DUBUQUE, IA (August 7, 2007)-Don O’Neal of Martinsville, IN finally broke through with his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the year as he passed race leader, Terry Casey on lap four and then went on to score the $10,000 victory on Tuesday Night at Dubuque Speedway. O’Neal’s ninth career Lucas Oil Series triumph made him the 16th different winner in 28 series events this season. The 43-year-old two-time series point’s runner-up led Matt Miller, Earl Pearson, Scott James and Dennis Erb, Jr. across the line in a fast and furious night of racing.
Billy Moyer and LifeLong Locks fast Timer, Terry Casey made up the front row of the “Steel Mart” sponsored 50 lap affair. Casey, who was making his first ever appearance at Dubuque bolted to the lead at the start of the race that was called back once due to a multi-car accident in turn two which eliminated Freddy Smith.
An unbelievable battle for top five positioning occurred right from the outset with three and four wide racing prevalent on the well prepared racing surface. O’Neal, who started fifth on the grid quickly, worked his way to the front grabbing the second spot from Moyer on the third circuit.
Casey’s lead lasted for just three laps when O’Neal went by him in a hurry to take over the point on lap four. Matt Miller, who started seventh, was also on the move as he came to the second spot by the fifth lap overhauling both Casey and Moyer for that spot.
With ten laps in the books it was still a wicked pace for the field as O’Neal was leading followed by Miller, Moyer, Casey and Donnie Moran. On the 12th lap the caution would fly for the first time for a stalled Jeremiah Hurst in turn number one. The current Dubuque point’s leader and last year’s runner-up in the Lucas Oil Series race at the track would restart on the tail.
On the Delaware double file restart O’Neal would be out in front by himself with Miller and Moyer lined up side by side for the restart. O’Neal would briefly lose the lead to Miller on the restart, but O’Neal recovered quickly and retook the lead soon thereafter. The top runner would have a new competitor to deal with after the caution as two-time series champion; Earl Pearson, Jr. was climbing up from his tenth starting position as he entered the top five around Moran on the 14th lap.
O’Neal and Miller would start to encounter some lapped traffic by the 22nd lap and with three laps left until the halfway signal was given O’Neal was starting to put some distance between himself and Miller with at least two lapped cars between the pair.
With 25 laps in the books it was still O’Neal looking to open up some more breathing room between himself and Miller, but Miller was not about to let O’Neal get away from him as the two sliced through traffic. Pearson was up to third as he displaced both Casey and Moyer to move into third.
The second and final caution would come out on lap 28 for Brian Birkhofer who slowed on the track and headed pit side out of the race. On the final restart of the race there was some bumping and rubbing as several cars got out of shape when the green came back out again. All of the drivers regrouped and continued on without any race stoppage as O’Neal continued to show the way.
With 20 laps remaining in the race Miller was still in the thick of things as he was hounding O’Neal for the lead with Pearson, Dan Schlieper and Scott James now the top five combatants.
James, who started in the 22nd position, was high tailing it on the top side as he and Jimmy Mars were on the move in the last 20 circuits. James would pull up alongside of Pearson several times and try to make the pass on the series point’s leader, but could not quite clear him for third. Schlieper was hanging on for fifth as he would see Mars go by in a hurry on lap 39.
With ten laps to go O’Neal was showing his strength as he was working his way around the 3/8ths mile high banked oval in smooth fashion as he was keeping Miller at bay. The battle for third was more hotly contested and that would last until the finish between Pearson, James and Mars.
With no more caution flags to slow him O’Neal would take his familiar yellow #71 to the finish line crossing ahead of Miller to take his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the year. Miller in his return to the Lucas Oil Series had his best finish of the season with his previous best being a third place finish at East Bay on February 10th. Pearson would edge out the heavily smoking car of James to take third and now has a 110 point lead over James in the race for the ’07 Lucas Oil Series Championship. Dennis Erb, Jr. would finish in fifth.
In victory lane for the ninth time in his career O’Neal was glad he was finally able to break through on the ultra-competitive series tour. “We’ve been running really well here in the last half of the year, I want to thank my car owner, Jerry Jones and my crew, Zach Frields, Justin Shaw and Budda for all of their help, the car was fast all night, the track was real racy, maybe a little too racy because everybody was real close tonight, I was afraid Matt (Miller) was going to come in there and get the lead from me at the end, but I kept that lapped car between us to give us some room there just in case.”
