PETERSEN MEDIA: Eagerly awaiting his debit at I-70 Motorsports Park over the weekend, Austin O’Neal’s wait would be worth it after a Friday rain out as he went on to pick up a career best finish with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour as he finished seventh during Saturday’s feature.
“I really didn’t know what to expect heading into I-70 as it’s the biggest and fastest track I have ever been on,” Austin O’Neal said. “Luckily we were able to take a pretty bad start, and it turn it into a great night when all was said and done.”
Moving into time trials, O’Neal missed his mark on his first two timed laps aboard the Marmon/Keystone/Weld Racing/River Valley Ag backed No. 11, but his third lap would be the money lap as he ended up fourth fastest in his qualifying group.
With his time, and the four-car inversion, O’Neal led the field to green in heat race action needing to pick up the win to earn a berth into the redraw. Drag racing his fellow front row starter into turn one, O’Neal lost the battle and actually slipped backed to third as the dirty air got him tight.
Setting into third, O’Neal used the race to acclimate to the track and hit his marks as the third-place finish secured a berth into the 30-lap feature event.
Despite falling back to third, O’Neal and the rest of the AOR team opted to make minimal changes to the car prior to the feature event where he took the green flag from 12th.
When the race came to life, O’Neal jumped into 10th where he ran during the opening half of the race. Moving around, O’Neal came to life as he found a line that suited him well and began to gain momentum and pick up positions.
A couple of yellow’s put the Kearney, MO driver behind lapped cars on restarts and having to get around them he slipped outside of the Top-10. Abel to clear the traffic, O’Neal made up the lost ground in open air, as he got back into the Top-10 and raced his way up to the seventh when the race came to a close.
“We ran really well in the feature, and if I could have won the heat, I am curious to see how we would have done in the front of the field, but hindsight is always 20/20,” O’Neal said. “Running how we did is a huge confidence boost for us that we can run with these guys, and to pick up my career best finish at I-70 is so cool on a personal level with how much family history I have associated with this place.”
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-6, Wins-0, Top 5’s-1, Top 10’s-3
ON TAP: O’Neal is unsure when is next race will be at the time of press.
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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