Madden & Owens Top Lucas

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Jimmy Owens at Smoky Mountain Speedway. (Michael Moats photo)

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Chris Madden and Jimmy Owens each captured a 30-lap preliminary win on Friday night at Smoky Mountain Speedway with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.

Madden went to Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the first time this season and for the 14th in his career, winning the first 30-lap main event of the evening.

Madden was in control for most of the race, but a caution with two lapses to go allowed a hard-charging Mike Marlar one last chance at the veteran South Carolina racer.

Madden pulled away in the green-white-checkered finish to become the 12th different winner this year in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Marlar came home in second followed by Dale McDowell, Brandon Overton and Earl Pearson Jr.

For the 47-year-old racer it was his 13th career win at Smoky Mountain Speedway, earning him a good starting spot in one of the heat races for Saturday night’s Mountain Moonshine Classic paying $50,000 to win.

“Marlar was there, Dale was third and Brandon was up to fourth; I knew those guys would be coming at me,” Madden said. “I wasn’t worried about the caution coming out, I was worried about hitting Spencer (Hughes). I don’t know what happened to him I was coming up on him in a hurry and he just stopped in the top lane there and I about hit him.”

Marlar, who was the fastest qualifier among the 45 entries crossed the line .616 seconds behind Madden.

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Chris Madden (Michael Moats photo)

“Chris is always tough here. He and I have come down to the end a bunch here so hopefully tomorrow night I can get him there,” Marlar said. “He (Madden) had a little better straightaway traction than I did. I think I could center the corner better than him. I have got to get my straightaway traction better. I had a good car; it was a fun race. I was doing better without that caution. Man, it’s such a tough field here you better have your stuff right.”

Owens’ win was more dramatic as the four-time series champion had to hold off both Jonathan Davenport and super late model rookie Carson Ferguson for the win in the second 30-lapper. Trailing the top three at the finish were Vic Hill and Zack Mitchell.

In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 80th time in his career and for the third time this season, Owens led all 30 lapses for the victory.

“You have to get to the lead and in front of that 49 because, he’s been super tough here lately. Ferguson got up in there and was battling with us, he kind of snuck up on me there,” Owens said. “But man, it was some fun racing. I was glad we could get this Ramirez Motorsports home in front tonight. We had a really good hot rod tonight. We’re pretty good at this place. We have had our fair-share of wins and losses here. Our team has had their head down, but we keep digging and digging. We get keep a little better every week it seems like. Tomorrow’s a different day, we got us a good-starting spot in one of the heat races so we will go from there.”

Davenport finished second in the final rundown of the final 30-lapper of the night.

“This is a brand-new car. It’s the first time on the track for it, so we have to learn what it likes. I got really tight right there,” Davenport said. “That’s normally not what I am here. So, we are definitely going in the right direction. That’s the first time I could even see a leader here in a long time, I am normally not very good here. Congrats to Jimmy on the win and it was fun racing with Ferguson there. He’s going to be pretty good at it, he’s getting better each week and has a bright future ahead of him.”

The finish:

First Feature: Chris Madden, Mike Marlar, Dale McDowell, Brandon Overton, Earl Pearson Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Ricky Thornton Jr., Kyle Bronson, Eli Beets, Hudson O’Neal, Mack McCarter, Cameron Weaver, Stormy Scott, Ricky Weiss , John Blankenship, Robby Moses, Brenden Smith, Bryson Harper, Ashton Winger, Spencer Hughes, Austin Neely, Camaron Marlar, Michael Brown.

Second Feature: Jimmy Owens, Jonathan Davenport, Carson Ferguson, Vic Hill, Zack Mitchell, Ross Bailes, Tim McCreadie, Scott Bloomquist, Garrett Alberson, Kyle Strickler, Ben Watkins, Tyler Erb, Daulton Wilson, Trent Ivey, Jensen Ford, Garrett Smith , Dusty Carver, Matt Henderson, Sam Seawright, Cory Hedgecock, Ross Robinson, Lynn Leach.

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