Updated: Apr 9, 2019
Updated 10:28 pm Monday
By Cole Perkins
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series visited Seymour, Tennessee's 411 Motor Speedway for the first-time in series history on Friday, April 5th. Twenty-nine Super Late Models filled the pits to chase the $12,000 payday, the largest winner's purse in the track's history. In his first-ever visit to 411, Clover, South Carolina's Ross Bailes scored his first-career win with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, behind the wheel of the Barry Wright ICON House Car.
The largest crowd in 411's history went wild as Seymour's own Ryan King started the night off by posting the fastest time overall in time trials over the best drivers in the nation. Dawsonville, Georgia's Donald McIntosh, driving for nearby Maryville, Tennessee-based Blount Motorsports, posted the fastest time in the second group of time trials. The track conditions threw drivers for a loop as several caught a little air-time while making their qualification laps.
After qualifying, four ten-lap heat races would decide the starting field for the fifty-lap main event as the sun began to set in East Tennessee. Eventual race winner, Ross Bailes, passed fast qualifier Ryan King to win the first heat race, with series points leader Jonathan Davenport following in third. Shinnston, West Virginia's Josh Richards held off four other LOLMDS regulars to win the second heat race. Chickamauga, Georgia's Dale McDowell, fresh off a $10,000 win the night before at Volunteer Speedway, stayed hot to win the third heat which put him on the front-row for the nights fifty-lapper. Home-state driver Jimmy Owens defended his turf in dominating fashion with a win in the final heat race of the night. The thirteen drivers who did not make it out of the heat races were forced to race their way into the feature through a single B-Main, in which only six of whom would transfer. Drivers including Jacob Hawkins, Cla Knight, Chicky Barton, Ryan Scott and Bobby Giffin were those who did not transfer into the a-feature's twenty-four car starting field. Track-record holder David Crabtree and Pierce McCarter, relative to track promoter Mitch McCarter, were awarded series provisionals to start the main event.
Ross Bailes led the twenty-four car field to green, and led flag-to-flag en route to his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory. In only his first visit to 411, Bailes made it look easy, but had to overcome several late race cautions before capturing the checkered flag. "We have tried for so long to win one of these and we just couldn't get it done. To come to a new track here at 411 Motor Speedway and to get it done is just unimaginable" said Bailes, in response to the biggest win of his career. Second and third-place finishers Donald McIntosh and Jimmy Owens swapped positions several times throughout the feature, but were never able to catch Bailes as he finished 0.773 seconds ahead of the other podium finishers. Series points-leader Jonathan Davenport charged to the fourth finishing position after starting in ninth. Davenport found the top-side of the racetrack around the halfway point and made a hard charge from sixth to fourth, before having to get off the top and settle in behind the leaders. The Blairsville, Georgia-native would keep the orange spoiler atop his Longhorn Chassis all weekend as his points lead grew to a 145 point margin over Tyler Erb, after winning the following night at North Georgia Speedway.