BRASSTOWN, NORTH CAROLINA —On Saturday July 27, heading into the series finale at Tazewell Speedway, Brandon Overton had retaken the points lead from Jake Knowles by a mere four points and would set his sights toward the 2019 Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series presented by Sunoco Race Fuels title.
The Evans, Ga. driver raced toe-to-toe in an epic points battle with the 33-year-old Knowles from Rome, Ga. and with his second-place finish at Tazewell Speedway and Knowles finishing sixth, Overton would capture his second title in three years with the Ray Cook-promoted touring series.
Overton drove the Rum Runner Racing team car owned by Joey Coulter to the championship title. Overton won the title by claiming three victories (Wythe Raceway, Smoky Mountain Speedway and Crossville Speedway) and earning 12 more points than Knowles, who competed on the tour for the first time. Overton drove the Molecule Sports, Simpson Race Products, Schaeffer Oil Products, Race Fan, Penske Shocks, C and H Paving, Willy’s Carbs sponsored #2 Rocket Chassis, Cornett Race Engines powered entry to the title.
STATS & EARNINGS
-Brandon Overton earned $39,383.00 which included his point fund earnings while amassing seven top-five finishes and seven top-ten finishes plus the three victories. Overton finished third in 2018 points and was the 2017 champion.
-Jake Knowles captured one victory at Tri-County Race Track in a thriller over Kenny Collins and earned the $3,500 payday. Knowles had four top-five finishes and eight top-ten finishes and earned $15,153 on the season including points fund awards. This was the first season that Knowles and team had competed on the tour.
-Donald McIntosh finished third in the final series points totals as he drove to four top-five finishes and eight-top ten finishes. McIntosh and the Blount Motorsports team earned $12,603 including points fund awards. McIntosh hasn’t finished outside of the top-five in the series points since racing with the tour the last six seasons.
-Tanner English posted three top-five finishes and four top-ten finishes along with $9,278 in earnings for the Big Frog Motorsports team. This was English’s first time on the tour. His best finish came on July 25 at Crossville when he finished fourth.
-Cla Knight competed on the tour for the second-straight season and posted four top-ten finishes. He earned $7,223 in earnings. His best finish was eighth at Crossville Speedway on July 25.
-Tyler Clem competed on the tour for the first time and completed seven of the nine events while posting one top-ten finish which was seventh at Crossville Speedway. He earned $4,048 on the tour. This was Clem’s first time competing on the tour.
-The average car count for the season was 24 cars and 101 different drivers entered at least one event. Two events were rained out (Toccoa Raceway and Senoia Raceway).
-Brandon Overton led the most feature laps on the tour at 102. Dale McDowell led 94 laps in the three races he attended. Three drivers led 53 laps apiece including Trent Ivey, Ross Bailes and Austin Horton. A total of 423 feature laps were run during the nine events.
-Jake Knowles led 35 laps, Michael Chilton led 21 laps and Kyle Strickler led 12 laps. Only eight drivers led feature race laps.
-Jake Knowles was the only tour regular who finished every feature event. He was one lap shy of completing all 423 laps as he went a lap down at 411 Motor Speedway on July 26.
-The closest margin of victory on the tour came at Tri-County Race Track as Jake Knowles held off challenges by Kenny Collins to march across the finish line at 0.374 seconds. Brandon Overton’s victory at Wythe Raceway during the season opener was 3.561 seconds over Dale McDowell.
-Only one event across the two week span ran caution-free. The 411 Motor Speedway event was shaping up to be a barn burner anyways and because of the perfect weather conditions, an incredible field of 30 entries packed the pits. Dale McDowell would lead flag-to-flag in the first caution free 53-lap $10,000 event the series had ever seen. Brandon Overton nipped at the heels of
FAST TIME & HEAT RACE WINS
-Brandon Overton has quick time on three occasions. He took the fast time honors at Cherokee Speedway, Crossville Speedway and 411 Motor Speedway. Overton also won four Heat Races on the tour.
-Tour regular Donald McIntosh was the fastest qualifier on two occasions as he blistered the clock at Smoky Mountain Speedway and Rome Speedway. McIntosh also had a heat race victory at 411 Motor Speedway.
-Non-series drivers setting fast time were: Michael Brown at Wythe Raceway, Ross Bailes at Screven Motor Speedway, Kenny Collins at Tri-County Race Track and Kyle Strickler at Tazewell Speedway.
-Series regulars capturing Heat race victories included Tanner English at Screven Motor Speedway and Jake Knowles at Rome Speedway. Only series regulars captured Heat race victories in the nine events completed.
WEATHER: FRIENDLY & UNFRIENDLY SKIES
-An almost perfect forecast blessed the tour at Wythe, Cherokee, Crossville, 411 Motor and Tazewell.
