PETERSEN MEDIA: Returning to action over the weekend in Missouri for two events, Austin O’Neal would see a couple of incidents cost him potential Top-10 finishes.
“Lake Ozark on Saturday was really technical, and I thought we learned a lot about our car,” O’Neal said. “We did have a run inside the Top-10 going, but unfortunately a car got into the fence in front of us and came down the track and left us with nowhere to go and we got collected.”
Competing with the ASCS National Tour, O’Neal was in favor of the new format as it now includes qualifying time trials. Timing the Marmon/Keystone/Weld Racing/River Valley Ag backed No. 11 in third fastest in his group, O’Neal lined up on the front row of his heat race.
Slipping back to finish third, O’Neal’s combined qualifying and heat race points put him in the feature event where he would roll off the starting grid from the 10th position.
When the feature came to life, O’Neal settled into the Top-10 as he worked around the tricky surface.
Looking to be well on his way to a Top-10 finish with the National Tour, bad luck with strike late in the race as a car would bounce off the fence in front of him and shoot down the track forcing him to get on the binders. Coming to a stop, O’Neal was forced to the back of the pack as he would eventually tally a 16th place finish.
Sunday night, O’Neal made the trip to Double X Speedway for the Jesse Hockett Tribute, and it would mark his first Winged 360ci start at the track, though he had competed in a micro four years ago.
Feeling confident heading into his heat race after laying down some quick laps in warms ups, O’Neal would get a good jump front his front row starting spot as he battled for the lead instantly.
Stalking the leader for the first three stanzas, O’Neal pounced on lap four. Out front, he would quickly leave the field in his wake as he picked up the win and eventually found himself on the front row of the 25-lap feature event.
Unable to match the jump he got in his heat; O’Neal would deal with some struggles in the feature as he slipped back through the Top-10. Looking to salvage the night with a Top-10 finish, contact with another car resulted in a bent Jacob’s Ladder on O’Neal’s entry.
With the damage, O’Neal opted to call it a night as he would be credited with an 18th place finish.
“We got off to a good start to the night on Sunday, but to finish like we did was a bummer,” O’Neal said. “We made some mistakes as a team, I made some as a driver, but we will learn from them and bounce back.”
Austin O’Neal Racing would like to thank Marmon/Keystone, Weld Racing, River Valley Ag, Kaw Valley Companies, RacinBoys, HMC Performance Coatings, Mel Hambelton Ford Racing, Champion Oil, Taffs Carpets, Rod End Supply, Clemons Home Team, Mettec Titanium, V&L Properties, Toby’s Coatings, NGK Spark Plugs, Maxim Racing, Capital Sign Co., Wesmar Racing Engines, and Schure Built Suspensions for their support.
BY THE NUMBERS: Races-3, Wins-0, Top 5’s-0, Top 10’s-0
ON TAP: O’Neal will be in action at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, NE on Friday night before returning to Double X Speedway on Sunday.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay updated with Austin O’Neal by following him on Twitter @austinonealrcgn, or by ‘Liking’ him on facebook at www.facebook.com/austinonealracing.
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