O’Neal’s victory came aboard the Jones Core, Valley Hancock Core, Cockerham’s Signs, Allstar Performance, Sunoco Race Fuels, Jay Dickens Racing Engines powered C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo.
Miller was behind the wheel of the Larry Moring/MDI Environmental Services/MasterSbilt by Stuckey Monte Carlo. Pearson took third in the Bobby Labonte Racing/LifeLong Locks/MasterSbilt Dodge with James in the Powell Motorsports/Jay Dickens Racing Engines/Rocket GTO and Erb in the Thomason Transportation/Malcuit Racing Engines/C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo completing the top five
Completing the top ten were Jimmy Mars, Terry English, Dan Schlieper, Billy Moyer and Steve Casebolt.
The LifeLong Locks Fast Qualifier was Terry Casey with a new track record of 15.204 seconds. Terry Casey, Damon Eller, Donnie Moran and Billy Moyer won the Hawk Brake and Quarter Master sponsored heat races. The Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno and Penske Shocks B-Main winners were Ace Ihm and Steve Casebolt.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will next be in action on Friday Night, August 17th at Kankakee Motor Speedway in Kankakee, IL for a $10,000 to win event and on Saturday Night, August 18th at the Brownstown Speedway in Brownstown, IN for the 28th Annual “Jackson 100” paying $15,000 to win. Fore more information on these events you can log on to www.lucasdirt.com.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway-Dubuque, IA
Tuesday Night, August 7, 2007
LifeLong Locks Fast Qualifier: Terry Casey 15.204 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Terry Casey, Don O’Neal, Kerry Hansen, Dan Schlieper, Ace Ihm, Denny Eckrich, Jeff Larson, Jeep VanWormer, Jason Rauen
Quarter Master Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Damon Eller, Darren Miller, Earl Pearson, Jr., Brian Birkhofer, Boone McLaughlin, Curt Martin, Jeremiah Hurst, George Scheffler, Ron Klein
Hawk Brake Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Donnie Moran, Matt Miller, Dennis Erb, Jr., Terry English, Steve Casebolt, Jason McBride, Scott James, Chad Simpson, Fred Remley
Quarter Master Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Billy Moyer, Freddy Smith, Jimmy Mars, Justin Rattliff, Darren Mish, Billy Drake, Mike Mataragas, Chris Smyser
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Ace Ihm, Curt Martin, Jeremiah Hurst, Denny Eckrich, Jason Rauen, Jeep VanWormer, George Scheffler, Boone McLaughlin, Ron Klein, Jeff Larson
Penske Shocks Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Steve Casebolt, Chad Simpson, Scott James, Jason McBride, Darren Mish, Billy Drake, Mike Mataragas, Chris Smyser, Fred Remley
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Steel Mart Feature Finish (50 Laps): Don O’Neal, Matt Miller, Earl Pearson, Jr., Scott James, Dennis Erb, Jr., Jimmy Mars, Terry English, Dan Schlieper, Billy Moyer, Steve Casebolt, Donnie Moran, Curt Martin, Darren Miller, Justin Rattliff, Jeremiah Hurst, Ace Ihm, Damon Eller, Terry Casey, Brian Birkhofer, Billy Drake, Jeep VanWormer, Chad Simpson, Kerry Hansen, Freddy Smith
Yellow Flags: 2
Lap Leaders: Terry Casey 1-3, Don O’Neal 4-50
Edelbrock Hard Charger of the Race: Scott James (Started 22nd and Finished 4th-Advanced 18 Positions)
K&N Clean Pass of the Race: Don O’Neal
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Terry English
COMP Cams Rookie of the Race: Justin Rattliff
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Billy Drake and Jeep VanWormer
Time of Race: 26 Minutes
Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings (After August 7, 2007)
1) Earl Pearson, Jr. (Jacksonville, FL)-4475
2) Scott James (Lawrenceburg, IN)-4365
3) Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN)-4255
4) Terry English (Benton, KY)-3905
5) Donnie Moran (Dresden, OH)-3815
6) Justin Rattliff (Campbellsville, KY)-3700
7) Billy Drake (Bloomington, IL)-3540
8) Dan Schlieper (Sullivan, WI)-3525
9) Damon Eller (Crumpler, NC)-3130
10) Freddy Smith (Seymour, TN)-2895
Current COMP Cams Rookie of the Year Points Standings (After August 7, 2007)
1) Justin Rattliff (Campbellsville, KY)-3700
2) Damon Eller (Crumpler, NC)-3130
3) Brad Neat (Dunnville, KY)-2655