TUSCUMBIA, AL (July 10, 2009)- Don O’Neal of Martinsville, IN celebrated his 45th birthday in grand style on Friday Night as he won the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series sanctioned “Heart of the Dixie 40” at North Alabama Speedway. O’Neal became the 19th different winner in 24 races on the LOLMDS 2009 Tour. Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL finished second followed by Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR; Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN; and Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, GA.
Pearson and O’Neal started on the front row of the 40 lap main event held before a jammed-packed grandstand. O’Neal got the early jump on Pearson to take the lead with Owens, Moyer, and McDowell rounding out the top five with a lap scored. O’Neal, using the top groove on the race track went to a two-car length lead early with Pearson diving to the inside in the turns keeping O’Neal within his sights.
Pearson pulled alongside O’Neal coming off of turn number four on lap nine but could not make the pass on on the leader. O’Neal kept him at bay in a closely contested race for the lead. Owens then closed up on the two frontrunners pulling up on the decklid of Pearson.
Moyer then picked up the pace and made it a four-car tussle for the lead as the top four were right together on the race track just as they entered heavy traffic on lap 21. Pearson again tried to make a move on O’Neal. The leader had him by a nose at the start-finish line on lap 22 as the leaders battled through traffic.
With the top four all clustered up the first caution of the race came out for Freddy Smith, last year’s winner of this race on lap 28. On the restart, O’Neal held his lead with Pearson remained second followed by Moyer, who had passed Owens for third and McDowell, who was still fifth.
With ten laps remaining O’Neal built what would be his biggest lead of the race at a mere four car lengths over Pearson. Pearson re-grouped and started to close in on O’Neal as they race reach less than five laps to go. Just as it looked like Pearson would make a final run on O’Neal, the caution came out with three laps to go for Brad Neat, who was running inside the top ten at the time.
The final restart of the race saw Pearson and Moyer keep the pressure on O’Neal, but O’Neal held his line and went on to score his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win since August 7, 2007 at Dubuque Speedway in Dubuque, IA.
In the Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 11th time in his racing career, O’Neal said his kids were giving him a hard time about when he was ever going to win another race. “They were on me pretty good today about not winning in a while, but to win on my birthday is pretty cool, I’ve got to thank Tader Masters and Curt; this MasterSbilt Race Car ran so good, starting on the front row is a big advantage with the type of competition here tonight, I want to thank Jay Dickens, my engine builder who’s here tonight, all my sponsors, it feels good to finally win a Lucas Oil race it seems like forever since we did, but we’re really putting together a good team here and hopefully we’ll win some more of these before the seasons over,” said O’Neal who has finished second twice in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings in 2005 and 2006.
O’Neal’s bright yellow number 71 car is sponsored by Superior Cleaning, Sunoco Race Fuels, Hoosier Racing Tires, Jeff and Buddy Massengill and Hanzo Logistics. With O’Neal’s win he moved into fifth place in the points standings.
Pearson in the Bobby Labonte Racing/J4 Liquid Energy/MasterSbilt continued his strong runs lately in finishing second followed Moyer in his Banner Valley Hauling/Clements Race Engines/Moyer Victory Circle Monte Carlo SS. Completing the top five were Owens in the Mike Reece/Cornett Engines/Bloomquist race Cars Ford Fusion; and McDowell in the Clint Bowyer Racing/Dollar General/Warrior Race Cars Impala SS.
Completing the top ten were multi-time North Alabama track champion Chris Ragan of Ramer, TN who outdueled Steve Casebolt of Richmond, IN on the final lap to place sixth. Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN who started 17th finished in eighth to earn the PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race as he maintained his points lead. Eric Jacobsen of Seacliffe Beach, CA finished ninth followed by Bub McCool of Vicksburg, MS.
In preliminary action Earl Pearson Jr. was the PRC Fast Qualifier among the 35 entrants with a lap of 13.632 seconds. Heat race winners were Earl Pearson Jr., Billy Moyer, Don O’Neal and Jimmy Owens. The B-main winners were Scott Bloomquist and Ronny Lee Hollingsworth.
