Hudson O'Neal rolls to podium finish in Knoxville Nationals finale
Hudson O’Neal piloted the Rocket1 Racing / Valvoline / Seubert Calf Ranches No. 1 Ace Metal Works / XR1 Rocket Chassis / Durham Racing Engine Super Late Model in a trio of Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals race nights over the weekend.
The team gained momentum throughout the weekend, culminating with a third-place finish in Saturday night’s $50,000-to-win finale.
“I felt like I had something a little bit for them (in Saturday’s feature). I just couldn’t quite get a good enough run leaving the corner to get close enough to be able to clear him (Mike Marlar). I could get off there and get to his door, but that was about the extent of it. Man, we’ll take it,” O’Neal shared. We had a trying week all week. We didn’t have the greatest of nights in our prelims, but I felt like we made gains all weekend long which is what I am really proud of.”
Rocket1 Racing and Hudson O’Neal’s week or racing began with the eighth round of the Castrol FloRacing Night in America miniseries on Tuesday at Fairbury (Ill.) Speedway for the $23,023 top prize.
With a third-place finish in his heat race placing him on the fourth row for the feature, O’Neal charged forward early and was battling for the lead on the 18th circuit when he bicycled in turns 3 and 4, which resulted in contact with the leader. Both drivers regained control before O’Neal received hard contact in the next corner, which caused him to lose several spots in the running order. He rallied to finish 11th in the 50-lapper.
In a field 40 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) entries on Thursday at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway for the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals opener, Hudson raced into the prelim with a fifth-place finish in his heat race but got turned around on lap 22 while running sixth, relegating him to 17th in the finishing order.
For another $7,000-to-win preliminary feature on Friday, O’Neal followed up the eighth-fastest qualifying effort in his group with a third-to-first run in his heat race. Muscling forward two spots in the 25-lap A-Main, Hudson recorded a ninth-place finish.
Locked into the 10th-starting position for Saturday night’s $50,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals finale, Hudson gained seven positions in the 75-lap affair to cap off the weekend with a third-place finish.
He pursued Ricky Thornton Jr. and Mike Marlar to the checkers with Jonathan Davenport and Brandon Overton rounding out the Top-5 finishers.
Hudson currently sits second in both the Castrol FloRacing Night in America and Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series standings.
The team now prepares for a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series doubleheader at Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway. On Friday evening the $10,000-to-win second annual C.J. Rayburn Memorial takes center stage, while the 44th annual Jackson 100 is on tap on Saturday evening with a $30,000 top prize up for grabs.
Full facility information is available at www.BrownstownSpeedway.com.
Article Credit: Heath Lawson image