Race Weekend Central

This Day in Dirt: Defending Champions Tim McCreadie, Tyler Courtney Score Florida Wins

Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: It was a night of streaks ending at Volusia Speedway Park Tuesday (Feb. 14), as Tim McCreadie ended a streak of three straight runner-up finishes to score his first win of 2023 in the DIRTcar late model feature, doing just enough to hold off a late-race charge from Hudson O’Neal.

The win for McCreadie also snapped O’Neal’s three-race win streak in Speedweeks super late model competition.

Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: The All-Star Circuit of Champions again saw its race at East Bay Raceway Park serve as a potential title bout preview, with defending series champ Tyler Courtney again prevailing over Justin Peck.

What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

After watching Tuesday night’s late model race at Volusia, I’m not sure who the competition should be in greater fear of, McCreadie or O’Neal. The actions/reactions of both drivers as they decided a thoroughly entertaining Valentine’s Day feature at Volusia were completely different, even unexpected, and both demonstrated drivers at the top of their game.

First, there’s the veteran McCreadie, who has done everything right in 2023 except score a trophy until Tuesday. And he was utterly giddy in victory lane, dancing on the roof of his car and palming his Gator trophy like a football as he jabbed the checkered flag in the air. McCreadie was not acting like a near 50-year-old that is no stranger to victory lane, demonstrating a hunger and enthusiasm that should put pause in his competitors regardless of age.

And then there’s O’Neal. Yes, O’Neal jumped the cushion in turn 2 with two laps to go, a momentary lapse that ultimately secured the win for McCreadie and cost the Rocket house driver a fourth consecutive victory. But go back and watch the tape of O’Neal’s drive in the closing two laps. O’Neal went after the veteran McCreadie with reckless abandon, driving with a confidence that even a week ago was not being seen from Brandon Sheppard’s replacement. 

It’s a damn shame these two are likely going to be chasing different series in 2023. What late model fans saw Tuesday night is a battle that’d be worth watching 50 times more this season. 

David Gravel wasn’t racing his sprint car Tuesday night, but just as he did with Christopher Bell a few weeks back, his social media accounts were again making waves with NASCAR’s dirt ringers, this time with one Kyle Larson.

And following that comment thread, count me among those that would salivate to see Gravel take a stab in a fendered car.

Thomas Meseraull’s enthusiasm for sprint car racing is something I hope never ebbs, but it was a little ridiculous to gush over celebrating breaking a USAC sprint car track record that was all of 24 hours old (USAC made their debut start on the Volusia dirt Monday night).

I’ve already made my feelings on this topic known and while I hate to come off as territorial (late model fans and sprint car fans should just be dirt fans), but I’ve got to take umbrage with DirtVision’s sprint car pit reporter Chase Raudman’s assessment of the end of Tuesday’s feature.

Blaming the finish on signal sticks ignores that a) O’Neal did in fact jump the cushion twice in the final two laps and that b) McCreadie is a savvy veteran. Though McCreadie acknowledged that he though the driver closing in on him in the closing laps with Bobby Pierce, not O’Neal, the idea that a veteran driver heard a car approaching on the high side and would not have changed his line without a crew man giving him signals is ridiculous. Be upset that a caution flew late in the feature (for good reason) and leave it at that.

Dirt Racing’s Hero of the Day

The pitched battle between Peck and Courtney in the ASCoC feature at East Bay on Tuesday meant that Zeb Wise’s ridiculous 21st to fourth-place charge got precious little airtime during the Flo Racing stream. But make no mistake, going plus-17 at East Bay is a big freaking deal. 

Dirt Racing’s Victim/Villain of the Night

Sadly, Brandon Overton was nowhere to be found in the closing laps that ended up deciding Tuesday’s DIRTcar late model feature at Volusia, but that’s not to say he didn’t have the car. Overton played the sly card in the feature, on multiple occasions pouncing as McCreadie and Pierce traded the lead up front. Overton ended up out of that battle late, however, as he cut down a tire with three laps to go.

Which is why Overton also gets the villain card for the night. Had that caution not come out, this race would have gone caution-free and the battle up front could have been determined completely on track. Yes, it’s sarcastic to call Overton a villain for that, but please stay green!

Numbers Game

2

Dirt tracks that ran oval track racing programs Tuesday night in the U.S.

77

Nation’s largest car count Tuesday night, the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia.

$7,000

The nation’s largest purse awarded Tuesday night, to the winner of the DIRTcar late model feature at Volusia.

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Thursday morning (Feb. 16) with continued coverage of the DIRTcar Nationals from Volusia Speedway Park and the 360 Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park. Streaming coverage can be found on DirtVision 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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