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TDN’s Lucas Oil Late Model Series Preview

Florida-Georgia Speedweeks have come and gone and that can only mean one thing.  It’s time to start thinking about points racing in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.  It should be an excellent season this year, but make no mistake, Jonathan Davenport is the odds on favorite after a season that saw him take the Lucas Oil crown, along with so many special feature victories that it will make your head spin.  The argument can be made that Davenport had the greatest season anyone has ever had behind the wheel of a dirt late model, and there is no doubt he will be very tough to beat this season.

The outlying factor in all of this has to be the rule changes that the Lucas Oil Late Model Series put into place this year that restricted what can be done to the cars.  There is no doubt that this is a direct effect of Davenport’s domination from last year, but he is already off to a fast start this season, a faster one than even last season, so only time will tell how much those rule changes will slow him down.

Aaron Clay Photo

 

Jonathan Davenport – After last season how can you not pick Davenport as the favorite to be the Lucas Oil champion this year?  The K&L Rumley team was as dominant as one can possibly be during the season, and after taking 4 victories between Golden Isles, East Bay and Bubba Raceway Park already in Lucas Oil action, you can rest assured that Davenport and the Rumley team will be the one to beat all season long.

Pat Miller Photo

 

Scott Bloomquist – If there is any team with the driver and resources to compete with Davenport week in and week out, it’s Bloomquist’s team.  Bloomquist had an excellent season last season.  A season that would normally have lead to a championship, but was just overshadowed by Davenport’s season.  That doesn’t mean that there weren’t stretches where Bloomquist was the man to beat.  He was very impressive over the Labor Day weekend winning all of the Lucas Oil shows contested then, and beat Davenport in the Dream at Eldora before coming up 25 pounds light at the scales.  Bloomquist will surely have a good season again as he picked up a few wins in Florida, and will be gunning to take Davenport’s crown.
Jared Landers – Landers had a breakout season last year.  He didn’t have a ton of wins, but the hard driving Arkansas pilot was much more consistent then in recent years.  He also broke out to pick up a crown jewel victory when he won the Knoxville Late Model Nationals last October.  I wouldn’t pick him to compete for the championship, but he is as good as anyone looking to steal some wins from Davenport and Bloomquist.

Aaron Clay Photo

 

Darrell Lanigan and Don O’Neal – Clint Bowyer’s tandem of drivers have proven they can get the job done.  O’Neal is a former Lucas Oil champion for Bowyer, while Lanigan, who is new to the team, is a multi-time former WoO Late Model Series champion.  These two will be tough night in and night out and you can expect to see them grace victory lane on numerous occassions.
Brandon Sheppard – A new team in Best Motorsports seemingly didn’t slow down this Illinois driver as he was very consistent in Georgia and Florida picking up many top 10 finishes.  I would look for Sheppard to break out this year and pick up a handful of Lucas Oil victories.

Jimmy Owens – Owens has been a little slow out of the gate this year after switching teams and making a chassis switch to Barry Wright Race Cars for this season.  One thing is for sure though, and that’s Owens is a heck of a wheel man.  It shouldn’t be too long before Owens is competing night in and night out for victories.

Well there you have it Dirt Nation.  The battle between Davenport and Bloomquist should be epic in 2016, and who is the winner in all of this?  That’s right, you the fans.  So sit back and enjoy the Lucas Oil Late Model Series at a track near you.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

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