LaSalle, IL (May 17, 2008) – The date was February 8, 2005 at East Bay Raceway Park, that was the last time Tim McCreadie of Watertown, NY stood in victory circle in a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event, well three years later after battling several laps for the lead with Brady Smith of Solon Springs, WI he would eventually pull away from Smith as he went on to take the Spring Shootout on Saturday Night at LaSalle Speedway. McCreadie’s victory enabled him to become the 11th different winner in 15 events this year on the LOLMDS tour. Smith finished second followed by ninth place starter John Blankenship of Williamson, WV, 11th starting Rick Eckert of York, PA and Steve Francis of Ashland, KY.
On a well-prepared race track, the 50 lap event saw up and coming Illinois driver Jason Feger and McCreadie start on the front row. Feger, who was seeking the first major win of his career, grabbed the lead at the start of the race with Brady Smith, McCreadie, Scott James and Francis in tow. There were only three caution flags during the race and the first came for 3-time series champion Earl Pearson Jr. who was sitting sideways on the race track on lap two to bring out the first yellow flag period.
On the restart Feger continued to show some muscle in his Bob Pierce Race Cars Chassis as McCreadie would displace Smith for second as a hotly contested race for the lead was well under way again. Smith made his car stick on the bottom of the racy ¼ mile track as he regained the second position from McCreadie two tours later.
With a spirited race for top five positioning on the track, Scott James, last year’s Lucas Oil Series points runner-up slapped the turn one wall on lap six but continued on despite loosing a couple of spots in the running order. While all eyes were on the race for the lead between Feger, Smith and McCreadie, the 2007 UMP Late Model Champion Dennis Erb Jr. was coming up through the field as the tenth place starter was up to fifth after only nine laps in the books had been recorded.
A four-car pileup in turn number two slowed the action for only the second time in the race. When the race resumed Erb was on the prowl again taking fourth from Francis but two laps into a green flag run Erb suffered a mechanical issue heading into turn number two as a huge puff of smoke was coming from his car. Erb slowed and headed off the track and back to the pits after such a strong start.
With the track cleaned up the best it could be the event saw a single-file restart this time with Feger still on the point. The talented Bloomington, IL driver kept the lead until McCreadie who was using the upper top groove on the racing surface went by him on lap 14 to take over the lead. Smith followed suite taking the runner-up spot from Feger two circuits later.
McCreadie and Smith then really turned up the heat in the race for the lead going side-by-side for several laps around the track with each other giving themselves plenty of space. Smith officially led lap 23, but a lap later McCreadie was scored in front as the race was too close to call at this point. The two continued to go wheel-to-wheel with Smith regaining the top spot by half a car length on lap 25 which marked the halfway point of the race.
It was at this time when both drivers were encountering some heavy lapped traffic in front of them and this kept the crowd’s interest at a peak. McCreadie then put two lapped cars between himself and Smith as he opened up some breathing room over Smith. McCreadie had a cushion of five lapped cars between himself and the 2007 Knoxville Late Model Nationals Champion. But Smith hung tough as he searched and found an outside lane as he swept those five other opponents setting up a clean shot at catching McCreadie.
But to McCreadie’s advantage was the fact that he too had a clear track in front of him and Smith was unable to get within striking distance of McCreadie as the former Chili Bowl Midget Winner kept a five-to-six car spread over Smith.
In the closing laps it was all McCreadie as the 34-year-old driver who burst onto the Dirt Late Model scene back in 2004 went on to score his second career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory taking home $10,000 for his efforts. Smith, in his AMSOIL/Vic Hill Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo SS, who won his first career LOLMDS event back on May 3rd at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway, settled for second at the end of the night.
Meanwhile Feger who had led the first 13 laps of the race was hanging on for dear life as he held the third spot from lap 16 until Blankenship, in the Don Blankenship/Busch Beer/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo SS passed him with five lap remaining in the race.
Feger unfortunately dropped two more spots in the final running order when Rick Eckert and Steve Francis got by him in the final handful of laps to gain the fourth and fifth place positions at the payoff window. Eckert in the Raye Vest Excavating/Custom Race Engines/C.J. Rayburn Cadillac had started 11th on the grid and Francis in the Dale Beitler Enterprises/Reliable Painting/Rocket GTO was the eighth place starter.
After doing a burnout re-entering the track McCreadie headed to the Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the first time in three years as the always excitable driver spoke of what this win meant to him. “It’s great to be back in the winner’s circle, I want to thank all the fans and everybody for coming out tonight, the track was great and you could drive anywhere out there and the car was just fantastic,” said McCreadie, who complemented his Coffey-McCreadie crew for their assistance. McCreadie’s crew chief Al Stevens won the Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race. “Al and everyone on the crew I can’t thank them enough the car was perfect,” commented McCreadie who became the seventh different winner in seven LOLMDS appearances at LaSalle.
