Drivers Jimmy Owens and Jonathan Davenport both claimed feature wins last weekend during Lucas Oil Speedway’s 2019 Diamond Nationals Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14, according to a speedway news release.
For Owens, Saturday marked a return to a familiar place — victory lane.
The Newport, Tennessee, driver dominated on his way to an eighth career victory at the track to capture night one of the event, claiming a $15,000 prize, according to the release.
It was his fourth CMH Diamond Nationals win and 63rd career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series triumph, according to the release. He finished about a straightaway ahead of runner-up Earl Pearson Jr. in the 60-lap event, with Mike Marlar passing Scott Bloomquist late in a battle for third. Series points leader Jonathan Davenport was fifth.
"We're rolling really good right now," Owens said in the release. "We're glad to be here and get a win with (car owner) Leon (Ramirez) and the guys here. I'm glad we can win in front of them.”
Owens opened a two-second lead while working lapped traffic when the race's lone caution came out on lap 20. Just after the restart, Pearson caught and passed Owens — but his lead lasted only two laps as Owens went back in front on lap 26.
The race remained green the rest of the way, with Owens weaving his way through lapped traffic for the win, according to the release. He said he was happy there were no more cautions.
"I didn't want to see cautions because we still struggle on takeoffs, getting our tires to fire back up," Owens said in the release. "But we're getting a hold on that, too."
Pearson praised the slick nature of the track, which made for multiple lanes, but noted that his car couldn't handle the surface like Owens' did.
"Everybody knows that Jimmy is extremely good here," Pearson said in the release. "We tried to run with him for 10 or 15 laps, but he could maneuver around a lot better than I could.”
Wheeler earns USRA Modified win
Chad Wheeler came all the way from the 14th starting position to reel in Darron Fuqua with five laps remaining and capture the Pitts Homes USRA Modified $2,000-to-win feature Saturday, according to the release.
Wheeler from Muskogee, Oklahoma, wound up about five car lengths clear of Fuqua, with Matt Johnson third, Kyle Thompson fourth and Chad Lyle in fifth.
It was Wheeler’s second consecutive win at the speedway.
"We've had a rough couple of years, but we won last weekend," Wheeler said in the release. "I didn't do very good in the heat race. We left the car alone, and I'm glad we did."
Wheeler had been gradually working his way through the field, and he moved into second by lap 21 and passed Fuqua going down the back stretch on lap 25.
"It took a lot of patience," Wheeler said in the release.
Davenport takes day 2 win
Davenport led the final 50 laps of his $15,000-to-win feature Sunday, surviving a late challenge from veteran Mike Marlar to take his ninth victory of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series season Sunday, according to the release.
"I have to thank my crew," Davenport said in the release. "We've had a hell of a week so far.”
Davenport finished fifth behind Owens Saturday.
"This team is very, very good from the bottom to the top," Davenport said in the release. "We'll put our heads together and work hard, and maybe we'll get another championship."
Marlar was second. Shanon Buckingham was third with Tim McCreadie fourth and Billy Moyer fifth.
The leaders already were weaving through lapped cars when Hudson O'Neal spun out to bring out a caution flag on lap 15.
Davenport sprinted away after the restart and opened a 2.5-second lead. By lap 50, Davenport and Marlar had separated from the pack by about 10 car lengths.
According to the release, Marlar of Winfield, Tennessee, nosed underneath Davenport coming off turn four with three to go, but Davenport repelled the challenge. He held on from there and crossed the finish line two car lengths in front.
Slader wins Street Stocks
Kyle Slader led wire-to-wire to earn the Street Stocks feature win, holding off Tony Anglin of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas by 1.2 seconds.
"We've battled a lot of (bad) luck this year. I've been wanting to win here for a while. We finally got it done,” Slader said in the release.
The Muskogee, Oklahoma driver won after four restarts to capture the $1,000 victory.
Lucas Oil Speedway weekly series regular Bob Barnett of Republic finished third ahead of James Flood of Crane and Joplin's John Coats, according to the release.
"It was a dang good run for us, that's for sure," Barnett said in the release.