The O'Reilly Late Model Challenge saw 65 of the top Late Model drivers representing the O'Reilly MLRA, MARS, SUPR, NCRA, TORA, and the MSRA. It's been less the 24 hours and the race is already topping the charts as one of the best ever.
"I hate to say this because we have so many great late model races here," said Kevin Greven, General Track Manager, "but that was the best late model race I have ever seen on the Diamond of Dirt Tracks."
Terry Phillips, which several of the before mentioned series could claim, won his heat race after starting 8th and that was good enough for the pole. Phillips lead the Challenge to just shy of the halfway point before making contact with Bill Frye as he attempted to put him a lap down going into turn three. Billy Moyer, who had been starting to run Phillips down before the incident took over the lead and never looked back.
"It's probably a good thing he didn't look," added Greven, "because they were two and three wide behind him through out the rest of the field."
Joining Moyer in the AAA Winner's Circle was Jack Sullivan in second and Wendall Wallace in third. Jesse Stovall was 4th, Jeremy Payne 5th, followed by Kyle Berck, Jon Kirby, and James ward in 8th. Phillips fought his way back for a top 10 finish placing 9th just in front of the hard charger of the evening Chris Jones (number 91 from Popular Bluff) who started 20th and finished 10th.
Then as if the 51 laps of the O'Reilly Late Model Challenge hadn't been excitement of enough, the "A" Mods took the track for a "nail biter " of their own. The field was set by passing points this evening with Jamie Ragland taking the pole after winning his heat from a 6th place start.
There was awesome two and three wide racing through the entire pack but most of the fans missed it, as they were transfixed on the battle up front within the top 5. Jason Pursley 10P on the bottom, Eric Turner 99T on the top, and Rex Merritt 25 all over their back sides and that is how it went the entire race.
Back and forth Pursley, Turner, Turner, Pursley with Merritt, Jesse Stovall, Jamie Ragland, and Justin Folk hanging on their every move. Finally as the battle up front worked its way into lapped traffic Turner managed to get by Pursley for good on the white flag lap and held on for the win.
"That just about wore me out," said a near exhausted Eric Turner from the AAA Winner's Circle. Pursley and Merritt joined him to cap off one of the best race nights this season, and maybe ever at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.
Justin Folk was 4th, Jesse Stovall took fifth and Jamie Ragland finished in 6th. Johnny Fennewald was the hard charger of the night racing his number 21 from 17th to 7th. Daulton Greven finished 8th with Nathan Mays and Luke Feeback rounding out the top 10.
For complete results log on to the all-new LucasOilSpeedway.com and choose race results from the Driver's menu at the top right. The photo garage is still having a few issues adapting to our new site but photo should be available again soon including shots from this weekend's awesome O'Reilly Late Model Challenge.