WHEATLAND, MO (July 18, 2009) – Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL withstood the challenges of Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN to win his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series race of 2009. The series 4-time champion earned $10,000 for himself and his car owner, NASCAR’s Bobby Labonte on Saturday Night in the CMH Late Model Showdown at Lucas Oil Speedway. In the event co-sanctioned with the O’Reilly MLRA Late Models, Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, WI finished third followed by John Anderson of Omaha, NE; and Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, GA who earned the PBM Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race for finishing fifth after starting 17th.
Current Quarter Master Rookie of the Year contender John Blankenship started on the pole alongside Anderson, the defending MLRA Champion. Anderson jumped to a quick lead as he bolted away to immediately put three car lengths between himself the second place running car of Blankenship.
With Anderson building a commanding lead early on, the first caution of the race came out on lap six for debris betweens turns one and two. This wiped out Anderson’s big lead which had grown to six car lengths. Anderson restarted on the front with the Delaware double –file restarts in order with Blankenship and Wendell Wallace lined up side-by-side for the restart.
On the restart Anderson saw Wallace make the move for the lead passing at the line for the race lead on lap eight. Only one lap later Anderson regained the lead in a spirited race for the point. Wallace’s bid for his first ever Lucas Oil Series win came to a halt on lap nine as he suffered a flat tire and stopped just off of the turn one embankment bringing out the second caution of the race.
The race saw two more green flag laps when Pearson, who had started eighth in the lineup roared to the lead on lap eleven just under the wire for a caution brought out when Brad Neat looped his mount in turn two on lap eleven for caution number three.
The restart had Pearson on the point as Anderson and Mars, who had started eleventh was up to third. Mars then overhauled Anderson on the restart on lap 12 as he made his way around Anderson. Another car on the move was Don O’Neal who started ninth as he grabbed the third slot on lap 15 from Anderson.
The top three of Pearson, Mars and O’Neal remained the same in the running order as Jimmy Owens started to make some noise using the very top groove on the race track as he was coming on strong moving into fourth and around Anderson.
Owens then started to put the heat on O’Neal for third finally passing him after the two raced side-by-side for two laps. At the halfway mark Pearson held a good lead over Mars as the two started to battle through traffic. Pearson put two lapped cars between himself and Mars with 26 laps complete as he held a five car length lead at this point.
With twenty laps to go it was Pearson still showing the way over Mars, Owens, who held steady in third, with O’Neal and Anderson still the top five. The distance between the top remained the same when the fourth caution for a slowing Will Vaught, who suffered a flat tire with 34 laps in the record books.
On the restart Pearson led the field to the green, but two scored laps later on lap 36 the fifth caution of the race would come out for Dan Schlieper in turn four. On the restart there was contact between the cars of Dale McDowell, O’Neal and Bloomquist as O’Neal suffered the worst end of the chain reaction accident as he slid to a stop in turn number one as he had to restart on the tail.
The final restart of the race would still have Pearson on the point, but Owens who got the caution he was hoping for as he lined up side-by-side with Mars, the driver he had just passed before the lap 36 caution to take over second. On the restart with 14 laps to go Pearson and Owens then set up a shootout to the finish. Pearson would maintain his running line on the bottom of the racing surface and Owens would have to build up his momentum on the top groove of the track. It would take Owens a couple of laps before he pulled alongside Pearson for the lead coming off of the corners.
With five laps to Owens would pass Pearson at the flagstand to take a narrow lead, but Pearson fought back to regain the lead a lap later, Pearson then used the car of David Breazeale as a pick as he cleared Breazeale cleanly, but Owens got bogged down behind Breazeale with two laps to go and virtually sealed the deal for Pearson as he went on to pick up his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of 2009 and his first since winning the Indiana Icebreaker at Brownstown (IN) Speedway back in March.
