FAYETTEVILLE, NC (June 22, 2007)-Before one of the largest recorded crowds in the history of Fayetteville Motor Speedway Jeff Smith of Dallas, NC became the 13th different winner in 17 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events as Smith snapped Jimmy Owens’ two race series win streak on Friday Night. For Smith it was his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory as he earned $10,000 for the win which was his fifth consecutive at the track. Smith took the lead on the 14th lap from Owens and then held off all of the challenges that Owens had to offer. Owens who had won the two previous Lucas Oil events at North Georgia and Talladega Short Track finished second followed by Earl Pearson, Jr., Randle Chupp and Jeremy Clements.
With the four heat race winners redrawing for the first two rows in the main event Chupp and Owens would draw the front row for the 50 lap race. Chupp would get the good jump at the start of the race which was negated when Bodine Massengill spun in turn number one. On the next start Owens would be the driver who got the advantage heading into turn one grabbing the lead over Chupp, Jeff Smith, Pearson and Scott Autry.
Smith, who started on the outside of the second row vaulted into second past Chupp on the second circuit as he quickly would run down Owens who had built a slight lead over the field. Owens and Smith would start to pull away from the third place running Chupp and Pearson who was still in fourth.
By the eighth lap Owens and Smith started to pick up the tail end of the field with Smith all over Owens trying to find an avenue around him. As the two frontrunners raced through the traffic Smith would be able to find some running room to pass Owens for the lead coming off of turn number two on lap 14. Two laps later the first caution of the race came out for G.R. Smith.
With 15 laps in the books Smith would be out in front on the Delaware double file restart with Owens and Chupp lined up door to door. When the green flew to restart the race Chupp would be the benefactor of the double file restart as he moved his car into the second slot behind Smith just as the yellow came out this time for Scott Neighbors.
On the ensuing restart Smith would still have the lead with Chupp and Owens lined up side by side. This time Owens would not let Chupp get the jump on him as he powered his car to the inside heading into turn number one retaking the second spot. At this same time leading COMP Cams Rookie of the Year candidate Justin Rattliff would enter the top five for the first time passing Autry.
With 25 laps scored it was still Smith much to the enjoyment of the partisan crowd on hand as he was bidding to upset many of the top stars in dirt late model racing. Owens was grinding away in second staying right on Smith’s bumper with Chupp and Pearson running nose to tail in their own personal race for third. Caution number four would come out on lap 38 for Billy Drake’s flat tire and on the restart a pileup in turn number one would halt the action once more.
The race for the lead was a good one as Smith and Owens would fight it out tooth and nail with Owens pulling alongside the left rear quarter panel of Smith comingoff of turn number two and exiting the fourth corner, but Owens was never able to officially lead another lap in the race.
With ten laps remaining the tremendous tussle for the point was still going on with Smith holding never more than a car length advantage over Owens with Chupp and Pearson fighting it out for third as those two drivers were starting to track down the leaders in the waning laps of the race.
When the five to go signal was given Owens was tucked right in behind Smith as he was trying to drive his car harder into the turns hoping he would come out of the turn with the momentum to pass Smith on the inside. But Smith was having none of it as Smith was able to keep his car in front of Owens at all times.
Misfortune would strike the fifth place running Rattliff as he developed a flat tire on lap 47 bringing out the final caution of the race. There would now be a four lap shootout to determine the winner with Smith, Owens and Pearson, who was up to third now as he had gotten around Chupp after a nearly race long hard fought battle.
With the white flag waving Owens would have one more shot on Smith as he drove into turn one harder than he had the entire race as he kept it clean not bumping Smith, but Smith held his line nicely and would get the run off of turn number two that would be the key to defeating Owens as Owens would make one last stab coming of the final corner but Smith would have enough of a lead that he was able to beat Owens to the line winning by just one car length for his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series triumph in his Starlets Trucking/Norton Stereo/Creative Bridge Design/Banks Brokerage/VP Racing Fuels/J&J Race Cars/AFCO/American Racer Tires shod Gaerte powered Rocket Impala SS.
