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July 13, 2019

Owens rolls to victory in Round One of CMH Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway

Jimmy Owens captured Night One of the 13th annual CMH Diamond Nationals and the $15,000-to-win top prize. (Kenny Shaw photo)
WHEATLAND, Missouri (July 13, 2019) - Jimmy Owens returned to a familiar place Saturday night - victory lane at Lucas Oil Speedway.


Owens, of Newport, Tennessee, dominated on his way to an eighth career victory at the track as he captured Night One of the 13th annual CMH Diamond Nationals Presented by Super Clean in front of a big crowd.


Owens claimed $15,000 for his fourth CMH Diamond Nationals win and 63rd career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series triumph. 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.


The night's other main event saw Chad Wheeler rally from deep in the field to capture the Pitts Homes USRA Modified feature and earn $2,000.


The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will fire it up again Sunday for Night Two of the Diamond Nationals, a special doubleheader this year after the Show-Me 100 was canceled back in May after a severe storm damaged the facility. The O'Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks will join the Late Models on Sunday's card.


Owens added to his Diamond Nationals wins in 2012, 2014 and 2017.


"We're rolling really good right now," said Owens, who also made Pearson a runner-up one night earlier at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois. "We're glad to be here and get a win with Leon (car owner Leon Ramirez) and the guys here. I'm glad we can win in front of them.


"Hats off to the crowd and the fans. The crew has worked their butt off the last few days."


Bloomquist set fast qualifying time at 15.846 seconds, then won his heat race to earn the pole for the feature alongside Pearson. The defending Diamond Nationals champ set the pace for the first 10 laps before Owens sailed around him on the outside coming off turn two on lap 11.


Owens opened a two-second lead while working lapped traffic when the race's lone caution came out on lap 20 when Logan Martin slowed coming off turn four. 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 expertly weaving his way through lapped traffic for the win. 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. "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. "We tried to run with him for 10 or 15 laps, but he could maneuver around a lot better than I could. But that's a good night for us and a good points night. We'll work on it and try again tomorrow."


Marlar continued his streak of solid finishes and said some changes to the car before the feature paid off.


"It was a fun track to race on tonight," Marlar said. "We went with something out of the ordinary and it worked. Congrats to Jimmy on the win, he deserves this win. It was good to race against Scott again, and it's good to see him back. He and I battled the whole race."
Owens said he's eager to gun for a sweep on Sunday and keep his winning streak going.


"It's awesome. The team is pumped and we're pumped," Owens said. "It's a great feeling to be back in victory lane here."


Gates open at 3 p.m. Sunday with hot laps at 5:30 and racing at 6:05 p.m. The O'Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks also will be in action running for a $1,000 first prize.


Wheeler earns USRA Modified win: Chad Wheeler came all the way from the 14th starting position and reeled in Darron Fuqua with five laps remaining to capture the Pitts Homes USRA Modified $2,000-to-win feature.


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.


"We've had a rough couple of years, but we won last weekend," Wheeler said after his second straight victory at Lucas Oil Speedway. "I didn't do very good in the heat race. We left the car alone and I'm glad we did."


Fuqua started outside of row one and jumped to the lead. By lap five, Johnson had moved from the third row to Fuqua's rear bumper and applying heavy pressure.


For several laps in a row, the two were side-by-side coming off turn four, but Fuqua was able to run the outside groove and maintain the lead by the start-finish line.


The race's first caution came out on lap 16 and brought the rest of the field - which had been distanced by the two two - back into contention with Kyle Thompson third, Robbie Reed fourth and Wheeler fifth.


"I didn't need the yellow," Fuqua said. "But Chad had a real good car and did a real good job driving it and made us the bridesmaid."


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 of biding his time until the caution presented an opportunity. "I felt like I was going so slow on the bottom. The race track came in. It actually had like three grooves."


