MINERAL WELLS, WV (September 16, 2007)- Undoubtedly the hottest dirt late model driver in the country continues to rack up big win after big win as Newport, TN driver Jimmy Owens rolled to the $20,000 victory in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series sanctioned "RaceFest World Championship" on Saturday Night at the West Virginia Motor Speedway. A huge crowd on the hillside at WVMS watched Owens come from the 12th starting spot to take over the lead on lap 31 when race leader Bart Hartman's rear end failed in his racecar forcing him pit side. Owens then withstood several cautions flags over the last 44 laps of the race to score his third major win in the last month. Scott Bloomquist finished second followed by current Lucas Oil Series points leader Earl Pearson Jr., 15th place starter Mike Balzano and rookie NASCAR Busch Series driver Tim McCreadie.
Hartman grabbed the lead at the start of the 75 lap main event from his outside pole starting spot with McCreadie, pole sitter Donnie Moran, Scott James and Pearson the top five with one lap in the books. The running order stayed the same until the first caution came out on lap four for a slowing John Blankenship. On the restart Moran gained the second spot from McCreadie, but McCreadie fought back two circuits later to regain the second slot.
There were two more cautions that slowed the field again, but on those restarts Hartman quickly opened up his lead over the field as he extended his lead to six car lengths over McCreadie with ten laps scored. Eddie Carrier Jr., the 2007 Hillbilly 100 winner, slowed on lap 11 for a flat tire which set up another Delaware double file restart.
As Hartman crossed the line to complete the 15 lap mark McCreadie was still second, but James was now up to third with defending RaceFest winner Scott Bloomquist now running fourth as they dropped Moran to fifth. Hartman was still setting a blistering pace as he was unchallenged in the race for the lead as the fifth caution flew on lap 17 for Tim Dohm. With the field bunched up once more, Hartman continued to open up an advantage over McCreadie who was now having to deal with Owens, who had started 12th on the grid as the battle for the second spot was heating up.
With 25 laps scored, it was still Hartman in control followed by McCreadie, Owens, Bloomquist and Pearson. Hartman was about to enter some lapped traffic as Owens made the move by McCreadie on lap 28 to take over second place. Just as Hartman was lapping cars he suddenly slowed on the backstretch as Owens raced by to take over the lead. The culprit was a broken rear end as he took his car pit side as he was done for the night.
With Owens inheriting the lead on lap 31 after Hartman's misfortune McCreadie was back to second followed by Bloomquist, Pearson and James. As Owens was fighting through traffic by the 40th circuit Bloomquist made a daring move on McCreadie as the two went door to door for a half a lap until Bloomquist cleared him to take over second. Then another caution flag came out for Steve Lucas who was running in sixth place at the time slowed on the track with 41 laps complete.
On the restart Owens was out in front by himself with Bloomquist and McCreadie lined up side by side with Bloomquist gaining the position ahead of McCreadie heading into turn number one. Pearson took the spot from McCreadie on lap 42 garnering the third spot as the race stayed green for four more laps until the seventh caution came out on lap 45.
With Owens on the point, the restart became quite interesting with Pearson and Bloomquist racing door to door for two laps until Bloomquist got back around Pearson to regain the second slot. With a quarter of the race left Owens was holding a sizable advantage over Bloomquist, Pearson, McCreadie and 19th starting Michael England, who was up to fifth.
A long stretch of green flag racing saw Owens holding his lead at a healthy margin with several car lengths between himself and Bloomquist. The eighth and final caution slowed the highflying Owens with 15 laps to go. So with one last chance to try and get the lead away from Owens on the restart, Bloomquist and Pearson were unable to muster enough speed to get the job done as Owens sprinted away from the pair.
Owens handled any situation that came up in the final circuits as he got by lapped cars. He was negotiating with the ease of a veteran as he went on to score his series leading fifth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event of the 2007 season. For Owens who has earned $110,000 in winnings alone in the last month after winning the North/South 100 at Florence (KY) Speedway, the World 100 at Eldora (OH) Speedway and Saturday Night's RaceFest in West Virginia he just continues to rack up big paydays. "I just can't thank Scott (Bloomquist) enough. He builds an awesome car, my whole crew, my sponsors and my car owner, Mike Reece. I mean to back this up after winning at Eldora is just unbelievable. I guess we are going to be in a higher tax bracket now," said the 35-year-old racer in the Lucas Oil victory lane. Hartman's misfortune while leading led to Owens gaining the lead on lap 31. "I saw him do something on the backstretch and I thought he was going to wreck and then he pulled off the track, so it was a good break for us and bad for him, I didn't know what it was but that happens sometime."
Owens' winning Bloomquist Race Cars Ford Fusion is powered by a Cornett Racing Engines and sponsored by Reece Monuments, Ganette Appraisals, Red Line Oil, Performance Rod and Custom, Byrd's Radiators, VP Racing Fuels, Hoosier Tires and Alwee Trucking Company.