In victory lane a huge smile was still evident on the 41 year old son of racing legend Freddy Smith, who was on hand in the post race celebration celebration. The soft spoken Smith thanked Jack Starrette, his crew and all of the fans that came out to watch the first ever Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at Fayetteville. “Oh man that was tough, Jimmy was right there all the way and our car have just been so good here lately I can’t believe that we’ve won five in a row here and to beat these guys that are something special.” In Smith’s career he had two previous $10,000 victories and both had come at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC. It also marked the third win in five series races for American Racer Tires, a tire choice that Smith has run for quite some time. “The American Racers really performed well tonight, we’ve got this track pretty well figured out with them and I can’t thank them enough for their support.”
Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN in his Mike Reece/Reece Monuments/Bloomquist Race Cars Fusion took second place money followed by Earl Pearson, Jr. of Jacksonville, FL in the Bobby Labonte Racing/LifeLong Locks/MasterSbilt Charger. Fourth place was Randle Chupp from Troutman, NC in the Premier Motorsports/Starrette Trucking/Rocket Monte Carlo with a career best Lucas Oil finish for ARCA/REMAX driver Jeremy Clements of Spartanburg, SC in the Hamrick’s of Gaffney/Bloomquist Race Cars entry.
Completing the top ten were Scott James, Terry English, Scott Bloomquist, Dan Schlieper and Damon Eller.
Jimmy Owens was the LifeLong Locks Fast Time Award winner with a lap of 18.114 seconds around the 4/10ths size track. There were 38 entrants on hand. The Hawk Brake and Quarter Master Heat Race winners were Jimmy Owens, Randle Chupp, Jeff Smith and Earl Pearson, Jr. The Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno and Penske Shocks B-Main victors were Terry English and Dan Schlieper. Terry English earned the Edelbrock Hard Charger of the Race after starting 17th and finishing in seventh. Earl Pearson, Jr. would garner the K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race grabbing the third spot away from Randle Chupp near the end of the race.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Fayetteville Motor Speedway-Fayetteville, NC
Friday Night, June 22, 2007
LifeLong Locks Fast Qualifier: Jimmy Owens 18.114 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Jimmy Owens, Justin Rattliff, Scott James, Shawn Beasley, Damon Eller, Brent Robinson, J.C. Clary, Zack Cox, Freddy Smith, Derek Francis
Quarter Master Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Randle Chupp, Scott Autry, Jeremy Clements, Travis Hair, Terry English, Billy Drake, David Taylor, Brad Neat, Junior Pearce
Hawk Brake Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Jeff Smith, Donnie Moran, Scott Bloomquist, Scott Neighbors, Steve Casebolt, Michael Mason, Neal Sykes, Austin Dillon, Craig Miller
Quarter Master Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Earl Pearson, Jr., G.R. Smith, Bodine Massengill, Dean Bowen, Dan Schlieper, Timmy Blackwell, Roger Lucas, Bruce Cline, Randy Lucas
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Terry English, Damon Eller, Billy Drake, Brent Robinson, David Taylor, J.C. Clary, Junior Pearce, Brad Neat, Zack Cox
Penske Shocks Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Dan Schlieper, Steve Casebolt, Michael Mason, Timmy
Blackwell, Roger Lucas, Bruce Cline, Craig Miller, Neal Sykes, Randy Lucas, Austin Dillon
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Feature Event Finish (50 Laps): Jeff Smith, Jimmy Owens, Earl Pearson, Jr., Randle Chupp, Jeremy Clements, Scott James, Terry English, Scott Bloomquist, Dan Schlieper, Damon Eller, Billy Drake, Donnie Moran, Travis Hair, Justin Rattliff, Michael Mason, Brad Neat, Scott Neighbors, Scott Autry, Steve Casebolt, Shawn Beasley, David Taylor, Bodine Massengill, Dean Bowen, G.R. Smith, Freddy Smith
Yellow Flags: 6
Lap Leaders: Jimmy Owens 1-13, Jeff Smith 14-50
Edelbrock Hard Charger of the Race: Terry English (Started 17th and Finished 7th-Advnced 10 Positions)
K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race Award: Earl Pearson, Jr.
All-Star Performance Performer of the Race: Scott James
COMP Cams Rookie of the Race: Damon Eller
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Brad Neat and Freddy Smith
Track Provisional: David Taylor