"THE REAL DEAL" MAKES HIS DREAM COME TRUE!
ROSSBURG, OH (JUNE 13, 2011) Martinsville, Indiana native Don O'Neal captured the first crown jewel victory of his career and the largest payday in Dirt Late Model racing this year at the 17th Annual 'Dream' at the famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
Don started off the weekend by laying down the twelfth quickest lap of the ninety-one entrants during the two-round qualifying session on Friday night. When Saturday rolled around, Don started fifth in his stacked heat race, but was able to maneuver past three competitors to finish a solid second behind Darrell Lanigan.
The strong prelim run allowed “The Real Deal" to roll off from the outside of the sixth row in the 100-lap 'Dream XVII. Don was patient throughout the early portion of the race, but turned up the heat in the middle stages. The pilot of the #71 Camaro moved up into the top five by lap 31, passed Will Vaught for third on lap 64, and then picked off Darrell Lanigan for the second position on lap 79.
Finally, Don overtook the race-long leader, Billy Moyer, going into turn one of the 87th lap. During the last 13 laps, O’Neal held off Moyer, Lanigan, Vaught and Eddie Carrier, Jr. to score the hefty $100,000 triumph.
"It has been a long time coming to win one of these crown jewel events and we finally got the job done," exclaimed O'Neal, who became the second Hoosier State driver to claim a 'Dream' victory. "We had a fast racecar all weekend long and I can't think my crew enough for all of their help. I found a little different line on the racetrack around the halfway point in the race and from there, I thought I had a shot to win the thing. It just feels so good to finally break through in one of these big races at Eldora.”