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LaSalle, IL (May 21, 2005)- In one of the best Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events so far in 2005, Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound, WI came from his 14th starting spot to win the Jeff's Enginemasters "Spring Shootout" on Saturday Night, May 21 at the LaSalle Speedway in LaSalle, IL.  Mars took the lead with just three laps to go from Donnie Moran and then proceeded to be the first driver across the finish stripe and collecting $10,000 for his efforts.  Mars piloted his Deppe Enterprises, T.L. Sinz Plumbing, Heeg Well Drilling, Keyes Chevrolet, Hoosier Racing Tires, Pro Power Engines, MasterSbilt Monte Carlo to the win as the 33 year old racer earned his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win.  Moran finished second in his PBM Performance Products/SMS/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo.  Third place finisher Don O'Neal in the A1 Auto Salvage/Jay Dickens/C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo edged out fourth place runner, Brian Shirley in the Jayco Construction/Capitol Machine/C.J. Rayburn entry with Brady Smith finishing fifth in the AMSOIL/Pro Power/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo. 

The 50 lap main event would see Donnie Moran grabbing the point from his pole starting spot with Matt Miller going to second and Brian Birkhofer in third.  Moran would hold a steady car length lead over Miller until the first caution of the race came out on lap four for Shannon Babb.  On the restart Kerry Hansen and Jay Fiene got together with another caution flying.  On the restart Moran still held the point with Miller in second, a car heading to the front was that of Brady Smith.  Smith who started fourth began to put the heat on Miller for second as Moran would pull out to a three to four car length advantage by the 10th circuit.  Brian Shirley, who then showed some strength as he would join the mix moving up to race with the leaders.  Smith would get by Miller on lap 15 for second as the race for the top five was getting exciting.  Moran still was showing the way with Smith in second followed by Miller, Shirley and Don O'Neal.  A caution on lap 18 for Jason Feger would momentarily halt the action.  On the lap 19 restart Moran would fend off all challengers again keeping the lead, but after the restart Miller and Moran would make contact coming off of turn two and continuing into turn three with Moran spinning into the infield.  Officials placed Moran back at the head of the field and Miller had to go to the tail.  With Moran back on the point, Shirley became his chief concern as the young Illinois driver was knocking on the door several laps trying to get by Moran, but the four time World 100 champion was not letting go of his lead as Shirley fought tooth and nail with him.  Smith was now fending off handling problems on his racer as O'Neal stepped up to the top of the race track and went to third on lap 22.  A lap later a fast moving, O'Neal would go around Shirley using the same outside line.  But Shirley would take notice and get on the gas even harder going back into second a lap later.  

At the halfway mark Moran was still leading with a torrid race for second behind him with Shirley, O'Neal, Smith and now Jimmy Mars, who had started 14th now in the hunt.  Those five remained in the same running order until a caution for a slowed Scott James on lap 29 would set up quite a shootout in the remaining 21 laps.  Moran would get no father than a one to two car length lead over Shirley on the restart.  With O'Neal and Mars running the top side and Moran and Shirley hugging the bottom, there were now four cars racing for the win and Smith not that far behind them in fifth.  With 13 laps to go Brian Birkhofer stopped in turn two bringing out the final caution of the race.  On the restart Moran would be in front just as he had been the entire race, but now O'Neal and Mars looked like they would be able to go right by Moran and Shirley using the top groove.  Moran, Shirley, O'Neal and Mars would put on quite a finish for the packed grandstand as the fans were on their feet the last 10 laps of the race.  O'Neal had second on lap 41 with him and Mars racing hard trying to overtake Moran.  The cars would slide back and forth around the quarter-mile oval putting on a spectacular race for the money.  Mars would sweep past O'Neal in the waning laps and then with three laps to go he would finally get around Moran for the lead.  Mars would then take his mount to the checkers first securing a thrilling win.  Moran was second with O'Neal taking home third followed by Shirley and Smith.

Afterwards, Mars said, "We're still trying to figure out these new Hoosier Tires, we really haven't been that good here on the top, there were cars swooping past our nose and side by side and the tires really started to work good and the car handled real well and we were able to have a good race there with O'Neal and we got by him and the 3 car and Moran, the fans surely enjoyed that one."  "We have had some bad luck this year, so hopefully we are getting it turned around now said the soft-spoken driver.

Completing the top ten were Dennis Erb, Jr., Tim Hamburg, Billy Drake, Earl Pearson, Jr. and Matt Miller.

In preliminary events the Fast Qualifier for the 36 entries on hand was Dennis Erb, Jr. with a lap of 12.682 seconds.  The Heat Race Winners were Donnie Moran, Brady Smith, Brian Birkhofer and Matt Miller.  The First B-Main the Mason Racin' Rebel Shock Dyno B-Main was Jay Fiene and the PPM Racing Products Second B-Main was won by Frank Reaber.

The next Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event will be on Saturday Night, June 4 at the Florence Speedway in Union, KY paying $10,000 to win.

Race Summary  LaSalle Speedway-LaSalle, IL  Saturday Night, May 21, 2005  Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Fast Qualifier:  Dennis Erb, Jr. 12.682 seconds

Heat #1:  Donnie Moran, Darren Miller, Michael Glynn, Dennis Erb, Jr., Jay Fiene, John Mason, Mike Miller, Brian Harris, Jerry Pitts, Jr.

Heat #2:  Brady Smith, Don O'Neal, Kerry Hansen, Jimmy Mars, Freddy Smith, Jason Feger, Rich Bell, Dan Sorce, Gary Wetsel

Heat #3:  Brian Birkhofer, Tim Dohm, Skip Martin, Earl Pearson, Jr., Terry English, Frank Reaber, Tim Hamburg, Edward Williams

Heat #4:  Matt Miller, Brian Shirley, Shannon Babb, John VanDenBerg, Scott James, Billy Drake, Jason Jaggers, Darin Furar, Steve Oeder

B-Main #1:  Jay Fiene, Jason Feger, Freddy Smith, John Mason, Mike Miller, Brian Harris, Dan Sorce, Rich Bell, Gary Wetsel, Jerry Pitts, Jr.

B-Main #2:  Frank Reaber, Scott James, Tim Hamburg, Billy Drake, Jason Jaggers, Darin Furar, Steve Oeder, Edward Williams, Bart Schwartz

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series "Spring Shootout" A-Main (50 Laps):  Jimmy Mars, Donnie Moran, Don O'Neal, Brian Shirley, Brady Smith, Dennis Erb, Jr., Tim Hamburg, Billy Drake, Earl Pearson, Jr., Matt Miller, Terry English, Darren Miller, Brian Birkhofer, Michael Glynn, John Mason, John VanDenBerg, Tim Dohm, Frank Reaber, Jay Fiene, Scott James, Freddy Smith, Jason Feger, Kerry Hansen, Shannon Babb

Race Staistics: Entries:  36 Cautions:  4 Lap Leaders:  Donnie Moran 1-47  Jimmy Mars 48-50 Weld Wheels Hard Charger of the Race:  Billy Drake (Started 23rd and finished 8th) Lucas Oil Late Model Series Rookie of the Race:  Brady Smith Series Provisionals:  Billy Drake and John Mason

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