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CALVERT CITY, KY (October 29, 2005)-Randy Korte of Highland, IL inherited the lead on lap 24 after leader Don O'Neal suffered a flat tire and then went on to hold off repeated challenges from Matt Miller at the end to claim his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win on Saturday Night at the Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway as he won the 9th Annual "Commonwealth Cup". The 40 year old Korte took home $10,000 in becoming the 20th different driver to win a series event in 2005.  The race closed out the season for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and Earl Pearson, Jr. won the series championship by 65 points over Don O'Neal.  Korte behind the wheel of the Mid Continental Fuels, Inc., Seubert Calf Ranches, T.E. Motorsports, TMCI Transportation, Rick's Towing, Banshee Graphics, Hoosier Tires, Performance Rod and Custom, RaceTek Race Engines sponsored Rocket Chassis Grand Prix won by just one car length over Matt Miller of Waterville, OH in the DSI/Denny Thornton/McCullough Industries/Rocket Grand Prix.  The rest of the top five all finished on the same straightaway with Brian Shirley of Chatham, IL placing third in the Petroff Towing/Pro Power/C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo just ahead of Terry English of Benton, KY in the AAA Fence/Runion Engines/C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo and Oval Craft Fast Timer, Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN in the Mach 2 Motorsports/Cornett Engines/C.J. Rayburn Ford Taurus.  A total of 65 cars were on hand for the event in front of a large audience. 

It would be Randy Korte and Brian Shirley starting on the front row for the 50 lap event with Shirley taking the point heading into turn one at the drop of the green flag.  Korte would settle into second with Tim Tungate in third.  Those three would run in that order for the first 11 laps of the race as the fast and furious pace would see Korte's eight car length lead wiped off because of Tungate's flat tire on the 11th circuit which brought out the first caution of the race.  On the lap 12 restart it would be Korte showing the way with Shirley in second now followed by Matt Miller and Don O'Neal.  O'Neal who started the race in 12th was on a march to the front as his thoughts were on not only winning the race, but the series championship at the same time.  With O'Neal in fourth and points leader, Earl Pearson, Jr. taking a provisional and starting 22nd, Pearson would be up to 16th at the first caution.  But O'Neal was not done yet.  On lap 12 Miller would go by Shirley for second and a lap later O’Neal displaced Shirley another spot dropping the young charger to fourth.  The three car race for the lead was hot and heavy with Korte, Miller and O’Neal putting on a show for the large and appreciative crowd.  Another car making his presence known was Jimmy Mars.  Mars who started eighth on the grid was up to fourth making it a four car tussle for the lead.   

Dennis Erb, Jr. would slow on the track bringing out the second caution on lap 16 which would set up an incredible restart to begin lap 17.  When the race restarted it would become another four car battle for the point with O'Neal going to outside of Korte, Miller and Mars who were all side by side coming off of turn four.  O’Neal would just squeeze by on the outside against the wall to take the lead at the flagstand.  With O'Neal in front and Pearson still mired in mid pack, O'Neal now had visions of the not only winning the race but taking the points title.  By lap 23 O'Neal was still showing the way with Korte, Miller, Mars and Shirley still in the thick of things.  On a fateful lap 24 for O'Neal heading into turn four his right rear tire went down putting him up on the cushion and bringing out the third caution of the race.  O'Neal's chances for the win and points title would take a big hit as he pitted for a new tire rejoining the field at the back with still 27 laps to go. 

After O'Neal's untimely flat, Korte would pick back up the lead with Shirley, Mars, Miller and now Terry English in the top five.  Korte would pull out to a three car length advantage with Shirley, Mars and Miller racing three wide for a couple of laps for second.  Miller would jump into second on lap 28 and with 22 circuits to go he set his sights on the high flying, Korte.  With 20 laps to the top five was Korte, Miller, Shirley, Mars and fast qualifier, Jimmy Owens who was up to fifth.  As far as the points chase was concerned at this point Pearson was in front of O'Neal as O'Neal was making very little progress after pitting to replace a flat tire.  If they stayed in that running order Pearson had the title locked up.  But suddenly coming off of turn four Pearson showed a puff of smoke from his racer and for a brief time tense moments for his fans, crew and himself who thought maybe the championship hopes were gone with that smoke.  But it turned out to be the power steering hose breaking and after losing a couple of positions he regained full power and still held positions in front of O'Neal. 

Over the last 20 laps of the race Korte and Miller would put on a show for the fans as they chased each other around the 3/8ths mile high banked track pulling away from Shirley and everyone else.  With the race up front exciting a three car race for third was going on between Shirley, Owens and English.  With five laps to go that trio was hunting down Korte and Miller who had nearly picked up the back of the field in the closing laps.  Miller was all over Korte pulling alongside him heading into and coming off of the corners but Korte still held the lead down the straight-aways.  As Shirley, English and Owens reeled in the leads it was going to possibly turn into a five car showdown for the win.  As the cars took the white flag Miller would give it all he had this time diving to the outside going down the backshute trying to surprise Korte with an outside move.  As the two entered turn three Korte took the inside route and Miller went to the very top trying to take that momentum past Korte.  Miller got right alongside Korte's right rear quarter coming off of four and slight contact took place as Korte drifted up the track.  As the two headed to the checkers Korte would get a little sideways but straightened back up to cross the line in first just one car length ahead of Miller.  Shirley, English and Owens would bear down on the leaders at the finish as all five cars finished on the same straightaway. 

