ROME, GA (October 3, 2008)- Earl Pearson, Jr. of Jacksonville, FL won his fourth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event of 2008 on Friday Night at Rome Speedway as he captured the $10,000 to win “Rome Rumble.” Pearson, driving for NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte grabbed the lead for good on lap eight as he went on to a convincing victory. Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, GA who started seventh climbed to second at the finish; followed by Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN; 16th starting Clint Smith of Senoia, GA; and 24th starting Justin Rattliff of Campbellsville, KY who stormed from the tail to place fifth just ahead of Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR.
Pearson, who has clinched the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship for the fourth consecutive season, started third in the 50 lapper as Chris Madden led the first four laps of the race. Madden and Pearson then went door to door for two laps for the lead as Pearson led laps five and six until Madden got back around him on lap seven.
Pearson was not done, as he was determined to regain the top spot and went around Madden for the lead on lap eight with Moyer joining in the hunt, making it a three-car tussle for the lead. Pearson then built a five-car advantage over Moyer as the cars of Madden, McDowell, and Owens were battling three-wide for third. McDowell made one of the best moves of the race as he went from fourth to second in one circuit by the 12th lap.
McDowell quickly tracked down Pearson, cutting a good-size lead to two lengths when a caution flew for Scott Bloomquist on lap 15. On the restart, Pearson was maintaining the point with McDowell, Moyer, Owens, and now Shannon Babb in the top five of the running order.
Pearson, with traffic just ahead of him, would see McDowell close on the left-rear quarter panel of his red #44 car. McDowell was making ready, a move to take over the lead, but a caution on the 24th lap would halt his momentum.
On the restart, Pearson again showed his strength as he pulled away from McDowell and Moyer as Owens and Clint Smith would race side-by-side for several laps in a row in a stirring battle for fourth and fifth.
The fourth caution of the race would appear on lap 34 for a slowing Tommy Kerr. Pearson kept his string alive of solid restarts as once again he bolted out to a three-car lead over Moyer would had gotten around McDowell on the restart. The top three of Pearson, Moyer and McDowell started to distance themselves from Owens and Smith who continued to go at it tooth and nail for fourth.
With ten laps to go Pearson had a comfortable four car length advantage over Moyer and it appeared he was headed to victory lane. But with five laps to go, the distance between the two combatants remained the same and one final caution came out on lap 45 for Steve Casebolt, set up the final dash to the finish.
Pearson, just as he had done all race long was solid on the restart and that was all he needed one more time as he sprinted to the finish line for his 14th career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series main event win in the Larry Wallace Racing Engines, LifeLong Locks, Lucas Oil Products, Sunoco Race Fuels and Ohlins sponsored MasterSbilt Dodge Charger.
In the Lucas Oil victory Pearson was highly complementary of his crew, the car, Bobby Labonte and the racetrack. “The car was just tremendous tonight, I can’t thank my crew enough, Randall, Matt, Keith and Devine for the job they are doing getting this car ready to race each and every time, the track was excellent tonight, you could run anywhere on it and I want to thank Bobby Labonte for all of his help, I’m sure he will be happy with results here tonight,” said the 36 year-old second generation racer.
McDowell, with another strong finish in the Goddard Performance Parts/Custom Race Engines/ Warrior House Car would cross the line in second followed by Owens in the Mike Reece/Reece Monuments/Bloomquist Race Cars Ford took third with Smith coming from 16th to place fourth in the Cliburn Tank Lines/RaceTek Race Engines/GRT GTO with Justin Rattliff, who took a provisional and started the race because Terry Casey wasn’t able to make the grid due to mechanical problems, passed Moyer on the final lap to nab fifth in the Michael England/Belterra Casino/Pro Power Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo SS.
Completing the top ten were Moyer, Brian Shirley, Shannon Babb, Billy Drake and Eric Jacobsen.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will wrap its 2008 racing season on Saturday Night, October 4th with the 19th Annual Lucas Oil Dixie Shootout paying $15,000 to win at the Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, GA. For more information you can log onto www.dixiespeedway.com.