McCreadie, the 2006 World of Outlaws Series Champion, had been spending the last year in the driver development program for Richard Childress Racing in North Carolina and had some good finishes last year in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, but due to lack of sponsorship McCreadie now appears to be back home getting his dirt program back on track. McCreadie’s #39 Rocket Impala SS is sponsored by Sweeteners Plus and has a Pro Power Engine under the hood.
Completing the top ten were Feger, Jeep VanWormer, Earl Pearson Jr., Bart Hartman and Matt Miller.
In preliminary racing action Bart Hartman was the top man in PRC Time Trials with a fast lap of 12.842 seconds among the 39 entrants on hand. Jason Feger, Tim McCreadie, Brady Smith and Scott James were heat race winners with Hartman and Brian Birkhofer notching B-Main wins.
Pearson, who had to take a provisional for the second race in a row and is still driving with a cast on his fractured right wrist climbed to within five points of Steve Casebolt in the race for the 2008 Championship. Casebolt entered the LaSalle event with a 20 point lead. Casebolt finished 11th on Saturday Night at LaSalle.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will take the Memorial Day Weekend Off and resume its $2.9 million season on Friday Night, May 30th with a first-time visit to Hilltop Speedway in Millersburg, OH for a $7,000 to win event followed the next night on Saturday Night, May 31st for the Ralph Latham Memorial at Florence Speedway in Union, KY for a LOLMDS event which pays $10,000 to the victor.
For more information on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series you can go to www.lucasdirt.com or call the series office at (951) 532-2503.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Race Summary Saturday Night, May 17, 2008 LaSalle Speedway—LaSalle, IL
PRC Fast Time: Bart Hartman/12.842 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Jason Feger, Tim Fuller, John Blankenship, Matt Miller, Bart Hartman, Frank Heckenast Jr., Billy Drake, Shane Clanton, Brian Claudnic, Tony Izzo Jr.
Hawk Brake Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Tim McCreadie, Steve Casebolt, Dennis Erb Jr., Brian Shirley, Ryan Dauber, Scott Schmitt, Wes Steidinger, Justin Rattliff, Jeremy Grady, Rich Bell
AFCO Racing Products Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Brady Smith, Kerry Hansen, Rick Eckert, Darren Miller, Brian Birkhofer, Freddy Smith, Earl Pearson Jr., Mike Mataragas, Vic Coffey, Ralph Markham
Tiger Rear Ends Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Scott James, Steve Francis, Jeep VanWormer, Wayne Chinn, John Mason, Dan Schlieper, Mark Burgtorf, Clint Smith, Terry Casey
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Bart Hartman, Ryan Dauber, Shane Clanton, Frank Heckenast Jr., Wes Steidinger, Brian Claudnic, Billy Drake, Rich Bell, Scott Schmitt, Justin Rattliff, Jeremy Grady – DNS, Tony Izzo Jr. – DNS
Quarter Master Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Brian Birkhofer, Dan Schlieper, John Mason, Freddy Smith, Clint Smith, Mark Burgtorf, Earl Pearson Jr., Mike Mataragas, Vic Coffey, Ralph Markham, Terry Casey – DNS
Spring Shootout Feature Finish (50 Laps): Tim McCreadie, Brady Smith, John Blankenship, Rick Eckert, Steve Francis, Jason Feger, Jeep VanWormer, Earl Pearson Jr., Bart Hartman, Matt Miller, Steve Casebolt, Dan Schlieper, Wayne Chinn, Scott James, Justin Rattliff, Ryan Dauber, Tim Fuller, Darren Miller, Dennis Erb Jr., Kerry Hansen, Brian Shirley, John Mason, Brian Birkhofer, Shane Clanton
Entries: 39 Caution Flags: 3 Lap Leaders: Feger 1-13, McCreadie 14-22, Smith 23, McCreadie 24, Smith 25, McCreadie 26-50Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Earl Pearson Jr., Justin RattliffPBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr. (Started 23rd and finished 8th-advanced 15 positions) Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Brady Smith K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Tim McCreadie Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: John Blankenship ASI Racewear Lucky 7 Award: Jeep VanWormer Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Al Stevens (Tim McCreadie) Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Pro Power Racing Engines Time of the Race: 30 minutes
Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings
1) Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN) 2055
2) Earl Pearson Jr. (Jacksonville, FL) 2050
3) Justin Rattliff (Campbellsville, KY) 1870
4) Bart Hartman (Zanesville, OH) 1870
5) Dan Schlieper (Sullivan, WI) 1785
6) Scott James (Lawrenceburg, IN) 1745
7) Terry Casey (New London, WI) 1670
8) Billy Drake (Bloomington, IL) 1645
9) Wayne Chinn (Bradford, OH) 1495
10) John Mason (Millersburg, OH) 1365
Quarter Master Rookie of the Year Points Standings
1) Terry Casey (New London, WI) 1670
2) Wayne Chinn (Bradford, OH) 1495
3) John Blankenship (Williamson, WV) 745
4) Eric Jacobsen (Seacliffe Beach, CA) 75
5) Tony Knowles (Tyrone, GA) 75