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
Friday Night, July 10th, 2009
“Heart of Dixie 40” @ North Alabama Speedway – Tuscumbia, AL
PRC Fast Time: Earl Pearson Jr. / 13.632 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Earl Pearson Jr., Dale McDowell, Steve Casebolt, Freddy Smith, Scott Bloomquist, Scott Slay, Chris Brown, John Blankenship, Jerry Owens
Hawk Brake Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Billy Moyer, Brad Neat, Chris Wall, David Breazeale, Anthony Burroughs, Jamie Elam, Wendell Wallace, Jerry Jackson, James Dodson
AFCO Racing Products Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Don O’Neal, Chris Ragan, Eric Jacobsen, Ross Camponovo, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, Michael Walker, Leaon Henderson, Jamie Flannagan, Dean Carpenter
Tiger Rear Ends Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Jimmy Owens, Bub McCool, Dan Schlieper, Ray Cook, Mitchell Byars, Jeremy Broadus, Scott Creel, Josh Putnam
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps- Top 3 Advance): Scott Bloomquist, Anthony Burroughs, Wendell Wallace, Scott Slay, John Blankenship, Chris Brown, Jamie Elam, Jerry Owens, James Dodson
Wiles Drive Shafts Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, Josh Putnam, Jamie Flannagan, Jeremy Broadus, Scott Creel, Leon Henderson, Michael Walker, Mitchell Byars, Dean Carpenter-DNS
Feature Finish (40 Laps): Don O’Neal, Earl Pearson Jr., Billy Moyer, Jimmy Owens, Dale McDowell, Chris Ragan, Steve Casebolt, Scott Bloomquist, Eric Jacobsen, Bub McCool, Chris Wall, Dan Schlieper, Ray Cook, John Blankenship, David Breazeale, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, Brad Neat, Anthony Burroughs, Michael Walker, Josh Putnam, Freddy Smith, Wendell Wallace, Ross Camponovo, Jamie Flannagan, Jarry Jackson
Finish (Start) Car Number Driver Name
1. (2) #71 Don O’Neal
2. (1) #44 Earl Pearson Jr.
3. (3) #21 Billy Moyer
4. (4) #20 Jimmy Owens
5. (5) #17M Dale McDowell
6. (6) #c16 Chris Ragan
7. (9) #c9 Steve Casebolt
8. (17) #0 Scott Bloomquist
9. (10) #5 Eric Jacobsen
10. (8) #57J Bub McCool
11. (11) #71W Chris Wall
12. (12) #s9 Dan Schlieper
13. (16) #53 Ray Cook
14. (23) #23 John Blankenship
15. (15) #54 David Breazeale
16. (18) #18 Ronny Lee Hollingsworth
17. (7) #41N Brad Neat
18. (19) #121 Anthony Burroughs
19. (24) #64 Michael Walker
20. (20) #212 Josh Putnam
21. (13) #00 Freddy Smith
22. (21) #B1 Wendell Wallace
23. (14) #18R Ross Campanovo
24. (22) #79 Jamie Flannagan
25. (25) #99J Jerry Jackson
Caution Flags: Freddy Smith (Lap 30); Brad Neat (Lap 37)
Lap Leaders: Don O’Neal (1-40)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: John Blankenship, Michael Walker
PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Scott Bloomquist (Started 17th; Finished 8th – Advanced 9 Postions)
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Chris Ragan
K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: John Blankenship
Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: John Blankenship
Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Jay Dickens
Time of the Race: 16 minutes 39 seconds
2009 Championship Points Standings
1. Scott Bloomquist (Mooresburg, TN) 3975
2. Dale McDowell (Chickamauga, GA) 3705
3. Earl Pearson Jr. (Jacksonville, FL) 3680
4. Jimmy Owens (Newport, TN) 3670
5. Don O’Neal (Martinsville, IN) 3510
6. Ray Cook (Brasstown, NC) 3490
7. Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN) 3430
8. Brad Neat (Dunnville, KY) 3175
9. Eric Jacobsen (Seacliffe Beach, CA) 2945
10. Dan Schlieper (Sullivan, WI) 2915
11. John Blankenship (Williamson, WV) 2905
12. Josh McGuire (Grayson, KY) 2720
13. David Breazeale (Four Corners, MS) 2645
14. Freddy Smith (Seymour, TN) 2455
17. Michael Walker (Franklin, TN) 1915
2009 Quarter Master Rookie of the Year Points Standings
1. John Blankenship (Williamson, WV) 2905
2. David Breazeale (Four Corners, MS) 2645
3. Michael Walker (Franklin, TN) 1915
4. Jeep VanWormer (Pinnconning, MI) 1590