13th annual CMH Diamond Nationals results (July 13, 2019)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series/Lucas Oil MLRA
  A Feature - 1, Jimmy Owens. 2, Earl Pearson Jr. 3, Mike Marlar. 4, Scott Bloomquist. 5, Jonathan Davenport. 6, Shannon Buckingham. 7, Billy Moyer. 8, Jesse Stovall. 9, Rick Eckert. 10, Hudson O'Neal. 11, Tony Jackson Jr. 12, Tim McCreadie. 13, Kyle Bronson. 14, Shannon Babb. 15, Josh Richards. 16, Tyler Erb. 17, Billy Moyer Jr. 18, Devin Morgan. 19, Stormy Scott. 20, Mason Oberkramer. 21, Gavin Landers. 22, Mitch McGrath. 23, Jake Neal. 24, Logan Martin. 25, Payton Looney. 26, Terry Phillips. 27, Will Vaught. 28, Michael Norris.

   B Main 1 - 1, Shannon Babb. 2, Terry Phillips. 3, Gavin Landers. 4, Billy Moyer Jr. 5, Kaeden Cornell. 6, Josh Richards. 7, Will Vaught. 8, Mitch McGrath. 9, Al Humphrey. 10, Devin Moran. 11, Jon Binning. 12, Reid Millard.
   B Main 2 - 1, Shannon Buckingham. 2, Tim McCreadie. 3, Tyler Erb. 4, Austin Rettig. 5, Raymond Merrill. 6, Austin Siebert. 7, Michael Norris. 8, Joey Moriarty. 9, RC Whitwell. 10, Joseph Gorby. 11, Jason Sivils.
   Heat 1 - 1, Scott Bloomquist. 2, Jimmy Owens. 3, Mike Marlar. 4, Jonathan Davenport. 5, Terry Phillips. 6, Gavin Landers. 7, Kaeden Cornell. 8, Mitch McGrath. 9, Al Humphrey. 10, Reid Millard.
   Heat 2 - 1, Jake Neal. 2, Billy Moyer. 3, Mason Oberkramer. 4, Logan Martin. 5, Shannon Babb. 6, Billy Moyer Jr. 7, Jon Binning. 8, Josh Richards. 9, Will Vaught. 10, Devin Moran.
   Heat 3 - 1, Earl Pearson Jr. 2, Kyle Bronson. 3, Jesse Stovall. 4, Hudson O'Neal. 5, Shannon Buckingham. 6, Tyler Erb. 7, Joseph Gorby. 8, Raymond Merrill. 9, Joey Moriarty. 10, Michael Norris.
   Heat 4 - 1, Tony Jackson Jr. 2, Rick Eckert. 3, Stormy Scott. 4, Payton Looney. 5, Austin Rettig. 6, Tim McCreadie. 7, Austin Siebert. 8, RC Whitwell. DNS Jason Sivils.

Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds
   A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 88-Chad Wheeler, 16:12.723[14]; 2. 87-Darron Fuqua, 16:13.568[2]; 3. 1X-Matt Johnson, 16:16.364[5]; 4. 292-Kyle Thompson, 16:18.252[4]; 5. 16S-Chad Lyle, 16:19.688[6]; 6. 21-Ryan Middaugh, 16:21.050[3]; 7. 51G-Lucas Gibbs, 16:22.494[8]; 8. 5R-Robbie Reed, 16:23.384[1]; 9. 4W-Tyler Wolff, 16:23.710[21]; 10. 8S-Jon Sheets, 16:23.733[13]; 11. 38C-Jason Pursley, 16:24.537[7]; 12. 12D-Scott Drake, 16:24.798[10]; 13. 3B-Nic Bidinger, 16:25.242[17]; 14. 91-Joe Duvall, 16:26.179[22]; 15. 17-Mike Striegel, 16:26.463[19]; 16. 31-Ed Griggs, 16:27.251[16]; 17. 22B-Rick Beebe, 16:28.538[20]; 18. 03-Chase Jones, 16:29.202[15]; 19. 53R-Ronnie Woods, 16:29.782[24]; 20. 1B-Bobby Williams, 16:30.313[12]; 21. 21W-Tracy Wolf, 16:31.408[11]; 22. 187-Sturgis Streeter, 16:31.929[23]; 23. (DNF) 24D-Donnie Fellers, 04:47.244[9]; 24. (DNF) 90-Terry Schultz, 03:10.145[18]
   B Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 3B-Nic Bidinger, 10:54.689[6]; 2. 17-Mike Striegel, 10:55.072[3]; 3. 4W-Tyler Wolff, 10:55.969[4]; 4. 187-Sturgis Streeter, 10:58.398[10]; 5. 98D-Paden Phillips, 10:58.560[5]; 6. 5H-Robert Heydenreich, 11:00.647[11]; 7. 98-John Allen, 11:00.993[1]; 8. 18JR-Chase Sigg, 11:02.542[9]; 9. 07-Jason Hilliard, 11:04.564[8]; 10. (DNF) 7-Daniel Franklin, 02:20.424[2]; 11. (DNF) 71-Jessie Hoskins, 02:22.547[7]; (DNS) 75L-Eddie Whitney, 02:22.547; (DNS) 5-Don Williams, 02:22.547
  Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 5R-Robbie Reed, 05:57.262[4]; 2. 292-Kyle Thompson, 05:58.185[5]; 3. 1B-Bobby Williams, 05:59.583[1]; 4. 03-Chase Jones, 05:59.920[6]; 5. 7-Daniel Franklin, 06:00.132[2]; 6. 98-John Allen, 06:00.872[11]; 7. 3B-Nic Bidinger, 05:42.747[9]; 8. 8-Jeremy Vaughn, 05:41.991[3]; 9. 18JR-Chase Sigg, 05:42.643[8]; 10. 18-Shannon Parker, 05:43.994[10]; 11. (DNF) 27T-Bob Test, 05:27.471[7]
  Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 21-Ryan Middaugh, 04:49.024[2]; 2. 38C-Jason Pursley, 04:51.777[3]; 3. 8S-Jon Sheets, 04:53.754[1]; 4. 12D-Scott Drake, 04:54.369[8]; 5. 22B-Rick Beebe, 04:55.070[4]; 6. 2G-Kenny Gaddis, 04:55.540[6]; 7. 91-Joe Duvall, 04:57.494[10]; 8. 07-Jason Hilliard, 04:58.099[5]; 9. 7S-Sean Gaddis, 04:58.629[9]; 10. 5H-Robert Heydenreich, 05:00.012[11]; 11. 120-Bob Kerbs, 05:01.317[7]
  Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 87-Darron Fuqua, 04:42.294[3]; 2. 24D-Donnie Fellers, 04:45.523[2]; 3. 51G-Lucas Gibbs, 04:45.880[6]; 4. 21W-Tracy Wolf, 04:46.363[8]; 5. 17-Mike Striegel, 04:47.339[5]; 6. 40-Brian Green, 04:48.103[1]; 7. 90-Terry Schultz, 04:48.958[7]; 8. (DNF) 75L-Eddie Whitney, 03:35.790[4]; (DNS) 5-Don Williams, 03:35.790; (DNS) 21P-Darren Phillips, 03:35.790
  Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 16S-Chad Lyle, [1]; 2. 1X-Matt Johnson, [5]; 3. 88-Chad Wheeler, [3]; 4. 31-Ed Griggs, [6]; 5. 53R-Ronnie Woods, [7]; 6. 98D-Paden Phillips, [2]; 7. 4W-Tyler Wolff, [10]; 8. 71-Jessie Hoskins, [9]; 9. 227-Chase Domer, [4]; 10. 187-Sturgis Streeter, [8]
Sunday's schedule:
3 p.m. - Gates open
5:30 p.m. - Hot laps
6:05 p.m. - Racing begins

Adults (16 and over) $30
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $27
Youth (ages 6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family pass $70
Pit pass $40
For questions about tickets or camping for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at


Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984