BULLS GAP, TN (July 5, 2008) - Scoring his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win since his victory at Golden Isles back in early April; 3-time and reigning LOLMDS National Champion Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL passed Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN with eight laps remaining as he went on to win the Toyota Tundra 60 on Saturday Night at Volunteer Speedway. Owens then handed over second place to Dale McDowell after Owens and a lapped car got into it, just after Pearson had passed him for the lead. Trailing Pearson and McDowell across the finish line were Chad Ogle of Sevierville, TN, Rick Rogers from Knoxville, TN and Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series regular Bart Hartman of Zanesville, OH.
Rogers and McDowell would start on the front row of the 60 lap main event, with chief starter Kelley Carlton waving the green flag to begin the $10,000 to win race. McDowell would take his Rocket Chassis to the point on the first lap with third-place starter Jimmy Owens edging by Rogers to take second place with one lap in the books.
McDowell, the former World 100 and Hav-A-Tampa Series Champion set sail in the early going as he stretched his lead to six-car lengths by the fourth circuit. The top five with five laps in the books were McDowell, Owens, Rogers, Scott Bloomquist and Chris Madden. With McDowell in control of the race, he would start to encounter some lapped traffic by the ninth lap which would impede him just enough that Owens was able to cut his lead down.
McDowell would maintain a six-to-seven car length advantage despite contending with lapped traffic for four laps until Owens sliced it to three lengths with 14 laps recorded. Owens, then, was all over McDowell as he closed right on his left rear quarter panel a lap later. Owens made a successful pass for the lead overhauling McDowell in heavy traffic on lap 16.
Owens opened up some distance between himself and McDowell as Bloomquist was now putting the pressure on McDowell after Bloomquist had battled with Rogers for the first 17 laps until he was finally able to overtake the veteran driver on the 18th lap.
Bloomquist continued to hound McDowell as Owens continued to show domination out in front. Chris Madden began to make some moves as he passed Rogers for fourth on the 22nd lap as he put himself in contention as he closed quickly on the race on front of him for second between McDowell and Bloomquist.
Bloomquist would move into second around McDowell on lap 24 and then without much hesitation he would rapidly gain ground on Owens, as Owens was entering more lapped traffic as the race was caution-free up until this point. Owens would put two lapped cars between himself and Bloomquist giving him some cushion as the halfway-mark approached.
With 30 laps down Owens still held the point with Bloomquist, McDowell, Madden and Rogers in the top five running order. Bloomquist would make quick work of the two lapped cars between he and Owens as the 2008 Eldora Dirt Late Model Dream winner closed right on the rear deck lid of Owens’ car.
Coming off of turn four on lap 36 the front of the field would suddenly bunch up in traffic as Madden apparently laid down some fluids on the track which forced the drivers to take evasive action which almost caused a major pileup. Madden would take his smoking car to the pits relinquishing his fourth place running position.
On the restart Owens would be out in front for the Delaware double-file restart with Bloomquist and McDowell lined up side-by-side behind him. Bloomquist would be on the outside for the restart and has he accelerated into the first turn he hopped the cushion and slid into the wall with the right front of his car. Bloomquist would slid down the track just enough as Dan Schlieper would clip the rear of Bloomquist’ car causing further damage. Both cars were done for the night along with Joe Armes’ mount that stopped in turn two along with Brad Neat.
So with one of his main competitors (Bloomquist) out of the race Owens would see the green flag to restart race as the fans were treated to another side-by-side tussle between McDowell and Pearson, who had started seventh in the field. Pearson was able to clear McDowell on lap 37 to take over the second spot.
Owens extended his lead to three lengths with 20 laps to go and moments later it was a six car length lead as Owens was cruising around the 4/10ths mile track with little difficulty. With 15 laps to go it was a solid lead for the ’07 World 100 winner, but seemingly in an instance Pearson got the Bobby Labonte Racing #44 up to speed as the widdled down Owens’ lead in a heartbeat as he closed to within a two-car length deficit with 13 laps to go.
Pearson then got right on Owens’ left rear quarter panel and when Owens slid up the track entering turn four on lap 52 that open the door for Pearson to go the inside of Owens and pass him for the lead. Both Pearson and Owens were contending with a lapped car for several laps and just when Pearson made the move to pass Owens, Owens would get together with the lapped car ramping over the left rear of that car which caused damage to the right front of Owens’ mount and that would end any hopes that Owens had for the win as he slowed on the track and went pitside.
On the restart, Pearson would hold the point for the first time in the event, but a caution after the restart for Vic Hill and Mark Vineyard would slow the field one more time. Hill who was running sixth at the time did a 360 in turn four and kept his position in the race as he did not stop on the race track.
That would be the last caution of the race and Pearson was up to the task of holding a comfortable lead the rest of the way as he would go on to record his 12th career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory and his second of 2008.
In the Lucas Oil Victory Lane, Pearson was relieved the race was over after seeing two top contenders (Owens and Bloomquist) not finish the race. “It’s been a long-time coming, our crew has worked their rear ends off, it’s been an up and down season, I’ve flipped, got knocked out and broke my wrist. This is the car that Bobby (Labonte) drove in the Prelude and it ran so good I think I’ll just keep on racing this car so maybe I won’t give it back to him to drive,” said the 36-year old who is in his second year driving for the 2000 NASCAR Champion. “Those Bloomquist cars are always tough here, I’m not sure what happened to Bloomquist out there, but with Jimmy, he’s a great driver as well and we had a good race with him and you hate to see what happened to him, but we were just in the right place at the right time tonight, I’ve got to thank my crew Randall, Matt and Keith for the great job they do and thanks to all the fans that came out tonight, I hope they enjoyed the show.”
