CORONA, CA (November 14, 2007)-During the first nine Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events of the 2007 racing season it appeared that 20-year-old Justin Rattliff may have bitten off more than he could chew running the series for the first time in his career, but after eight months of furious competition the Campbellsville, KY realized a personal goal of winning a series event, finishing sixth in the points and capturing the COMP Cams “Rookie of the Year” award which was worth $10,000.

Rattliff who made only two of the first nine events against some of the top competition in the country week in and week out with the Lucas Oil Series rebounded nicely to make the starting grid for 22 of the final 24 events of the season. Coming off of a season where he finished second in the O’Reilly Battle of the Bluegrass DirtCar Series points standings and won “Rookie of the Year” for the series, his goals for this season were pretty lofty.  Finishing in the top five or ten each time out and winning the rookie award among some stout competition may have seemed far fetched for anyone else who tackles a national touring series for the first time, but Rattliff and his team persevered through the season and earned respect among his fellow drivers and gaining some new fans along the way.

Rattliff stunned the world of dirt late model racing when he picked up his first ever $10,000 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win back in May at La Salle Speedway in Illinois.  It wasn’t that long ago (late 2005) when Rattliff scored his first ever late model victory at Lake Cumberland Speedway in Burnside, KY.  But this win on a national level would send Rattliff with momentum heading into the meat of ’07 Lucas Oil schedule.

There would be just two hiccups along the way.  After the series was off for Memorial Day Weekend the ultra-tough ½ mile at Florence (KY) Speedway awaited the competitors and Rattliff just missed the starting line-up by one spot in his consy run.  Dan Schlieper and Terry English would get the series provisionals that night leaving Rattliff’s black #16 on the trailer as the disappointment of not having an opportunity to go home with back to back wins in Lucas Oil competition would stoke the fires and the young racer would rebound with a several good runs through the month of August which put him on track to clinch the rookie title before the last month of the season.

Rattliff’s best stretch of the season was from late-June through Mid-July when he was impressive in taking seven straight top 12 finishes.  While racing on tracks he had never seen before was exciting for “The Rattler” racing at two tracks familiar to him (Brownstown and Bardstown) would get him a 15th place in the “Jackson 100” at Brownstown and a fifth place finish at Bardstown at the end of August.  Those two finishes solidified another one Rattliff’s goals to seal the COMP Cams “Rookie of the Year.”

With a strong field of 86 cars at the 39th Annual “Hillbilly 100” Rattliff would fail to make the starting grid for the 100 lap event.  He concluded the ’07 Lucas Oil Series by finishing 16th in the “RaceFest” at West Virginia Motor Speedway which sowed up the sixth spot in the final championship point’s standings.

For the season with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rattliff would start 24 main events with one win, five top five finishes and he recorded six top ten finishes.

With the experience and success Rattliff had this season with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in 2007 he looks for bigger and brighter things in ’08.  “I thought we did real well considering we hadn’t run a national touring series before, winning rookie of the year and finishing in the top ten of the points we feel is a great accomplishment for our team, we look forward to winning some more races next year and finishing higher in the points,” said Rattliff who thanked his hard working crew which includes his father, James Rattliff, Willie Rattliff, T.P and Klein Stubbs, Tim Moore and his girlfriend, Candace Tungate.

One person responsible for a lot of Rattliff’s success over the last three years as been crew chief Jeff Gullett.  “He came on board when we started racing late models three years ago, he’s so sharp on this stuff and he really helped me when we went to tracks I hadn’t been to before, he’s one of the best in the business.”  Gullett was also complimentary of the young racer he has worked with day in and day out at the race shop and at the race track.  “I’m proud of him,” said Gullett who has been involved in racing for over 25 years.

The other drivers on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series know what Rattliff has accomplished and better come loaded for bear come 2008 when he plans to take on some of the best that dirt late model racing has to offer running with the Lucas Oil Series again.  “We’ll be ready for East Bay, I can’t wait to get back there, then our plans are to run all the Lucas Oil race again next year and see if we can unseat Earl,” said a smiling Rattliff in a post season interview where he was still nursing a broken wrist sustained in a racing incident in his home state of Kentucky the first weekend of October.  Rattliff did make a return to the cockpit on November 10th at North Georgia Speedway in Chatsworth, GA where he finished in 15th place.

The 2008 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series has released a 39 race schedule and it is available on line at www.lucasdirt.com.

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