Leary takes No Way Out 40 at Paragon Speedway

C.J. Leary of Greenfield scored the feature win on March 20 at Paragon Speedway by winning the 14th Annual No Way Out 40 for 410 non-winged sprint cars.

The race was the first for new track owners Darrel Helton and Robert Woodward, and event promoter Mason Fleetwood also oversaw one of the largest crowds in recent memory at the 3/8-mile track.

The win for Leary was worth $14,000, which was the largest purse offered in Paragon Speedway history. Jake Swanson finished in second, with Kevin Thomas Jr. placing third. Mario Clouser and Geoff Axsom completed the top five finishers. The rest of the top 10 were Nick Bilbee, Emerson Axsom, Shane Cockrum, Matt Westfall, and Kyle Shipley.

Derek Groomer from Bloomington won the super stock feature. Josh Litton was second, followed by Zach Sasser, Steve Hollars and Kenny Carmichael. The rest of the top 10 finishers were Josh Boller, Brad Cummings, Austin Phelps, Cullen Goodman and Bryce Shidler.

Chris Hillman Jr. took the hornet feature race. Dylan Wheeler took the runner-up spot, with Nick Johnson, Chris Hillman Sr. and Abby Stierwalt completing the top five. Rounding out the top 10 were Caleb Arthur, Corey Prince, Ryan Shepherd, Schylar Smith and Ryan Crocker.

Tonight’s schedule at Paragon, which was to have included steel block sprint cars, modifieds, bombers and hornets, has been canceled due to weather conditions. The domain website for the track is still in progress and should be completed soon.

Owens wins in Ohio

Reigning Jackson 100 winner Jimmy Owens passed polesitter Devin Moran on Lap 2 and went on to lead the rest of the way in winning the Super Clean Buckeye Spring 50 Presented by Protect the Harvest on March 20 at the Atomic Speedway in Chillicothe, Ohio. The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned event took just 17 minutes to complete the 50-lap race.

For Owens, it was his second win of the 2022 season and the 79th of his career in the LOLMDS. Moran, who came into the event as the No. 1-ranked dirt late model driver in the country, finished second just .785-second behind the winner.

Tyler Erb moved to third in the points with his third-place finish ahead of defending race winner Hudson O’Neal, and Brandon Sheppard, who entered the event as the series points leader.

“I could hear someone behind me, and I had a couple of lapped cars coming up in front of me,” Owens said. “I knew if I could just hold a good line and keep the car good and straight, I could hold on until the finish. I know Devin has been extremely good this year. I knew if I were going to beat him it would be on the take off. We got a good run there on him on the second lap. I ran him up the backstretch a little bit. I thought I had him cleared. It’s all good racing there was a bunch of good racers here.”

Only one caution flag slowed the event. Owens held a consistent lead throughout the race, which was postponed to Sunday from March 18. Moran made a last-ditch effort in the final laps but came up short of his fourth series win of the year.

An emotional Owens, in Lucas Oil Victory for the first time since his car owner Leon Ramirez’ passing last month, thanked the Ramirez family for their continued support.

“This says a lot for the Ramirez family to keep pushing and putting us in the best equipment money can buy. I have said it before, and I will say it again, I am very blessed to have had him in my life.”

Completing the top 10 were Ricky Thornton Jr., Garrett Alberson, Earl Pearson Jr., Josh Rice and Dennis Erb Jr. Spencer Hughes, who drives the for the PCC Motorsports Race Team for Craig and Shannon Sims of Hope, finished 14th.

Brownstown cancels tonight

Brownstown Speedway has canceled due to weather conditions tonight’s Sprint Spring Meltdown.

Last weekend’s Indiana Icebreaker for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series was canceled due to poor weather conditions. The track will now attempt to get its first race of season in the books on Friday with the opening points night for the pro late models, super stocks, pure stocks, hornets and crown vics. For more information, visit brownstownspeedway.com.

Florence cancels for tonight

Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky, was set to kick-off its 2022 racing tonight with the Spring 50 for late models, but the race has been moved to April 16 due to today’s weather conditions. For information on the racing schedule, head to florencespeedway.com.

Lawrenceburg set for opener

The Lawrenceburg Speedway 2022 season opener is slated for Friday. The USAC National Sprint Cars will headline the event, with modifieds and hornets also competing. For the complete 2022 racing schedule, go to lawrenceburgspeedway.com.

Columbus go-karts open Friday

The Columbus Speedway Go-Kart Racing, which conducts events at the Tony Stewart Speedway located at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds, is set for its season opener weather permitting on Friday with a full slate of racing action.

This week in racing history

From 30 years ago in 1992, Brownstown Speedway opened its racing season with Don O’Neal winning the late model feature over Bob Pierce, Lee Fleetwood, Paul Shafer and Marty O’Neal. Kevin

Briscoe won the sprint car feature over Randy Kinser, Brad Fox, Brett Mann, and Jason Smith. Tim Clark won the street stock main event over Randy Petro, Jeff Wilson, Mark Barber and Joe Lucas.

From 20 years ago in 2002 at Brownstown, the season opener was won by Bret Sievert in the late models over Mark Barber, Ryan Dauber, Brad Barrow and Dan Sturgeon. Jay Deckard won the super stock main event over Trent Niflis, Rick Hines, Jerry Adams and Doug McCullough. Jim Ruddick took the bomber feature race over Robert Walters, Ray Godsey Jr., Matt Cummings and Ervin Turner.

From 10 years ago in 2012 at Brownstown, Zak Blackwood won the Indiana Late Model Series feature over Steven Godsey, Marty O’Neal, Tyler Allen, and Greg Kendall. Tim Clark took the super stock feature over Troy Clark, Justin Hammond, Tyler Cain and Cullen Goodman. Dallas Bowman won the hornet main over Justin Patterson, Todd Cain, Chris Corbin and Greg Corbin.

James Essex writes a motorsports notebook for The Republic. Send comments to [email protected]