Late Model News

Knowles, McLaughlin Win Alabama Gang 100 Prelim Feature Races

Knowles, Overton, Mills, McLaughlin, Thornton, and Seawright among the drivers to lock their way into Saturday’s finale at Talladega Short Track

TALLADEGA, AL (April 19, 2024) – Two first-time winners in the same night opened the Alabama Gang 100 at the Talladega Short Track Friday night. 

With the night split into two 25-lap Prelim Features, Dylan Knowles and Max McLaughlin each scored a prelim victory – their first time in Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models. 

The top-three finishers in each race also locked into Saturday’s 75-lap, $35,000-to-win Alabama Gang 100 finale, which includes Brandon Overton, Trey Mills, Ricky Thornton Jr. and Sam Seawright. 

Feature 1 – Dylan Knowles

Throughout Friday’s program, Lanett, AL native Dylan Knowles controlled the night from the top spot. He started by winning the Dirt King Simulator Hottest Hot Lap of the Night, then followed up with his first Simpson Quick Time Award. 

Rolling off from the pole, Knowles commanded the duration of Feature 1 with ease – keeping reigning Alabama Gang 100 winner Brandon Overton at bay to claim the win.

“I knew Brandon was back there,” Knowles said. “I said to myself that I’m not getting off this bottom and I’ve been known to hit the Yuke tires. I never been in a situation leading like this before, so I feel really confident heading into tomorrow night.”

Overton finished second to Knowles after attempting each lane possible to get by the #66K of Knowles. With the result, Overton places himself in contention to go back-to-back at the 3/8-mile “Hornet’s Nest.”

Locking into his first World of Outlaws CASE Late Models Feature on Saturday night with a third place finish is St. Augustine, FL driver Trey Mills. The 15-year-old driver managed to keep in line with the two in front of him while managing to fend against the veterans to lock in the final spot in Feature 1.

Gray Court, SC driver Chris Madden finished fourth and Hyndman, PA driver Drake Troutman completed the Feature’s top five.

Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 66K-Dylan Knowles[1]; 2. 76-Brandon Overton[3]; 3. 14JR-Trey Mills[2]; 4. 44-Chris Madden[12]; 5. 7-Drake Troutman[7]; 6. 17M-Dale McDowell[9]; 7. B5-Brandon Sheppard[11]; 8. 19M-Spencer Hughes[8]; 9. 9-Nick Hoffman[17]; 10. 19-Dustin Sorensen[16]; 11. 3S-Brian Shirley[18]; 12. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[10]; 13. 11-Cruz Skinner[20]; 14. 78-Matthew Brocato[14]; 15. B1-Brent Larson[15]; 16. 157-Mike Marlar[13]; 17. 96-Tanner English[4]; 18. 25-Tim Roszell[23]; 19. 6JR-Parker Martin[21]; 20. 18X-Michael Page[5]; 21. 54-David Breazeale[6]; 22. 31-Tyler Millwood[22]; 23. 17-Justin Hammett[24]; 24. 30-Todd Cooney[19]

Feature 2 – Max McLaughlin

Looking to solidify his place in the ranks of the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models, Mooresville, NC driver Max McLaughlin took it one step closer with his performance in Feature 2.

Starting on the outside of the front row, McLaughlin quickly took over the top spot from Newport, TN driver Jimmy Owens on Lap One and never relinquished the lead – despite constant attempts from Martinsville, IN driver Ricky Thornton Jr. to get by the GR Smith-owned #22*.

Rain around the Talladega area made its presence known in Feature 2, as the race was called due to the weather that had impacted the track.

With the win, McLaughlin will roll off from his best start in a dirt Late Model in Saturday night’s 75-lap Feature.

“This is only my fifth or sixth time in a Late Model,” McLaughlin said. “It’s been an up-and-down year, but I gotta learn. It’s a different world here and I gotta get up to speed as fast as I can. We got a great race team and a great race car makes the driver’s job a lot easier. It makes me excited for the rest of the year.”

Thornton finished the Feature in second, keeping his #20RT in contention to win throughout the race while making any attempt in any lane around the track to overtake McLaughlin.

Fort Payne, AL driver Sam Seawright completed the Feature podium after racing his #16S into the final transfer position to lock in for his chance at a first Series win on Saturday night.

Reigning Series champion Bobby Pierce finished fourth by climbing up five positions by using the high line of the track. Owens came home to finish fifth.

Feature 2 (25 Laps): 1. 22*-Max McLaughlin[2]; 2. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[3]; 3. 16S-Sam Seawright[5]; 4. 32-Bobby Pierce[9]; 5. 20-Jimmy Owens[1]; 6. 6-Kyle Larson[6]; 7. C6-Oakley Johns[12]; 8. 97C-Cody Overton[15]; 9. 12-Ashton Winger[11]; 10. 19R-Ryan Gustin[7]; 11. 40B-Kyle Bronson[10]; 12. 05-TJ Brittain[18]; 13. 22F-Chris Ferguson[24]; 14. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck[22]; 15. 187-David McCoy[16]; 16. 5-Chase Oliver[17]; 17. 99-JR Moseley[13]; 18. 11S-Austin Smith[23]; 19. 38-Dillon Tidmore[20]; 20. 14W-Dustin Walker[21]; 21. 16-Tyler Bruening[4]; 22. 97-Cade Dillard[8]; 23. 4-Ryan Wilson[19]; 24. 20TC-Tristan Chamberlain[14]

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