Don O’Neal proved he was “the real deal” Saturday night at Oakshade Raceway winning the $10,000 Birthday Race late model feature.
It was also the final event in the UMP Summer Nationals points series that Billy Moyer, the two-time defending champion of the Birthday Race, was the leader of coming into the night.
O’Neal was the fifth fast qualifier of the night, which earned him a spot in the dash that he proceeded to win, securing him the pole starting position in the 65 lap Brithday Race late model feature.
At the start of the feature, Steve Casebolt and defending track champion Shane Yoder both found themselves in the backstretch wall. Casebolt was able to drive his machine back to the pits and Yoder’s tore up racecar had to be towed. Both drivers were done for the night.
After a complete restart, Don O’Neal drove out in front of the field and would never relinquish his lead for the next 65 laps. He opened up a straight away lead over the second place battle between Terry English, Jeep Van Wormer, Billy Moyer and Justin Paxton.
The second yellow came out after a long green flag run on lap 41 for Greg Martin who ended up going to the pits. The caution wiped out the large lead O’Neal had built up over English and Moyer, who had gotten by Van Wormer for third.
The third and final caution came out on lap 56 after Todd Schroyer and Justin Paxton tangled in turns one and two setting up a nine lap dash to the finish.
On the restart, Don O’Neal once again powered away from the second place car of Terry English, while English had his hands full trying to hold off Billy Moyer in a great battle for second.
In the end, O’Neal was the first to the checkered flag leading all 65 laps and picking up the check for $10,000. English held off Moyer for second, although third was good enough to secure the UMP Summer Nationals points championship for Billy Moyer.
Matt Miller started 12th and ended up finishing fourth ahead of Jeep Van Wormer and Brian Ruhlman.
Robert Gregory was in command of the bomber A Main early, but on the move after starting 10th was the 7L of Brice Luttrell who was up to third after three laps.
Brad Miller who was running third had some trouble and slipped off the pace and retired to the pits. Meanwhile, Luttrell moved by Adam Bokor for second on lap four.
One lap later, Luttrell moved by on the outside of Gregory to take the lead for good and went on to win his fifth bomber A Main feature win of the year. Gregory finished a close second with Bokor holding on to third.
Rich Risner and Bob Rendel had a two car break away out in front of the bomber B Main.
Mark Labean got turned around early in the race and collected Brad Blonde. Both cars kept going so there was no caution flag, although Labean fell way back in the pack after running in the top five.
Risner went on to win his second B Main in a row with Bob Rendel holding off Danny Hogrefe for second. Joe Wohlgamuth finish fourth with Brad Blonde coming home fifth.
Josh Steinacker threaded the needle, splitting between two cars at the start of the bomber C Main to grab the lead.
An incident on lap seven took out Pernell Hyde and Brian Manley after they got together in turn four.
Steinacker went on to win his first bomber feature of the year with Gary Shaffer finishing second and Evan Myers third.
Randy Murday had the early lead in the final event of the night, the bomber D Main, with the 51J of Curtis Lancaster closing in.
Finally, with just two laps to go, Lancaster made the pass on Murday to take the lead and the win. Murday was second followed by John Laney, Bill Reeves and Joseph Nickloy.
This coming Saturday, Oakshade Raceway will once again host the extremely competitive late model division as well as the sportsman/trucks and bombers for more great racing action.