CALVERT CITY, KY (May 3, 2008) – Brady Smith of Solon Springs, WI captured his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win on Saturday Night at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway winning the Third Annual “99” Extravaganza. Smith grabbed the lead away from Darren Miller on a lap 20 restart and then went on to lead the rest of the way to secure the win which was worth $9,999. Billy Drake of Bloomington, IL, who took a series provisional and pulled out a back-up car rallied from the 24th starting spot to finish second followed by Miller of Chadwick, IL, Steve Casebolt of Richmond, IN and current series points leader Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL who placed fifth despite driving with a fractured right wrist.
Bart Hartman and Darren Miller got the 50 lap main event off on a resounding start as Hartman would nip Miller by inches to score the first lap of the race that would go the first ten laps without a caution flag. On the second circuit Miller would take over the point as Hartman slipped to second. Smith, who started third, remained in that position with Matt Miller and ’07 UMP Late Model Champion Dennis Erb Jr. in fifth.
Darren Miller would start to open up the lead over the field in the early going as the second place battle was getting real interesting as Hartman and Smith raced side-by-side for two circuits until Smith cleared Hartman to take over second. Erb then moved up one spot sliding into the fourth spot by Matt Miller.
The first caution appeared right after the tenth lapped was scored as it was for a slowing Kevin Claycomb. With the fast and furious action on the track slowed for the first time 23 of the original 24 starters were still on the race track with Kevin Cole being the only driver out of the race.
On the restart Darren Miller exploded to a six car length advantage over Smith and Hartman who put on quite a spirited race for second. The race shaped up to be a dandy as two and three wide racing toke place throughout the field. The second caution came out on lap 19 for fourth-place running Matt Miller who slowed and headed pit side for a tire change returning in time for the restart.
The great racing action the fans were witnessing saw a dramatic turn of events up front on the ensuing restart. With 22 of the 24 starters still around and all on the lead lap, Smith made a bold move in turn two as Darren Miller slipped up the track ever so slightly allowing Smith to get by to take over the lead.
With Smith now holding the point the race went eight consecutive laps of green flag racing with Darren Miller hanging on for second with Hartman, Erb and Jimmy Owens in hot pursuit. The fourth caution came out on lap 28 for Scott James who stopped up against the retaining wall heading into turn number one.
On the restart Don O’Neal who started dead last after missing the 10-minute lineup call roared through the field and with the help of caution flags and double-file restarts he was up to second by lap 29 challenging Smith for the lead as Erb moved into third.
With 20 laps to go the running order were Smith, O’Neal, Erb, Darren Miller and Earl Pearson Jr. who was driving in his first race since suffering a fractured wrist back on April 19th calmly running in the fifth slot.
With 31 terrific laps of racing in the books the race turned into a caution-fest starting with the completion of lap 32. O’Neal’s strong run to the front went go by the wayside as he suffered a flat tire. There were four straight yellows waving trying to restart for lap 33.
While all of this was going on, Smith kept his lead with Darren Miller moving back into second place as Erb, Pearson and now 24th starting Billy Drake in fifth. On the green flag restart Darren Miller slipped two spots back to fourth as Erb and Drake now set their sights on Smith as they grabbed the second and third positions in a New York minute.
But Darren Miller was not giving up as easily as he stormed back to second after a side-by-side tussle with Erb and Drake as Justin Rattliff made his first appearance in the top five for the first time nabbing fifth from Pearson.
With 40 laps in the books Bart Hartman brought out caution number eleven as he spun his mount in turn number four while running in sixth. Two laps later Brad Neat slowed, bringing out caution number ten with 42 scored and upon restart fourth place runner Wayne Chinn broke, ending a solid run on his part.
An eight lap shootout to the finish was now set up for Smith. With a clear race track in front of him, he still had to look over his shoulder as Drake, Darren Miller, Casebolt and Pearson took their final jabs at him.
With Smith’s car handling any groove he wanted, and despite a valiant effort by Drake, he would hold the field off to secure his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory. With his victory at KLMS, Smith becomes the eight different winner in the first 12 events the series has conducted in 2008.
“It’s been a long-time coming,” said the 30-year-old racer after the race as he stood in the Lucas Oil victory lane. “I first off want to thank the series for doing such a great job and Lucas Oil for their involvement in the sport, I’ve got to thank AMSOIL, Big Red Motorsports and Mid-States Equipment for their support of the race team, it’s great to win a race like this against the competition that was here tonight.”
“Darren Miller is a great race car driver and he pushed up their a little bit in turn two and we were able to get around him,” commented Smith on the pass for the lead of the race which he never would relinquish. “The track conditions were really impressive considering all the rain they had here yesterday (Friday), you could run anywhere out there and again we’re glad to be in the winner’s circle.”
Smith, who captured the WDRL title back in 2004, concluded by recalling a tip from his chassis builder (Scott Bloomquist), “I talked to him earlier in the evening and he gave me some set-up tips and they worked to perfection and I also have to thank my engine builder Vic Hill for such a great powerplant.”
Besides the aforementioned sponsorship help Smith’s number two ride is also sponsored by Willow River Saloon, Rick Gondik Attorney, Hood Loaders and Slashers, McFarland Pain Clinic, Como Oil and Propane, Matthees Enterprises and VP Racing Fuels.