In victory circle after the race Korte was emotional after taking one of the biggest wins of his career.  "I was thinking about my brother, who passed away a couple of years ago and about what he would say about that race, I know he was riding with me in the last few laps."  Korte said of the challenges by Miller.  "I know Matt's a great racer and I felt comfortable racing with him, you can't say that about everyone, but I knew he would race me clean, I think we touched coming off of four, but we were racing hard to the flag, I just glad the race was over at that point." 

Also after the race a relieved Pearson and his crew was elated over taking the 2005 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series despite coming home 16th two spots ahead of O'Neal.  "Oh man, what a long night, I about wrecked qualifying, then someone ran over my nose in the heat, we had to take a provisional and then the power steering hose came off, but somehow we survived and brought home this championship for Carlton and Kemp Lamm, Lucas Oil Products, Dunn-Benson Ford and all my guys on the crew.  During his post race interview O'Neal came over to congratulate Pearson on his title.  "Don O'Neal is a great race car driver, he showed his class by coming over him to congratulate us, we've raced each other hard this year and either one of us would have made a great champion." 

Completing the top ten in the final Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series race of the season was Darren Miller, who came from the tail after changing a flat tire, Jimmy Mars, Steve Casebolt, Jr., Greg Johnson and Tim Dohm. 

In preliminary events Jimmy Owens was the Oval Craft Racing Aluminum Products Fast Qualifier with a lap of 14.016 seconds for the 66 entries on hand.  The five VP Fuels Makin' Power Heat Races were won by Brian Shirley, Tim Tungate, Greg Johnson, Billy James and Randy Korte. The Mason Racin' Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main went to Tim Dohm, the PPM Racing Products B-Main was taken by Eddie Carrier, Jr. and the Real Wheels third B-main was won by Steve Casebolt, Jr. 

Race Summary 

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series 

Saturday Night, October 29, 2005 

Kentucky Lake Motor SpeedwayCalvert City, KY

Fast Time:  Jimmy Owens 14.016 seconds 

Heat #1:  Brian Shirley, Matt Miller, Jimmy Owens, Rodney Melvin, Shannon Babb, Duane Mahder, John Tindal, Caley Emerson, Sandy Goddard, Johnny Johnson, Wendell Wallace, Rod Reed 

Heat #2:  Tim Tungate, Brad Neat, Don O'Neal, Dennis Erb, Jr., Justin Rattliff, Duane Chamberlain, Joe Morris, Matt Taylor, Charles LaPlant, Jack Sullivan, Earl Pearson, Jr., Brett Chappell, Todd Bennett 

Heat #3:  Greg Johnson, Jimmy Mars, Brian Birkhofer, Steve Casebolt, Jr., Tim Brown, Donnie Moran, Johnny Wheeler, Michael Chilton, Michael Bradley, Jordan Bland, Joe Mike, Jerry Buck 

Heat #4:  Billy James, Darren Miller, Terry English, Tim Dohm, Ray Cook, Frank Shickel, Jr., Freddy Smith, Terry Hicks, Scotty Earl, Frank Heckenast, Jr., Jarryd Holshouser, Chuck Proctor 

Heat #5:  Randy Korte, Billy Faust, Scott James, Eddie Carrier, Jr., Chris Combs, Tait Davenport, Randy Sellars, Dylan Thompson, Michael England, Kevin Cole, Michael Steele, Jeff Larson, Jeff Sloan 

First B-Main:  Tim Dohm, Chris Combs, Rodney Melvin, Donnie Moran, Justin Rattliff, Freddy Smith, John Tindal, Michael Bradley, Matt Taylor, Dylan Thompson, Earl Pearson, Jr., Michael Steele 

Second B-Main:  Eddie Carrier, Jr., Dennis Erb, Jr., Michael Chilton, Jack Sullivan, Duane Mahder, Scotty Earl, Frank Shickel, Jr., Randy Sellars, Sandy Goddard, Tim Brown, Joe Morris, Rod Reed, Joe Mike, Todd Bennett, Jeff Sloan 

Third B-Main:  Steve Casebolt, Jr., Ray Cook, Duane Chamberlain, Johnny Wheeler, Terry Hicks, Caley Emerson, Tait Davenport, Jordan Bland, Charles LaPlant, Jeff Larson, Jarryd Holshouser, Michael England 

9th Annual Commonwealth Cup Main Event: (50 Laps):  Randy Korte, Matt Miller, Brian Shirley, Terry English, Jimmy Owens, Darren Miller, Jimmy Mars, Steve Casebolt, Jr., Greg Johnson, Tim Dohm, Brad Neat, Brian Birkhofer, Eddie Carrier, Jr., John Tindal, Billy James, Earl Pearson,Jr., Dennis Erb, Jr., Don O'Neal, Scott James, Donnie Moran, Chris Combs, Ray Cook, Billy Faust, Tim Tungate 

Race Statistics: 

Entries:  66

Cautions:  3

Red Flags: 0

Lap Leaders:  Brian Shirley 1, Randy Korte 2-16, Don O'Neal 17-23, Korte 24-50

Weld Wheels Hard Charger of the Race:  Steve Casebolt, Jr. (started 18th and finished 8th) advanced 10 positions

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rookie of the Race:  Tim Dohm

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Earl Pearson, Jr. and Donnie Moran

Track Provisional:  John Tindal

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