BARDSTOWN, KY (August 25, 2007)-Maybe Bluegrass Speedway promoters David and Anita Ferrell could consider changing the “Bluegrass Classic” to the “Bloomquist Classic” as 43-year-old Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN won his third consecutive event on Saturday Night. The $10,000 to win race was sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and it marked Bloomquist’ fourth series win of the season and extended his all-time series wins total to 15. Bloomquist took the lead from Earl Pearson Jr. on lap 27. Brad Neat drove from the 20th starting spot to finish second followed by 17th starting Billy Drake, Terry English and Justin Rattliff.
It would be the Miller Brothers Coal sponsored cars of Dan Schlieper and Scott Bloomquist making up the front row for the 60 lap event which was held before a packed grandstand and the cameras of SPEED Channel. At the waving of the green flag by honorary starter and former University of Kentucky basketball player, Richie Farmer it was Schlieper who got the jump on the field grabbing the point heading off of turn number two with Mike Marlar quickly moving to second just in front of Bloomquist and Don O’Neal.
O’Neal would drop to fifth as current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point’s leader Earl Pearson Jr. would pass him for that spot. Then three laps later O’Neal would bring out the first caution of the race when his car went up in smoke coming down the backstretch on lap five. With five laps in Schlieper would be on the point for the Delaware double file restart.
As the race went green again Schlieper would maintain a slim margin over the Tennessee duo of Marlar and Bloomquist with Pearson holding down fourth and Wendell Wallace was now running in the spot formerly occupied by O’Neal.
Scott James, who had started ninth on the grid, was working his way to the front as he raced by Wallace on lap nine to take over the fifth spot. It was an exciting race for the lead with Schlieper now being challenged by Marlar on the inside by lap 11. Pearson was on the prowl as well as he went by Bloomquist on the same lap as the caution would wave for Freddy Smith on lap 12.
On the restart Schlieper would keep the lead to himself using the top groove on the half-mile oval with Pearson hugging the bottom which enabled him to slip by Marlar on lap 13 to go to second. Pearson then drag raced Schlieper off the turns as the two would race side by side for three laps much to the enjoyment of the large crowd on hand.
Pearson was finally able to clear Schlieper for the lead on lap 18, but Pearson’s lead lasted for only three circuits until Schlieper powered back by on lap 21. A dandy of race for the lead would see James move up to third as he passed both Bloomquist and Marlar to gain the third spot. James then looked like he would gain the advantage on either Schlieper or Pearson as he closed to within a car length of them.
The third caution would come out on lap 24 for debris on the race track. The caution marked a dramatic change in the direction of the race as Schlieper would go pit side after a shock had broken and punctured the rear end cap which caused oil to leak out. So with Schlieper out Pearson would inherit the lead. At this same point Marlar who was running in third pitted to change a deflating tire.
This really mixed up the running order on the restart with Pearson in front now followed by Bloomquist, James, Billy Drake and Brad Neat who both would appear in the top five for the first time in the race. On the restart Bloomquist would really turn up the wick as he passed Pearson for the lead on lap 27 to gain the lead for the first time in the race.
James would then get into the act as he passed Pearson for second. Johnny Wheeler, who had been quiet for most of the first half of the race then started to show his experience at the Bluegrass Speedway as he came up to third and was challenging James for second going door to door with the driver who is in second in the Lucas Oil Series points.
The yellow flag would reappear again on lap 31 for a slowing Dustin Neat on the main straightaway. On the restart Pearson would clear James and Wheeler and get back into second place behind Bloomquist. Caution number six would come out for sixth place running Jimmy Owens who spun on lap 33 resulting in yet another restart.
On this restart Bloomquist would fire off of turn number four and hold Pearson and James at bay for a couple of laps until he slowly started to pull away from them. The race would go nine straight green flag racing laps with Drake and Neat getting around Wheeler, who was slipping back at this point in the race.
James, who was running third, would give up his third position as he developed a flat tire on lap 42 bringing out caution number seven of the race. On the restart Neat would really jump on the gas as he sprinted by Drake and Pearson to take over the second slot on lap 43. Drake then would take the low side of Pearson gaining the third spot by lap 45.
By the 48th lap Bloomquist had a comfortable eight car length lead over Neat with Drake in third and Tim Tungate, who was up to fourth in the running order after starting 22nd. With 48 laps scored Pearson would slow with a flat tire ending his possibility for a top five finish as he quickly headed pit side for a new tire.
With ten laps to go Bloomquist was showing the way as Neat and Drake staged a side by side duel for the runner-up spot. Bloomquist stretched his lead out again to about eight car lengths over Neat and Drake with Tungate running in fourth followed by Terry English, who was making a late race bid for a good finish.
With five laps left it was still Bloomquist racing unchallenged for the lead with Neat gaining some clearance over second running Drake. On the white flag lap Bloomquist would negotiate the track just as he had done the previous 33 laps and sweep to the checkered flag for his third SPEED Channel win this season. His other TV wins came at East Bay in Florida and Columbus, MS. Neat would finish a solid second followed by Neat, English and Justin Rattliff who got the fifth spot on the last lap when Tungate lost several spots with a flat tire.
In the Lucas Oil victory lane, Bloomquist was highly complimentary of the track conditions, his crew and his engine builder, Vic Hill who was on hand for the race. “We’ve actually been doing a lot of testing this year with Jimmy Owens, Chris Madden, Brady Smith and Michael England, we built them proven cars like my old one and we’ve been messing with a lot of new stuff, you know our cars have been winning a lot here lately and having gotten beaten by them here lately, all I can say is the game is on” said the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Famer. “I love the night races here, its fun to race here and I hope the fans enjoyed the show” stated the ever smiling veteran.
