NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Thinkin’ Dirty: 2021 Silver Dollar Nationals Prelims at I-80

The Headline(s)

It’s Brandon Overton’s world. The Silver Dollar Nationals field and the rest of the super late model drivers in America are just living in it.

Our Feature Spotlights

Sunday, July 19, 2021

Spotlight: 2021 Carolina Sizzler
Where: The Dirt Track at Charlotte – Concord, N.C. (streamed on Grassroots Sports TV)
Why We Chose It: At $20,000-to-win, Sunday’s highest-paying feature.

Though Mooresville, N.C.’s Derrick Ramey got the best of Evans, Ga.’s Brandon Overton on the opening lap, Sunday’s 60-lap super late feature ended up like so many others in 2021, completely dominated by the driver of the No. 76. Once Overton got out front, he was untouchable, patiently dealing with lapped traffic on a bottom-centric Charlotte dirt surface to comfortably score a $20,000 win in the inaugural edition of the Sizzler event.

Though current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader Tim McCreadie was able to get within a few car lengths inside of 10 laps to go as Overton struggled to pass the lapped car of Colbert, Ga.’s Kenny Collins, once Overton made that pass the feature was over, a lap 54 restart proving of no consequence.

Monday, July 20, 2021

A full national rainout, with both the Texas Dirt Series in Fort Worth and the Southern Nationals at Volunteer Speedway in Tennessee washed off the slate Monday.

Tuesday, July 21, 2021

Spotlight: 2021 Silver Dollar Nationals (Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series)
Where: I-80 Speedway – Greenwood, Neb. (streamed on MAVTV Plus)
Why We Chose It: Because this writer got home too late on Tuesday night to catch the replay of the $25,000-to-win World of Outlaws Silver Cup race at Lernerville. 

Martinsville, Ind.’s Hudson O’Neal made two passionate charges at Overton and even got the best of him for a three-lap stretch midway through Tuesday night’s feature. But by race’s end, the first night of the Silver Dollar Nationals, and the $7,000 that goes with it, ended up with Overton and his No. 76 team in victory lane.

O’Neal, who shared the front row with Overton at race start, made a surging run down the frontstretch trying to overtake Overton on lap 4 that forced the Georgian to throw a block with inches to spare, breaking O’Neal’s momentum until the yellow flag flew on lap 15. On the ensuing restart, O’Neal did take the lead from Overton and held it until lap 19, when Overton made a forceful slide-move through turn 2 to take the race lead for good. 

Though the last 10 laps of the race were a stalemate up front, positions three through five ended up featuring a pitched battle between Ricky Thornton Jr., Kyle Bronson and Frank Heckenast Jr. that took full advantage of a racy I-80 surface.

Wednesday, July 22, 2021

Spotlight: 2021 Silver Dollar Nationals (Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series)
Where: I-80 Speedway – Greenwood, Neb. (streamed on MAVTV Plus)
Why We Chose It: At $7,000-to-win, Wednesday’s highest-paying feature.

New Waverly, Texas’s Tyler Erb went flag-to-flag to score the second $7,000 prelim event of the Silver Dollar Nationals Wednesday at I-80 Speedway, driving away on a restart with eight laps to go as Ricky Weiss and Thornton Jr. waged a pitched battle side-by-side that allowed Erb to drive away.

The race’s closing laps played out much like Tuesday night, with a racy surface leading to some wild exchanges in the top 10 as the leader drove away. 

It was mission success for Tuesday’s winner Overton, who finished fifth in a race where he openly stated the goal was to take care of his car, with his win Tuesday locking him into Thursday night’s $30,000-to-win feature. LOLMDS points leader McCreadie battled to finish 12th in a backup car after racing said backup into the feature via a B-main.

Success Stories

Overton. Why write when Twitter says it all?

Erb’s win on Wednesday was, as described by the MAVTV crew, smooth and smart. “Terbo” in this type of form can contend for big money. Credit to the young gun for an intelligent post-race interview as well, thanking Overton for coming to I-80 to “whoop up on us” and make the field work harder.

Canada’s Weiss showed a lot of speed both nights at I-80 and earned a front-row starting spot in Thursday’s $30,000 feature for his troubles. Weiss’s runner-up finish Wednesday carried the flag on a decent night for WoO regulars that saw series competitors win two heats and a B-main.

Brandon, Fla.’s Bronson’s top five at I-80 on Tuesday was solid driving, but seeing him take the “passing points” format of Wednesday’s Silver Dollar feature to task even after winning his heat race was choice stuff. Preach, Bronson, preach!

Vexed, Villains & Victims

Unfortunately, Bronson ended up with his No. 40B heavily damaged Wednesday night, as a lap 6 spin in turn 3 ended with Omaha, Neb.’s Jake Neal parked on his hood.

