Race Weekend Central

Thinkin’ Dirty: 2022 Super Bowl of Racing at Golden Isles

The Headline(s)

Brandon Overton picked up right where 2021 left off, redeeming himself from a rules issue Thursday to sweep the final two features of the Super Bowl of Racing at Golden Isles.

How it Happened

2022 Super Bowl of Racing (Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series)
Where: Golden Isles Speedway – Brunswick, Ga. (streamed on MAVTV Plus)
Winner’s Purse: $15,000 (Saturday)

Thursday seemed a distant memory Saturday night, with Brandon Overton besting Kyle Larson at the mid-point of the Super Bowl of Racing finale at Golden Isles and driving off to a $15,000 victory, his second of 2022 and 13th career LOLMDS victory.

Though Overton ended up winning by a comfortable margin at the finish, the sole caution flag of the race ended up proving favorable for him. Lap 43 of the 50-lap feature saw Shane Clanton slow on track on the low side of turn 3, leaving Overton scrambling to dodge the lap car as he simultaneously hit a rut in the track and got out of shape. 

That moment saw a hard-charging Devin Moran use the high side to nose ahead of Overton. However, the caution flag flew for Clanton seconds later, before the lap was finished and reverting scoring back to Overton leading the event. The closing segment of the race didn’t leave Moran with enough time to build his momentum back on the high side of the track. 

Moran leaves Golden Isles with the points lead as the LOLMDS heads to Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. Overton also won Friday night’s Super Bowl of Racing LOLMDS feature.

Success Stories

Both Overton and Earl Pearson Jr. proved that Thursday’s issues with the “droop rule” now in place in LOLMDS competition courtesy of the unified super late model rules agreed to in the offseason were a fluke for both teams. Pearson’s rejuvenation in a Papich-backed racecar continued with consecutive top-10 finishes on Friday and Saturday. 

Overton took it a step further, winning the final two Super Bowl of Racing features while taking full ownership for making a shock adjustment on Thursday that resulted in his qualifying time being DQ’d, putting the No. 76 too far back on track to make Thursday’s feature. The stats speak for themselves, Big Sexy remains a force to be reckoned with in 2022.

The only driver that managed to best Overton this weekend was Devin Moran, and he may have done it twice had the caution not flown for Clanton’s troubles on Saturday. Between a strong showing at Volusia and three Super Bowl of Racing podium finishes, the “Mail Man” is poised for a banner Speedweeks.

Tim McCreadie’s Super Bowl of Racing average finish this weekend was 6.3 at Golden Isles. The 2021 LOLMDS champion’s title defense is off to another solid start.

The Winternationals standout of the UMP modified division at East Bay Raceway Park was none other than Owensboro, Ky.’s Victor Lee. Lee scored the $5,000 victory in Saturday’s finale feature for the miniseries, his second of the week. The achievement was all the more notable in that 2022 marked the first time that Lee has raced at EBRP since 2001. 

The two sprint car series that raced this weekend both played host to clean sweeps. Sarasota, Fla.’s Danny Martin Jr. won all three features contested by the Top Gun Sprint Series at East Bay on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, Concord, Calif.’s Damion Gardner proved untouchable, winning three straight features and $9,000 in dominant fashion at the CRA Invasion at Cocopah Speedway in Arizona.

Granted, they all came against depleted fields of cars, but dating back to Thursday night at Cocopah Yuma, Ariz.’s Bobby Horton won four IMCA hobby stock feature races in four days, three at Cocopah and a fourth Sunday afternoon at Canyon Speedway Park. Unofficially I believe that makes Horton the nation’s leading winner thus far in 2022 with six feature trophies on the books.

Vexed, Villains & Victims

Midlothian, Texas’s Chase Allen had about as rough a week in modified competition at East Bay as could be endured, losing an engine on night one and suffering continued mechanical maladies throughout the weekend even after getting a loaner. What’s more, Friday night’s Flo Racing telecast reported that Allen’s crew had their pit bike stolen as well. Florida gonna Florida.

Robinson, Ill.’s Brian Shaw probably took the lead half a dozen times during Friday’s UMP modified feature at East Bay only to have caution flags wipe out the laps he took the lead on. Shaw’s night was apparently doomed no matter what as he later had to retire the car, but I don’t know of any driver in America foiled more frequently by the yellow this weekend.

If the Top Gun Sprints gave a “Goose” award, this weekend it would go to Kennett Square, Pa.’s Josh Bricker, who flipped his sprint car unassisted while leading the first lap of Saturday’s feature at East Bay.

