TAZEWELL, TN (July 6, 2007)-Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN had to withstand a late race challenge from Scott James and Scott Bloomquist to win the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series “Toyota of Knoxville 75” on Friday Night at Tazewell (TN) Speedway. The record crowd that was in attendance saw Owens dominate for most of the race holding a half a lap lead for a good portion of the $10,000 to win main event. But a late race caution allowed James and Bloomquist to pressure Owens until the checkers fell with Owens winning by just one car length over James. The 35 year old racer earned his third series win of the season in winning over James, Bloomquist, Brady Smith and Steve Casebolt.
Among the four heat race winners eligible for the redraw Owens and current Tazewell points leader Steve Smith would draw the front row starting assignment. Among the delight of his home area fans Owens would sprint to the lead at the drop of the green flag with Smith, Vic Hill, James and Brandon Kinzer the top five after a lap was complete.
Owens exploded to a good early lead which was up to as much as a five car advantage over Smith with just five laps scored. By the tenth circuit Owens was already up to the tail end of the field and with the high speeds around the 1/3rd mile oval Owens would have to choose his avenue in putting those cars a lap down.
While Owens was well out in front at this juncture of the race the battle for second was a fierce one between several drivers. Smith was holding his own as he running in second but Hill, James and Kinzer were hounding him every step of the way.
Brady Smith then began to make his presence known as he moved by Kinzer on lap 16 to take over the fifth slot. James then would finally get by Hill on lap 19 after those two had run side by side for two laps. James then tried several times to pass Smith diving to the inside of the veteran driver in the turns, but he couldn’t get by him.
By the 25th lap Owens was a half a lap ahead of the field as a three wide duel was going on well behind him for second. Scott Bloomquist, who started tenth then finally got into the top five and began to apply the heat using the top side of the race track.
Bloomquist passed Brady Smith and James to take over the third spot and then on lap 31 he overhauled Steve Smith for second. At this point Bloomquist was still a half a track behind Owens who was having no problems lapping cars as he kept up a torrid pace.
The first caution of the race came out on lap 42 when Rodney Kiker slowed on the track with a smoking car. On the restart Owens would have now a clear track in front of him but Bloomquist and Scott Smith would be lined up right behind him on the Delaware double file restart and it would be a whole new ballgame in the race for the lead.
But on the restart even with the field closer to him than they had been in quite some time Owens was able to spurt away again as Bloomquist was running second and now James was back in the hunt as he passed Steve Smith for third after the restart.
With 50 laps down Owens was holding a three to four car length advantage over Bloomquist as the second caution of the event came out on lap 53 for a slowing Anthony White. This again would bunch the field up for the restart with Bloomquist and James lined up door to door behind the race leader, Owens.
On this restart James would be the one to take full advantage of the double file restart as he passed Bloomquist on the inside heading into turn number one to go to second place. Owens would again pull out to a three to four car length lead with James, Bloomquist, Brady Smith and Steve Casebolt in the top five running order. Casebolt had made his way through the field after starting in the 18th position.
The third and final caution would come out for Steve Smith on lap 64 as he slowed on the backstretch. With this restart things would get interesting real quick as James and Bloomquist were able to keep a short distanced between themselves and Owens.
With less than five laps to go James would really start to stalk Owens as he tracked him down in a hurry and was right on his bumper with three laps to go. James would be all over Owens taking a peak to the left side of his quarter panel on a couple of occasions. Bloomquist was right on James as the record setting crowd on hand were really getting stirred up.
As the frontrunners took the white flag James would dive down low in turn one, but Owens would keep his car in the racing line and not get out of the groove which James had hoped for as the two raced hard and clean to the finish line with Owens getting the win by just one car length over James. Bloomquist would finish right on James’ bumper with Brady Smith and Casebolt completing the top five.
In front of an excited crown in the Lucas Oil victory lane Owens was out of breath in describing his narrow victory at the end. “We just wanted to keep everyone behind us there at the end, I didn’t want lapped traffic to play an effect on the finish so I kind of slowed down a little and they caught up to me in a hurry.”
