Race Weekend Central

This Day in Dirt: Dale McDowell Wires Tazewell as Winger Soars on Hell Tour

Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Dale McDowell wired the ‘Lil Bill Corum Memorial at Tazewell Speedway in Tennessee Monday night (July 3), pocketing $21,000 in the 75-lap feature on the high banks.

McDowell did see eventual runner-up Jimmy Owens eat into his lead on a couple green-flag runs, but only really seemed to have to break a sweat on lap 14 when Brian Smith broke a driveshaft and slowed on the frontstretch, forcing McDowell to take evasive action. Owens, who finished second, continued a hot streak that saw him score his first win of 2023 over the weekend with the Hunt the Front Super Dirt Series.


Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: As mentioned above, lap 14. McDowell came so close to a race-ending accident that he stopped under the ensuing caution for Smith’s broken driveshaft to ensure he didn’t incur fender damage.

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

Yes, McDowell vs. Owens was an enticing duel, but a 20-car field at Tazewell Monday night was a little underwhelming. Especially considering the previous two winners of the event were Jonathan Davenport and Chris Madden. In fact, there were no real “national” ringers in the field this Monday. It’s amazing to think how much the impact of a $21,000 purse has declined over the last two years, for better or worse.

Speaking of the field at Tazewell Monday, I want to know the answer to this myself. The way he’s run in 2023 it could have added some spice to this race.

Part of the reason Owens was racing at Tazewell Monday night was that he has dropped off the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series tour. I already wrote in the weekend column about my ongoing concerns over the series’ new-fangled NASCAR-style playoff, but Owens’s departure exposed the flaws and shortcomings of that format in an entirely different way. Credit to Justin Fiedler for picking up on it.

Watching classic car hot laps at Tazewell this evening was a visually exciting exercise, as the openings in the car cockpits allowed for a great visual of the drivers hard at work sawing on the wheel. It almost had me second-guessing why I don’t pay closer attention to classic/vintage car classes. Then the feature happened.

It wasn’t intentional, but it was really cruel for Flo Racing’s weather delay shot at Port Royal Speedway to be pointed right at the turn 1 racing surface as the rain went from bad to worse, destroying the racing surface to a point that the Pennsylvania Sprint Week finale had to be canceled.

Dirt Racing’s Hero of the Day

For the second time in three years, spending extended time with the Hell Tour has got Ashton Winger scorching hot. Winger scored his third tour win of the week at Lake Cumberland Speedway in Kentucky on Monday, a win worth $7,500 as well as a $10,000 bonus for being the weekly champion of the summer series. 

Not too shabby for a driver that was literally arrested for on-track issues earlier this year.

See also
This Weekend in Dirt: Driver Ashton Winger Arrested After On, Off-Track Incidents at Southern Raceway

Dirt Racing’s Victim of the Night

Barbourville, Ky.’s Brian Smith had about as rough a 15 laps as any racecar driver can have in the Bill Corum feature at Tazewell Monday night. Smith was collected in a turn 2 pileup on lap 4 of the event, then in another pileup in turn 1 on the ensuing restart, then brought out a third yellow on lap 14 when he broke a driveshaft and nearly took out the race leader as a result.

Of course, considering his car lost an entire freaking wheel on the pace laps, maybe we should have all seen this coming.

Numbers Game


Number of tracks to contest an oval-track program in the US Monday night.


The nation’s largest car count Monday night, Monday Madness at Independence Motor Speedway in Iowa.


The nation’s largest purse Monday night, paid to the winner of the ‘Lil Bill Corum Memorial at Tazewell (McDowell).

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Monday morning (July 10) with coverage of the weekend in dirt, highlighted by the Gopher 50 for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Coverage can be found on Flo Racing.

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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