Hudson O’Neal Grabs First Win of 2023 at East Bay

Heath Lawson Photo

Hudson O’Neal scored his first win for Rocket1 Racing as the 22-year-old Indiana native went to the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series winner’s circle on Thursday night during the 47th Annual Wieland Winternationals – presented by Lucas Oil at East Bay Raceway Park. 

Max Blair came home in second to equal his best career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series finish. Dennis Erb Jr. was third with 12th place starter Garrett Smith coming home in fourth. Tim McCreadie completed the top five.

O’Neal grabbed the lead at the start of the race with Dennis Erb Jr. in second followed by current Big River Steel Chase for the Championship – Presented by ARP leader Ricky Thornton Jr. Thornton took second on lap three from Erb, then ran behind O’Neal until he broke coming off a lap 10 restart ending his night. Blair, who started fifth then moved into second place after Thornton left the race. 

Blair kept pace with O’Neal until the final lap when he closed the gap ending up just 0.363 seconds behind his fellow third generation racer at the checkers.

O’Neal in Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 19th time in career breathed a sigh of relief to get his first win of 2023 for his new team. “I can’t begin to talk about it. The worst part is that I know we have had it in us the whole trip and just little things just didn’t fall our way. I was able to get the lead from the jump there and I knew it was the best place I could possibly be with the way the track was moving around. It’s just better to be up front. I knew if I could just maintain a gap and get ahead of them before I caught lapped traffic. With those lapped cars it was tense. I kept waiting for someone to blast around the outside.” 

Blair, who was seeking to become the third straight first-time winner finished in the runner-up spot. “I just couldn’t believe I was racing with Hudson O’Neal for the win at East Bay. That’s awesome. It was a good night. We’ve had a good car all week and the driver just can’t put a good lap together until tonight. We put a whole night together tonight, hopefully we can put together two more nights like this.”

Erb Jr. who was looking for his eighth career win at East Bay rounded out the Big River Steel Podium with a third-place finish. “Hopefully we can build some good momentum from this for the rest of the week. We ran well the first two nights. We qualified good tonight to start up front. We were a little tight tonight and we will work on that for tomorrow.”

The winner’s Mark Richards Racing, Rocket Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Ace Metal Works, Gunter’s Honey, Petroff Towing, WR1 Sim Chassis, O’Neal’s Salvage and Recycling, Sunoco Race Fuels, Integra Racing Shocks, Performance Grading, and Rocket Pre-Owned Motors.

Completing the top ten were Jimmy Owens, Shane Clanton, Tanner English, Garrett Alberson, and Tyler Erb.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series 

Race Summary 

47th Annual Wieland Winternationals Presented by Lucas Oil – Night 4

Thursday, February 9, 2023

East Bay Raceway Park – Tampa, FL

Allstar Performance Time Trials

Fast Time Group A: Brian Shirley / 14.924 seconds 

Fast Time Group B: Hudson O’Neal / 14.903 seconds (overall)

Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[2]; 2. 79-Ross Bailes[4]; 3. 3S-Brian Shirley[1]; 4. 1C-Kenny Collins[6]; 5. 6-Blake Spencer[8]; 6. 20B-Todd Brennan[9]; 7. 89-Logan Roberson[5]; 8. 89J-Mark Whitener[3]; 9. 5S-Steve Sheppard Jr[7]; 10. 47W-Tyler Riggs[10]; 11. (DNS) 17SS-Brenden Smith

Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 2X-John Henderson[1]; 2. 40B-Kyle Bronson[3]; 3. 58-Garrett Alberson[4]; 4. 29-Larry Grube[7]; 5. 76-Brandon Overton[11]; 6. 1T-Tyler Erb[5]; 7. KB-Kerry King[8]; 8. 81J-Jack Riggs[2]; 9. 212-Josh Putnam[9]; 10. 91-Rusty Schlenk[6]; 11. 4S-Danny Snyder[10]

Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 111B-Max Blair[2]; 2. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[3]; 3. 18D-Daulton Wilson[5]; 4. 18-Chase Junghans[1]; 5. 2S-Stormy Scott[6]; 6. 89M-Mike Spatola[4]; 7. 55-Benji Hicks[8]; 8. 81-Jason Riggs[9]; 9. C4-Freddie Carpenter[7]; 10. 3B-Billy Boyd Sr[10]

AP1 Insurance Heat Race #4 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 1H-Hudson O’Neal[1]; 2. 39-Tim McCreadie[2]; 3. 83-Jensen Ford[4]; 4. 12-Ashton Winger[3]; 5. 19R-Ryan Gustin[6]; 6. 11-Spencer Hughes[8]; 7. 31-Tyler Millwood[10]; 8. D8-Dustin Mitchell[7]; 9. 187-David McCoy[5]; 10. S21-Seth Daniels[9]; 11. 6B-Adam Boyd[11]

Lucas Oil Heat Race #5 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[1]; 2. 46-Earl Pearson Jr[4]; 3. 99-Devin Moran[3]; 4. 96V-Tanner English[5]; 5. 76B-Blair Nothdurft[7]; 6. B5-Brandon Sheppard[2]; 7. 99B-Boom Briggs[10]; 8. 19M-Wil Herrington[6]; 9. 12D-Doug Drown[9]; 10. 66JR-Eddie Carrier Jr[8]

Lucas Oil Heat Race #6 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 25C-Shane Clanton[1]; 2. 10-Garrett Smith[2]; 3. 20-Jimmy Owens[6]; 4. 21M-Billy Moyer Jr[5]; 5. 7-Ross Robinson[7]; 6. 16-Tyler Bruening[3]; 7. 86-Kyle Beard[9]; 8. 1Z-Logan Zarin[8]; 9. 21K-Kenneth Howell[10]; 10. 49-Jonathan Davenport[4]

Fast Shafts B-Main Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 76-Brandon Overton[4]; 2. 1C-Kenny Collins[1]; 3. 1T-Tyler Erb[6]; 4. 212-Josh Putnam[12]; 5. 29-Larry Grube[2]; 6. 91-Rusty Schlenk[14]; 7. 89-Logan Roberson[7]; 8. 4S-Danny Snyder[15]; 9. KB-Kerry King[8]; 10. 20B-Todd Brennan[5]; 11. 6-Blake Spencer[3]; 12. (DNS) 89J-Mark Whitener; 13. (DNS) 81J-Jack Riggs; 14. (DNS) 5S-Steve Sheppard Jr; 15. (DNS) 47W-Tyler Riggs; 16. (DNS) 17SS-Brenden Smith

UNOH B-Main Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 18-Chase Junghans[1]; 2. 12-Ashton Winger[2]; 3. 19R-Ryan Gustin[4]; 4. 89M-Mike Spatola[5]; 5. 55-Benji Hicks[7]; 6. C4-Freddie Carpenter[11]; 7. S21-Seth Daniels[14]; 8. 6B-Adam Boyd[15]; 9. 2S-Stormy Scott[3]; 10. 11-Spencer Hughes[6]; 11. 81-Jason Riggs[9]; 12. 3B-Billy Boyd Sr[13]; 13. 31-Tyler Millwood[8]; 14. D8-Dustin Mitchell[10]; 15. (DNS) 187-David McCoy

MyRacePass B-Main Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 96V-Tanner English[1]; 2. 7-Ross Robinson[4]; 3. 86-Kyle Beard[8]; 4. 16-Tyler Bruening[6]; 5. 21M-Billy Moyer Jr[2]; 6. 19M-Wil Herrington[9]; 7. 76B-Blair Nothdurft[3]; 8. 99B-Boom Briggs[7]; 9. 12D-Doug Drown[11]; 10. 21K-Kenneth Howell[12]; 11. 1Z-Logan Zarin[10]; 12. B5-Brandon Sheppard[5]; 13. (DNS) 66JR-Eddie Carrier Jr; 14. (DNS) 49-Jonathan Davenport

47th Annual Wieland Winternationals Presented by Lucas Oil – Night 4 Feature Finish (40 Laps):

Tim Disspain | Pit Stop Radio News

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series PR

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