Dale McDowell scored a sentimental victory Sunday evening at Cherokee Speedway, winning the Ginger Owens Memorial March Madness Super Late Model feature one week after the passing of his stepfather.
The event was McDowell’s first since the passing of Earl Joseph “Joe” Dover, 79 on Sunday, February 23. Dover was laid to rest on Saturday, and McDowell quickly went to work honoring his memory with an early-season victory.
McDowell took the lead early in the 60-lap feature, holding off challenges from Michael Brown to secure the $12,000 victory.
“I lost my stepdad a couple of days ago, so this win is for him,” McDowell said in victory lane. “[Brother] Shane and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Joe Dover and his support and his sons. He was just really supportive. They buried him yesterday, so it’s a good weekend for us.”
McDowell also dedicated the win to Ginger Owens. The March Madness event is held in her memory after her passing from cancer last February. Owens was a long-time fixture in the scoring tower of many dirt tracks in the Southeast.
“It feels great to win this race for Ginger,” McDowell said. “She was a solid supporter. She worked for me at Boyd’s Speedway (GA) at one time. We had scoring all messed up and she come up there. She was an awesome person and fought an awesome fight. I’m very honored to win this race.”
McDowell was able to flex his muscle on-track for most of the race, but lapped traffic near the halfway mark nearly jeopardized his victory.
Brown was able to pull alongside McDowell at that time, but could not take away the lead.
“It was so line-sensitive in traffic. At one point they were beating and banging in front of us trying to pass. I moved out and Michael was right there, I was like, uh oh, I better get back in line.”
“It was really one of those things, I was hoping for lapped traffic to get in the way,” said Brown. “On a clean track, he had a better car. I was able to get beside him one time but I wasn’t able to make the pass.”
Brown was still pleased with a runner-up showing in the early stages of racing with a new car in the new year.
“We all want to win but this was a strong showing, It was just the second time out on this car. Hopefully we can build a notebook and be strong this year.”
Four-time March Madness winner Jonathan Davenport completed the podium. Casey Roberts finished fourth, with Chris Madden rounding out the top five.
Race fans who missed Sunday’s race can watch an on-demand replay of the event by clicking here.
Fans wanting to hear more from McDowell can tune into Speed51’s “The Bullring” talk show Monday morning at 7 a.m. ET. The show is available to watch for free on Speed51.com and on the Speed51 Five Star Race Car Bodies Facebook feed.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo
Ginger Owens Memorial March Madness Results
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