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BUDD'S CREEK, MD (July 15, 2005)-Don O'Neal of Martinsville, IN started on the pole of the 50 lap Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series main event on Friday Night, July 15 at the Potomac Speedway, fell to third place early in the race, then he recovered to pass race leader, Ricky Elliott with eight laps to go and went on to win his 7th Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event of 2005 and in doing so extended his series points lead.  O'Neal who is the winningest dirt late model in the country the past three and half years won for the 87th time during that period.  O'Neal was behind the wheel of his A-1 Auto Salvage/Well-Pict Berries/Living Room Centers/All-Star Performance/O'Neal Wood Products/Fast Graphix/Ken Schrader Racing/Hoosier Tires/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo.  Earl Pearson, Jr. of Jacksonville, Fl, who started 8th, drove the Lucas Oil/Dunn Benson Ford/Larry Wallace Racing Engines/MasterSbilt Ford Taurus to a second place finish right behind O'Neal at the finish line.  Third place was the driver who led the most laps during the feature, Ricky Elliott of Seaford, DE in the Warrington Motorsports/BSW Construction/Pro Power/Rocket Grand Prix.  Fourth place was Booper Bare of Rockbridge Baths, VA in the Poske's Performance Parts/Malcuit Engines/Rocket Chassis with Scott James of Lawrenceburg, IN finishing fifth in the Powell Motorsports/Baylor Trucking/Rocket Grand Prix.

O'Neal and fellow Hoosier State driver Scott James started on the first row and when the race went green O'Neal would grab the point for a lap, until Oval Craft Fast Timer for the night; Ricky Elliott would scoot past O'Neal and take the point coming from his third starting hole.  Elliott then started to quickly pull away from O'Neal as James picked up the challenge for second place.  The two would go door to door for a couple of circuits until James got by a full car length on the fifth lap.  Meanwhile Elliott was checking out on the field and by the 10th lap he was starting to pick up the tail end of the field.  James was running in second followed by O'Neal, Darryl Hills and Davey Johnson.  A torrid battle was shaping up for fourth on back with several cars jockeying for position with Booper Bare moving back towards the front.  Bare had started fifth on the grid but slipped back several spots after he corrected his car after a first lap near spin where he lost several positions in the running order.  With 15 laps scored Elliott had built a sizable lead over James and O'Neal, but lapped traffic was really starting to hurt Elliott as James and O'Neat started to close on him.  Earl Pearson, Jr. who was debuting a new MasterSbilt was on the move, after starting in eighth Pearson has climbed now to fourth.  Elliott's lead was starting to evaporate as James, O'Neal and Pearson were tracking him down. 

A caution for stalled car on lap 26 would slow the action momentarily. On the restart O'Neal would go to second by James as Elliott continued to lead the race.  Elliott again would start to open up some distance between himself and the top four runners.  The race was going along smoothly with Elliott on the point, O'Neal in second with James, Pearson and Bare the top five order.  The race for second was really getting heated up with O'Neal, James and Pearson going at it.  Twice during the battle they would go three wide on the race track dicing it out among themselves, while this was going on Elliott was putting more and more distance between himself and the pack.  But Elliott would soon find some company closing on him as traffic again started to play a role in the race.  A caution on lap 34 would be the final one of the race and that would put O'Neal and James right on Elliott's bumper on the restart.  Elliott again got a good restart but this time O'Neal would keep the pressure on Elliott.  Elliott however was up to the challenge maintaining the lead just as he had done from lap two on.  Elliott started to develop a push in his race car and O’Neal, James and Pearson would start to close on him again.  Pearson would pass James for third on lap 36 and start to race with O'Neal for second as the two drivers started to gain on Elliott.

As the race was winding down with 10 laps to go Elliott's car would push up in turn number four thwarting his momentum and O'Neal would jump on that opportunity and pass him on the inside to take the lead as the cars headed to score lap 42.  Elliott then regrouped and challenged O'Neal for the lead as Pearson was hanging tough right on their heels.  Pearson would then get around Elliott on lap 46 and with four to go was eyeing the lead.  O'Neal was the driver he would have to get by if he was going to win his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series race of the season.  Pearson gave it all he had in the closing laps, but O'Neal who had never been to Potomac Speedway before held on by one car length for his 7th series win of 2005.  Pearson, who is up to second in points came home the bridesmaid.  Elliott would finish third despite leading the most laps.  Bare was fourth followed by James.

"The 91 car was real fast tonight, I couldn't really stay with him, the restarts did help us out tonight," said O'Neal in victory lane.  "This is a racy place, and I'd say the 91 car started to push a little there towards the end and I started to catch him and finally got by him," commented O'Neal who claimed Potomac Speedway the third track he has won on this year without ever racing there before.  "I just want to thank my crew, all my sponsors and this MasterSbilt car continues to do well."  O'Neal has won five times in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competition this year in a MasterSbilt Chassis and twice in his C.J. Rayburn entry. 

Completing the top ten were Darryl Hills, Jim Bernheisel, Matt Miller, Donnie Moran and Jeremy Miller. 

In preliminary events Ricky Elliott was the Fast Timer for the 27 entrants on hand with a lap of 15.435 seconds.  The Heat Race Winners were Ricky Elliott, Scott James and Don O'Neal.  The B-Main was taken by Jeremy Miller.     

Race Summary  Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series  Saturday Night, July 15, 2005  Potomac Speedway-Budds Creek, MD

Fast Qualifier:  Ricky Elliott 15.435 seconds

Heat #1:  Ricky Elliott, Jim Bernheisel, John Mason, Matt Miller, Freddy Smith, Jeremy Miller, Walter Crouch, George Moreland, Ryan Hackett

Heat #2:  Scott James, Booper Bare, Earl Pearson, Jr., Steve Casebolt, Jr., Donnie Moran, Charlie Schaffer, Matt Hubbard, Donnie Marshall, Rick Hulson

Heat #3:  Don O'Neal, Darryl Hills, Davey Johnson, Sean Cosgrove, David Williams, Deane Guy, Barry Lear, Sr., Paul Cursey, Jeff Pilkerton

B-Main:  Jeremy Miller, Charlie Schaffer, Walter Crouch, Rick Hulson, Ryan Hackett, Matt Hubbard, Deane Guy, Barry Lear , Sr.

A-Main Event (50 Laps):   Don O'Neal, Earl Pearson, Jr., Ricky Elliott, Booper Bare, Scott James, Darryl Hills, Jim Bernheisel, Matt Miller, Donnie Moran, Jeremy Miller, Freddy Smith, Davey Johnson, David Williams, John Mason, Steve Casebolt, Jr., Walter Crouch, Sean Cosgrove, Charlie Schaffer, Deane Guy, Matt Hubbard, Rick Hulson, Ryan Hackett  

Race Statistics  Entries:  27 Caution Flags:  2 Red Flags:  0 Lap Leaders:  Don O'Neal 1, Ricky Elliott 2-41, O'Neal 42-50 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rookie of the Race:  Scott James Weld Wheels Hard Charger of the Race:  Earl Pearson, Jr. (started 8th and finished 2nd) advanced 6 positions Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals:  None used Track Provisional: Deane Guy

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