In Lucas Oil Victory lane for the 16th time in his career which ties him all-time with Scott Bloomquist, Pearson was among several admiring fans. “The fans they saw a hell of a race, I knew he (Owens) was there all along in the last part of the race, we raced each other clean, I felt like I gave him plenty of him and he likewise, we’ve traveled up and down the road together with the Lucas Oil Series all year long and he’s tough to beat, but we were able to get by Breazeale and got him pinned in there between us and we able to hang on for the win,” said the 37-year old racer.
“I have to thank my crew Matt and Devine for all of their help, the car was just awesome out there, thanks also to Forrest Lucas for this great facility and Gary Hubert who does the track work, the track was traceable all race long and thanks to the fans for coming out here tonight, I am sure they really enjoyed themselves.”
Pearson’s Bobby Labonte Racing MasterSbilt Race Car is powered by a Larry Wallace Racing Engine and sponsored by Lucas Oil Slickmist, Sunoco Race Fuels, Performance Rod and Custom, Allstar Performance and J-4 Liquid Energy.
Owens finished second after quite an effort to get to the front. “My hat’s off to Earl, he drove a heck of a race out there, we weren’t very good on the bottom tonight, but up top the car was flying it would take me a few laps after those last two cautions to get it going and really thought we were going to pass him, but when the 54 car was there it was just one of those things and he was running my line, but congratulations to Earl on the win and we’ll get ‘em next time,” said the driver f the Reece Monuments/Cornett Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Ford Fusion.
Taking third was Mars in the Deppe Enterprises/Pro Power Engines/M-B Customs Malibu with a fantastic finish for fourth on back as Anderson edged out McDowell. Anderson was in the Shop Quick/Jay Dickens Racing Engines/MasterSbilt Cadillac as McDowell gained some more points on Bloomquist in his Clint Bowyer Racing/Custom Racing Engines/Warrior Race Cars Impala SS.
Completing the top ten were Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, A, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN, Steve Casebolt of Richmond, IN, Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, IL and Brad Neat of Dunnville,KY.
In preliminary action Shannon Babb was the PRC Fast Qualifier with a lap of 14.962 seconds among the 48 entrants on hand. Heat race winners were John Blankenship, Dan Schlieper, John Anderson and Wendell Wallace. The B-mains were captured by Dale McDowell and Steve Casebolt.
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 SeriesRace Summary Saturday Night, July 18, 2009 “CMH Late Model Challenge” Lucas Oil Speedway – Wheatland, MO
PRC Fast Time: Shannon Babb / 14.962 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): John Blankenship, Bub McCool, Don O’Neal, Shannon Babb, Eric Turner, Jason Hughes, John Mason, Jeremy Kelley, Brantlee Gotschall, Reid Millard, Alan Vaughn, Larry Jones
Hawk Brake Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Dan Schlieper, Will Vaught, Jimmy Mars, Brad Neat, Dale McDowell, Ray Cook, Jason Bodenhamer, Michael Walker, Rylan Long, Eric Jacobsen, Zachary Goulden, Larry Clawson
AFCO Racing Products Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): John Anderson, Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Bill Frye, Chris Smyser, Denny Woodworth, Jeremy Payne, Jason Utter, Matt Johnson, Terry Phillips, PJ Haskins, Freddy Smith-DNS