Drake’s brilliant run for his provisional starting 24th spot came aboard his Creative Kitchens and Baths/Mullvain Motorsports/MasterSbilt GTO. Miller in his NAPA/Pro Power Engines/Moyer Victory Circle Chassis led 18 laps during the race came home third followed by Casebolt, who pitted several times during the race but recovered nicely for a fourth place finish in his Dixie Chopper/Cornett Engines/Rocket GTO. Pearson maintains his points lead over Casebolt as he took fifth in the Bobby Labonte Racing/LifeLong Locks/MasterSbilt Dodge Charger.
Completing the top ten were Terry English, Matt Miller, Wes Steidinger, Justin Rattliff and Jimmy Owens.
In preliminary action Dan Schlieper set fast time in the PRC Time Trials with a lap of 15.259 seconds. Bart Hartman, Darren Miller, Matt Miller and Brady Smith won heat races with Wes Steidinger and Terry English capturing B-main triumphs.
The next Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event is slated for Friday and Saturday, May 9th and 10th with the $40,000 to win Second Annual SuperClean “Diamond Nationals” at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO. With a purse exceeding $133,000 the event is drawing interest from all the top racers in dirt late model racing. For more information on the Second Annual SuperClean “Diamond Nationals,” or the open practice session for all competitors slated for Thursday, May 8th, go to www.LucasOilSpeedway.com or check out www.lucasdirt.com.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Saturday Night, May 3, 2008 Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway-Calvert City, KY
PRC Fast Time: Dan Schlieper/15.259 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (9 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Bart Hartman, Dan Schlieper, Brad Neat, Steve Casebolt, Jeff Walston, Jason Feger, Shon Flanary, Dylan Thompson, Todd Hall, Fred Perry, Joe Mike - DNS
Hawk Brake Second Heat (9 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Darren Miller, Kevin Cole, Terry Casey, Don O'Neal, Wes Steidinger, John Mason, Billy Drake, Tait Davenport, Ricky Gilbert, Justin Rattliff, Credence Mott - DNS
AFCO Racing Products Third Heat (9 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Matt Miller, Jimmy Owens, Scott James, Freddy Smith, Terry English, Kevin Claycomb, James Ward, Richie Hedrick, David Earl Gentry, Jason McBride, Don Edwards
Tiger Rear Ends Fourth Heat (9 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Brady Smith, Dennis Erb Jr., Earl Pearson Jr., Donnie Moran, Wayne Chinn, Frank Heckenast Jr., Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, Matt Potter, William Simmons, John Tindal
Mason Racin' Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Wes Steidinger, Jeff Walston, John Mason, Jason Feger, Todd Hall, Shon Flanary, Tait Davenport, Dylan Thompson, Joe Mike, Fred Perry, Billy Drake - DNS, Justin Rattliff - DNS, Credence Mott - DNS
Quarter Master Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Terry English, Wayne Chinn, Kevin Claycomb, Frank Heckenast Jr., James Ward, Richie Hedrick, Jason McBride, John Tindal, Matt Potter, Ricky Gilbert, William Simmons, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth - DNS, David Earl Gentry - DNS, Don Edwards - DNS
3rd Annual "99" Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Feature Finish (50 Laps): Brady Smith, Billy Drake, Darren Miller, Steve Casebolt, Earl Pearson Jr., Terry English, Matt Miller, Wes Steidinger, Justin Rattliff, Jimmy Owens, Dennis Erb Jr., John Mason, Wayne Chinn, Jeff Walston, Brad Neat, Bart Hartman, Dan Schlieper, Don O'Neal, Kevin Claycomb, Scott James, Terry Casey, Donnie Moran, Freddy Smith, Kevin Cole
Entries: 43 Caution Flags: 11 Lap Leaders: Darren Miller 1-19, Brady Smith 20-50Series Provisionals: Justin Rattliff, Billy DrakePBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Billy Drake (Started 24th and finished 2nd-advanced 22 positions) Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Billy Drake K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Brady Smith Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: Wayne Chinn ASI Racewear Lucky 7 Award: Matt Miller Integra Crew Chief of the Race: Eric Fulwood (Billy Drake) Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Vic Hill Racing Engines Time of the Race: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings
1) Earl Pearson Jr. (Jacksonville, FL) 1515
2) Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN) 1470
3) Terry Casey (New London, WI) 1430
4) Justin Rattliff (Campbellsville, KY) 1400
5) Bart Hartman (Zanesville, OH) 1370
6) Donnie Moran (Dresden, OH) 1320
7) Dan Schlieper (Sullivan, WI) 1265
8) Billy Drake (Bloomington, IL) 1255
9) Scott James (Lawrenceburg, IN) 1225
10) Wayne Chinn (Bradford, OH) 1130
Quarter Master Rookie of the Year Points Standings
1) Terry Casey (New London, WI) 1430
2) Wayne Chinn (Bradford, OH) 1130
3) John Blankenship (Williamson, WV) 360
4) Eric Jacobsen (Seacliffe Beach, CA) 75
5) Tony Knowles (Tyrone, GA) 75