For the latest information on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, visit www.lucasdirt.com or call the series office at (951) 532-2503.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Friday Night, October 3, 2008
Rome Speedway – Rome, GA
PRC Fast Time: Billy Moyer/ 12.789 seconds (New Track Record)
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Billy Moyer, Jimmy Owens, Dale McDowell, Travis Pennington, Aaron Ridley, Eric Jacobson, Steve Casebolt, Freddy Smith, Tony Knowles, Ray Cook, David Payne, Jeff Webber, Vernon Smith-DNS, Danny Ferguson-DNS
Hawk Brake Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Shane Clanton, Bart Hartman, Casey Roberts, Scott Bloomquist, Terry Casey, Jake Knowles, Michael England, Frank Ingram, Jason Fitzgerald, Justin Rattliff, Robert Gant, Dan Schlieper, Tim Day, Scott Hall
AFCO Racing Products Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Chris Madden, Wendell Wallace, Tommy Kerr, Wayne Chinn, Scott James, Billy Ogle, Brian Shirley, Randy Weaver, Don O’Neal, Ricky Williams, Jeffery Fields, Lee Sutton, Don Jenkins, George Mashburn
Tiger Rear Ends Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Earl Pearson Jr., Billy Drake, Shannon Babb, Clint Smith, Josh McGuire, Buster Goss, John Mason, Dillon Wood, Wayne Echols, Jason Smith, Luther Jenkins, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth-DNS, Anthony Hill-DNS
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Aaron Ridley, Eric Jacobsen, Terry Casey, Steve Casebolt, Michael England, Tony Knowles, Ray Cook, Justin Rattliff, Freddy Smith, Jason Fitzgerald, David Payne, Jake Knowles, Robert Gant, Scott Hall, Frank Ingram Tim Day, Vernon Smith-DNS, Danny Ferguson-DNS
Quarter Master Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Josh McGuire, Billy Ogle, Brian Shirley, Scott James, Don O’Neal, Ricky Williams, Dillon Wood, Wayne Echols, Jason Smith, Don Jenkins, Lee Sutton, John Mason, JJ Nye, George Mashburn
Rome Rumble Feature Finish (50 Laps): Earl Pearson Jr., Dale McDowell, Jimmy Owens, Clint Smith, Justin Rattliff, Billy Moyer, Brian Shirley, Shannon Babb, Billy Drake, Eric Jacobsen, Casey Roberts, Scott James, Aaron Ridley, Chris Madden, Steve Casebolt, Billy Ogle, Bart Hartman, Scott Bloomquist, Travis Pennington, Tommy Kerr, Josh McGuire, Wayne Chinn, Wendell Wallace, Shane Clanton.
Caution Flags: 5; Lap 8 Billy Ogle, Lap 15 Scott Bloomquist, Lap 24 Wayne Chinn, Lap 34 Tommy Kerr, Lap 45 Steve Casebolt.
Lap Leaders: Chris Madden 1-4, Earl Pearson Jr. 5-6, Chris Madden 7, Earl Pearson Jr. 8-50
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Scott James, Justin Rattliff
PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Justin Rattliff
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Clint Smith
K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Dale McDowell
Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: Eric Jacobsen
ASI Racewear Lucky 7 Award: Brian Shirley
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Jeff Gullett
Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Larry Wallace Racing Engines
Time of the Race: 31
Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings
1) Earl Pearson Jr. (Jacksonvile, FL) 7060
2) Bart Hartman (Zanesville, OH) 6245
3) Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN) 6175
4) Billy Drake (Bloomington, IL) 5710
5) Scott James (Lawrenceburg, IN) 5430
6) Justin Rattliff (Campbellsville, KY) 5390
7) Terry Casey (New London, WI) 5340
8) Dan Schlieper (Sullivan, WI) 5225
9) Freddy Smith (Seymour, TN) 4860
10) Wayne Chinn (Bradford, OH) 4535
Quarter Master Rookie of the Year Points Standings
1) Terry Casey (New London, WI) 5340
2) Wayne Chinn (Bradford, OH) 4535
3) John Blankenship (Williamson, WV) 1060
4) Tony Knowles (Tyrone, GA) 615