LOLMDS: O’Neal Shines in North/South 100 Prelims; Sweeps Heats For Florence Pole

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Don O’Neal captured the pole for Saturday's Sunoco North/South 100 by winning both his heat races at Florence Speedway. (LOLMDS photo)

Don O’Neal captured the pole for Saturday’s Sunoco North/South 100 by winning both his heat races at Florence Speedway. (LOLMDS photo)

UNION, Ky. — Two former Sunoco North/South 100 presented by Lucas Oil champions — Don O’Neal and Scott Bloomquist — will make-up the front row for Saturday night’s $50,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned event at Florence Speedway.

O’Neal won the famed crown jewel event in 2012 and 2013; and Bloomquist won the event in 1988 and 2000. The duo bested 63 other competitors, by earning enough passing points through two rounds of heat races.

There were 12 heat races contested in preliminary action on Friday night. O’Neal was the only driver to win both of his heat races during the two rounds; piloting his Clint Bowyer Racing/Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil/Club 29 Race Car.

The first heat race in round one went to Devin Moran. Moran started fourth and charged to the lead early on, then cruised to the victory. Tommy Bailey started fifth and finished second, followed by eighth-place starting Chris Brown.

Chris Combs started on the pole of heat number two and led every lap in taking the win. First-time Florence visitor Jake O’Neil finished second after starting fourth. Another first-time visitor, Ricky Weiss, finished third.

O’Neal quickly moved from his eighth starting spot to win heat three in round one. O’Neal made some daring moves to grab the lead from Michael Chilton who crossed the line in second. Jason Jameson came from ninth to take third.

Jared Landers decimated the field in heat four for the win. Mike Marlar started alongside Landers, and came home in second, followed by seventh-place starting Darrell Lanigan.

Doug Drown roared from his sixth starting position to win heat race number five. Drown used the high-side to take the lead. Brandon Sheppard put on a late-race charge to finish second after starting tenth. Polesitter Gregg Satterlee was third.

Jimmy Owens debuted a new Rocket Chassis and took the lead at the start of the sixth heat, and then held off eight-starting Scott Bloomquist for the win. Billy Moyer claimed the third spot at the finish line.

Defending Sunoco North/South 100 winner Jonathan Davenport led the way and won heat one in round number two. R.J. Conley crossed the line in second, followed by Kyle Bronson.

Bloomquist came from the third starting spot to register the win in heat two. Sheppard closed the distance between himself and Bloomquist towards the end of the race to finish a close second. Earl Pearson Jr. was third.

Steve Francis stormed to the lead in heat three leading all the way for the win. Dale McDowell made a late-race charge to close the gap on Francis at the finish, closing to within a car-length at the checkers. Owens came from tenth to finish third.

Bobby Pierce raced to the early lead in heat four and was holding a commanding lead until a late-race caution allowed Nick Latham to make a late-race charge on the Illinois teenager. Pierce was able to hold off Latham for the victory. Ray Cook came home in third after starting sixth.

Jameson came back strong in round two to take the win in heat five. The former Florence Speedway Late Model Track Champion came from third to take the lead from LOLMDS Rookie of the Year contender Colton Flinner. Matt Miller came from fourth to take second with Flinner grabbing third.

The sixth and final heat of round two went to O’Neal, who started from fourth and survived a 4-wide battle to take over the top spot. With the win, O’Neal earned enough points in both rounds to claim the pole-starting spot for Saturday’s finale. Moyer started seventh and charged to a second-place finish with Dennis Erb Jr. finishing third.

CREDIT: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

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