Tiger Rear Ends Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Wendell Wallace, Earl Pearson Jr., David Breazeale, Brian Birkhofer, Steve Casebolt, Al Purkey, Brandon McCormick, David Turner, Joe Kosiski, Bill Koons, Brett Wood-DNS
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps- Top 3 Advance): Dale McDowell, Jason Hughes, Ray Cook, Eric Turner, John Mason, Jason Bodenhamer, Larry Jones, Michael Walker, Eric Jacobsen, Larry Clawson, Jeremy Kelley, Reid Millard, Zachary Goulden, Alan Vaughn, Brantlee Gotschall, Rylan Long-DNS
Wiles Drive Shafts Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Steve Casebolt, Eric Turner, Jeremy Payne, Chris Smyser, Jason Utter, Denny Woodworth, Brandon McCormick, Joe Kosiski, Terry Phillips, David Turner, Bill Koons, Matt Johnson, Freddy Smith, PJ Haskins-DNS, Brett Wood-DNS
Feature Finish (50 Laps): Earl Pearson Jr., Jimmy Owens, Jimmy Mars, John Anderson, Dale McDowell, Brian Birkhofer, Scott Bloomquist, Steve Casebolt, Shannon Babb, Brad neat, Don O’Neal, Eric Jacobsen, Ray Cook, John Blankenship, Bill Frye, Will Vaught, Al Purkey, Dan Schlieper, David Breazeale, Michael Walker, David Turner, Jeremy Payne, Wendell Wallace, Alan Vaughn, Jason Hughes, Bub McCool, Freddy Smith
Finish (Start) Car Number Driver Name
1. (8) #44 Earl Pearson Jr. 2. (10) #20 Jimmy Owens 3. (11) #28M Jimmy Mars 4. (2) #2A John Anderson 5. (17) #17M Dale McDowell 6. (16) #15B Brian Birkhofer 7. (6) #0 Scott Bloomquist 8. (18) #c9 Steve Casebolt 9. (13) #18 Shannon Babb 10. (15) #41N Brad Neat 11. (9) #71 Don O’Neal 12. (23) #5 Eric Jacobsen 13. (21) #53 Ray Cook 14. (1) #23 John Blankenship 15. (14) #66 Bill Frye 16. (7) #1v Wil Vaught 17. (20) #33 Al Purkey 18. (3) #s9 Dan Schlieper 19. (12) #54 David Breazeale 20. (27) #64 Michael Walker 21. (26) #15T David Turner 22. (22) #74 Jeremy Payne 23. (4) #88 Wendell Wallace 24. (24) #6 Alan Vaughn 25. (19) #23H Jason Hughes 26. (5) #57J Bub McCool 27. (25) #00 Freddy Smith
Entries: 47 Caution Flags: Lap 6 (debris); Lap 11 (Brad Neat); Lap 34 (Will Vaught); Lap 36 (Dan Schlieper); Lap 36 (Don O’Neal) Lap Leaders: John Anderson (1-7); Wendell Wallace (8); John Anderson (9-10); Earl Pearson, Jr. (11-44); Jimmy Owens (45); Earl Pearson, Jr. (46-50) Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Eric Jacobsen, Freddy Smith MLRA Provisionals: Alan Vaughn, David Turner Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisional: Michael Walker PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Dale McDowell (started 17th ; finished 5th – advanced 12 positions) Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Eric Jacobsen K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Earl Pearson, Jr. Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: John Blankenship Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Larry Wallace Racing Engines Time of the Race: 40 minutes 24 seconds
2009 Championship Points Standings
1. Scott Bloomquist (Mooresburg, TN) 4555 2. Dale McDowell (Chickamauga, GA) 4335 3. Earl Pearson Jr. (Jacksonville, FL) 4315 4. Jimmy Owens (Newport, TN) 4285 5. Don O’Neal (Martinsville, IN) 4115 6. Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN) 3995 7. Ray Cook (Brasstown, NC) 3950 8. Brad Neat (Dunnville, KY) 3630 9. Eric Jacobsen (Seacliffe Beach, CA) 3445 10. Dan Schlieper (Sullivan, WI) 3315 11. John Blankenship (Williamson, WV) 3300 12. David Breazeale (Four Corners, MS) 3065 13. Freddy Smith (Seymour, TN) 2780 16. Michael Walker (Franklin, TN) 2130
2009 Quarter Master Rookie of the Year Points Standings
1. John Blankenship (Williamson, WV) 3300 2. David Breazeale (Four Corners, MS) 3065 3. Michael Walker (Franklin, TN) 2260
4. Jeep VanWormer (Pinnconning, MI) 1590