Bloomquist victory came in his own self designed Bloomquist Race Cars Chevrolet with a Vic Hill Racing Engine under the hood. His car is sponsored by Miller Brothers Coal, Hawkeye Trucking, Allstar Performance, Arizona Sport Shirts, Sweet Mfg., Hoosier Tires and VP Racing Fuels.
Neat was pleased with his second place finish. “Our team really needed this finish, we qualified horrible and the heat race was nothing to write home about, we were better in the consy and that helped us in the feature,” said the 27 year old University of Kentucky graduate who is 11th in Lucas Oil points. “I don’t know if we would have had a shot at him (Bloomquist) maybe if we could have got to the front sooner, but we started so far back it was going to be real tough, Billy and I had a good clean race and we got lucky and avoided the flat tires that some of the other guys had.” Neat was aboard the Greg Neat/Neat’s Service Center/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo.
Drake finished third in his Steve Drake/The Wells Family/MasterSbilt GTO with English coming fourth in his Triple AAA Fence/ARC Engines #96 and Rattliff rounded out the top five the James Rattliff/Rattliff Motors/C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo.
Completing the top ten were Steve Casebolt, Jason Keltner, Mike Marlar, Damon Eller and Earl Pearson Jr.
In preliminary action Earl Pearson Jr. nabbed the LifeLong Locks Fast Time Award with a quick lap of 14.896 seconds in qualifications among the 46 entrants. Earl Pearson Jr., Dan Schlieper, Scott Bloomquist and Mike Marlar won the Hawk Brake and Quarter Master sponsored heat races. The Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno and Penske Shocks B-Mains were won by Billy Drake and Freddy Smith. Brad Neat took the Edelbrock Hard Charger of the Race advancing 18 positions to a second place finish after starting 20th.
The next Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event will be on Saturday Night, September 1st with the “Hillbilly 100” from Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, WV. It is the nation’s oldest dirt late model event having been contested since 1967. This year’s edition of the race will pay $25,000 to win. For more information you can visit www.tylercountyspeedway.net and www.lucasdirt.com
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Bluegrass Speedway-Bardstown, KY
Saturday Night, August 25, 2007
LifeLong Locks Fast Qualifier: Earl Pearson Jr. 14.896 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Earl Pearson Jr., Johnny Wheeler, Scott James, Whitney McQueary, Billy Drake, Aaron Hatton, Jason Keltner, Steve Casebolt, Greg Kendall, Tommy Carlton, Dave Groves Jr., Cody Mahoney
Quarter Master Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Dan Schlieper, Don O’Neal, Donnie Moran, Damon Eller, Victor Lee, Bryan Barber, John Gill, Garrett Durrett, Bobby Carrier Jr., Ed Behn, C.J. Rayburn
Hawk Brake Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Scott Bloomquist, Wendell Wallace, Jimmy Owens, Dustin Neat, Freddy Smith, Jerry Rice, Tim Tungate, Joey Daniel, Lee DeVasier, D.J. Wells, Larry Greer
Quarter Master Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Mike Marlar, Michael England, Terry English, Justin Rattliff, Jeff Watson, Brad Neat, Mike Jewell, Chris Combs, Jordan Bland
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Billy Drake, Victor Lee, Jason Keltner, John Gill, Garrett Durrett, Aaron Hatton, Greg Kendall, Bobby Carrier Jr., Cody Mahoney, Tommy Carlton, Dale Groves Jr., Ed Behn, C.J. Rayburn, Steve Casebolt, Bryan Barber
Penske Shocks Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Freddy Smith, Brad Neat, Tim Tungate, Jerry Rice, Chris Combs, Mike Jewell, Jordan Bland, D.J. Wells, Joey Jones, Joey Daniel, Larry Greer
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Bluegrass Classic Finish (60 Laps): Scott Bloomquist, Brad Neat, Billy Drake, Terry English, Justin Rattliff, Steve Casebolt, Jason Keltner, Mike Marlar, Damon Eller, Earl Pearson Jr., Garrett Durrett, Tim Tungate, Donnie Moran, Joey Daniel, Dustin Neat, Freddy Smith, Tommy Carlton, Johnny Wheeler, Wendell Wallace, Scott James, Jimmy Owens, Dan Schlieper, Michael England, Whitney McQueary, Victor Lee, Don O’Neal
Yellow Flags: 10
Lap Leaders: Dan Schlieper 1-17, Earl Pearson, Jr. 18-20, Schlieper 21-24, Pearson 25-26, Scott Bloomquist 27-60
Edelbrock Hard Charger of the Race: Brad Neat (Started 20th and Finished 2nd-Advanced 18 Positions)
K&N Clean Pass of the Race: Brad Neat
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Billy Drake
COMP Cams Rookie of the Race: Brad Neat
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Steve Casebolt and Garrett Durrett
Track Provisionals: Joey Daniel and Tommy Carlton
Time of Race: 55 min.
Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings (After August 25, 2007)
1) Earl Pearson, Jr. (Jacksonville, FL)-5115
2) Scott James (Lawrenceburg, IN)-4900
3) Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN)-4790
4) Terry English (Benton, KY)-4435
5) Donnie Moran (Dresden, OH)-4380
6) Justin Rattliff (Campbellsville, KY)-4235
7) Billy Drake (Bloomington, IL)-4170
8) Dan Schlieper (Sullivan, WI)-4055
9) Damon Eller (Crumpler, NC)-3620
10) Freddy Smith (Seymour, TN)-3300
Current COMP Cams Rookie of the Year Points Standings (After August 25, 2007)
1) Justin Rattliff (Campbellsville, KY)-4235
2) Damon Eller (Crumpler, NC)-3620
3) Brad Neat (Dunnville, KY)-2885