The Bobby Labonte Racing Team #44 based out of Archdale, NC is sponsored by LifeLong Locks, Lucas Oil Products and Sunoco Race Fuels as he MasterSbilt Dodge Charger is powered by a Larry Wallace Racing Engines.
McDowell of Chickamauga, GA finished second in the Base Racing Fuels/Clements Engines/Rocket followed by Chad Ogle who was making his first career LOLMDS start in his Sammy’s Hardware Store/AFCO/GRT Monte Carlo. Completing the top five were Rick Rogers in the Greeneville Forest Products/Vic Hill Racing Engines/Warrior Monte Carlo as ninth-place starter Bart Hartman in the Imler’s Poultry/Cornett Engines/Rocket Monte Carlo came home fifth.
Completing the top ten were 14th starting Shanon Buckingham, Tommy Kerr, Vic Hill, Ray Cook and Mark Vineyard.
In preliminary racing action Jimmy Owens was the PRC Fast Timer in qualifications with a lap of 12.298 seconds among the 44 entrants on hand. The heat races were won by Owens, Dale McDowell, Scott Bloomquist and Rick Rogers. The B-mains went to Tommy Kerr and Dan Schlieper.
In the first B-main of the night LOLMDS driver John Mason of Millersburg, OH was involved in a mishap on the main straightaway that left the Hall of Famer suffering from concussion like symptoms after he took a hard hit in the wreck which knocked one of the wheels off the car. He was later transported to an area hospital in Greeneville, TN. Mason had complained of arm and neck pain at the track, but x-rays proved negative on those. The results of a cat-scan showed that Mason had sustained a concussion, with doctors releasing him shortly after.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will be back on the track Sunday Night, July 6th at Tazewell Speedway in Tazewell, TN for the Toyota Knoxville 75. The event was originally scheduled for Friday Night but persistent rain showers forced the event to be postponed until Sunday Night. For more information you can go to www.tazewellspeedway.net.
To find out more about the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, log on to www.lucasdirt.com or call the series office at (951) 532-2503.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Saturday Night, July 5, 2008
Volunteer Speedway – Bulls Gap, TN
PRC Fast Time: Jimmy Owens/12.298 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Jimmy Owens, Chris Madden, Bart Hartman, Joe Armes, Tommy Kerr, Scott James, John Mason, Brad Neat, Brad Hall, Jeff Maupin – DNS
Hawk Brake Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Dale McDowell, Billy Ogle Jr., Vic Hill, Shanon Buckingham. Steve Casebolt, Bryan Hendrix, Wayne Chinn, Randy Weaver, Herman Goddard, Bobby Giffin, J. Allan, Roger Best
AFCO Racing Products Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Scott Bloomquist, Earl Pearson Jr., Ray Cook, John Gill, Michael Smith, Mark Vineyard, Brad Coffey, Steve Smith, Bobby Mays, Mike Jackson, Terry Casey
Tiger Rear Ends Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Rick Rogers, Shane Roberts, Chad Ogle, Justin Rattliff, Dan Schlieper, Billy Drake, Kerry Jones, Freddy Smith, Jeff Wolfenbarger, John King, Anthony White – DNS
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Tommy Kerr, Bryan Hendrix, Brad Neat, Steve Casebolt, Scott James, Wayne Chinn, Bobby Giffin. Brad Hall, John Mason, Herman Goddard, J. Allan, Randy Weaver – DNS, Roger Best – DNS, Jeff Maupin – DNS
Quarter Master Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Dan Schlieper, Michael Smith, Mark Vineyard, Billy Drake, Freddy Smith, John King, Mike Jackson, Jeff Wolfenbarger, Brad Coffey, Bobby Mays, Steve Smith, Kerry Jones, Terry Casey, Anthony White – DNS
“Toyota Tundra 60” Feature Finish (60 Laps): Earl Pearson Jr., Dale McDowell, Chad Ogle, Rick Rogers, Bart Hartman, Shanon Buckingham, Tommy Kerr, Vic Hill, Ray Cook, Mark Vineyard, Billy Drake, Steve Casebolt, John Gill, Shane Roberts, Michael Smith, Justin Rattliff, Jimmy Owens, Bryan Hendrix, Brad Neat, Scott Bloomquist, Dan Schlieper, Joe Armes, Chris Madden, Billy Ogle Jr.
Caution Flags: 4
Lap Leaders: Dale McDowell 1-15, Jimmy Owens 16-52, Earl Pearson Jr. 53-60
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Steve Casebolt, Billy Drake
PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Billy Drake (Started 24th and finished 11th-advanced 13 positions)
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Dale McDowell
K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr.
Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: none
ASI Racewear Lucky 7 Award: Tommy Kerr
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Eric Fulwood (Billy Drake)
Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Larry Wallace Racing Engines
Time of the Race: 35 minutes
Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings
1) Earl Pearson Jr. (Jacksonville, FL) 3665
2) Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN) 3500
3) Bart Hartman (Zanesville, OH) 3370
4) Dan Schlieper (Sullivan, WI) 3230
5) Justin Rattliff (Campbellsville, KY) 3220
6) Billy Drake (Bloomington, IL) 3075
7) Scott James (Lawrenceburg, IN) 3015
8) Terry Casey (New London, WI) 2880
9) Freddy Smith (Seymour, TN) 2630
10) Wayne Chinn (Bradford, OH) 2425
Quarter Master Rookie of the Year Points Standings
1) Terry Casey (New London, WI) 2880
2) Wayne Chinn (Bradford, OH) 2425
3) John Blankenship (Williamson, WV) 745
4) Tony Knowles (Tyrone, GA) 425
5) Eric Jacobsen (Seacliffe Beach, CA) 245