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TAMPA, FL (February 7, 2005)- Don O'Neal of Martinsville, IN won his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series main event as the series opened it's 2005 racing season kicking off with the 29th Annual Winternationals from East Bay Raceway Park.  O'Neal led every lap of the 30 lap main event earning $5000 for his 10th career win at East Bay.  The 40 year old driver did not win without any threats as Steve Francis gave him all he wanted for several laps during the race.  O'Neal drove his C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo sponsored by Jay Dickens Racing Engines, A-1 Auto Salvage, Living Room Center, O'Neal Wood Products, All-Star Performance, Hoosier Racing Tires and Fast Graphix.  Francis of Ashland, KY, who started 12th in the main event charged through the field and was up to second place by lap five finished second in the Valvoline/Rocket Dodge Intrepid.  Third place at the finish line was Terry English of Benton, KY driving the Arizona Sport Shirts/C.J. Rayburn Race Cars entry.  Taking fourth was Steve Shaver of Vienna, WV piloting the Bill Bland owned/Richard Construction/Rocket Monte Carlo and rounding out the top five was Rick Eckert of York, Pa behind the wheel of the Raye Vest Excavating/Rocket Ford Taurus.  The first night of the Dirt Late Models Winternationals at East Bay set a new record car count as 116 drivers from 23 states ventured to the 1/3 mile track located near Tampa, FL.

O’Neal, who set the Oval Craft Racing Products Fast Time of 14.850 seconds started fourth in his heat race, won that race and drew the number one starting spot for the nine heat race winners as he would start from the pole position for the 30 lap main event.  O'Neal took the lead at the start of the race with Rick Eckert charging to second followed by Steve Shaver, Jason Montgomery and Terry English.  Steve Francis was the car on the move early in the race rocketing from 12th to the top five within a matter of two laps.  Francis picked off cars lap after lap going past English, then Eckert and eventually Shaver by the fifth circuit as he was now up to second place behind the leader, O'Neal.  O'Neal was setting a quick pace around a race track that two and three wide racing all night long.  O'Neal would see his lead shrink over the lead as Francis came after him in a hurry.  By the seventh lap the leaders had picked up the tail end of field with Francis right on O'Neal's heels in the race for the lead.  The first caution of the race would fly for Jackie Boggs on lap eight, the after two more restarts the field eventually got things together with O'Neal almost losing his lead to Francis before another caution would come out.  With the reprieve O'Neal kept his lead over Francis with English now up to third, Shaver fourth and Eckert running in fifth by the halfway mar of the race.

Things again heated up with O'Neal and Francis as Francis would pressure O'Neal looking for every angle around the racy track to pass him.  Francis took several shots at O'Neal, but every time O'Neal would fight him off.  Traffic again played a part in the race as by the 19th circuit O'Neal and Francis were right on the tail end of the back of the pack again.  With O’Neal and Francis still fighting tooth and nail the final caution of the race came out with six laps remaining in the race.  With a six lap to go restart O'Neal would again hold the advantage over Francis as the two raced to the checkered flag with O'Neal winning by two car lengths over Francis.  English drove a strong race to corral third at the pay window with Shaver and Eckert completing the top five finishers.

Rounding out the top ten were Jimmy Mars, Darrell Lanigan, Dennis Erb, Jr, Scott James and Billy Moyer.

In preliminary action the heat race winners were O'Neal, Tim McCreadie, Jackie Boggs, English, Shane Clanton, Jason Montgomery, Shaver and Davey Johnson.  The first B-Main was won by Earl Pearson, Jr with the 2nd B-Main going to Shannon Babb.  The other B-Mains went to Anthony Rushing and Shane Tankersley.  Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals were R.J. Conley and John Gill and the R.A.C.E. Point Fund and Contingency Provisionals were Billy Moyer and Dan Schlieper.

Action continues at East Bay on Tuesday Night, February 8 with night two of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series with a full race program and a $5000 to win main event to top off the evening.  For more information please log on to www.eastbayracewaypark.com

Race Summary  Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series  Monday Night, February 7, 2005 East Bay Raceway Park

Fast Time:  Don O'Neal 14.850 seconds

First Heat: 1) Don O'Neal  2) Brady Smith  3) Scott Pounds  4) Garrett Durrett  5) Darren Miller  6) Rick Aukland  7) Greg Johnson  8) Ken Schaltenbrand  9) Dave Hess  10) Zach Carney  11) Gerald Davis  12) Jeff Gress  13) Skip Arp

Second Heat:  1) Tim McCreadie  2) Dennis Erb, Jr  3) Shannon Babb  4) Earl Pearson, Jr.  5) Michael Chilton  6) Brad Neat  7) Russ Scheffler  8) Greggie Oliver  9) Freddie Carpenter  10) Brent Robinson  11) Bill Cunningham  12) Russ Frohnapfel  13) Joe Morris

Third Heat:  1) Jackie Boggs  2) Steve Francis  3) Brian Birkhofer  4) Ken Schrader  5) Billy Drake  6) Michael England  7) Victor Lee  8) Trent Follmer  9) Jeff Choquette  10) Jason Flory  11) Anthony White  12) Marshall Austin  13) Rick Sowders