Speaking of those idiotic passing points, defending Silver Dollar Nationals champion Brandon Sheppard won his heat race and got to start 15th Wednesday for his troubles. That ridiculousness aside, Sheppard found trouble in both prelims, finishing 22nd on Tuesday after making contact with the turn 4 wall, then getting collected in the Bronson/Neal mess on lap 6. The momentum that Sheppard built on the World of Outlaws late model tour, which saw his points lead grow on the back of two wins during that series’ recent northern swing, is not translating to LOLMDS competition.

Expecting Clover, S.C.’s Ross Bailes to top a field that included Overton and McCreadie would have been asking a lot, but seeing the Southern super late model standout lapped at Charlotte was a real underachievement Sunday.

Deocorah, Iowa’s Tyler Bruening rebounded to finish ninth on Wednesday, but a superb qualifying effort and running in the top five turned into a wasted opportunity on Tuesday when Bruening jumped the cushion and pounded the wall turn 3 only five laps into the feature.

Bellevue, Neb.’s Brandon Saltzman took a wicked hit in the driver door in turn 3 in an opening-lap wreck during the first B-main for the support late model class at I-80 Wednesday. Good to see both he and Omaha, Neb.’s Roger Elliot walk away from this one.

Fanning the Flames

After the fall racing program at the Dirt Track at Charlotte proved a fitting re-enactment of the Dust Bowl that Steinbeck would have been proud of, it was a welcome relief to see the racing surface markedly improved for the Sizzler late model program. Hopefully that translates into the World Finals being back up to snuff come autumn.

I’m torn on this one. 

Given that the Sizzler super late model program was a $20,000-to-win race, yes, it seems odd to be getting paid in singles. But money is money, and from the Twitter records available from Sunday it seems that the pay window got besieged by a fleet of racers all trying to leave Charlotte at once with rain on the way. Millwood’s reaction seems a little, well, extreme.

I love MAVTV’s Lucas Oil coverage. I love it even more once it leaves Florida and we’ve got James Essex instead of Bob Dillner calling. But my God has the customer feedback on Twitter for the new app been’s toxic. When the wife of arguably the current face of the series can’t get the stream to work, that’s a legit PR nightmare. 

As a dirt race fan, I never root for rainouts. But there was a part of me that was thankful Monday night’s racing program at Volunteer Speedway got rained out. Scheduling four support classes alongside the Southern Nationals for a weeknight program is torturous for race fans, the vast majority of whom have to work the next morning. Unpopular take, but if a track has any cause to schedule an entire weekend program of cars on a weekday, be it to share the spotlight or to generate enough fees to pay a purse, said track shouldn’t be scheduling touring series on a weekday.

While I applaud the marketing team at I-80 for this idea, damn if these things don’t look suspect. And where’s the Davenport mix?

While supplies last, The T-Mac and the Big Sexy. $10 each, 16oz.T-Mac is a pineapple flavored mixed drinkBig Sexy is fruity juice mix.

Posted by I-80 Speedway on Wednesday, July 21, 2021

This weekend marked the first time I’ve streamed a race on Grassroots Sports TV, and while there were certainly shortcomings with the platform (multiple multiple-minute freezes and no on-screen scoring of any kind), I will credit them for getting this simple item right… when introducing a race lineup, go from back to front. The polesitter should always get the final shoutout before the green flag flies.

While this closure hopefully doesn’t have the finality of some of the others that have hit dirt tracks in 2021, this is nonetheless a blow for our fellow race fans in West Virginia. We certainly wish the best and a full recovery for all those at the Princeton Speedway.

Princeton Speedway will be closed for the remainder of the 2021 season. Melvin has an aneurysm in his aorta that they…

Posted by Princeton Speedway on Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Numbers Game

0 – number of competitive laps turned at Volunteer Speedway Monday night.

2 – bad starts called during Wednesday’s LOLMDS program at I-80 Wednesday.

27 – number of super late models that started Sunday’s Carolina Sizzler feature at Charlotte.

40 – car count for the Super DIRTcar Series Liberty 100 at Land of Legends Raceway in New York before the rainout Tuesday night.

Where it Rated (on a scale of one to six cans with one a stinker and a six-pack an instant classic): We’ll give the midweek four chilled “Big Sexys” from under the I-80 grandstands. With Jonathan Davenport all but invisible so far in feature races and several cars in the field showing pace to keep up with Overton, the Silver Dollar Nationals crown appears wide open heading into the weekend.

Up Next: Sprint cars ruled the roost last weekend, this time we’re giving our full-fendered friends some love, sticking with the Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 that will culminate with a $53,000-to-win feature Saturday night. Coverage of all race nights is available on MAVTV Plus.

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