latemodelamerica.com - Apr. 23 - Volunteer Speedway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Mike Marlar - Jimmy Owens - Brad Neat

Mike Marlar, Jimmy Owens, and Brad Neat share some down time at at Volunteer Speedway before Owens scored another big win there. (Michael Moats)

Ultimate Racing Series: Owens Still Hard to Beat at Home

Richard Allen

BULLS GAP, Tenn.  — April 23. Jimmy Owens may never want to leave his home area again. For the third time in as many weeks ‘The O-Show’ took a check and a trophy back to his Newport, Tennessee home from a nearby track. This week, as was the case two weeks ago, he won at the Volunteer Speedway, following up last weekend's victory at the Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville.

Young Carolina Clash regular Chris Ferguson gets ready to take the track before grabbing a third place finish at Volunteer.(Thomas Hendrickson)
On Saturday, as the Ultimate Super Late Model Series made its inaugural visit to the region with a 75-lap ‘Late Model Showdown at The Gap’ on the high banked, 4/10 mile Volunteer Speedway, Owens wasted little time assuming command of the event when he bolted from his outside front row starting spot and never relinquished the lead on his way to claiming the $10,000 first prize.

Chris Ferguson started from the pole position after posting a quick time of 12.449 seconds in time trials and then going on to win his heat race. Owens started second with Scott Bloomquist slated to go off third and Jonathan Davenport starting from the fourth slot.

Jimmy Owens - Jonathan Davenport - Ultimate Racing Series at Volunteer Speedway 

Jonathan Davenport dives under leader Jimmy Owens after a restart, but it wasn't enough to keep Owens from leading every lap and driving to his third East Tennessee win in as many weeks. (Thomas Hendrickson)


Tyler Reddick - Ross Bailes - Volunteer Speedway Ultimate Racing Series

Volunteer not-so-regulars Tyler Reddick and #87 Ross Bailes mix it up on the high banked Tennessee track. (Thomas Hendrickson)

Eric Jacobsen - Steve Smith

California traveller Eric Jacobsen works under a fading #3 of Steve Smith before posting a very respectable fifth place at Volunteer. (Michael Moats)

However, what had begun as a strange night for Bloomquist only got worse before the field even commenced its pace laps. The Mooresburg, Tennessee driver had set fast time on his second qualifying lap, only to have the time disallowed because he was out of place by one car in the qualifying order. Only his first lap counted for an official time.

Even with that setback, Bloomquist went on to win his heat race and establish himself as one of the pre-race favorites to take the win. Strangely, however, his car encountered mechanical difficulties (possibly a broken drive shaft) as the field made their way out to line-up on the front straightaway and Bloomquist never even turned a pace lap.

Eric Wells - Casey Roberts

Eric Wells drives under #101 Casey Roberts before driving to a solid fourth place at Volunteer. (Thomas Hendrickson)

On the race’s initial start, Owens shot to the lead in turn one and stretched his advantage out to almost a full straightaway over Ferguson at first, and then Davenport. With a full field of 24 cars on the tight track it did not take long for the front running machines to catch the back of the pack. Rather than give up ground, Owens seemed to extend his advantage in traffic.

Ricky Weeks - Mark Douglas

Carolina driver Ricky Weeks came to play at Volunteer. Weeks is challenged low by local driver Mark Douglas. (Thomas Hendrickson)

Behind Owens, Davenport established himself as the solid second place runner while Ferguson settled into third for much of the race. From fourth back there was some swapping of positions as Eric Wells, Chris Madden, Eric Jacobsen, Ray Cook, Billy Ogle, Kent Robinson and Steve Smith traded positions before finishing in that order.

“We had a good car all night long,” Owens declared in victory lane. “We had to work on our shocks before the feature to get through those humps in the track but we got it pretty good.”

The race was slowed by three cautions for minor incidents.

Brad Neat car - Volunteer Speedway

Brad Neat's disassembled race car after the Kentucky driver took a nasty tumble in his heat race at Volunteer Speedway. (Michael Moats)

Ultimate Racing Series - Volunteer Speedway
1) Jimmy Owens, 2) Jonathan Davenport, 3) Chris Ferguson, 4) Eric Wells, 5) Chris Madden, 6) Eric Jacobsen, 7) Ray Cook, 8) Billy Ogle, Jr., 9) Kent Robinson, 10) Steve Smith, 11) Casey Roberts, 12) Tyler Reddick, 13) John Blankenship, 14) Mark Douglas, 15) Chip Brindle, 16) Ross Bailes, 17) Ricky Weeks, 18) Casey Barrow, 19) Chad Ogle, 20) Zack Mitchell, 21) Daniel Baggerly, 22) Ty Dillon, 23) Petey Ivey.
Heat winners (30 entries): Ferguson, Owens, Bloomquist, Davenport; Consolation winners: Ogle, Ivey.

Todd Battin photo

 

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