Owens captures Southern All Stars trophy at Smoky Mountain

By admin | April 16, 2011

By Richard Allen


For the second weekend in a row, dirt late model star Jimmy Owens found himself racing close to his Newport, Tennessee home and for the second weekend in a row he found himself taking home a $5,000 winner’s paycheck. The difference between this week’s victory at the Smoky Mountain Speedway and that of last week at the Volunteer Speedway was that he did not originally have this event on his schedule.

After having the belt come off the pulley on the bottom of his engine during hot laps for the Commonwealth 100 in Jamaica, Virginia, Owens failed to make that field so he packed his team up and headed for the Southern All Stars race on the Maryville, Tennessee clay oval.

It didn’t long for ‘The Newport Nightmare’ to make his presence felt as he shattered the old track record in qualifying with a lap time of 15.187 seconds. The old mark of 15.600 had been held by Florida’s Ivedent Lloyd, Jr.

Chad Ogle of Sevierville, Tennessee also came in under the old track record after he turned the second fastest lap in time trials. Ray Cook of Brasstown, North Carolina was the third and finally driver under the track record in qualifying. Filling out the rest of the top-10 spots were William Thomas, Mike Marlar, David Payne, Skip Arp, Mike Weeks, Steve Smith and Billy Ogle, Jr. The top-10 qualifiers were locked into the feature race.

Mark Douglas and Mark Vineyard won the two B-main events that determined starting positions 11-24.

When the 50 lap feature event took the green flag, Chad Ogle jumped out to the early lead with Owens, Thomas and Cook following closely behind. Ogle held the lead for the first 21 laps with Owens pressuring him from behind at every turn. Finally, on lap 21 the #20 Bloomquist Race Car charged to the lead by driving under Ogle as the two cars raced under the flagman’s stand and completed the pass in turn one.

From that point, Ogle began to fade through the field with what appeared to be a tire issue. Cook then moved to 2nd bringing Thomas in tow for 3rd.

Just before the halfway mark, 5th place running David Payne fell out of the event soon to be followed by Ogle, who brought out a caution when he stopped on track at lap 36.

Over the course of the final 14 laps it was an ‘O Show’ as Owens pulled away on his way to victory. At the finish, Cook held off a hard charging Billy Ogle, Jr. for 2nd. Ogle had just this week inked a new contract for the rest of the 2011 season with Blount Motorsports. Thomas was 4th followed by Marlar, Smith, Weeks, Vineyard, Tommy Kerr, Scott Creel and Tony Knowles.

In the NeSmith Crate Late Model event Kayne Hickman put on an impressive performance by distancing himself from the field of 15 cars. Westin Gantte was 2ndfollowed by David Crabtree, Patrick Duggan, and Greg Martin.