Don O’Neal explains the slip at the start of Thursday nights feature and thinks the track will be better tonight
Last night, Don O’Neal and Billy Moyer Sr led the field to green in the 20 lap main event. It was the debut Race of Champions race, paying $5,000 to the winner.
There wasn’t a qualifying session for the race. Instead, they did it by pill draw. Don O’Neal drew pill #1. Shannon Babb started inside row 2. Babb left turn 2 with the lead of the race as O’Neal struggled to get off the line.
“Just the race track was greasy on the the start,” Don O’Neal told RacingNews.co from the pit lane at the Gateway Dirt Nationals.
“I just let the front end shove on the start. I had to get out of the gas to keep from getting into Moyer.”
“That left the door open for Babb, around the bottom,” O’Neal explains the start of last nights Race of Champions race.
You were the only car to make the top work in the middle to end portion of the race.
“Yeah, [turns] one and two, there wasn’t hardly anything up there, at all. [Turns] three and four, you could get a little bit of a run off it.”
“Hopefully, I think tonight, they’ll have the track a lot better.”
Are you being told they’re going to make changes to the track?
“Well, it’s about the same it was last year on Thursday night,’ O’Neal refers to the track conditions. “The race track wasn’t very good [last year on Thursday]. Then we came back on Friday and the race track was great.”
The qualifying sessions, with this many cars, have a big impact on the track conditions for Thursday nights program. 200 cars all run the same groove, for the most part in single car qualifying. That has a tendency to lock down the primary groove.
Tonight, they go straight into the racing portion of the program. The track will be a lot different throughout the course of the night.
Don O’Neal will start 4th in the 6th heat race of the night.
2017 GATEWAY DIRT NATIONALS
The 2017 Gateway Dirt Nationals is hosted at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
Ticket are available via GatewayDirt.com/tickets