Fourth Heat:  1) Terry English  2) Steve Hillard  4) Billy Moyer  5) Darin Meierotto  6) John Kuchar 7)  Johnny Chastain  8) Barry Bragdon  9) Clint Coffman  10) Tim Prince  11) Jeff Matejka  12) Mike Hammerle  13) Marshall Green

Fifth Heat:  1) Shane Clanton  2) Scott James  3) R.J. Conley  4) Tim Dohm  5) Bo Feathers  6) John Mason  7) Keith Nosbisch  8) Jason Smith  9) Brian Shirley  10) Ronnie DeHaven, Jr.  11) Freddy Smith 12) Jon Krogstad  13) Mike Collins

Sixth Heat:  1) Rick Eckert  2) Rod Conley  3) Donnie Moran  4) Jayme Zidar  5) Mike Marlar  6) Wes Steidinger 7) Eddie Carrier, Jr.  8) Dan Stone  9) Joe Ramey  10) Patrick Sheltra  11) Kenny Pettyjohn  12) David Roberts  13) Scott Riggs

Seventh Heat:  1) Jason Montgomery  2) Matt Miller  3) Roy Deese, Jr.  4) Mark Voigt  5) Ray Cook  6) Robbie Blair  7) Shane Tankersley  8) Dan Schlieper  9) Caley Emerson  10) Tom Turner  11) Ronnie Smith  12) Kristin Flory  13) Donald Fannin

Eighth Heat:  1) Steve Shaver  2) Jimmy Mars  3) Anthony Rushing  4) Eric Jacobsen  5) Butch McGill  6) Mike Benedum  7) Pat Doar  8) Sonny Conley  9) Rick Combs  10) Corey Conley  11) Wayne Johnson  12) Matt Hubbard  13) Terry Casey

Ninth Heat:  1) Davey Johnson  2) Darrell Lanigan  3) Rohn Moon  4) John Gill  5) Ricky Elliott  6) John VanDenBerg  7) Mark Banal  8) Mike Mataragas  9) Mark Banal  10) Dennis Little  11) Jerry Fifield  12) Chris Conley

First B-Main:  1) Earl Pearson, Jr  2) R.J. Conley  3) Scott Pounds  4) Darren Miller  5) Brian Birkhofer  6) Billy Drake  7) Greg Johnson  8) Bo feathers  9) Brad Neat 10) Victor Lee  11) John Kuchar  12) Barry Bragdon  13) Tim Prince  14) Mike Hammerle  15) Clint Coffman  16) Brent Robinson  17) Freddie Carpenter  18) Skip Arp  19) Steve Lucas

Second B-Main:  1) Shannon Babb  2) Billy Moyer  3) Ken Schrader  4) Johnny Chastain  5) Russ Scheffler  6) Zach Carney  7) Darin Meierotto   8) Trent Follmer  9) Dave Hess  10) Jason Flory  11) Tim Dohm  12) Marshall Austin  13) Ken Schaltenbrand  14) Gerald Davis  15) Jeff Gress  16) Garrett Durrett  17) Jeff Choquette  18) Anthony White  19) Michael England  20) Rick Aukland  21) John Mason

Third B-Main:  1) Anthony Rushing  2) Donnie Moran  3) Eric Jacobsen  4) Wes Steidinger  5) Eddie Carrer, Jr.  6) Dan Schlieper  7) Jayme Zidar  8) Bucth McGill  9) Jason Smith  10) Wayne Johnson  11) Mike Benedum  12) Dennis Little  13) Mike Mataragas  14) Joe Ramey  15) Ronnie DeHaven, Jr.  16) Mike Marlar  17) Terry Casey  18) Jon Krogstad  19) Tom Turner  20) Kenny Pettyjohn

Fourth B-Main:  1) Shane Tankersley  2) John Gill  3) Ricky Elliott  4) ray Cook  5) Corey Conley  6) Matt Hubbard  7) Mike Collins  8) Freddy Smith  9) Caley Emerson  10) Rohn Moon  11) Donald Fannin  12) Roy Deese, Jr.  13) Robbie Blair  14) Mark Voigt  15) John VanDenBerg  16) Sonny Conley  17) Mark Banal  18) Brian Shirley  19) Dan Stone  20) Ronnie Smith  21) Jerry Fifield

Strawberry Dash:  1)  Mike Benedum  2) Matt Hubbard  3) Victor Lee  4) Scott Pounds  5) Darren Miller  6) Darin Meierotto  7) Mike  Collins  8) Wayne Johnson  9) Mike Marlar

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Main Event: (30 Laps) 1) Don O'Neal 2) Steve Francis  3) Terry English  4) Steve Shaver  5) Rick Eckert  6) Jimmy Mars  7) Darrell Lanigan  8) Dennis Erb, Jr.  9)  Scott James  10) Billy Moyer  11) Shannon Babb  12) Rod Conley  13) Brady Smith  14) Matt Miller  15) Anthony Rushing  16) John Gill  17) Earl Pearson, Jr.  18) Shane Tankersley  19) R.J. Conley  20) Shane Clanton  21) Tim McCreadie  22) Davey Johnson  23) Steve Hillard  24) Jackie Boggs  25) Jason Montgomery  26) Dan Schlieper

Hard Charger – Steve Francis

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