Hudson O’Neal, Bobby Pierce Win Thursday World 100 Prelim Features at Eldora

Two of Dirt Late Model racing’s brightest young stars triumphed over a field of over 100 DIRTcar Late Model competitors Thursday night at Eldora Speedway.

 

Hudson O’Neal and Bobby Pierce were the stars of the show in the opening act of the 53rd World 100, taking the checkers by large margins in their respective Twin 25 main events. Both drivers have had success on the big stage at Eldora before – Pierce the 2016 World 100 winner and O’Neal a now three-time prelim Feature winner – and both added to that Thursday with matching $12,000 winner’s checks for their efforts.

 

Group A Prelim Feature – Hudson O’Neal

Going from the pole, O’Neal was rolling after a top-10 effort in Qualifying and a runner-up finish in his Heat Race. Though on the initial start, outside polesitter Jason Jameson got the better jump and raced into the lead on the opening lap.

 

A quick caution with two laps complete restacked the field with Jameson opting for the bottom lane for the restart, leaving O’Neal on the top. Jameson once again pulled ahead through Turns 1-2, but O’Neal came right back at him with a slide job in Turn 3.

 

Pulling ahead with the lead out of Turn 4, O’Neal turned on the afterburners and took off, stretching his lead out to over three seconds at its largest. The 23-year-old Indianan was not challenged the rest of the way as he cruised to his third career World 100 prelim Feature win.

 

Though he was handily ahead of his opponents, O’Neal’s competitive nature kept him pushing hard through the thick lapped traffic he encountered.

 

“I was nervous about the lapped traffic and giving them guys a shot to get to me,” O’Neal said. “I just tried to do everything I could to clear them as quick as possible. Any time I felt I got a run on them, I just went ahead and did it.”

 

Despite team owner Mark Richards’ multi-decade career in motorsports, he’s yet to triumph in Dirt Late Model racing’s biggest event. O’Neal said he’s enjoyed his first full-time season at the controls of the Rocket Chassis house car, and expressed his ambition to get the team their first World 100 victory this weekend.

 

“To get him a World – he doesn’t even have a globe – for sure, it’d be memorable,” O’Neal said. “It’d probably be the highlight of my career, highlight of his. I don’t know how to explain it; it’d be more than words.”

 

Feature – Group A (25 Laps): 1. 1-Hudson O’Neal[1]; 2. 12-Jason Jameson[2]; 3. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[5]; 4. 157-Mike Marlar[7]; 5. 18-Shannon Babb[3]; 6. 99-Devin Moran[10]; 7. 8S-Brian Shirley[6]; 8. 1W-Daulton Wilson[12]; 9. 58-Garrett Alberson[20]; 10. 40B-Kyle Bronson[15]; 11. 46-Earl Pearson Jr[11]; 12. 22S-Gregg Satterlee[17]; 13. 17M-Dale McDowell[18]; 14. 19R-Ryan Gustin[13]; 15. 20-Jimmy Owens[9]; 16. 111-Steven Roberts[14]; 17. 19M-Wil Herrington[19]; 18. 2S-Stormy Scott[21]; 19. 42-Matt Sheppard[22]; 20. 7-Ricky Weiss[24]; 21. 71C-RJ Conley[23]; 22. 214-Haiden Cowan[4]; 23. 22-Chris Ferguson[8]; 24. 22X-GR Smith[16]

 

Group B Prelim Feature – Bobby Pierce

Though he had a bit further to climb to get the lead, Pierce was unfazed in his charge to the front. A spot on the outside of Row 3 started him off, and after the first restart on Lap 2, he was behind only Tim McCreadie and leader Brandon Sheppard.

 

After winning the slide-job/crossover battle with McCreadie for second on Lap 3, Pierce reeled-in Sheppard within three laps and threw a big slide job of his own on Sheppard to take the lead in Turns 1-2. Sheppard took a look at a slide job to throw back at him in Turn 3, but Pierce was too fast on the top, and drove away with the lead on Lap 6.

 

“When [McCreadie] slid me back and I crossed him over so easily, I was like, ‘Man the car is really good,’” Pierce said. “’I thought the car was good, so I’m going to try and pass Brandon.’ I passed him and went on. It was like a slot car out there; it was fun to drive.”

 

From there, it was smooth sailing for the five-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion. The Oakwood, IL-native encountered plenty of lapped traffic but was not rattled once, stretching his gap up to almost five seconds in the closing laps as he cruised to victory.

 

“The car’s been great, it really fits me, and we’re all working super hard pulling lots of hours,” Pierce said. “Everyone’s really motivated to keep getting these wins. We’re not settling is the thing.”

 

Pierce is the winningest driver in Dirt Super Late Models thus far in 2023, now with 28 Feature wins in nearly 80 Feature starts – an honor he takes pride in as he chases his first win in the event since winning the 2016 edition at 18 years of age.

 

“I think we’ve got a target on our back for probably being one of the guys to beat,” Pierce said. “It’s a good feeling; hopefully them guys are a little scared.”

 

Feature – Group B (25 Laps): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[6]; 2. B5-Brandon Sheppard[2]; 3. 39-Tim McCreadie[3]; 4. 49-Jonathan Davenport[14]; 5. 87-Chris Madden[5]; 6. 25F-Jason Feger[8]; 7. 11H-Spencer Hughes[10]; 8. 11R-Josh Rice[16]; 9. 25-Shane Clanton[11]; 10. 187-David McCoy[1]; 11. 88-Trent Ivey[9]; 12. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[13]; 13. 24D-Michael Brown[4]; 14. 1T-Tyler Erb[19]; 15. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[20]; 16. 10S-Garrett Smith[22]; 17. 4-Brandon Overton[7]; 18. 10-Joseph Joiner[24]; 19. 00F-Carson Ferguson[17]; 20. 23-Cory Hedgecock[23]; 21. 8-Kyle Strickler[21]; 22. 15K-Cody Overton[12]; 23. 1C-Kenny Collins[18]; 24. 114-Jordan Koehler[15]

 

UP NEXT

 

The 53rd World 100 continues Friday, Sept. 8, with another Twin 25 program for DIRTcar Late Models, using the same format to accumulate points according to the Every Lap Matters system.

 

Ticket info for Friday and Saturday’s events is available at EldoraSpeedway.com.

 

DIRTcar Series PR