Story By: BEN SHELTON / ROCKET1 RACING – SHINNSTON, WV – Hudson O’Neal continued his early season winning ways with his third triumph of the year on Wednesday night behind the wheel of his Valvoline / Seubert Calf Ranches No. 1 Rocket1 Racing / Ace Metal Works / XR1 Rocket Chassis / Durham Racing Engine Super Late Model.
His latest voyage to Victory Lane was worth $10,000 in Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) competition at Golden Isles Speedway. The Indiana racer led early before slipping to second. However, he was able to rally back to the lead and the win.
“I just got behind a lapped car down here and he kind of pinched me and I just completely messed up and about spun out. I just tried to move to get by those lapped cars and just couldn’t move you know. I was lucky the caution came back out and let us get back to second there and give it a run. Man, that Clay [Harris] drove a good race and I was just able to sneak by him. There was one time he kind of messed up and got up there and I think he grabbed the backstretch wall,” O’Neal said in Lucas Oil Victory Lane.
“That bottom was just really wet, and it just never gave up especially down here in one. No matter how many laps we ran it never really changed colors. So, it just worked out and we were able to get the lead back and just hold on and I was just trying to not miss that bottom the best I could going into one because you really had to slow down and be patient.”
Rejoining the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) at the newly rebranded Ocala (Fla.) Speedway, Hudson O’Neal and Rocket1 Racing were one of 40 teams on hand for the opening round of the two-day Winter Nationals on Tuesday evening.
With a second-place finish in the Earnhardt Technologies Group heat three locking him into the third row for the main event, Hudson shuffled two spots in the 40-lapper to cross the finish line in eighth.
On Wednesday, O’Neal claimed the Allstar Performance Fast Time Award with a 14.012-second lap in time trials before placing first in his heat. Regaining the lead from second-starting Clay Harris on lap 18, Hudson paced the final 23 circuits to claim his second win of the season and the $10,000 payday. His 26th-career LOLMDS triumph came ahead of Harris, Brian Shirley, Ricky Thornton Jr., and Kyle Bronson.
On Friday and Saturday action continued for the LOLMDS contingent with a trip to All-Tech Raceway (Ellisville, Fla.). Friday’s $12,000-to-win event found Hudson winning his heat race to earn the sixth-starting spot for the finale. He raced to as high as the second position in the 50-lap race before ultimately settling into a third-place finish behind Ricky Thornton Jr. and Devin Moran.
On Saturday night, the team ran into mechanical issues during their heat race, which forced them to a backup car in a provisional starting spot for the $15,000-to-win finale. Hudson rallied from the tail of the field to finish 11th at the checkered flag.
Speedweeks action for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series continues this Monday – Saturday with the 48th annual Wieland Winter Nationals at East Bay Raceway Park (Gibsonton, Fla.).