2023 Castrol Gateway Dirt Nationals

Hudson O'Neal Joining Forces With Boom Briggs For A Gateway Journey

Hudson O'Neal Joining Forces With Boom Briggs For A Gateway Journey

2023 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion Hudson O'Neal is joining forces with Boom Briggs for the Castrol Gateway Dirt Nationals.

Dec 5, 2023 by Koty Geyer

Recently-crowned Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion Hudson O’Neal has joined forces with Pennsylvania veteran Boom Briggs and the Briggs Transport team for the Castrol Gateway Dirt Nationals on December 14-16.

It will be the third appearance at the Castrol Gateway Dirt Nationals in downtown St. Louis, MO for the Indiana driver.  He won his preliminary night feature back in 2017 and was running just outside the top-five in the Saturday night feature before a mechanical failure ended his race early.  

After spending the year chasing points with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, FloRacing Night in America and XR Super Series, O’Neal is looking forward to a race weekend without the stresses of points battles.

“We’re excited about it to go and have a relaxing, non-stressful weekend of racing.  We’re not racing for points or anything so if we go there and run tenth, we run tenth.  We obviously want to go there and have a good run but it’s definitely going to be more laid back,” said O’Neal.  “It’s going to be fun to have a journey with Boom, we’re good friends.  To have a little bit of a different dynamic, it’s going to be fun.”  

He returned to Gateway in 2022 for the first time in five years, with vastly different results than the first time around.  He and two-time Gateway winner Tyler Carpenter collided during a heat race during the Friday preliminary and O’Neal was left with a severely-damaged racecar.  He showed his displeasure with the West Virginia native by retaliating under caution.  O’Neal’s weekend was over after that due to a destroyed front clip.

Carpenter & O'Neal React To Gateway Incident

VIDEO: Hudson O'Neal and Tyler Carpenter collided during the 2022 Castrol Gateway Dirt Nationals.

One year after the incident, O’Neal has moved on and is ready to race with Carpenter once again.

“We never really talked but I don’t know, we all race with each other too much to hold anything against anybody.  I hate that it went down that way last year but we’re grown men, we’ll move on and get over it.  We’re going to race each other for a lot longer time.  We’ll just forget about it and move on and we’ll run into each other and have a little bit better race.”

We had a good showing the first time we went, but not as good last year.  We’ll go back and see if we can take $30,000 out of St. Louis.”

The Gateway Dirt Nationals provides a product not seen elsewhere in dirt racing.  While O’Neal finds competing inside The Dome at America’s Center frustrating at times, the tight confines of the 1/5-mile oval make it a driver’s race track.

“A lot of times you go around that place and it’s rough and tumble and you can never get anything going, it’s frustrating.  At the end of the day when you look back, it’s pretty fun to go around there and bounce through the holes.  You don’t necessarily have all the advantages of the race car, the driver does a lot of the work.  Whenever you have a situation like that, it makes for a fun race.”

The Castrol Gateway Dirt Nationals will be just the second event for O’Neal since he was crowned Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion in October at Eldora Speedway.  While the new title puts him in the same category as the likes of Earl Pearson Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Jonathan Davenport and father Don O’Neal, he is still the same “New Deal” that he was before the Dirt Track World Championship.

“I’m the same person that I was.  It’s cool to be called a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion and to have that title, but it doesn’t change me or what we do or the way I show up to the racetrack or anything.  It’s an amazing accomplishment and something I’ll cherish forever but we all put our pants on the same way at the end of the day.”

The Gateway Dirt Nationals moves to Thursday-Saturday, December 14-16 at The Dome At America’s Center in downtown St. Louis, MO.  The COMP Cams Super Late Models and Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds will battle it out over three days for $30,000 for Late Models and $10,000 to win for Modifieds.

All three days of the Castrol Gateway Dirt Nationals will be streamed live on FloRacing. If you're not a FloRacing subscriber, click here to sign up today.