-A slight chance of rain was forecasted for Screven, Rome and Tri-County. At Tri-County, it has rained that morning and the night before but track operator Ray Cook forged ahead and the track produced the closest finish of the tour.
-Only two events were lost due to weather. Toccoa Raceway and Senoia Raceway (Billy Clanton Classic) succumb to weather as a near 70 percent chance of rain was forecasted. It rained at Toccoa about 6:00 pm local time before officials had to pull the plug on the event. It rained most of the afternoon and into the evening at Senoia Raceway causing officials to have to cancel the Southern Nationals sanction of the Billy Clanton Classic event. The event will be made up as a Schaeffer’s Oil Fall Nationals event in September.
-Brandon Overton didn’t draw below a 31 to come out to qualify the entire tour (75 total pills) and averaged 43.
-Jake Knowles’ lowest number of 2 came at Smoky Mountain Speedway and highest was 56 at Wythe Raceway. His average was 28.
-Donald McIntosh drew a 14 as his lowest number on the tour but averaged a 47.
-Tanner English’s best qualifying draw was a 4 and his average was 27.
-Cla Knight had the best qualifying pill drawing of the tour averaging 18 and his best draw was a 2 at Tri-County.
-In seven races, Tyler Clem averaged 35 and his best draw was a 1 at Rome Speedway.
-Jake Knowles started the tour at two tracks he had never raced at before with top-ten finishes. Knowles captured a seventh place finish at Wythe Raceway out of a 30-car starting field. Knowles finished fifth at Cherokee Speedway. Knowles went on to finish sixth at Smoky Mountain, third at Screven, sixth at Rome and the first win finally came at Tri-County. He backed that win up with another consistent top-ten finish of fifth at Crossville. His top-ten streak ended at 411 Motor Speedway when he finished 15th but still finished sixth at Tazewell.
-Six drivers attended all six events: Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., Jake Knowles of Rome, Ga., Donald McIntosh of Dawsonville, Ga., Tanner English of Benton, Ky., Cla Knight of North Augusta, S.C. and Tyler Clem of Ocala, Fla. Clem missed two races actually racing because of a motor issue at Cherokee Speedway and because of a hauler issue getting his teammate to Smoky Mountain Speedway, he elected to crew for English while his car sat in the broke down hauler in Asheville, N.C.
-Ten crew members attended all nine events: Harold Holly, Wesley Chester and Bo Bo Young from the Rum Runner Racing crew; Cindy Knowles and Cassidy Simmons from Jake Knowles’ crew; David Bryant and Eric Watson from the Blount Motorsports team; Mike Rey from Big Frog Motorsports; Blake Cannon and Shawn Chizk from Cla Knight’s team.
-One Media Member attended all nine events; Richard Ford of Speedway Videos Production who filed each event for DirtonDirt.
-Series Staff: Promoter Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., Series Publicist Chris Tilley of Somerset, Ky., Announcer Michael Despain of Campbellsville, Ky., Pit Official Dante Curtis of Murphy, N.C., Scorer Carolyn McLeod of Murphy, N.C. and Photographer Brian McLeod of Murphy, N.C. attended all nine events.
-Longtime series sponsor (Schaeffer’s Oil) representative: Ed Lowe of Dawsonville, Ga. attended all nine events.
Further information about the Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals presented by Sunoco Race Fuels can be obtained by calling Promoter Ray Cook at (828) 360-5353 or Public Relations Director Chris Tilley at (828) 361-5981 or (606) 219-1723 or by visiting the official series website located at www.SouthernNationalsSeries.com.
The Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals presented by Sunoco Race Fuels would like to thank the following sponsors and marketing partners: Schaeffer’s Oil, Sunoco Race Fuels, GottaRace.com, American Racer Tires, AR Bodies, Arizona Sport Shirts, Barry Wright Race Cars, Capital Race Cars, Chizmark and Larson Insurance Agency, Collins Signs, DirtonDirt.com, Delph Communications, DirtCarLift.com, Earnhardt Technologies Group, EZ-GO, FK Rod Ends, Hoosier Racing Tire, Keyser Manufacturing, MasterSbilt Race Cars, RockAuto.com, Wiles Driveshafts, Vic Hill Race Engines, and VP Racing Fuels.
Final Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Points (after 7/27/19)
1. Brandon Overton-1,706
2. Jake Knowles-1,694
3. Donald McIntosh-1,664
4. Tanner English-1,636
5. Cla Knight-1,606
6. Tyler Clem-1,101
7. Michael Chilton-928
8. Ross Bailes-926
9. Kenny Collins-870
10. Aaron Ridley-826
-Southern Nationals Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com