GREENWOOD, Neb.—Jimmy Owens got back on track on Thursday Night as he captured the caution-free Optima Batteries Dirt Track Bank Go 50 — Presented by K&N Filters at I-80 Speedway.
Owens had to fend off late challenges from both Ricky Thornton, Jr. and Brandon Sheppard for his series-leading seventh win of the season. Ricky Weiss came home in fourth followed by Josh Richards in fifth.
Richards took the lead at the start of the race and held the point for the first four laps of the race. Owens started fifth on the grid and charged to the lead on lap five surpassing Richards for the top spot, but the 2017 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Champion roared back to the lead around Owens on lap 11.
Richards led until lap 27 when Owens caught back up to him to regain the lead for good. Owens then saw Thornton Jr. and Sheppard close the gap on him in the last five laps. Owens, the 3-time series champion held off the challengers for his 71st career LOLMDS victory.
“I could hear (Thornton), Owens said. “He got a run off of four and left me plenty room on the high side, and I appreciated that. It’s good to race with guys like that, but man thanks to Leon Ramirez. He’s here and it’s great to get a win in front of him. Thanks to my crew for busting their rear ends in this heat. This car is rolling pretty good.
“I was concerned a little bit when Josh got around me. He has been really good the last few weeks. I know there was a lot more talent behind us as well. I was able to move around the racetrack and I was hardly losing any time. Then finally (Richards) started moving back towards me and we were able to capitalize.”
Thornton was in the hunt for his first career LOLMDS victory but came home in second.
“(Owens) started to get into one and cut across. I was just a little too tight when I got to him,” Thornton said. “I probably could have done a slide job in turn three, but I didn’t want to wreck us both. Jimmy’s been my hero growing up and to win this race would have been awesome. We had a really good car. I don’t know how much of a cushion we left. We were scrapping the wall there. About halfway through the race we got going good.”
Sheppard entered the race with three LOLMDS wins in 2020 and made it close in the final stages.
“In the heat race everybody was hurting tires, especially the left rear,” Sheppard said. “I was trying to save as much as I could in the feature. Towards the end, we really got it going. We felt really comfortable at the end. We passed some cars so hopefully it will give us some momentum.”
The winner’s Ramirez Motorsports Rocket Chassis is powered by a Vic Hill Racing Engine and sponsored by Reece Monument Company, Tommy Pope Construction, Boomtest Well Service, General Tire, Red Line Oil, Ohlins Shocks, Champion Spark Plugs, and Midwest Sheet Metal.
Completing the top ten were Jonathan Davenport, Kyle Strickler, Chad Simpson, Chris Ferguson, and Earl Pearson Jr.