“As long as we didn’t mess up I figured we were going to be alright if we didn’t get out of the lane we were running, if you got out of the groove there it was a whole new race track. I really like racing here, the key is you have to watch out for lapped traffic, things happen here so fast, that you can get into trouble real quick,” said Owens who also thanked car owner Mike Reece, who is a Tazewell resident and gave his mom a hug as she was attending her first race in a long time.
Owens’ fourth career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win came aboard the Reece Monuments/Gantt Appraisals/Redline Oil/Performance Rod and Custom/Byrd’s Radiators/VP Racing Fuels/Hoosier Tires/Cornett Racing Engines sponsored Bloomquist Race Cars Ford Fusion.
James by virtue of his second place finish took over the championship points standings in his Powell Motorsports/Jay Dickens Racing Engines/Rocket GTO. Bloomquist was third in his Miller Brothers Coal/Vic Hill Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Chevrolet. Brady Smith claimed the fourth spot in his AMSOIL/Vic Hill Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo and Casebolt, who claimed the Edelbrock Hard Charger of the Race Award grabbed fifth after starting 18th in the Dale Beitler/Reliable Painting/Rocket GTO.
Completing the top ten were Brandon Kinzer, Chris Madden, Vic Hill, Billy Ogle, Jr. and Dan Schlieper.
Preliminary Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series action saw Ricky Arms take the LifeLong Locks Fast Time Award with a fast lap of 12.089 seconds among the near Tazewell record 40 entries. The all-time record car count for the track is 41 Late Models. The Hawk Brake and Quarter Master Heat Race sponsored heat races were won by Steve Smith, Scott James, Jimmy Owens and Vic Hill. The Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno and Penske Shocks B-mains were taken by Ray Cook and Steve Casebolt. The K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race went to Billy Drake and the Allstar Performance Performer of the Race was awarded to Scott James.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Tazewell Speedway-Tazewell. TN
Friday Night, July 6, 2007
LifeLong Locks Fast Time: Ricky Arms 12.089 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Steve Smith, Rick Rogers, Justin Rattliff, Rodney Kiker, Ray Cook, David Crabtree, Tommy Bailey, Ricky Arms, Randy Weaver, Freddy Smith
Quarter Master Second Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Scott James, Brandon Kinzer, Scott Bloomquist, Billy Ogle, Jr., Earl Pearson, Jr., Anthony White, Brad Neat, Billy Drake, Michael Chilton, Shane Roberts
Hawk Brake Third Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Jimmy Owens, Brady Smith, Donnie Moran, Brad Hall, Brian Smith, John Blankenship, David Payne, Jason Trammell, Jeff Neubert, Jeff Wolfenbarger
Quarter Master Fourth Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Vic Hill, Dale McDowell, Dan Schlieper, Chris Madden, Steve Casebolt, Terry English, Tommy Kerr, Troy Eads, Damon Eller, Eric Wells
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main: (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Ray Cook, Anthony White, David Crabtree, Freddy Smith, Tommy Bailey, Brad Neat, Earl Pearson, Jr.
Penske Shocks Second B-Main: (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Steve Casebolt, John Blankenship, Terry English, Tommy Kerr, Brian Smith, David Payne, Damon Eller, Jeff Wolfenbarger, Jeff Neubert, Jason Trammell, Eric Wells, Billy Drake
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series “Toyota of Knoxville 75” Feature Finish: (75 Laps) Jimmy Owens, Scott James, Scott Bloomquist, Brady Smith, Steve Casebolt, Brandon Kinzer, Chris Madden, Vic Hill, Billy Ogle, Jr., Dan Schlieper, Justin Rattliff, Donnie Moran, Rick Rogers, Terry English, John Blankenship, Earl Pearson, Jr., Damon Eller, Steve Smith, Anthony White, Brad Hall, Ray Cook, Rodney Kiker, David Crabtree, Dale McDowell
Yellow Flags: 3
Red Flags: 0
Lap Leaders: Jimmy Owens 1-75
Edelbrock Hard Charger Award: Steve Casebolt (Started 18th and Finished 5th-Advanced 13 Positions)
K&N Clean Pass of the Race Award: Billy Drake
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Scott James
Comp Cams Rookie of the Race: Justin Rattliff
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Terry English and Damon Eller
Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings (After July 6, 2007)
Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series COMP Cams Rookie of the Year Points Standings (After July 6, 2007)