Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – LAKE CITY, FL – It was almost the type of night that Tim McCreadie wanted Saturday night at All-Tech Raceway.
He almost sat in victory lane while doing something that hasn’t been accomplished much this season on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
What was that? Pass Devin Moran.
Through six series races so far this season, Moran hadn’t finished any worse than second, garnering two wins along the way. That changed on Saturday night as Moran ended up falling to his worse finish of ’22…a fourth.
Early on in the feature, though, it looked like series points leader Moran was on his way to another big win when he made the move around Tyler Erb on lap 8.
He then set sail after the checkered flag. However, McCreadie had other thoughts.
T-Mac moved passed former series champion Jimmy Owens for the runner-up spot on a lap 10 restart and then proceeded to track down the leader, grabbing the top spot on lap 15.
Outside of losing the top spot for a single lap to Moran during a back-and-forth battle in lap traffic on the 29th circuit, McCreadie looked like he was on his way to his second win of 2022.
That was, however, until eventual winner Owens made the move around the Watertown, NY native and was never challenged again.
McCreadie had to settle for second at the end of the 50-lap affair, but from where he and his team started the evening, a podium finish was like a win.
“We gave it everything we had,” McCreadie said. “The other night, we were really bad. Today, we put our heads together and ran three different set-ups from hot laps to qualifying to the heat.”
It seems as though the Paylor Motorsports team discovered something that worked pretty well, helping McCreadie go from his 11th starting spot to the lead in just 15 laps.
“Through all of those different set-ups, we found one thing that seemed to help this car,” he said. “Hats off to all of my guys. This was all them. I sat back after hot laps and said I don’t know what to tell you. I get around this track okay, but not as well as I’d like to so it’s time for you guys to do what you can to help this car.”
Their ideas seemed to work.
“I asked them what they think we should do,” he said. “With Justin Labonte (from Longhorn Chassis) and my guys, they put their heads together and every decision they made is the reason we’re up front.”
McCreadie is currently in the hunt early on for his second Lucas Oil Late Model Series championship. Driver 39 is in third place through seven races, just 135 markers behind Moran on the strength of one victory, four top 5’s and five top 10’s.
The series shifts to East Bay Raceway Park for six straight nights of racing action, starting Monday evening. They do have a practice at the track on Sunday.