Bloomquist, who last year ended up in victory circle at WVMS in this event came home second this year in his Miller Brothers Coal/Vic Hill Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Chevrolet with Pearson's third place finish in his Bobby Labonte Racing/LifeLong Locks/MasterSbilt Dodge Charger putting him 230 points ahead of Scott James in the race for the '07 series title. Mike Balzano had a strong run, coming from 15th to finish fourth in his Polino Contracting/Cornett Racing Engines/Rocket Monte Carlo with McCreadie finishing fifth in the No Fear/Clements Racing Engines/GRT Monte Carlo.
Rounding out the top ten were Michael England, Scott James, Eddie Carrier Jr., Donnie Moran and Steve Casebolt.
In preliminary action Earl Pearson Jr. was the LifeLong Locks Fast Qualifier for the 47 cars on hand with a lap of 20.01 seconds around the 5/8ths mile track. Bart Hartman, Tim McCreadie, Donnie Moran and Scott James won the Hawk Brake and Quarter Master sponsored heat races. Steve Lucas and Davey Johnson won the Mason Racin' Rebel Shock Dyno and Penske Shocks sponsored B-mains. Eddie Carrier Jr. took the Edelbrock Hard Charger of the Race as he advanced 14 positions to finish eighth after he started 22nd on the grid.
The 2007 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will wrap up its 2007 racing season on Friday and Saturday, October 5th and 6th. On Friday Night the "Rome Rumble" paying $10,000 will be run at Rome International Speedway and the Annual "Dixie Shootout" takes place on Saturday Night at Dixie Speedway paying $15,000 to win. For more information you can visit www.dixiespeedway.com and www.lucasdirt.com.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Saturday Night, September 15th, 2007
West Virginia Motor Speedway - Mineral Wells, West Virginia
LifeLong Locks Fast Qualifier: Earl Pearson Jr. 20.01 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Bart Hartman, Earl Pearson Jr., Steve Shaver, Freddy Smith, Michael England, Rod Conley, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Bobby Kitchen, Steve Wilmoth, Chad Hina, Anthony Huber, Jeff Wood
Quarter Master Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Tim McCreadie, Billy Drake, Tim Dohm, Jackie Boggs, Steve Lucas, Jared Hawkins, John Blankenship, Corey Conley, Jeff Burdette, Jerry Bowersock, Tre' Martin, Brad Hutson
Hawk Brake Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Donnie Moran, Dan Schlieper, Steve Casebolt, Mike Balzano, Mark Banal, Davey Johnson, Jason Flory, Chris Garnes, Danny Mitchell, Charlie George, Chad Todd
Quarter Master Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 advance): Scott James, Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Justin Rattliff, Terry English, Chuck Harper, Damon Eller, Kenny Riddle, Ricky Elliott, Eddie Carrier Jr., Rick Lucas
Mason Racin' Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Steve Lucas, Michael England, Rod Conley, Jared Hawkins, John Blankenship, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Corey Conley, Bobby Kitchen, Steve Wilmoth, Jeff Burdette, Jerry Bowersock, Chad Hina, Jeff Wood, Tre' Martin, Anthony Huber
Penske Shocks Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Davey Johnson, Terry English, Eddie Carrier Jr., Jason Flory, Chuck Harper, Damon Eller, Ricky Elliott, Chris Garnes, Rick Lucas, Charlie George, Danny Mitchell, Chad Todd, Kenny Riddle, Mark Banal (DQ)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series "RaceFest World Championship" Feature Finish (75 Laps): Jimmy Owens, Scott Bloomquist, Earl Pearson Jr., Mike Balzano, Tim McCreadie, Michael England, Scott James, Eddie Carrier Jr., Donnie Moran, Steve Casebolt, Billy Drake, Rod Conley, Dan Schlieper, Tim Dohm, Terry English, Justin Rattliff, Steve Lucas, Davey Johnson, Freddy Smith, Damon Eller, Bart Hartman, John Blankenship, Jackie Boggs, Steve Shaver
Caution Flags: 8
Lap Leaders: Bart Hartman 1-30, Jimmy Owens 31-75
Edelbrock Hard Charger of the Race: Eddie Carrier Jr. (Started 22nd and Finished 8th-Advanced 14 Positions)
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Mike Balzano
K&N Clean Pass of the Race: Michael England
COMP Cams Rookie of the Race: Justin Rattliff
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Damon Eller and John Blankenship
Time of Race: 55 Minutes
Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings
1) Earl Pearson Jr. (Jacksonville, FL)-5555
2) Scott James (Lawrenceburg, IN)-5325
3) Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN)-5170
4) Donnie Moran (Dresden, OH)-4760
5) Terry English (Benton, KY)-4715
6) Justin Rattliff (Campbellsville, KY)-4505
7) Billy Drake (Bloomington, IL)-4465
8) Dan Schlieper (Sullivan, WI)-4330
9) Damon Eller (Crumpler, NC)-3850
10) Freddy Smith (Seymour, TN)-3640
Current COMP Cams Rookie of the Year Points Standings
1) Justin Rattliff (Campbellsville, KY)-4504
2) Damon Eller (Crumpler, NC)-3850
3) Brad Neat (Dunnville, KY)-2885