Not only did rookie Mackenzie Zachrison turn into the race leader while being lapped during Sunday’s first IMCA hobby stock heat at Canyon on Sunday, she then missed the pit entrance and proceeded to drive an entire lap around the track on three flat tires. She proceeded to delay the feature start for three laps after appearing not to understand the feature start formation, then spun unassisted early in the feature. A loose wheel ended her race one restart later.

NASCAR Regulars

Kyle Larson failed to finish Friday’s LOLMDS feature at Golden Isles when the nose of his car folder under the left-front tire mid-race. He rebounded on Saturday, breaking the track record in qualifying and winning his heat race before leading the first 27 laps of the feature event. He finished third, getting back past defending LOLMDS champion McCreadie on the final lap.

Of note though, barring an appearance and victory at Bubba Raceway Park on Monday, Larson will close January without a feature win.

Fanning the Flames

Look, I know East Bay Raceway Park is literally on its last legs with demolition coming in a few years. It’s still ridiculous that Friday’s modified feature had to go under yellow because turn 4 wall panels came loose. EXACTLY like they did during the Winternationals last season. The Flo Racing booth (which included the same Ruben Morales that said track conditions weren’t responsible for Volusia’s flip epidemic last week) tried to explain the issue was a 17-mph wind. If 17 mph can knock the wall down, God help the racers.

North Florida Speedway canceled their Sunday racing program due to frozen pipes wreaking havoc at their facility. Frozen pipes. In Florida. 2022 folks.

Completely unscripted, but there was something very romantic about watching sprint car hot laps with nothing but Journey playing on the background radio during Friday’s Speed Sport TV telecast of the USAC CRA cars at Cocopah, especially with Steve Perry’s mid-song bellow from “Lights” coming right as Logan Williams‘s car started bellowing smoke in turn 3. 

Yes, there were some fans at the Super Bowl of Racing Saturday night chanting “Let’s go Brandon” after Brandon Overton’s home-state victory. 

No, this was not a mass crowd event worthy of outrage… the voices doing it were individually identifiable on the MAVTV broadcast. Besides, you try making “Let’s go Overton” roll off your tongue.

There was absolutely NO reason to split Saturday’s modified finale at East Bay into segments of 35 and 40 laps. I don’t know enough about the UMP modifieds to know whether they can actually go 75 laps on fuel around the East Bay bullring, but I do know that I’d take 60 laps uninterrupted over a 35-40 split any day of the week on any track in the country.

Watching the USAC CRA wingless sprint cars at Cocopah this weekend I will openly admit was a spectacle despite Damion Gardner’s dominance up front… in terms of raw horsepower and slide jobs 410 wingless racing as about as wild as it gets. Having said that, maybe it’s my admittedly untrained eye, but trying to keep tabs on who’s who is damn near impossible. 

Friday’s field included at least three black cars with white decals that were all but unreadable. Couple that with nerf bars that by their location inherently obscure car numbers on the rear tail tanks, and it was no surprise to see even the Speed Sport TV booth confuse the No. 2J and No. 2Y during single-car quals. Racing quality aside, it’s no wonder to me there’s a constant influx of money, sponsors and big-name drivers to the winged side of the fence… they’re far more effective billboards. 

Details are scant at this point, but after a lengthy period for sale, the property including the SK Speedway in Wisconsin has apparently been sold. Fingers crossed that the post announcing this sale means that the track is going to re-open as a racetrack.

New Chapter beginning. I accepted a conditional offer on SK Speedway. Stay tuned for updates as they progress. I will…

Posted by SK Speedway on Friday, January 28, 2022

Numbers Game

11 – dirt tracks that hosted oval track events in the U.S. this weekend.

134 – total car count for the Super Bowl of Racing Saturday night at Golden Isles across three divisions.

$41,475 – 2022 winnings posted by Mike Marlar, the nation’s leading dirt money leader to date.

Where it Rated (on a scale of one to six cans with one a stinker and a six-pack an instant classic): The last weekend in January gets three and a half Oconee Hey Man Blonde Ales. Brandon Overton put on a masterclass of what was a relatively uneventful Super Bowl of Racing, and while that was impressive laborious bouts of yellow fever at East Bay and Gardner laying waste to the field at Cocopah made for a tepid overall weekend.

Up Next: Florida Speedweeks roll on with the Lucas Oil late models contesting three mid-week races and the crate late model division of the East Bay Winternationals kicking off Thursday night. Coverage can be found on MAVTV Plus and Flo Racing, respectively.  

About the author

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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