to salvage a third-place finish.
“I kind of beat myself on the tire. I don’t have an actual tire guy who picks ‘em — I have to pick them and I don’t want to pick them,” he said. “So I picked the tire tonight, and these guys were just softer (on tire compound). So I committed to the cushion after I seen I was kind of too hard on tire, and then tore the quarter(panel) off, so that definitely didn’t help.”
A red-flag appeared on the ninth lap when sixth-running Ricky Thornton Jr. slipped over the turn-two banking, his car slowing rolling over the banking. The car was upside down when he climbed out, but the Chandler, Ariz., driver wasn’t injured.
The only other slowdown came on the second lap when Chad Simpson collected fellow home-state driver Spencer Diercks in turn two.
Castrol® FloRacing Night in America returns to action on Wednesday, June 1 at Tri-City Speedway (Pontoon Beach, Ill.) with a $22,022-to-win / $1,000-to-start event presented by Spartan Transportation. The event will be the sixth round of the 2022 season for the miniseries.
The Super Late Model tire rule for the event is as follows:
Front Tires and Left Rear Tire: LM20
Right-Rear Tire: LM40
* Drivers must use the same four tires for qualifying through B-Main action. One tire can be changed for the A-Main.
2022 Castrol® FloRacing Night in America Purse
Tri-City Speedway (Wednesday, June 1)
1)$22,022 2)$11,000 3)$5,000 4)$4,000 5)$3,000 6)$2,500 7)$2,250 8)$2,000 9)$1,800 10)$1,500 11)$1,200 12)$1,150 13)$1,100 14)$1,050 15-22)$1,000
TOTAL – $67,572
Entry Fee: $100 | Non-Qualifier Money: $50
Joining the night’s program will be DIRTcar Modifieds ($1,500-to-win)
General grandstand seating is $35 (ages 13-and-up), $10 (ages 6-12), and free (ages 5-and-under).
Pit passes are $40 (ages 13-and-up), $15 (ages 6-12) and are free for ages 5-and-under.
The pit gate opens at 12:00 p.m. CST with the grandstand gate opening at 4:00 p.m. and driver’s meeting at 6:00 p.m. Hot laps are at 6:30 p.m. with racing action to follow.
For more information on the facility, please visit www.TriCitySpeedway.net .
Castrol® FloRacing Night in America
Marshalltown Speedway (Marshalltown, Iowa)
May 18, 2022 Feature Results
A Feature 1 (50 Laps): 1. 71-Hudson O’Neal; 2. 1-Brandon Sheppard; 3. 157-Mike Marlar; 4. 19-Ryan Gustin; 5. 1T-Tyler Erb; 6. 39-Tim McCreadie; 7. 58-Garrett Alberson; 8. 32S-Chris Simpson; 9. 32-Bobby Pierce; 10. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr; 11. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 12. 16-Tyler Bruening; 13. 49-Jake Timm; 14. 7-Ross Robinson; 15. (DNF) 11H-Spencer Hughes; 16. (DNF) 89-Ashton Winger; 17. (DNF) 9-Devin Moran; 18. (DNF) 22M-Charlie McKenna; 19. (DNF) 36-Logan Martin; 20. (DNF) 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 21. (DNF) 25-Chad Simpson; 22. (DNF) 29-Spencer Diercks
DNS: Daniel Hilsabeck, Todd Cooney, Jeff Larson, Tim Simpson, Jeff Aikey, Tegan Evans, Matt Furman
Renegade Race Fuels Fast Qualifier: Mike Marlar (13.758 seconds)
Integra Racing Shocks Heat Race #1 Winner: Mike Marlar
Pit Stop USA Heat Race #2 Winner: Ryan Gustin
K1 Race Gear Heat Race #3 Winner: Hudson O’Neal
Buzze Racing B-Main Winner: Devin Moran
Hoosier Tire Drawing Winners: Ryan Gustin, Tim Simpson
$150 Cash Drawing Winners: Ross Robinson, Todd Cooney
For more information on Castrol® FloRacing Night in America sponsors, visit the company websites at www.castrol.com; www.renegaderacefuel.com; www.integrashocksandsprings.com; www.pitstopusa.com; www.k1racegear.com; www.buzzeracing.com; www.hokertrucking.com; www.rocketchassis.com; www.dirtdraft.com; www.hoosiertire.com; and www.fkrodends.com.
For complete Castrol® FloRacing Night in America details, visit the brand-new series website at www.FloSeries.com. For other questions, contact general manager Ben Shelton at email@example.com or 901-335-3037.
Castrol FloRacing Night in America Points (After 05/18/22)
1)Brandon Sheppard – 390 points
2)Hudson O’Neal – 312 points
3)Mike Marlar – 312 points
4)Tyler Erb – 261 points
5)Ricky Thornton Jr. – 249 points
6)Bobby Pierce – 242 points
7)Stormy Scott – 237 points
8)Ryan Gustin – 217 points
9)Garrett Alberson – 202 points
10)Ashton Winger – 177 points
11)Jonathan Davenport – 168 points
12)Spencer Hughes – 167 points
13)Kyle Larson – 159 points
14)Devin Moran – 159 points
15)Dennis Erb Jr. – 156 points